Michelle Levine's Story
GBMC has always been my hospital as a child, then as my husband, Larry, and I started our family. I started working for Gilchrist Hospice Care in October 1999, so that’s 15 years ago. Larry had had Crohn’s disease since he was a teenager, and when his condition deteriorated in early 2011, we knew there was something more going on. He was diagnosed with small cell carcinoma of the small bowel, and we immediately moved him to GBMC so that he could be treated by Dr. Paul Celano.
Dr. Celano and his team at the Cancer Center were so compassionate. They explained everything to Larry and me, to our children, and to our best friends. They were never too busy to answer a call, and the hospital staff just couldn’t do enough for us. The Palliative Care team was extremely supportive, too. We knew we could count on them to make sure that Larry’s pain was managed well. He was never in pain. When we took him home from the hospital, he was seen by the Gilchrist Home Care East team. Never have I witnessed such dedication. The admission nurse, the home care nurse, the aide, the chaplain, the social worker…they all made Larry feel like he was their only patient.
Later Larry needed to be moved to Gilchrist Center in Towson. What could have been a very scary experience was a relief. He felt loved, well-cared for, and peaceful. I held him and he died in my arms.
The bereavement counselors that I had and the support group I attended helped me to realize that the best way to honor Larry’s memory was to live my life to the fullest. I see every day as a blessing and an opportunity to work with other patients and families and to give back the love and support that was shown to my family and me.
As a Gilchrist employee, I always believed that we offered the best care for our patients at the end of life. I never thought that we would experience it for ourselves. Larry’s death was so hard for us to face, and we were all so grateful to have the support of Gilchrist and GBMC to help us through.