MD Anderson Observations

My Mom's first day at MDA

MD Anderson Observations

First impressions often resonate through one's mind for years to follow. How many of us have said, "I love you now, but I sure thought you were a jerk when I first met you!"? I know this to be true because many of my friends have said this about me!! It takes time to see the real 'me'.

Digression aside, today is not my first experience with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and I couldn't be more confident in my mother's decision to come here and seek answers to her questions. From the second you hit the door you feel the greatness exuding from every nook and cranny of this facility. What a place, what an amazing place filled with upbeat, positive, outcome driven professionals who all seem to believe Cancer can be beaten. We are often told, "Attitude is everything" and while that may be a stretch in a day of chemotherapy, alternative medicines and God himself, there is no doubt that the atmosphere here is success oriented. It's as if they demand that you get well.

Monroe Dunaway Anderson was born in 1873 in Jackson, Tennessee and wasn't a doctor. He began his professional career as a banker and later joined a partnership with his brother and his brother's brother-in-law called Anderson, Clayton and Co. By 1907, he had moved to Houston to find deeper pockets at the bank to help his company and in 1914 the Houston Ship Channel gave them the outlet they needed. For almost a century, Anderson, Clayton and Co. was known as "King Cotton" as they were the largest merchant of the world's most desired commodity.

Huge wealth followed and by the mid-1930s there were concerns about estate taxes (yes, even then), so a charitable foundation was begun with around $300,000. Upon MD Anderson's passing in 1939, the foundation received an additional $19,000,000. The Texas Legislature authorized The University of Texas to create a hospital for cancer research and appropriated $500,000 for the purpose without specifying where the facility was to be located. The Anderson Foundation agreed to match the amount, provided the hospital was located in Houston and named for its benefactor. The hospital was to be located in the new Texas Medical Center, another creation of The Anderson Foundation. Mr. Anderson passed away unmarried and with no children. His benevolence has left a huge footprint here in Houston and in his native Jackson, TN. Think of Houston without MD Anderson, the man, and you have a town without Texas Children's, St. Luke's, Memorial Hermann, and the Texas Medical Center in which they reside.

We just got called back and a nurse is giving Mom an overview of the Fast Track clinic, how results are provided, time to expect phone calls returned, etc. This place is a machine and it is well-oiled. "If you have fever..." "If you need to speak to your team..." She is going over every possible scenario based on the experience they have derived from hundreds of thousands of patients from all over the world. "Don't freak out when we start pulling tubes of blood, we need a lot for our research." I am 'freaking out', but Mom is encouraged and excited to move forward. God bless her!

People here walk with purpose and have a determined look on their faces. They are busy and it's obvious they are deeply engaged in important work. You could literally eat off the floors here and feel good about it! In understatement, this is THE hospital in the WORLD and we are so fortunate to have it nearby. It inspires me to know our own Citizens Medical Center is being considered as a partner with such a renowned destination. It gives me pride to know my great university is associated with this world-standard facility. This place is the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees, Boston Celtics and Alabama Crimson Tide, all rolled into one, of cancer research and treatment. I'm a simple man and that's how I equate things.

Mom is being grilled about her appetite, habits, portions and on and on...they don't ignore any aspect of the patient's life. The team here takes the time to really know each patient and then custom-tailor the protocol to meet the needs. It's a bombardment of minutia that would lead one with ADHD like mine to choose death!! "Ah, hell, I'll just go home and die...too many questions!!" But, Mom is engaged and the nurse has established great rapport. I guess we are all, always selling something.

I will keep you posted as the urge arises and hope you will embrace the possibility of an association between Citizens Medical Center and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. I GUARANTEE EVERY ASPECT of our local healthcare facility will improve by being near such greatness. It can't help but rub off!!

Hook 'em Horns and God Bless MD Anderson!!

Much of this information was taken from the MD Anderson website. Google is your friend.


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