It is with the taste of a whole bowlful of fresh strawberries still on my lips that I greet you from Pine View. The days of the single strawberry slice are behind me.
It was so good to be greeted by staff who remember my stay with them from last year. The “reunion” brought back not only good memories, but also a sense of assurance that the experience would soon be back into the caring and competent mode that I recalled.
Those familiar with a rehab setting know that the days include various modes of therapy to rebuild the physical loss. My Wisconsin visor hat is off to Janet and Kelly who, along with their cohorts, run a lively ship with strong motivation skills. Rodell adds his sunshine to the whole experience and cheers everyone in the room.
The nursing assistants are at the core of care giving. They adapt to our personal rituals and opinions with good cheer and are very clear about what needs to be done. Those I have encountered the most are Hansa, Cheryl, Mary and Vidi. Thanks for all that you do and, particularly, for keeping my door shut! (Safety alarms, loud TVs and noisy conversations keep things humming in the hallway!) It’s good to see Carrie and Nesha lend a hand, even though they are busy with others.
A trapeze was here waiting for me. Credit Donna from admissions and Ishmael, the maintenance man who has found all kinds of good things in his storeroom that make my life easier. Only thing, my TV has limited channels and it is tough to find the Cubs. On the other hand, I am spared that pain late at night and do get some spicy channels.
Donna keeps the strawberries coming and Darius and Kevin offer service with a smile at mealtime. OK, so the meals have mostly lost their warmth somewhere along the way, yet the cold mystery meat is clearly identified and the coffee is hot and plentiful. Thanks to my table mates, Marlene, Hilda, Harriet and Elsie, the conversation is refreshing as we review the news of the day both inside and out, My personal hero is Paul the chaplain who, with knowledge from his earlier life, keeps my Wi-Fi accessible and helps us with a prayer at lunchtime to appreciate and give credit for all that has been given. And hooray to Lena for the long overdue haircut that lifted my spirits and brought me out of the zombie mode to a queenly status as a human being! Dr. R has been right on target with my needs and keeps me smiling. The administrator, Elliot, has a great crew and a nice facility. Let’s see if I can lobby for valet parking for my wheelchair.
Another page on our health care encounters: All praise to Dr. Pete Ammon and staff at Animal House for such skilled and compassionate care of Bucky (our Pekingese dog), who had a brief stay at their clinic. He, too, got a haircut the customary level of competence and caring that Dr. Pete has provided for all our furry friends.
Finally, it is National Nurses Week. Can you believe that I have been a registered (inactive now) nurse since 1959? I greet and salute all my classmates, former colleagues and those currently in the field. The white uniform has transitioned to Disney characters and vivid colors, but my sisters and brothers still put aside the difficult hours and the challenges of crabby old ladies such as me, and give it all, with heartfelt concerns and compassion. High fives to my Pine View nurses, Nancy, Sophie and Sandy.
Stay well, my friends, and have a great time with your mother on her special day as she enjoys your gifts and praise. Hint?
• Joan Arteberry is a longtime resident of St. Charles. Her columns are featured in the Kane County Chronicle’s Neighbors section every other Friday. Write her at email@example.com.