While the Hufelanf Klinik has played a central role in my Germany narrative so far, it has primarily figured as a backdrop. I thought it deserved a post that focused on the clinic itself, as it is the primary reason for my visit here.
The story of how Mom got here is a part of the cancer story I have started but not yet finished, and I don’t want to skip ahead of myself there. That tale will be continued, once my posting about Germany comes to an end. Suffice it to say the road was a long one which lead here, but with much prayer and gratitude she found herself seeking help in Germany.
The Hufeland Klinik uses many methods for cancer treatment. There is the aforementioned Hyperthermia, whether that be full body or local. There are such things as mistletoe therapy, blood ozone infusion, pleanty of supplements, reflexology, and all sorts of other things. Depending on your situation they make a plan just for you i.e. Mom doesn’t get the low dose chemotherapy, because of the amount she had already had on the past. I can’t give you the science behind the treatments, that would require a lot of knowledge I simply don’t have. Most of these are treatments not easily found in the US, and they draw people from all over. There are people from the States, from Germany, from England and Australia and New Zealand and many other countries. The clinic only deals with cancer, so everyone here has that common ground.
The community this creates is such a cool thing to watch. It reminded me of when I went to political camp. A bunch of strangers, thrown together in an intense experience with only one known common interest. People opened up fast, and lasting friendships were made. That was only over a period of one week, and Mom is here for six. She even broke her long avoidance of Facebook to make sure she could stay connected with everyone. There is a sign which asks people not to talk about there illness, but everyone breaks the rule. I think it is a good rule to be broken, as they connect because of their cancer, share their individual research and knowledge, and ultimately become friends through the shared experience of being treated. They have been very welcoming to Christian and myself as well, even though we share their struggle secondhand. The cast of people here is inspiring and numerous, and a snapshot of what I always imagined a long term B&B would be. Which I suppose in a way, the clinic is, just sort of more “Bed, Breakfast, and Cancer Treatments.” Everyone has a story to tell, a long road like Mom’s which lead them here. Everyone had a family and a life, and everyone had a reason to fight for. It is beautiful, really.
I have not had much interaction with the Doctors and Nurses themselves, but the little I have had they have been nice, even when Christian and I were no doubt a little under foot. The service staff have been wonderfully nice and very helpful, always happy and cheerful and ready to try to understand your broken German words or to use their much better English to help you out.
Patients live on site, in dorm like rooms. It is a bit of a running joke that rooms don’t have the same features. Mom’s has a bathtub, a fact which has made many a person jealous. Christian’s smaller, one person room has only a shower, but due to his unique position in the clinic is one of few to have wifi. As far as I know everyone has a desk and a closet, and the rooms I have been in feel fairly spacious to me. No one has AC, but cracking the windows has done a fair bit to keep everything livable. The beds have the most awesome giant square feather pillows on them, which are very soft and cuddly and which I must find for myself once I get back home.
The meals are all included, and are mostly vegitarian. Lunch is the largest, and dinner tends to be some leftovers and salad. I personally have found the meals quite enjoyable, but I have also interspersed them with food grabbed in town. I am told that after a few weeks it can lack variety. There is no coffee, but tea is always available with fresh lemon and ginger. All water is the bottled carbonated or mineral water, which seems rampant in Germany. Seating is assigned, because of certain people needing some special foods set out for them. This creates a special set of people you get very familiar with. Dinner is especially fun, as our table often hangs out, sips tea, tells jokes and catches up on personal adventures after the meal is done.
The building is beautiful, built to induce a relaxing feeling. There is a TV room if you are so inclined, a library, and a front entry/waiting room with a fountain and fish where people hang out in and use the internet (Those not fortunate enough to have access to Christian’s special wifi room).
The clinic has options for activities for people. There is a bus to Rothenburg this Sunday which you can book through them, though I believe the actual bus service extends to many places in the area and visitors are not exclusively the patients. Mom and Dad went last week and said it was absolutely amazing, so that is where our adventures are going to take us this Sunday as well. There are the aforementioned ebikes or regular bikes offered, though a good one might be a challenge to get your hands on. I am also told you can rent a canoe to take out on the Tauber. While art and singing are considered therapies for the patients, as Mom’s guest I can do them as well as long as I don’t take a patients spot.
I have already mentioned the locations around the clinic rather extensively. It has close proximity to most of town, especially the park, the Philosophenwag, and the local castle (Have I mentioned the castle used to be a headquarters for Tuetonic Knights? The museum there didn’t reflect that much, unfortunately, but it is still so cool to think about). Bad Mergentheim has several cute cafés, and a little bit of shopping, but is of a smaller size and it is more reflecting of the laid back atmosphere the clinic creates than a bustling tourist location.
Obviously I am no expert on the Hufeland Klinik, especially as someone only here for less than a week so far and not even a patient at that. But I wanted to share my impressions of the place with the world so that people searching for information can understand the location. Hopefully this post had been somewhat illuminating.