Is this a Spa, Dance Club or Hospital?

October 10, 2013 in Hospital Tales

Massachusetts General Hospital

Massachusetts General Hospital (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you enter the waiting area of the Mass General proton therapy center (and no I won’t explain to you what that is, because it’s not crucial to my post), you first become aware of the cool temperature. It seems as if air-conditioning is a year-round part of this department. I’ve learned to wear layers whether it’s 60 or 80 degrees outside. The second noticeable feature of this center is the music. If I closed my eyes, I could swear I was waiting for my massage at the spa. How is it possible to feel so relaxed while waiting for your child’s radiation session?

It shouldn’t surprise me really. Mass General Hospital or MGH is also affectionately known as “Man’s Greatest Hospital.” And I couldn’t agree more. And by the way, this is NOT a promoted post. No one is paying me to write that. I am just so enamored with the place, knowing that my son is receiving the best possible medical care. And it has nothing to do with the spa music. Although that is a nice touch. The people who work at MGH — everyone from the administrators to the doctors and nurses — are smart, compassionate, and really good at what they do. And did I mention that the hospital cafeteria actually has GOOD food? And their iced tea, which a junkie like me must drink everyday? Unbelievably delicious!

We’ve had various appointments at different locations in the hospital, but we spend most of our time at the proton center. We temporarily relocated from New York for my son to receive treatments for 6 weeks, because there are only a few proton centers in the country. We had done our research about proton therapy, but I definitely wasn’t prepared for what the room would look like.

For my son’s first appointment, they brought us back to the treatment room and I suddenly felt very small as a giant cylinder literally encased half the room. My son didn’t seem to notice and hopped up on to the table like he was getting any old check up at the doctor’s office. The nurse likely noticed my face growing pale at the size and complexity of the machine and my wondering if Little Dude was going to start to panic. The nurse explained to me how it all worked and then introduced us to the two technicians, Gary and John. Gary, the taller and larger of the two fellows, was in charge of musical selections and asked my son what type of music he preferred to listen to during treatment. The nurse warned us that Gary could start dancing at any moment, which was apparently a treat to behold.

I don’t know if it was the sound system or the choice of song, but I was overcome with this feeling that Gary and John and the doctors and the nurses were going to take care of my son and everything was going to be okay. I’m not usually a big Katy Perry fan, but Gary started playing the song, Roar, and the lyrics she belted out in that treatment room seemed to be just perfect for my son’s first session:

“…I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire,

cause I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar…”

I’m pretty sure that if Gary started dancing, I would have started dancing along with him. And guess what my son said after his first treatment was over?

He said, “Mom, that was ‘easy’ and ‘kinda fun’ because they played cool music.”

Yup, Katy Perry is right: he is a champion and I am in awe.

And Gary, thank you for choosing the right music.

P.S. And if you aren’t familiar with the Top 20 pop hits, here’s Miss Perry’s song for your listening pleasure (or pain?):

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Janine Huldie October 10, 2013 at 9:12 am

Love that Katy Perry song and totally think that was the right choice indeed. Totally inspiring and does truly make me want to get up and dance. By the way, they play music at the girls’ soccer and have played this song there. We have now heard it on my radio in the car a few times and Lily always tells me, “That is the song they play at soccer.” So trust me huge hit in our household apparently, too :)
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ohboymom October 10, 2013 at 10:35 am

Love that — musical soccer! Sounds like it’s a song that resonates with many — glad your girls like it too!


grownandflown October 10, 2013 at 9:24 am

I love hearing about all the positive things you are finding on this difficult road. Admire you both, very much, Emily
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ohboymom October 10, 2013 at 10:34 am

Thanks so much – we have discovered the only way to travel this road is with laughter and smiles…


Kelly October 10, 2013 at 9:58 am

Sounds like a great facility with some progressive medicine! That’s awesome…and I do love that song…I’m exposed because my kids like Katy P. I’m so glad they allowed him to choose the music…otherwise little dude might be sangin’ “I’m going to Californ…eeee…….” LOL. That’s the song they played during Maddy’s MRI!

Keep the faith and your shiny side UP!


ohboymom October 10, 2013 at 10:33 am

Ha – well, sounds like it was memorable to Maddy all the same, but still…I hear ya! :)


Jessica October 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm

I just love MGH, and that song. (I’m with you, I don’t listen to Katy Perry all the time, but that’s a good one and I keep playing it over and over in my head.) Several members of my family have been and/or are going there for treatment (only one for cancer) and the doctors are phenomenal. We just trust that we are getting the best possible treatment there. I’m glad they are helping Little Dude so much!
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ohboymom October 10, 2013 at 5:52 pm

So glad to hear that MGH has been helping members of your family too…if ony all hospitals were this good!


Ruchira October 10, 2013 at 2:45 pm

I am glad you find the surroundings serene cause you being grounded definitely helps your son’s treatment.

Music sure can do wonders in all age groups. The staff was smart to choose his kinda music.

Once again wishing you luck on this journey, Emily
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Kristi Campbell October 11, 2013 at 2:14 pm

I’m so glad that they’re so wonderful to you and little dude at your hospital. So glad. Amazing doctors, competency and kindness go a long way.
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ohboymom October 11, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Yes, you are right — quality medical care and compassionate people to go along with it, can make a huge difference!


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