Host and Guest Stories
If you wish to share a story or thoughts about your experience as a host, guest or medical partner
Photos as you have them are welcomed. Please appreciate that we need to reserve the right to edit,
HOSTS for HOSPITALS was deeply saddened by the news of Yvette’s passing in July 2011. Our condolences go out to everyone who knew her.
An Angel’s Life Cut Short on Earth
She had a spirit and an aura that could not go unnoticed by others. Anyone who knew her for even a moment would attest that quite simply, Yvette was an amazing and unforgettable person with the soul of an angel. The world was lucky to have her for 40 years. She will be forever missed and loved by all!
my mom during the hardest medical battle of her life. She’s home
now and recovering well. The Brusses were incredibly kind people,
and I’m thankful for their generosity.
I recently recorded a holiday song called “Give Love” with my band,
Here are the lyrics:
Does the spirit of the season really go away?
Is it real? Can it last?
Do we let go of these feelings way too fast?
Do we really know
Why do we waste so much energy?
Do we really know
Time is a gift that can never be returned
Do we really know
A Friend for Life
“Due to an unfortunate accident during my daughter’s college field hockey game, we were in the Philadelphia area for 3 weeks while she received medical care. The hospital referred me to Hosts for Hospitals. I was a bit apprehensive thinking that we would be an imposition with our medical equipment and round-the-clock care requirements. I was wrong. I could not have asked for a better experience. Our host, Gwen was extraordinarily gracious. She opened her home to us and made us feel at home. I’ve made a friend for life!”
Oak Over All
Each afternoon I lie in my machine
I remember Daddy towering above
The years have gone when I could leave
Footsteps pattered on the floor over my head and water splashed in the shower we never used. A pale fifty-year-old man’s oxygen tank purred as he exhaled on my sofa; a shy man with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder crunched flake by flake of cereal at my table. Strange silhouettes, outlined in all different kinds of pain, drifted through my house.
On an orange evening in October four large feet shuffled crisp leaves around the driveway, weary from days of travel. His hair grew back from his forehead like corn in neat rows; her cautious grey eyes peered into mine. My gaze leapt to Sasha’s wrinkled sleeves, swinging back and forth in place of his arms. His mother Anya just persisted in her difficult journey toward my front door. My family’s latest guests through the Philadelphia-based Hosts for Hospitals program stepped into the bright hallway and adjusted to a world far from their dim Siberian winters.
He spoke almost no English, and I spoke no Russian. In an attempt at communication I shuffled through my CDs and he gestured toward one with his head, saying, “red.” I slid the Red Hot Chili Peppers CD from its sleeve, snapped it into my CD player and fit the headphones around Anya’s head.
But it didn’t happen so effortlessly. I had to think before realizing he couldn’t put the headphones on himself, and once the music started I wondered, well, what if he doesn’t like it? What if it’s too loud? He had no way of turning it off and no verbal means of asking me to do so. I searched and studied his face. During the noisy climax of the third song Andrew shifted his weight uncomfortably in his chair and his eyes darted around the room until I smiled and plucked the music off his ears. And that introduced the custom for the next three months—our families read each others’ faces and followed each others’ gestures, finding understanding and even laughter.
Anya came home from the hospital one day with rain dribbling from his poncho and two prosthetic arms strapped to his body. Within a month, soup rippled in the spoon he held at our Sabbath dinner. Anya’s eyes sparkled when we spoke. Sasha spent afternoons chuckling with my brother at endless Looney Tunes, and began to press the remote control buttons on his own. He experienced a surge of freedom that immediately transformed his existence. Like our guests before them, Sasha and Anya evolved from aching shadows on the wall to living, breathing people sharing my home.