Family gives their heartfelt thanks to Foundation staff
There were not many dry eyes while Sandra Payton addressed Franklin Foundation Hospital administrators Thursday to thank them for the extraordinary care extended by hospital staff to her son Michael during his 9-year battle with carcinoid cancer.
Michael, who was 49 when he died on Oct. 23, was a well-known local educator who spent 15 years as the agriculture teacher at Centerville High followed by stints as vice principal and principal at B. Edward Boudreaux Middle School, Baldwin Elementary and Foster Elementary in Franklin where he was for the last five years.
With Michael’s widow Lisa by her side, Sandra Payton said that during the last three years of his life, the nursing staff at Foundation was trained to be able to administer Michael’s out-patient treatment injections so he would not have to travel twice a week to New Orleans. Those arrangements were initiated by Michael’s boyhood classmate Matt Barrilleaux, a radiology tech at FFH, she said.
“Beginning on July 23, 2013, we spent 60 of the next 90 days in the hospital,” she said. Of those 90 days, there were three admits to a large urban hospital and seven admits “to our beloved Franklin Foundation…. Each time we were admitted here, he told us it was like coming home.
“Our family put our trust in Dr. (Roland) Degeyter and Dr. Degeyter’s care and compassion for Mike and our family was amazing. The hospital staff made our days here comfortable and I mean everyone from the nurses and doctors down to the cleaning staff and cafeteria people.”
When the time approached in September for Michael to receive hospice care, Sandra said he decided to spend his remaining days celebrating his life.
She said when asked what he wanted to do first he said he wanted to be married to Lisa.
“We made arrangements for a preacher and because of your loving staff that first wish came true,” she said. “His nurse that day was Eric who took his time helping Michael who was very fragile and weak prepare for the wedding. He helped him shave, gave him a bath and put on his Batman pajamas, but like Eric said, that was Michael’s decision.”
The wedding service was held in the hospital chapel and Lisa carried a bouquet provided by the nurses, Sandra said.
Due to his declining health, Michael was not able to attend the wedding reception planned at his house a few days after the ceremony.
“So we brought the celebration here,” she said. “Those wonderful beautiful nurses took their own time” to prepare the cafeteria and clean up after the reception for 50 people.
“Thanks to Franklin Foundation, your staff, Dr. Degeyter and his office staff, Mike’s journey was an experience we will always treasure,” Sandra said. “I thank you and we will be eternally grateful. Mike died on October 23 very peacefully with all of us around him.”
“You went above and beyond any expectations,” Lisa said while fighting back tears. She also thanked Dr. Degeyter for “working so aggressively to treat him.”
“We were a family and you treated all of us,” Sandra said in offering thanks.