“This is the fourth year that we’ve had the reunion,” said Debbie Daniels, director of admissions at Heartland. “We invite them back here each year and provide entertainment and prizes and let them socialize. We also include the patients that are in rehab now.”
Daniels said it’s good for current patients to talk with former patients.
“Just hearing other people say ‘I’ve been discharged to home,’ it’s exciting for them and they know that the plan is to go home,” she said.
Bob Skaggs came to Heartland after having a heart transplant.
“When I got here, I couldn’t even sit up, but I’m doing good now,” said Skaggs, who was greeted with a big hug from Simon, his former rehab roommate. During both their recoveries, they had enjoyed playing guitars together and entertaining the residents.
Skaggs said, “It’s amazing. When I got here, I couldn’t even raise my hand up … I couldn’t do anything … I really credit the rehab for super work.”
While Simon attended as a former rehab patient, he and his band also provided music for the event. “I think they enjoy seeing us around because we’re familiar,” Simon said.
The theme for Friday’s reunion was “Football Friday” and the staff was wearing football jerseys and the decorations had a football theme.
Janet Bentley of South Portsmouth, Ky., is another former rehab patient. She was in intensive care for three weeks.
“I had a fractured femur and had to have a rod put in and an artificial knee,” she said. “They brought me here Oct. 8 (2008) and I stayed until January. Everybody was so good to me and took good care of me. If it hadn’t been for them and the therapy, I wouldn’t have been able to make it.”
Bentley said the staff was persistent in working to get her better.
“They worked together and now the doctor has given me a clean bill for another year,” she said.
Bentley said she had fallen at a nursing home in South Shore while visiting her aunt and uncle.
“I never dreamed it would lead to three weeks in intensive care and four months in a nursing home,” she said, but added, “I’m doing good now, and I had a wonderful roommate, Dorothy West. That was the best thing they could have done for me. We just got along so good together.”
Cathy Ruby, who has been at Heartland for 13 years, is director of rehab services.
“It’s really good to see everybody back here. We get together and try to get everybody to come back and revisit the facility. We’ve been making chili and have been doing cooking since yesterday evening.”
Ruby said the rehab patients are willing to work hard.
“Those are the ones that do really well — the people that are motivated to get better. We do a little bit of the job, but most of it comes from their motivation and their willingness to do what they need to do.”
DEBORAH DANIELS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 234.