Monday, November 12, 2012
Hospitality Houses Offer a Home Away From Home and So Much More
Marc Beaubien, center, is pictured with just a few of the physicians, staff and volunteers who were with him on his journey through cancer. From left, cardiovascular surgeon Bill Hall, MD; oncologist/hematologist Thomas Repine, MD; Beaubien; gastroenterologist, Mark Prince, MD; Hospitality House coordinator, Debbie Scarbrough; Hospitality House volunteer, Alan Breiner.
Anyone who has ever had cancer or had a loved one with cancer knows the challenges that come with the diagnosis, regardless of the type, severity or prognosis. With the body worn out by drugs and radiation, having a comfortable place to retreat to at the end of a hard day becomes even more important. But that’s not always a possibility for cancer patients here in Tennessee, where many counties rely on the services of hospitals and doctors’ offices that are often an hour or more from home.
Thanks to the Hospitality Houses
of Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge
and the Fellowship Center
at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center
in Knoxville, patients receiving cancer treatment at either facility can find a home away from home when they are sick and seeking a comfort that can’t be found in a hotel room or on a long car ride.
When diagnosed with esophageal cancer in January 2012, Scott County resident Marc Beaubien found his place of healing at the Hospitality Houses of Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge.
Marc’s rigorous treatment plan included chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery of the esophagus. He stayed at the Hospitality Houses during the week while he received treatment and returned home on the weekend.
Marc, who lives 65 miles from Methodist Medical Center, said that making the daily trips to and from the hospital would have been possible, but complicated and exhausting.
“The radiation really zaps your energy,” says Marc. “And the chemotherapy is just indescribable… your hair hurts. It would have been disheartening to know you have to make that drive after the treatment.”
Being able to stay at the Hospitality Houses meant that Marc could be close to his appointments and have a place to rest immediately afterward. He had a place to cook homemade meals, he was surrounded by people who understood what he was going through and who could help him know what to expect.
The houses’ staff and volunteers become much more than friends or caretakers. “While there, they are your guardian angels,” says Marc. “They sure made a difficult time in our lives a little bit easier.”
The Hospitality Houses are often described as a home away from home, and when patients are going through what is probably the biggest trial of their lives, having a place they can call home is key to their recovery.