Early in July 2018, after the Lake Christine Fire broke out in Basalt, I found myself coughing incessantly, day and night. But after several weeks, when the smoke had abated, my coughing did not. I went to the doctor and sure enough, I had Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In early October, I underwent my first ever chemotherapy treatment. Shortly after, I developed a serious infection of the heart, and was put on an intense five-day infusion regimen at Valley View Hospital. I learned that Aspen Valley Hospital and Valley View Hospital have clinical connectivity with oncology services, sharing an oncologist and radiation oncology services. Five days later, I was feeling pretty darn good and the doctors were trying to figure out how to manage me from there. The next phase entailed an intense routine of 42 days of antibiotic infusions and a full six months of chemotherapy. I didn’t want to burden my family with this kind of round-the-clock care that I felt would be very disruptive in our home. I wanted this exhaustive treatment on my terms, but I also wanted to be close to home, where my wife could visit every day. Aspen Valley Hospital offered me the best of both worlds with their “Swing Bed” program where I got skilled nursing care as an inpatient of the hospital rather than with the disruption of rotating home healthcare aides and therapists.
The first few days of treatment were emotionally and physically exhausting for me. I was missing my daily workout and my stamina and spirits were waning. My care team arranged for me to use the hospital’s physical therapy gym with a physical therapy technician at times when it was very quiet in the gym. Keeping up my level of activity was a tremendous boost to my morale. Sharing resources, technology and physicians means a seamless transition of care from one facility to another and that is great for our community. I owe my life to the stalwart technicians, the attentive patient care team and the expertly trained physicians I met during my journey. I attribute a lot of good things to a lot of good people. Aspen Valley Hospital is a real community hospital.