OHCA Oregon Caregiver Spring Summer 2020

www.ohca.com SPRING/SUMMER 2020 The Oregon Caregiver 27 PROFILE stand longer and longer. Just to see him start to walk with a walker more than 10 steps was so heartwarming for me. By the time we left, he was a changed man, really. I was really thinking at OHSU that for the rest of my life I was going to be taking care of this person that could hardly walk, couldn’t do anything, and couldn’t function very well. After his stay at Salem Transitional Care, he was amazingly better. They focused on getting him better. Peter: I knew something terrible had happened to me. When I got here, I was very down because I thought Margie basically was saying, “Peter, you’re going to really have to live in this place.” The first night was terrible. But then the occupational therapist and this physical therapist got involved and we got to work. I always tried to walk around here, and I got so tired, I had to sit down. But towards the end, I could go around here going so fast. They would chant, “Peter! Peter! Peter!” as I went down the halls. What are the lasting impressions of your experience? Peter: I like the food, Margie and I have plans to come back here for Thanksgiving. We honestly can’t wait. I also knew that initially I had limits on how I could leave the room—I still needed help. Well as an old athlete, I tried to ignore that and beat their limits. It was amazing. I would break out of my room and just seconds later, someone would see me and say, “Hi, Peter,” and I knew I was busted. This also sticks in my head: I made my mind up that I would walk all six wings at night without stopping, no wheelchair, nothing. I’ll never forget because when I started, I couldn’t do them all, and then I had to stop. I’ll never forget the night I finally broke through, and I think I did a total of 15 laps, and what kills me is you can hear the chants, “Oh here he comes.” Margie: For me, the staff is very profes- sional. They take their job seriously. They seemed well trained. They were very supportive and caring of Peter the whole time we were here. The staff were just remarkable. And of course the food; I really enjoyed coming here and eating. It wasn’t like stereotypical nursing home food; it was tasty, it was well-presented, it was a variety, and it was flavorful. Peter: Another memory is about our dog Dilly. She’s a miniature dachshund. Dilly is a wild woman, there’s no other word for it. I wanted Dilly brought to me at OHSU, and I wanted her brought to Salem Transitional Care. I really didn’t get to see her, and I got really messed up over that. When we finally saw each other, she was going crazy around the house. You don’t know what speed is until you see her little legs. I’m a big animal guy, and they treat you a whole lot better than humans. I can see there’s a very powerful healing having your animal around. I missed her a lot. I worried she would forget me, but that hasn’t been the case.