Client and Family Member Stories

Tribute to Origami Staff

By Dean

The word “origami” means Japanese paper folding, which results in works of art. The Origami that I know is also filled with works of art. They are the kind actions of human beings that I have encountered during rehab. I came here pretty well broken down, after two months in the hospital and many surgeries. I was in despair, could hardly talk, and in constant pain. Throughout the months I noticed many examples of love, especially the actions, which count more than what we say.

I have seen the long hours put in by our staff and here is my message: “If you guys ever feel that you’re wasting your time or you’re tired, or you think you can’t answer one more buzz, remember this. You all brought me back from what felt like my deathbed.”

My first impression was a reflection of all the staff members at this home away from home. To me, the “godfather” of Origami is Mike K., who has been here from the beginning. His gentle spirit and willingness to reach out to give of himself with constant kindness toward those who cannot possibly give back is infectious.

The first thing that happened was when Dr. Meland and Jen B. figured out the labyrinth that was my medications. Once that was corrected I began to feel a lot better and the pain left me.

Then in PT, Arika and Ron told me that I could walk. I almost laughed out loud, because I found it so preposterous, but they kept at me and before I knew it I got up and walked in their “green machine”. They gave me new machines and constant encouragement, and kept working on my knee regardless of my “silent screams”.

In speech therapy Linda kept bugging me to talk. She got me so angry one day I got up and started yelling at her, shortly after I got my voice back. She didn’t hold my breaking point against me, and we are better friends as a result of those honest emotions.

The next milestone was noticing the way the living skills staff did all of the difficult messy work of patient care. Every time I had a need and hit my call button, somebody promptly showed up. For example, in my worst moments of incontinence the guardian angels came and helped me clean up. That is an example of service above and beyond the typical employee. They cut my beard, gave me a haircut, and provided many other small kindnesses when they could have been doing other things.

This may sound funny, but I almost believe that my accident has turned out to be a good thing. I have made friends here that I will remember for as long as I live. It all came together at the kickball game, when a number of staff members wearing their green shirts were playing against a “professional” kickball team. Nobody gave up and everybody cheered for one another. I was able to have this experience because staff pushed me in a wheelchair all the way over to the baseball field. This moment crystallized to me the Origami spirit. Thanks to Liza for keeping after me.

Here’s a shout out to the dedicated chess team: Steve, Rebecca, Dallis, Karrin, Richard, Corinn, and Manny. I am going to enter you into a competition in Washington D.C. in October, so be ready.

My thanks to the third shift, Penny, Lisa, David, etc. who ministered to me in the wee hours of the morning and late at night. Thank you. Penny take care of those grandchildren.

All of those mentioned, and many more, are the works of art that I refer to as “My Origami”.