From the Consultant to the Patient: Steve Baranyk’s Journey with CarDon

“My wife says one of my great abilities is to forget.” Steve Baranyk chuckled as he talked about wife Susie and the celebration of 54 years of marriage this July. What’s the key to a long-lasting marriage?

“Every marriage has its challenges, but don’t let those get in the way,” Steve said. “You get to a point where you don’t have a life without the other person.”

Susie and her well-being played a large role in why Steve went to a CarDon & Associates’ senior living community for rehab after surgery to correct a major arterial problem. CarDon operates 20 communities throughout central and southern Indiana, including five communities on the city’s south side.

“I suffered an occluded aneurysm behind my left knee, and had emergency arterial bypass surgery on my left leg, which resulted in four incisions and 55 staples.”

After the operation, the hospital told Steve he would be going home in a few days. He wasn’t too sure about that.

“I couldn’t walk very well, and we live in a two-story home,” he said. “They were changing my bandages every day, and my leg was a mess. But Susie was my main concern. She’s a wonderful woman, but she’s not a nurse. There was no way she was going to change those bandages every day, help me navigate the stairs and deal with my rehab. That wasn’t fair to her. Going home that soon wouldn’t work.”

Seventy-seven-year-old Baranyk started his relationship with CarDon & Associates in 1995 when he did some consulting work for founders Carroll and Donna Moore. Five years later, he got a call from Stephen Moore, M.D., one of the four second-generation owners of CarDon & Associates. Dr. Moore serves as the CEO of CarDon & Associates.

“Stephen and three of his siblings had taken over the company, so I re-engaged with them at that point and have been involved with CarDon ever since. I have great respect for them. They have always had respect for each other and the determination to build on the success of their parents.”

As an advisor to CarDon’s owners, Baranyk had a unique viewpoint when he stepped into one of their communities as a resident of the short-term rehabilitation program.

“From the business side, I knew if you spent three consecutive nights in a hospital for the same reason, you are entitled to therapy in a facility paid for by Medicare.”

Baranyk took it upon himself to contact one of CarDon’s Clinical Nurse Managers and explain his situation.

“Both she and the hospital agreed I should go to in-patient rehab therapy, so I spent two weeks at a CarDon community. All the therapy and guidance I received dramatically accelerated my rehabilitation.”

Every day for two weeks, Steve worked on the stationary bike twice a day. He had to learn how to walk properly again with the rehab exercises and continued walking as much as possible. Once he went home, Steve returned for another month for outpatient rehab therapy.

“All the people there were so friendly and considerate. It’s very comforting to be there. You have your private room and bathroom, and you can eat with other residents and get to know them. The whole community aspect is a big part of rehabilitation.”

And dear Susie didn’t have to worry about taking care of Steve. She knew he was being taken care of.

“Something people often forget is the impact a person’s injury or health has on the caregiver. It meant more to me to take that burden off Susie.”

Baranyk takes great pride in knowing the CarDon family and being connected to their family-centered approach to care.

“Everything about CarDon made my rehab successful — it accelerated my rate of improvement both psychologically and physically. I was getting excellent treatment, and my wife and friends and family didn’t have to worry. I’m just so grateful for it.”

Now he’s grateful to be back at home — spending time with Susie, being “a real aggravation to my kids,” and cherishing the blessings of his life.

“You should look at what you have, not what you think you don’t have.”