Sayre House Humor and Beyond

The last 4 years, 2 months and 3 weeks of my Dad’s life were spent at a nursing home called Sayre House.  It was a needed change since living in a two story home had become difficult in his condition.

The nurses, aids and doctors were good at the facility.  Since I had come home to help out years before Dad was admitted, I would still help and go in the morning to help Dad with his breakfast.  I also worked with the Activity Director on projects offered to all residents that wanted to have some fun with arts and crafts.

Since the type of Parkinson’s my Dad had made him clench his fists tight, and he had some slight dementia, I would help feed him his breakfast.  He did not always know who I was, but that did not matter to me.  I knew who he was and I took it all in stride.

One morning when I came to help with his breakfast, Dad kept telling me that I needed to help him with a project.  There were a number of cars that needed to be moved quickly that morning.  He kept mentioning it even as I was getting ready to leave.  He sounded very frustrated that I would not help him move all the cars.

After I left my Dad’s room, I stopped by the main desk and mentioned the story my Dad had mentioned to me, and asked the staff if they knew what it was all about. Come to find out, with all the physical issues my Dad was experiencing, his hearing was still good.  One of the staff nurses had been sharing a story about her husband’s work load for that day with another employee in the hallway near my Dad’s room. He heard the story, thought it was his problem and believed I could help him out.

From that day forward, I would jokingly check in at the main desk to ask the nurses and/or aids what stories they may have told in the hallways that my Dad may have heard before I went to his room to help with his breakfast.

Beyond the above, one year when the Redskin Awards were being given out, my Dad was one of five to be awarded by the Sayre Area Joint High School.  My Dad was a track star back in the 30’s and still holds the record for the mile.  With my Dad now needing a wheel chair to get around, we were required to make special transportation arrangements with the Activity Director at Sayre House to transport Dad to and from the event in a Med-Van.

Before the awards were given out, there was a wonderful dinner, a few guest speakers from Sayre High School and it was a fun time for Dad to interact with many individuals that stopped by his table to say hello and wish him well.  He was always a people person.

The 4 other recipients were first to be presented with their awards and each spoke for 10 to 15 minutes, thanking the committee, school and sharing stories related to their past and present life.  When my Dad got to the podium to receive his award and thank everyone, he said:  “I have learned over the years that if I speak too much, I get into trouble, so I will just say, Thank You!”

He got a standing ovation.  That’s my Dad!



Author: shutupjohn8

I am John P. Burkhart and reside in Indiana, Pennsylvania. For over 25 years, I worked in Visual Merchandising and Store Design for different companies across America. The cities include: San Diego, Phoenix, Dallas, Atlanta, Tampa, Honolulu, Boston, and Richmond. In 2000, I went home to help my parents. For the back story, go to Youtube, type: John Burkhart on the search line and see a video that Sean Yoder and James Nestor at the Indiana Gazette did August 15, 2015. Hope you get a laugh or two when see the video and/or read my blog. Enjoy!

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