Patient Stories

About Integrative Care Services

This year, our proceeds will reach even further. We will continue to fund the Artist in Residence program at Riverside Methodist, and we will also support the hospital's other integrative care offerings, such as acupuncture, integrative physician consultation, massage therapy, cancer rehabilitation, mind-body therapies and nutrition counseling. Integrative care enhances patient healing and improvees quality of life.

Elvis Was IN in the Building

Thanks to the support of Kitchen Kapers, Artist-in-Resident John Morgan regularly plays his guitar at the bedside of hospitalized cancer patients. Being hospitalized can make you lose your sense of self but music can remind you of your strengths and courage. The hospital environment becomes an instant community. Meaningful relationships can develop with strangers as they come and go. Conversations between spouses are common.

You never know how deeply music can reach some people. It’s not unusual for a hospitalized patient or visitor to express appreciation for John’s talent. What is unusually unique is when a patient, their loved one, John and a spouse of another patient – an Elvis impersonator no less – crossed paths one day at Riverside Methodist.

Artist-in-Resident John Morgan playing guitar

On this occasion, the two husbands who were visiting their patient wives talked and learned that they were both from Southern Ohio, home to Stuart’s Opera House. Then it hit him, he was talking with the Elvis impersonator he and his wife had wanted to see but recent performances were always sold out.

Moments later the two enlisted John and his guitar. “Elvis” entered his wife’s room to surprise her. “Elvis!” She shouted and smiled. Together, they performed "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You." The hospital environment was transformed . . .the focus shifted completely to one of joy. The patient and spouse were thrilled with the personal concert. Upon leaving, the Elvis impersonator presented a phone number and said "Call me. I'll make sure you get tickets for the next show."

Music can ignite memories. Memories can ignite a smile.

John Morgan, a gifted guitarist, is a regular face on the cancer floor. His music and charm touch patients in many positive ways. For years, he has entertained young and old alike at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, thanks in large part to Kitchen Kapers' support of the Artist in Residence program. John’s music brings a smile to almost any patient he encounters, patients like Edna.

Recently, John was playing near one of the nurses' stations when Mitchell, a tech on 7 Yellow, came around the corner escorting Edna, an elderly patient struggling with her exercise walk around the floor.

Mitchell asked Edna, “Do you like guitar music? There’s John.”

“Oh, yes” she answered, “I used to play Hawaiian guitar.” Never one to miss an opportunity to connect, John pulled a small metal object out of his pocket and used it as a slide to create the characteristic Hawaiian guitar sound.

“That’s it!” Edna said. She went on to tell John and Mitchell how she and her friends would go to the park with their instruments and play for hours - memories she truly cherished.

As John played popular songs from her day like “Moonlight Bay” and “Just Because,” Edna began to sway (in a good way!) and sing along. Her smile grew brighter and brighter with every song. Needless to say, she finished her exercise walk that day with an added skip in her step thanks to John and his amazing music.

Elvis Is Still in the Building

When guitarist John Morgan first began playing music for Riverside Methodist Hospital cancer patients, he remembers thinking that every person is in roughly the same situation. It didn't take long for him to realize how wrong he was.

As he travels from room to room, every door represents a different universe: different people, different circumstances, different social dynamics, different cultures.

On one day in October 2011, he knocked on the door of a woman who liked a lot of baby boomer music. He played a number of songs she requested – mostly rock and roll – and for the last song she asked for "Hound Dog" by Elvis. Not an obscure song, but one he hadn't played at the hospital for a year or two.

When he was just about done for the day, a nurse asked him to visit one last room. John entered to find a woman in her mid 70's looking very alert, prim and proper. She told him she liked bluegrass and church music, so he played several songs in that vein. In between songs she said, "You play a lot like Elmer. He used to do all that fancy stuff." It turns out she was from a very musical family in Virginia. She was the youngest daughter in the family. Two of her brothers formed a band and drafted her as the backup singer and guitarist. Her oldest brother was the more serious musician and played with great intensity. "He could play mandolin just like Bill Monroe.” Elmer, being slightly younger, was a little more flashy and liked to "get the crowd into it." She became animated as she reminisced about their musical travels in their part of the state. Toward the end of the conversation she said, "You know what I really liked was the Boogie Woogie. Do you know "Hound Dog" by Elvis?" Her only regret was that she hadn't seen him in concert.

So, after years of no “Hound Dog,” he was requested to sing it twice in one day! A pattern, an alignment of the stars, a coincidence? Whatever it was, Elvis WAS in the house again that day!

Integrative Care Provides Support on All Levels

A long-time patient utilized Integrative Care’s services for emotional support. She was a loyal participant in Lora Hanna’s Support Group sessions as well as 1:1 Mind Body therapy with guided imagery. She relied on these services to help her cope with the reality that her chemo wasn’t working and to decide to forego further treatment. She continued to come to Integrative Care to receive the emotional support provided to her by Lora and the Support Group weekly where she would share her story, thoughts and emotions with other cancer patients. Before losing her battle to cancer, she expressed her gratitude many times for the support and guidance provided by Integrative Care that kept her going and brought her peace of mind.

Another patient used Integrative Care for acupuncture services to ease her pain as well as the other symptoms that she experienced as a result of her chemo and radiation. The chemo and radiation caused this patient to lose all of her teeth. With the help of Integrative Care, her saliva has increased, and she has regained much of the taste that she lost during treatment. For emotional support, this patient also participated in the Mind Body therapy and support group. She continues to use these Integrative Care services, helping her to persevere in her journey to recovery.

Both of these patients benefited greatly from the services provided within Integrative Care because of the money raised through Kitchen Kapers. The funds provided by Kitchen Kapers allow these services to continue and make them available to patients who might not otherwise be able to afford them. They help to ease the burden on the patients and allow them to focus more fully on their recovery.

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