A Locum’s ScrapBook: An Oasis for The Heart Team? The Residence Inn- Marriott in Mishawaka, Indiana :)

Editor’s Note:

To view the entire “Locum’s ScrapBook” series- click here

My life is Family First and then Perfusion.  I switched from staff perfusionist to becoming a Locum’s traveler to make sure my kids and family would have a solid place to call home.  I travel because it puts me in charge of my life, it is challenging, and I enjoy learning new techniques, other ways of doing things, as well as getting exposure to alternate approaches and paradigms.

So I took my show on the road.  As such, every once in awhile I will be dropping a few notes and pictures of places visited, and observations made.  In a sense, the beginning of a scrap book on Heart Surgery in America (and other places if possible).”

Enjoy 🙂


An Oasis for The Heart Team?  The Residence Inn- Marriott in Mishawaka, Indiana 🙂

Traveling is an exotic thing to do, a lot of people think that to stay in a hotel, for an extended period of time, that’s paid for by a corporate entity, would be the ultimate dream job or at least a significant perk for that particular employment position.

A’Brehn, Naya, and Justin- waiting for the bus 🙂

My KIDZ are growing up Michigan TUFF!  They are brave and confident 🙂

I can say without a doubt, after having stayed at approximately 30 or so hotels, from Texas, to Arkansas, to Mississippi, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, to four cities in Indiana, to Des Moines Iowa, Winter Park Colorado, and Madison Wisconsin, constituting approximately three solid years as a rough estimate of hotel night stays, that the luster and glow of extended-stay living can be disruptive and isolating in terms of your own personal global perspective.

The Bonus?  Very good Perks : def ELITE after roughly 5 months LOL

This is particularly true, if you have a family that loves you and needs you, which I do.  There are pros and cons to traveling like this.  The cons are obvious- you are alone, isolated, on call 24/7 and most significantly- separated from your family for extended periods.  THAT takes a toll.

The pros?  The independence, freedom of choice, and in this case- hotel accommodations are on the PRO side of the column- because the suites at Marriott are big enough for my wife and 4 children to visit comfortably/  That helps immensely!

Anthony- IS the face of this team 🙂

As stated above, I travel for my family because that’s what puts food on the table and pays the bills, and since cardiovascular perfusion positions can often be in flux, I would prefer to absorb the risk for my family, and keep my home in one place because I’ve been forced to move once too often.

The Smiles- say it all 🙂

A large segment of this locum’s experience that I comment upon involves the clinical aspects of working in new cardiovascular arenas. I have on occasion written about some of the places that I stayed, mostly because after several months in one place you learn to respect and admire the dedication of so many in terms of making travelers like myself a little more comfortable. Most of the time from my observation, it is a thankless job, and a desk clerk that you encounter tends to drift away as soon as he or she hands you the invoice for your last day.

This guy is ALWAYS a total professional!

That is not my style at all. While I spend most my time ensuring the safety of the patients entrusted to my care, it would be antithetical to treat the people I encounter on a daily basis with any less respect than what they deserve. Hence, this article.

She dealt with a pack of hungry wolves (HS Hockey Championship Teams stayed here this weekend) and got them ALL fed !

So what can I tell you about my stay here at the Residence Inn-Marriott, Mishawaka, Indiana? More importantly what on earth does that have to do with being a locum’s perfusionist aside from the realities of my life situation that I described above?

Ya GOTTA be well rested if you are going to do this in the morning 🙂

Well, to begin with by looking at the title of this post, “A Locum’s ScrapBook:  An Oasis for The Heart Team?”, I think you’ll recognize as I did last week- that quite a few of the traveling healthcare professionals that I work with at this medical institution that I am currently covering call for, happened to stay right here at the Residence Inn-Marriott, Mishawaka.

I have tremendous RESPECT for Sarina- she brings game and smiles EVERY single day 🙂

It’s pretty remarkable when you think about it, that the primary cardiovascular surgeon, a backup cardiovascular surgeon, the primary perfusionist (myself), and a backup perfusionist all end up at this very same watering hole so to speak- and yes I guess you would have to call it an oasis.

That’s almost an ENTIRE HEART TEAM!

I haven’t really seen that before 🙂

I ran into one of these guys a few weeks ago, and then last week when we had cardiovascular surgeon come in for vacation relief, we managed to do two hearts, and I ran into this surgeon when I was getting a couple of bottles of water from the hotel pantry. It was a fun meeting, because the cases went very well, there was mutual admiration and respect, it was very clear that we are on the same page in terms of our approach to managing patients undergoing open-heart surgery. So funny as it may seem, here’s this heart surgeon and his perfusionist chatting it up for 30 minutes at the front desk of the hotel lobby. It’s a unique sort of camaraderie that develops, when not only do you discover that two (total strangers prior)  highly trained CV professionals can work in complete synchronicity with one another, but that they share the same lodging experience making it an odd bond, but noteworthy because we both recognize that we are navigating the same waters.

The TEAM!  Thx !!!

That being said and done, it certainly reflects well upon this hotel that almost an entire heart team, has chosen this particular haven as a place to stay, whether overnight or for extended stays. From the top down the staff here is excellent.

Cheyenne on the PM shift- Very kind & ultra professional

Kudos to Anthony, Heidi, Samantha, Serena, Cheyenne, Zach and all the other people that are part of the staff that I encounter whether I’m downstairs to coffee up, on my way to do a morning heart, doing laundry, or borrowing a basketball to shoot some hoops because I did grow up in Indiana after all

Say Hello to some of the key contact people you will meet if you ever pass through this way 🙂

Sammy (Samantha) runs the PM front desk like a LIONESS.  Very professional and polite- she will go out of her way to make sure you get what you need- but she handles crowd control very well- as was demonstrated the other day with a herd of Hockey Players that were settled in the lobby like a wolves in a den.  

LOL- My advice?  TAKE the apple…

AnnaLiesa is sort of like the concierge of this hotel.  She handles all the social events and manages the “Mixers” this hotel offers to guests to encourage interaction as well as some spirits and hors d’oeuvres 🙂

The TWINZ– these two hangout and get the job done right!  Always laughing and having fun-

And of Course…..

Heidi 🙂

She is an amazingly kind and caring manager.  Always has a smile and radiates concern.  SHE is the reason I keep staying here.  Not too many Heidi’s in this world- and I am glad to have met her!


This is not an advertisement for Residence Inn-Marriott, Mishawaka- but it is an endorsement and a point of consideration for other medical travelers that happen to pass through South Bend/Mishawaka Indiana, that this is a pretty decent place to stay.

My family comes down from Michigan to visit on weekends once in a while, and the accommodations here have made it the only place that I would choose to stay when covering call for open-heart surgery-  in the heart of Notre Dame country (pun intended).

The “Arrival”

The Boyz- get the pull out bed in the living room of our suite- they look happy 🙂

Kashmir (my wife) and “Boogie” 🙂  That smile is for ME- and that’s what keeps me going !

Be safe – pump strong