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Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - With Help from the Wound Treatment Center and Hospitality Houses at Methodist Rockwood Man Looks Forward to Reaching “Normal”

The idea of putting on a pair of shoes in the morning may not seem like a big deal to most people, but when that ability is taken away, it changes how a person looks at life. It’s something that most of us don’t think about. We get up in the morning we get dressed, we put on a pair of shoes and we go out the door.

David Borst of Rockwood knows just what it means to put on a pair of shoes, because years of painful and persistent wounds on his feet and legs have robbed him of that piece of normalcy.

“People have big dreams,” says Borst. “Some people want to become doctors… some want a new car… some want to win the lottery. Me, I want to wear a pair of shoes. That’s my dream.”

He’s had more than his share of health concerns that have led to a series of wounds that would not heal, some dating back to 2007. But thanks to the Wound Treatment Center at Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge, he is beginning to see improvements. Borst is receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy and wound care including treatment with apligraf, a unique substance created from cells found in healthy human skin.

“There were two wounds on my ankle that are no longer there,” Borst says. “You can’t even find them.”

There is a plaque that hangs in the Methodist Wound Treatment Center that reads, “Miracles happen here.” Maybe modern medicine and a big dose of human kindness don’t seem like miracles to some people, but to Borst, that’s just what it is.

“This is their God-given gift,” says Borst of the staff at the Wound Treatment Center. “It’s not just a job to them. It’s something they love to do. They are as happy about your accomplishments as you are.”

There is still healing left to do. He recently had a skin graft by plastic surgeon George Smith, MD. “I got a peak at it at my last appointment. It was the most beautiful thing I’d seen in a long time.”

It’s been a long, hard process, says Borst, but so much of it would not have been possible without the Hospitality Houses at Methodist where he has stayed since beginning treatment in January.

The Hospitality Houses provide free temporary lodging for patients who must travel to Methodist Medical Center for care. The two houses primarily serve cancer patients, but other outpatients like Borst can stay when space is available.

The Hospitality Houses offer patients a comfortable, home-like place to stay that is convenient to the care they need. For Borst, the availability of the houses has taken his commute to the Wound Treatment Center from about 45 minutes to just one block.  Wound care requires diligent work and attention. There are many appointments to keep on a consistent schedule. The cost of that travel can add up quickly for someone who lives 30 or 45 minutes away.

Borst notes that he could not have afforded to make the frequent trips from Rockwood, but with the availability of the Hospitality Houses, he is getting the care he needs and discovering a level of care he never expected.

“This has been the most wondrous thing that’s ever happened to me in my life,” says Borst. “Everyone has been simply outstanding. The volunteers have gone out of their way to help me.”

At the Hospitality Houses, Borst has met other people going through health trials like cancer. “It puts things in perspective,” he says.

Like many guests who find themselves in the home-away-from-home atmosphere of the Hospitality Houses, Borst calls them unique but something that is out of the bounds of description. “How do you describe the love of God that has permeated these walls?”

Borst has come to realize that we all have a choice in how we view life and how we accept life’s challenges.

“No matter what’s going on with my body, I can affect other people just by being kind.” Borst brings his friendly banter and good spirit with him to his appointments and to the Hospitality Houses and in return he finds “absolute blessings” in the people he encounters.

From Dr. David Stanley and the rest of the physicians and staff at the Wound Treatment Center, to Hospitality House coordinator Debbie Scarbrough and her team of house volunteers, to Dr. George Smith, Borst give his thanks.

“The people that God has placed in my path since I’ve been associated with this are just so marvelous… This has been more of a blessing than any man deserves.”

As Borst prepares to celebrate his 65th birthday, he is wishing for a pair of shoes. He knows it’s still too soon and there are wounds left to heal, but then again, “Miracles happen here.”