A Watertown man has been in and of the hospital since June of 2011 because of a type of bone marrow cancer. At the beginning of this year he came to Sioux Falls for a bone marrow transplant and as Nancy Naeve Brown tells us, this Watertown family saved a lot of stress, money and time on the road because of the Avera Hospitality Apartments.
When Susan Mannie found out her husband AJ had multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in our bone marrow, this Watertown woman vowed he would not fight the cancer alone.
"There was no other choice. We've been married 30 years this November; my place is with him regardless of the job situation or home life or whatever. He needed support and I needed to be with him, just to be present if anything happened."
That meant when AJ came to Sioux Falls for chemo and then a bone marrow transplant at Avera McKennan they both moved to Sioux Falls. Susan found out from Avera Social Worker Melanie Hericks (who works with transplant patients) she could stay in the hospitality apartments reserved for out-of-town patients who are expected to be in the hospital for long periods of time. It's located in Laurel Oaks Apartments: Independent Living on the campus of the Avera Prince of Peace Retirement Community. Susan has been here since January 2012.
"A lot of times they really like the idea of hospitality apartments because it has a bedroom, living room, a kitchen. It has all the amenities in one spot plus it's near the hospital so it's really a nice option for them, "Social Worker Melanie Hericks said.
Another thing Susan likes is the emergency call cords in the bathroom and bedroom so in the event of an emergency with AJ she call pull this and medical staff on campus will come running.
"It has really saved us a lot not just financially but just knowing we had someplace to go and we were close to the hospital if something went wrong," Susan said.
"The caregiver or spouse of daughter or whoever it is a vital part in recovery because it's quality of life. We want that patient to have that support system with them," Melanie said.
You truly can't appreciate how hard cancer is on the entire family until you go through it.
"When our daughter went back that was really hard. Sara was a big support for me while he was in the hospital. He ended up in ICU for a couple of days on a ventilator so having our daughter here was really important and just being in Sioux Falls where he could get the care he needed was a necessity and phenomenal. The staff is 100% the most amazing people I've ever met," Susan said with tears streaming down her face.
And by his side was the family he needed to help get through this journey.
AJ is an outpatient right now but goes in everyday to the Avera Cancer Institute to get IV fluids.
For more information on the hospitality apartments located on the campus of the Avera Prince of Peace Retirement Community call 877-AT-AVERA.