OHCA Oregon Caregiver Spring Summer 2020

www.ohca.com SPRING/SUMMER 2020 The Oregon Caregiver 25 PROFILE RESIDENT Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) shares his experience as a resident earlier this year at Salem Transitional Care and talks about the exceptional relationships he formed with his caregivers. Peter’s wife, Margie, also participated in this interview, which took place the first week in March. What led you to Salem Transitional Care? Peter: Following two hip replacement surgeries, I had a major infection in and around my hip that was raging so they had to keep me up at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) for a month. Then Margie and I figured out you can’t just come home. You really need some rehabilitation. I couldn’t walk, basically. I had no confidence and ability to do anything. They talked about a “skilled nursing facility” where they take you for a short period of time, they really rebuild you, and then you go home. That’s how I ended up at Salem Transitional Care. I was here a solid month after being at OHSU. What were your perceptions of skilled nursing facilities before you came here? Peter: I was scared to death. I had a very bad impression. I was convinced I was never going to get out and that I would never go home. My first day I tried to get out, and I couldn’t because I wasn’t strong enough. I was very, very afraid. How did your experience go after the first couple of days? Peter: The physical therapists were extraordinary in how they worked with me. The people took care of me 24/7— young people and from all walks of life—there was something about them, and I’m not sure if I’ve been around caregivers like that, even after spending a month at OHSU. Even the food, the dining, everything about the place was wonderful. I got into a routine in the morning: I had my paper, had my coffee, went up and got my oatmeal. The routine and the caregivers—it all calmed me down. It was a calming place and a very supportive place. I think some of them sort of liked me because I would joke back and forth and they’d take an interest in me; all their backgrounds fascinated me. The staff sensed I was scared, and they took extraordinary care of me. That’s why when we left here, it was bittersweet. This place really got to me in very a positive, wonderful way. Can you talk about the therapy you received? Peter: We did physical therapy the same day as occupational therapy. I didn’t even know what occupational therapy was; all of that turned out to be valuable in so many ways. The physical therapists were extraordinary—there were four. I also had two occupational therapists—Gale and Marie. They were very different in their approaches, but, geez, they were competent and very talented. What about your experiences with the caregivers? Peter: I remember Austin; I called him Austin, Texas. He’s not from Texas; he came from Florida. He was the head nurse, and he wants to go to med school. He became employee of the month and his girlfriend moved from Florida to Lake Oswego. You’re very vulnerable in these positions, and I had to get adjusted. I had people changing me, showering me. I had to get Peter Courtney Salem Transitional Care CONTINUES »