Randy Jackson and Celia Feinstein first met on a flight from New York to London. Randy was an army officer on his way to Iran to be an advisor to the Shah’s attack helicopters brigade, and Celia was off to work on her masters at Temple University’s campus in Rome. Randy recalls, “we kept in touch over the years, a lot of years, and then finally…” Celia continues, “we reconnected when he retired from the army in 1989.” They were married in 1994 and moved to Conifer in 1996.
Randy says, “I like the quietness, the solitude, the outdoors. Celia can go shopping in twenty minutes, and I can get to a wilderness area going the other direction in 20 minutes, so we get along.”
Right before COVID hit in 2020, Randy had his right knee replaced. “When he came home, he sort of slipped and caught himself,” Celia explained, “We went back to the surgeon, and they said everything was fine. In the meantime, he was still using a walker and not getting better. He’s a fisherman and a walker, so being stuck on the couch watching TV was not his thing.
“Then one day we’re at the cardiologist, and he asked ‘what’s with that walker,’ and Randy told him the whole story. He said, ‘I have a guy for you.’ And we went to this amazing orthopedic surgeon at Porter Hospital, and on June 7, 2022 Randy’s life really changed.”
His surgeon prescribed in-home occupational and physical therapy. Celia recalls, “His surgery was Tuesday, and I called Mount Evans on Thursday, and Deb Gulbrandson, PT said ‘I can come on Saturday,’ and I said ‘Saturday, really?!’ and she said ‘Yes.’ She was just a godsend for both of us—competent, caring, creative, innovative everything you would want a good physical therapist to be. I don’t think he’d be where he is today if she wasn’t there pushing him.”
Celia continues, “Deb helped him figure out how to get around, how to get strong, and gave him a lot of exercises. He’s a very compliant patient, so whatever she told him to do five times, he’d do 10. And Beth Ruhland, his occupational therapist, was awesome, she helped him figure out how to get dressed and how to get showered.”
Celia said, “Whomever does the screenings at Mount Evans really listens. Randy also has Parkinson’s Disease, so we wanted someone who understood Parkinson’s in addition to knowing orthopedic rehab because that’s part of who he is. And Deb was right there. The other thing I was impressed with was how quickly we were able to get into Mount Evans’ care. Your ability as an agency to be so responsive has been amazing.”
Randy’s long-term goal is to walk unaided for two miles and he’s on his way. Randy smiles, “Two days ago was the first time I’ve walked unaided in three years. I went for a little walk around the chair and then found myself in the kitchen and my walker was over there – so now I’ve graduated to crutches, which is even better.”
“Having access to Mount Evans in our home is invaluable,” states Celia. “Yeah, it’s invaluable,” echos Randy, “To me, Mount Evans means comfort. There are people that have no inkling that this exists or that it’s next door.”
Celia agrees, “Mount Evans is an amazing resource in the community. I hope people don’t need it. But when you need it, you need it right then, so you have to know it exists and how to access it.”