Charles Jorgensen, 89, has deep roots in Onalaska. His grandfather homesteaded on land there in 1882. In fact, Jorgensen Road, which connects off State Route 508, is named after the elder Jorgensen. Charles feels the family is blessed that the land remains in the family, on which he continues to live today.
Charles and his late wife, Arlene, moved to the property in 1989 to enjoy their retirement years. However, the property often ended up being their home base when the two joined a group of missionaries in 1992, traveling around the country together in recreational vehicles (RVs).
The Christian group worked all over the United States. They saw the likes of Florida, Georgia, Ohio, South Dakota, Louisiana, Texas, all over California and much, much more. The traveling team built, remodeled and restored buildings for Christian organizations. The projects furnished their own materials and provided the spots for the volunteers to park their RVs. “And we furnished the manpower,” Charles says with a smile.
It was an interesting life for the Lewis County-born-and-raised couple. Serving in over 100 different projects, the two had the opportunity to see a lot of the country and do a lot of good in the name of their Christian faith in the process. They enjoyed the life and continued participating for 22 years, retiring from the group in 2014.
Arlene passed away in February of 2017. For the past several years, much of Charles’s life has been focused on his health. Without a doubt, he has had more than his share of medical care in recent years. He had his right hip replaced in March of 2018 and to his family’s horror, he fell and broke his shoulder while recovering from the hip surgery. Then in December of that same year, he fell and broke his left hip, which was subsequently surgically pinned.
Charles recalls that he had gotten a little scratch on his shin in the fall, which the Providence Hospital staff said looked infected. He ended up going to Providence twice and Arbor Health, Morton Hospital once for the infection. Unfortunately, he had a really hard time with the wound not healing. This led him to be referred to Arbor Health Wound Care Nurse Kathy Blake, R.N., CWON, and General Surgeon Tom Anderson, M.D.
One weakness sometimes leads to another, as Charles worked to rebuild the strength in his leg after the infection was healed, he ended up causing a new injury. With hindsight, he surmises he was sliding his heel along the floor, which caused the callus part of his heel to come loose from his foot. It resulted in another hard-to-heal wound.
Charles is a true fan of Kathy’s expertise and her kind mannerisms. “It’s been wonderful,” he says of her care. “Not only her professional way but also her bedside manner. She has just been wonderful.” He goes on to add that when his wounds were not responding as Kathy expected, she changed course until she found the method his body would best accept.
Charles has plenty of personal experience on which to draw this opinion. In addition to the one hip replacement, one pinned hip and the broken shoulder, he has also had both knees replaced. Today he is continuing to receive treatment on his heel from Kathy and Dr. Anderson and he’s also working to rebuild the strength in his legs. He has a good attitude about it all, though. “You play the hand that’s dealt to you,” he says. “You just go with what the Lord gives you. It’s part of life.
“The Lord has been good to me,” he says, adding that He gave Charles 66 years with Arlene, for which he is extremely grateful. This year they would have celebrated their 70th anniversary.
As for Morton Hospital overall, Charles is also very complimentary. “The care I have had here has been great,” he says. “Everyone is very cordial; it’s been very satisfactory. If you have to be at a hospital facility, it’s a pretty good place to be.”