17 September 2013
being a victim no more
I have once again found myself a clueless victim to the words of others. Now I usually am not such a naïve rube. After all I did work with street kids who possessed delinquent tendencies for over seventeen years. For this crowd using words in a deceptive manner was a natural course of life. It took a while for some of these guys to figure out that I meant what I said. I told them how I operate and exactly what I was going to do, that of course was directed by what they did, following their probation orders and doing as the judge had ordered them to do.
I have worked with children who have committed murder, rape, assault, breaking and entering, thefts of all sorts. In every case these misguided individuals had learned that they could say whatever they wished to someone else and they could believe fervently that what they said was the truth. In fact the concept of truth meant whatever they wanted it to mean at the time they were professing their unending veracity. At a later time or under different conditions those words often proved to be totally mendacious, depending on what was most to their advantage.
I knew this going in to each situation. That is why I always let them show me what worth their word carried when they used it. I never got burned or hurt by this standard. There was one time a kid was progressing well with his probation, but he just would rather not have the tail on his behind. He, and his parents indicated they were moving out of the county, the father had a job that was impending out of state. I checked out the offered references and reported to my supervisor and the judge. The child was not a stellar probationer, but he was good enough. In order to not require the child and a parent to return from out of state to attend a final hearing, the case was dismissed. Shortly thereafter the child was rearrested in yet another illegal event and detained awaiting his new hearing. It turns out the move was a scam to get off probation. Since the case was assigned to me before, I was assigned again to oversee the child and family. The judge did not look too kindly on the parents for participating in such a deceitful endeavor and he let them know of how much he disapproved of such manipulation, and for showing their son such total disregard for authority. He had a very direct way of getting parents to understand, it entailed charging the parents for the cost to house and feed their son while he was detained. The judge determined when the youngman would be released from custody. The rate the county had been spending per individual for detention was enough to assure everyone's attention was secured.
The care staff here at the nursing home facility are in a similar quality of lacking truthfulness as some of those court kids. This morning I had yet another situation where this has been brought home to me, up close and personal.Today is one of two shower days that I get per week. This morning the CENA in charge of my care brought my breakfast in to me and asked if I wanted a shower today? Of course! I like showers, I used to take at least one per day when I was living at home, sometimes two. I tend to feel somewhat less than human getting only two showers per week. You bet I would like to have my shower.
I thought it strange that she would ask that, but she seemed somewhat crestfallen when I answered so quickly. I got the strange feeling that she had hoped, at some level, that I would refuse the shower. After all that would cut about an hour, with all of the preparation and required aftercare, from her day. Nearly everyday I hear from many of the CENAs how understaffed they are, or that someone normally scheduled either called in unable to make their shift or just plain didn't show up. So it really didn't surprise me that she was asking if I really wanted to have my shower today.
I wanted the shower especially be cause the personal cleanliness factor had been so thoroughly mishandled over the weekend. Usually on non shower days I get what is known as a bed bath, some people call it a sponge bath. What ever it is a bucket of water is drawn, brought to my bedside and liquid body wash (soap) and wash clothes are provided. I proceed to wash and clean myself then towel dry.Often the CENA will help me doff my old shirt and a clean new one will be slipped on. That completed, the CENA will help roll me onto my side (remember, I have no strength or control to be able to effect this myself)and then they will use a wash cloth to scrub my backside ending with a swipe between my butt cheeks. I get toweled dry, rolled back face up and a new disposable brief is put on. Not quite as clean as a shower , but passable. This past weekend I did not receive a bed bath on Saturday or Sunday and not until Monday afternoon when the second shift came on at three thirty in the afternoon. The last time I had my brief changed was after my shower Friday morning. I told this to the CENA this morning. Her response was that I don't need to be so passive, that I should put my call light on and ask. Hmm, sounds so simple, too bad it never works out that way. This must be the “standard reply”, sounds like blame the victim to me. It didn't bring any change in attitude when I told her that I did ring the call light. Every time I was responded to in the usual twenty to thirty minutes after lighting the lamp and told, “We're awfully busy now, we'll get to you later”. You guessed it, later never comes.
I get awfully tired of some of the CENAs showing the tendency to scrimp on the services provided and using the, “we're awfully busy right now” reason for not following through with the things they are expected to do. There are the same few who always seem to utilize this slick maneuver. They don't do it all the time,but more often than most of the other CENAs. If they are matched up with certain other CENAs who bring out this tendency in them the problem becomes worse.
So the CENA this morning wanted to know if I wanted a shower. When I replied in the positive she next asked if she could come get me out of bed right after breakfast, get me in the wheelchair, then go take her break while I was in my chair, then come back after her break and get my shower then? That would get my shower finished about an hour earlier making the later part of her shift easier.
Okay but remember, I can only stand to be in the wheelchair for about three hours before my knees, butt and lower back begin to get sore. At that time I will need to be put back in bed. She agreed, saying that would be no problem.
And so the event began, after breakfast I was removed from bed to sit in my wheelchair until her break was completed. Then off to the shower. Shower completed, dressed and my hair re-braided, I was off to entertain myself for as long as I could stand it. As is standard procedure, my bed was stripped and the laundry was sent to the wash. I ate my lunch in the wheelchair, visited a few people and around one o'clock noticed that my bed had not been remade. Tough to be put back in bed when there are no sheets on it. I went to find the CENA to inform her that my back was aching and it might be time to get the bed made and me into it. I was told that they were running really behind and I might not be able to get into bed until second shift. (second shift comes on the floor at two but they have entering the floor rituals they have to do first thing, so second shift is not going to be able to do anything until about three o'clock at the earliest. My back was nearly going into spasms by now.
I can't imagine myself treating anyone like this, but then again I take people at their word. I suppose that some people feel so unable to control their working situation throughout the day that they don't feel as if they have any ability to direct the events that make up their working day. Thus a mere stretching of the meaning of their statements has little to no impact on them. I suppose at the end of their day they do not feel as if they had a good shift. This must be horrible for them to look back on their work and not have any good feeling about it.
I took the CENA at her word to me earlier and went in and turned on my call light, just as she said. Sure enough she came in response and asked me what I wanted. I smiled and told her that my back and knees were really hurting and I would like to get in bed. With a heavy sigh she left to get the sheets and made my bed. But she made a point to do nothing else. I was put into bed at three-thirty by the CENAs on second shift.
After the lack of follow through over the weekend and the non issue of my bed bath and changing of my briefs, I am not a happy resident. I will think long and hard about any efforts on my part to help in making my care taking any easier in the future. I see one of my problems – I have no items of any value to bargain with when these CENAs want to juggle their workload/schedule to make their shift any easier. This is exactly the way everything goes down and it is the same way common street thugs like to operate. Sometimes people like to engage others from a position of power. They often do this when they don't feel very empowered at all. Now, I have to figure out how I'm going to respond to their little problem so it does not continue to be my problem.