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Rick Pilkay Gets Patients Back In Action

Rick Pilkay

When he enlisted in the Air Force in 1979, Rick Pilkay started out as a military police officer. Fortunately for the people of the Marysville-Yuba City community, the Air Force offered him the opportunity to retrain and study physical therapy.

After 21 years in the Air Force - serving in locales as varied as Colorado Springs, England and nearby Fairfield - Rick and his family moved to the Yuba City area in July 2000. He went to work for a local outpatient physical therapy firm and took a part-time position with Fremont-Rideout. For the past year and a half, he has been a full-time Physical Therapy Assistant for Fremont-Rideout Home Health.

"Our patients in Home Health are homebound because of their disabilities," Rick explains. "Our goal is to get patients back to their normal activities and transition them to outpatient physical therapy programs."

Rick notes that there is a big difference between providing physical therapy in the Air Force and in Home Health. "In the Air Force, you're dealing with a younger population, with more problems related to work and sports injuries," he says. "In Home Health, more of our patients are older retired people, and their problems are often related to strokes and orthopedic cases such as joint replacements."

Responses to patient surveys regularly praise Rick's work and skills, and his supervisors frequently receive calls and letters commending his efforts. "It feels good to know I'm helping other people," he notes. "I get a real sense of accomplishment witnessing a patient progress from being bed-bound to having an active life. I love to see patients transition in a positive way and resume their normal activities."

Rick's own "normal activities" include tennis, fishing and spending time with his family. "I met my wife Karen while stationed in England," he recalls. "It took a fair amount of persuasion to get her to move to the states, but I'm a lucky guy and we've been married for 27 years. Our 20-year-old son and 18-year-old daughter attend Yuba College, and our 25-year-old son works in hotel management in Nevada. We've all enjoyed the sense of close-knit community here. It's great to walk into a store and have people call you by your first name."