Tina on the job at Town Center Village
Recently we asked employees at Town Center Village to write to us about their experiences as a member of Town Center Village, about the meaning their work has for them, and about the impact it has had on their lives. We received beautiful and heartwarming responses.
One of the most touching was from TCV Physical Therapist, Tina Buettell. The following are excerpts from her letter about specific moments that stand out in her memory and the meaning her work has for her.
I work weekends, by choice. Most Saturdays and many Sunday afternoons I am the on-duty physical therapist at TCV Rehab Therapy. Sometimes that’s a sacrifice, but usually it’s a privilege to have time and space to be with residents and families in a relaxed environment. I like to learn each new resident’s needs and interests in order to customize his or her plan of care, and to help folks feel welcome.
One Saturday as I was writing progress notes, a small, frail woman wheeled herself into the therapy gym and called out to me by name. I turned and recognized a familiar face from years before. “Hello there!” we both said in unison and embraced with large smiles. “How nice to see you! How are you?” We spent a few minutes catching up. She was visiting a friend. She was doing well and told me proudly, “I still do my pursed lip breathing and ankle pumps every day!”
Another weekend, the daughter of a resident came in to talk. She said she was at the end of her rope and didn’t know what else to do for her mother. We brainstormed and shared some juice. Then I showed her a simple technique, explained how it works and let her try it out herself. It was casual, friendly and personalized, like a neighbor dropping in to chat around the kitchen table.
Two of our long-time rehab nursing aides, who helped orient me to skilled nursing work when I started 13 years ago, recently retired. I will miss them. They and I have worked evenings “forever” and have become lifelong friends in the process. The nursing staff and I work closely together to help new rehab residents settle in, feel comfortable and know we are there for them. It’s as if we have multiple house guests every weekend because TCV becomes everyone’s second home, and we enjoy being good hosts.
We do have comic relief at times. Among the wheelchairs and walkers there might be: Two roommates’ pets, brought in by family, sitting congenially together; a birthday party with hats and horns; a retired professional athlete performing on the parallel bars; painted casts and whacky Halloween costumes; someone cracking jokes as he balances on one leg with a therapist on each side.
Sometimes too, there are tender scenes that touch one’s heart: a handsomely dressed resident heading home after weeks recovering from a near-fatal heart attack; everyone singing together at a memorial for a long-time resident; the “I can’t walk” resident who stands and takes first steps; the recent widow who connects with her roommate in a supportive relationship; a happy couple celebrating their 66th anniversary.
I miss a few weekend social events in the wider world, but have gained a sense of purpose, belonging, and stability at TCV. I often am available to residents and families when they need it most – on long evenings after visitors have left or before the start of the busy, scheduled work week. I enjoy creating a home-like atmosphere where residents and families can drop in to ask questions, share ideas or just talk about how they are feeling. There is a congenial atmosphere, in the quiet therapy gym, after hours.
How lucky we are for the dedicated members of Town Center Village who build a warm welcoming home for our residents, families, and guests. This is the true magic of Town Center Village.