MedicalTourism2Tough to vacation in a hospital breezy gown and plastic ID bracelet, but medical hot spots can launch new-city discoveries for the caregivers.

Chattanooga, Tennessee triggered that notion most recently for me with a car-wrecked friend life-flighted to the trauma center there, and his family placed on long-term healing duty.

They live too far to go home very often, and his progress is a lot like watching grass grow—definitely happening but in tiny increments.

Glued to the bedside’s quite appropriate in my family guidebook, but eventually caregiver mental health needs a boost on the outside.

MedicalTourism1The Bluff View Art District sculpture garden features flying art forms and stationary works, nestled along grassy grounds.Chattanooga strikes me as a place with potential for short-spurt experiences just right to refresh the spirit.

I’ve known for a long time it’s a city for traditional vacationing, but now I‘m musing about interesting options for the medical tourist.

My friend Max is in the bed, but his wife Sheryl would be only sort-of sleeping in a foldout chair.  

She’s a potter and I’m recommending an hour or so in the River Gallery. Works of several dozen Tennessee and Georgia artists filled its nooks and crannies any time I visited—uplifting and distracting should help.

Bluff View Art District is the name of the art gallery’s neighborhood so I believe a stroll in the sculpture garden looking from the bluff across the Tennessee River might plop a little peace in the soul of a caregiver.  

MedicalTourism3The Tennessee Aquarium’s tanks of fish provide quiet staring time — good for the soul of a caregiver.The Hunter Museum of American Art is walkable, and manageable inside too.

Unrealistic, this notion of medical tourism, if it requires much effort. Downtown Chattanooga has an electric shuttle and that strikes me as simple and helpful, a way to take a break in the splendor of the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel sumptuous lobby with short ride to the Tennessee Aquarium.

Maybe the full tour is too much for a medical tourist, but staring at fish tanks is documented to be calming, plus this Aquarium’s penguins guarantee distraction and delight.

Walking soothes my soul so I’d recommend any number of miles along the River: plenty of green space and paved paths.

Possible, don’t you think, to use such a lens looking at many locations? Vacation features adding value to challenging life times?

Christine Tibbetts is a university-trained journalist with 40+ years writing for newspapers, public relations and marketing firms and arts and education organizations. She shares travel and life with a family blended by marriages and multiple encounters. Recently she shared three Intensive Care Unit hospital weeks with her husband of 35 years.

Top Photo: No time to overnight on the fabled Delta Queen during medical tourism, but river views in Chattanooga can be calming.