OHCA Oregon Caregiver Spring Summer 2020

The Oregon Caregiver SPRING/SUMMER 2020 www.ohca.com 26 over that emotionally, but they were so good and wonderful. In the middle of the night I’d be getting up a lot. I’d push a button, and they’d come in. They never seemed irritable; in fact, they were very bright and pleasant. That may not seem like much to you, but when you’re as vulnerable as I was to have someone come in at that hour of the day and act like they did, that just blew my mind. Margie, as a loved one, how was the transition from the hospital to Salem Transitional Care? Margie: Initially, I was concerned that he wouldn’t get the constant attention that he got in the hospital. It wasn’t always attention; it was interruptions too. People coming in to check on blood pressure, taking his vitals all the time, answering the call button all the time. I thought “When he gets here, he’s not going to have that immediate response and get that kind of help.” But quickly I realized they were Johnny on the spot at Salem Transition Care. The PROFILE minute he needed anything, somebody was here and if they couldn’t help him, they got someone immediately to help him. I was also impressed, because I sort of thought it was a semi-nursing home, and it wasn’t. In fact, one day I was talking to my little granddaughter who is four, and we were doing Facetime walking through the hall to the dining room, and she said to me, “Oh, Grandma, that’s a nice hotel, can I come stay with you? That looks like a pretty hotel.” She was so impressed. In the dining room, there were fresh flowers on the table every day, table clothes, and cloth napkins. It just felt like we were in a high-class hotel being pampered. I couldn’t say enough good things about this place. What was it like having Peter back in Salem after seeing him at OHSU? Margie: Driving to and from OHSU every day was draining—with the traffic and the potential for snow in that time period. To have him 20 minutes from my door was incredible. It was just so much easier, and the drive was easy. I loved it. I miss visiting; I missed it when he got home, really, I did. It was something I looked forward to. Every day I got to see all these people and they were so friendly and helpful. I could walk down the hall and it started to feel like my neighborhood. What was it like to serve as senate president during a legislative session while living at Salem Transitional Care? How did you balance rehabilitation and serving the state? Peter: After arriving, I had my full staff at the facility for a three-hour meeting. Later I had the Governor visit with her staff for a meeting with me as well. Literally, it became an office to me. I arrived on a Thursday, and I had this plan that I was going to find a way to be at the opening day of the session which was the next Monday. My wife was very unhappy with it. As soon as I arrived, I talked to the physical therapist, and I was quietly trying to put a deal together. He wasn’t having it, and neither was Margie. On Friday, my physical therapist comes into my bedroom and says, “Okay, you can go Monday, but there’s one thing. I have to go with you, and we’ll use this supportive belt so I can help you move more easily.” Margie relented. If you look at opening day with Peter at the podium, you’ll see this young man named Andrew Steel, and you’ll see the belt, you’ll see him standing, because I stood at the podium. To stand up there was a very emotional moment for me. My ability to participate in the last legislative session was made possible by the facility. What is the difference between the Peter Courtney that arrived at Salem Transitional Care and Peter Courtney today? Margie: Peter basically didn’t move while he was at OHSU—he couldn’t. Even with a walker, he could barely walk. He could hardly do anything for himself. Over the next couple of weeks to see his progression towards better health was like a miracle. The occupational therapist had been doing game things like playing cards or Scrabble. Peter was able to do more because he wasn’t thinking about pain or standing, and then he could » RESIDENT PROFILE, CONT.