Ayer couple have hospital wedding so father can attend

Ayer couple have hospital wedding so father can attend

AYER — Boxed in by circumstances beyond their control, a local couple improvised and managed to make the joyful occasion of a wedding more special by keeping it in the family, even in the face of having to change the venue from sunny Florida to the antiseptic environment of a hospital room.

“It was a little different,” admitted Ashley Eisnor, of Ayer, who married Ken Eisnor on Aug. 2 at the New England Rehabilitation Hospital’s 22-bed Lowell facility. “But it was something we didn’t really think about too much at the time. The hospital was OK with having the wedding there. My father-in-law was staying there and they kind of understood the situation. We never thought it would turn into anything much.”

The couple were wed in a simple ceremony conducted by a justice of the peace at the bedside of Ken’s father, John Eisnor, who had recently been hospitalized following a heart attack.

“We had planned to marry in Florida a few months from then but John had a massive stroke before that could happen,” said Ashley Eisnor, who has lived on Sandy Pond Road for the past 2 years. “Our family is very close and my husband and I had already planned to get married but obviously, things had changed. We were planning on simply going to a justice of the peace but after speaking to the hospital’s administration, we found that they were open to the idea of holding the wedding there. After all, John was in no position to come home for the ceremony so the only other option if he was going to attend, was to do it at the hospital.”

“It was sort of a quick thing,” said Joan Jackson, marketing coordinator for the hospital. “A social worker spoke to the couple a week before the wedding date and arranged for the cake, the food, the flowers, and a justice of the peace.”

Jackson, who attended the ceremony, said that the Eisnors’ wedding was a first for the hospital.

“We do what we can to help the families of our patients,” said Jackson of why the hospital went as far as it did to accommodate the Eisnors. “Helping the family helps the patient too. In the case of the Eisnors, the father was able to be a part of the wedding, something he wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. It was a happy event that translated into keeping up the patient’s morale and consequent improvement to his daily care.”

Located at the former Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Lowell, the New England Rehabilitation Hospital allows residents of the Merrimack Valley acute inpatient rehabilitation that is close to their place of residence. The facility specializes in patients that have left a regular hospital but are not yet ready to go home.

“We were very glad to help this nice couple in their wedding plans,” said Jackson of the unusual request. “It was all pulled together at the last minute but it all turned out to be fine in the end. We’ve since received a very nice thank you letter from the couple.”

Before his stroke, John Eisnor, 62, lived at home with his family making plans for the wedding a relatively simple affair, but his sudden hospitalization changed all that.

“The whole thing went off well,” said Ashley Eisnor. “It was wonderful and turned out to be a lot sweeter than I thought it would be. It was a very special occasion. I thought the whole thing was going to be a little downplayed, but it really wasn’t. My husband’s sister was there as well as some other family members. Because all of it was so sudden, we didn’t have time to tell a lot of people. But the hospital surprised us by having a cake made and providing food. They really made the occasion so much more special for all of us.”