If there is a will, there is a way

When Archie Ochoa first came to Sierra View’s Distinct Part Skilled Nursing Facility in February of 2021, he was paralyzed on his right side and could barely lift his right leg. He was on an oxygen blow-by and only able to follow light commands like “yes” and “no” and could only squeeze his hand lightly.

Before arriving to Sierra View, Archie was first admitted to a hospital located in Fresno in January of this year and was discharged more than once. After going back for a third time with sepsis within weeks of his initial admission, it became clear that he needed to be in an acute care facility.

Traveling back and forth from Kerman, CA an hour and a half both ways on the weekdays, his partner of 25 years, Bertha was dedicated to being there for him even if it meant sitting on the other side of the glass outside of his room just before COVID-related visitation restrictions were lifted at Sierra View in early spring. His two children and Bertha’s two children were able to visit on the weekends and continue to be of support during his recovery.

By June, he could track with his eyes and wink. He could also lift his right leg, which he wasn’t able to do six months prior. “He’s ready to come home,” said Bertha. “His number one goal is to be mobile again and with his determination and motivation, I believe he will get there; together we are going to get through this.”

When speaking with Bertha just before Archie’s discharge, she explained how she was able to communicate with him and log their conversations. With a sheet of letters in front of him, he points letter by letter to form words that she could then translate into sentences. During this conversation that included her expressing how proud she was of his progress during this hard process, he spelled out: Don’t stop loving me.

In the images of his discharge, each and every person pictured, played a role in his recovery. From the Respiratory Care team and Registered Nurses, to department leaders who worked on getting him admitted and discharged; the Activities Director and Social Services Designee, and several more who were not pictured, these are all the people who ensured Archie had 24/7 care and who made it possible for Archie to be where he is today.

Wearing his sunglasses that he is known for wearing, the Sierra View team sent him off with warm goodbyes and well wishes. If you know Archie, this is how he rolls and looking back at photos of him, even in his daughter’s wedding, the majority and most candid shots are of him in his sunglasses; that’s a part of his identity. He may have major stroke induced impairments but he is still Archie, just on a different journey that is harder than most will ever endure in their lifetime.

Archie has had a tremendous recovery and only being home for less than a month, Archie is starting to sit in a wheelchair. He is lucky to still be here today and it’s times like these that hit many heartstrings on many different levels. When you have the motivation and will like Archie, coupled with an acute care facility that is finest and few subacute facilities in the southern Central Valley, a support system at home, in addition to a body that is willing to cooperate in the healing process, there is hope.