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Working in Harmony: Spiritual Care Focuses on the Mind-Body Connection

by -

Micki Marolf

For months, Micki Marolf was sick with an invisible illness.

She frequented emergency rooms and care centers, but was often met with skepticism.

It wasn’t until she saw Dr. Hillard Salas, MD, an internal medicine provider at Grand River Medical Center, that the doubt was replaced with compassion.

“I was trying to find somebody that would listen to my background and realize what my concerns were,” Micki said. “He believed everything I said.”

He was able to get Micki on the road to recovery with medication to help her stomach empty properly.

But Micki credits more than a medication or physical therapy to her recovery.

During her stay at UnityPoint Health – Finley Hospital, Micki met often with Claudia Dorsch, the hospital’s Chaplain.

“She has the patience of a saint just to hear me going in circles – ‘I’m sick, I’m angry,’ not necessarily making complete total sense because I’m so sick,” Micki said. “I feel like I really benefitted from that, it was a big part of my cure.”

During their meetings, she discussed her husband’s passing, her years of not being believed about her illness, and her fear she would never get better.

“I talked about my whole life,” Micki said. “I really felt like she made a big difference. I think she’s covering all the angles. I had all these physicians for my medical conditions, but no one there to pull it together.”

Claudia noted the importance of spirituality as a component in treating patients facing chronic illness, suffering, and loss.

“In the field of healthcare, both research and treatment development have provided us with the opportunity to rethink our ability to incorporate the physical body and the mind,” Claudia said. “Working in harmony, a framework can be built to heal trauma and build resilience through spiritual awareness.”

She said a quote from Viktor Frankl, a neurologist, psychiatrist, and a Holocaust survivor, in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning” describes it well: “Life is never made unbearable by circumstance, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”

Spiritual care has the same focus; we want to find meaning and purpose during the healing journey of the patients we serve and team members within our organization,” Claudia said. “People have stories to tell; spiritual care is here to listen.”

Finley Hospital has embraced the model of holistic care with the Finley Health Foundation Spiritual Care Endowment, which ensures Finley Hospital's Chaplain has the resources to address a patient or team member's physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, as part of the delivery of compassionate care, today, tomorrow, and forever. 

Today, Micki enjoys playing pickleball and Granny Basketball, and is grateful for the comprehensive compassionate care she received at Finley Hospital.

To show her appreciation, she gifted her care team from the 5 Med/Surg Unit a Guardian Angel award by donating to the Finley Health Foundation in their honor.

“I felt like I was in control of my health again,” she said. “I really do believe that it takes all aspects – mental, physical, spiritual – all of those things to make a full recovery.”