Nothing sustains our passion for what we do like a beautiful “thank you” from a resident. Below is a letter from Martin Egelston, a rehab resident at The Oaks at NorthPointe Woods, our campus in Battle Creek, Michigan.
Dear Staff of The Oaks,
When I was transferred from Bronson Hospital to The Oaks with a surgically repaired hip, I fit Mort Sahl’s observations, “My life needs editing!” beyond the addition of a rod and two screws, my hip and leg severely limited my mobility. I was a hippie, not in any artsy sense, but rather in a heavy metal one. I was warmly welcomed and examined.
Fortunately, I could not have found a better place for rehabilitation. The staff in all areas are genuine, friendly and caring. My condition was quite familiar to them, so they knew how to get me into chairs, to the bathroom, to bed, and to the dining room with encouragement and physical support. Just as Margaret Mead said, "I was absolutely unique; just like everyone else."
Underpinning the warmth of the staff were the great therapy competencies. The progress steps in therapy were well laid out in terms of one’s changing conditions and expectations. I rode an elliptical machine daily, lifted weights, exercised both legs, and performed occupational therapy tasks that were home related. They followed the axiom: “The secret to getting ahead is getting started,” or, “It is not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.” The therapists tolerated no shortcuts, thus enabling me to soon walk with weight on my leg. I am eternally grateful for their assurances and orders.
With the time in our rooms, the nurses and care assistance practically adopted me – helping with various bathing, making transitions within the room, getting into bed, and moving me among various locations. They answered my myriad of questions, some of which were dumb. I was like the kid who went to the store and asked, “Do you have my toy train’s arrival and departure schedule?” Sometimes I needed some chiding when I got silly.
Also, I met interesting rehab colleagues in the dining room. Many have impressive military and work experiences. Fortunately, we enjoyed good laughs – such as when my string tied pants headed south on my first big walk, enabling me to moon passersby. The therapists jerked them up high enough for me to sing tenor. I don’t believe I could have taken conversations if all my colleagues did was grouse about pill intake and aches and pains. Laughter was a great medicine that fit well with the overall warmth and caring of the staff. One wag carried it too far and said his rehabilitation was so effective that he now “reminisces with imaginary people.”
I was determined to succeed. If at first I did not succeed, I would try, try again. Fortunately, I was not into skydiving! I got a lot of great help from all of you.
Well, Abraham Lincoln said, “It is not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Thank you, The Oaks staff for the great friendship and good life added to my 80 years. I am progressing well with home therapy and might eventually come by to do my celebratory dance and comedy lecture if there is an activity cancellation.
Everett Martin (preferred calling) Egelston
Mr. Egelston, it has truly been a pleasure to serve you.