NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

April 15, 2013

Going 'home' to Brigham Manor

As I See It
Sara-Anne Eames

---- — Sometimes the feeling of “home” can occur in more than a place of residence. That was exactly my feelings on Feb. 1 when I left Portsmouth Regional Hospital to enter Brigham Manor Rehab in Newburyport after my rotor cuff repair surgery.

Upon arrival to my “new temporary home,” I was given a “welcome” gift basket and got reacquainted with six CNA’s who had cared for my parents during 2000-2004: Linda, Leona, Kelley, Terry, Loretta and Michelle. Linda’s wonderful sense of humor kept me in an uplifted mood during all of my stay. These women are exactly the same personalities and have the same work ethic as always. They’re as caring about their patients today as they were when my parents were living at Brigham. What a credit to Brigham Manor management to have such reliable and caring employees!

Loretta hums tunes, Terry is bubbly and observant, Kelley brought me up to date and still carries her basket of goodies for the personal care of her patients. It’s the same routine she has followed for years. Leona was and is a kind, patient person even when things would go awry. She has blossomed over the years. Michelle celebrates her 27th anniversary, I believe, this year. Incredible!

The nurses, Maureen “Moe” and Marion Frost, an on-call nurse, were also at Brigham with my folks. Their dedication overwhelms me! The hours that they stay to help out on emergencies, blizzards and “on call” plus their wonderful humor gave me something to look forward to on weekends!

All of the nurses are caring and attentive. Ann and Alyssa during the day shift, Sandra on afternoons, Kate and Peg on midnights and others who had been on call, part-time or brought up from first floor to help. Debby from the first floor came one day and she too had known my dad. I love the humor and positive outlooks and these nurses have it all. There are so many others who worked, CNA’s Stella, Lisa, Kara, Kahlia and Martha as well as John and George. They all helped me through my many difficulties and helped my healing, outlook, sense of humor and energy. Thank you all!

For the Therapy Department, I have nothing but praise. Diana, a physical therapist, was at Brigham in 2004 with my dad. Christine, PT, is the overseer of the department and Holly plus Kim, occupational therapists. Kim was my OT and was phenomenal. Therapy was five days a week, twice a day with exercises on my own anywhere from two or three times a day. I got a kick out of Kim’s expressions if she saw me “sneaking in an extra movement” (that I shouldn’t be doing). She was quiet when I first met her. Heh! Heh! I had a joke that my oxygen level was always at 98-100 percent because I talk and laugh a lot. She and I worked well together and she got me so well that I could leave rehab after four weeks and five days.

Management at Brigham is ever present. Steve, the administrator, always greets everyone and he was kind enough to lend me the book about the history of the Will’s House and family, now Brigham Manor.

Barbara, the head nurse, was on my floor every day. Lee-Ann from payroll came in to say hi several times. She too was at Brigham when my parents resided there. Holly Dawes, the social worker, who made more than one effort to make me comfortable and prepared the paperwork for Angels at Home to help with my home care.

Then there’s John Silva in maintenance. I shall never forget how wonderful he was with my parents’ special needs. If something broke he was there in a shot. His sense of humor was a relief to my dad and John opened up my father’s personality more than anyone. This February I watched him go through his daily routine. He came in during the blizzard and put in many hours. We lost lights in the neighborhood and he was there in no time flat (this was another incident). He rewired the hallways so all equipment could be used off the generator. Then another snowstorm and once again, many long hours. I never saw him refuse a need.

An ode to the kitchen. The meals were well-made and I enjoyed them all. It was fun to see the girls after so many years.

I would recommend Brigham Manor Rehab to everyone who feels like “going home.”

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Sara-Anne Eames lives in Newburyport.