Wednesday, September 18, 2013

18 September 2013
4:30 PM

The madness continues
no end in sight

I awoke this morning refreshed, I sept well, in spite of my neighbor's television which he leaves on all night long while he sleeps. I can tell he is sleeping for no one makes that deep and regular a snoring noise for so long if they are awake. In fact his snoring is probably an apnea problem, I can tell by the sudden explosive sounds coupled with gasping that frequently interrupt the regularity of the snoring.

The choice of television is questionable from my point of view. If it is not endless westerns and cowboy shows with their gunfights, gruff talking men. Women shrieking, horses whinnying, and an occasional sound of a ricocheting bullet, then its that Turtleman always acting as the wild animal exterminator with his insane chortle as his trademark. The sound comes right through the closed door as easily as if it wasn't there.

My neighbor is easily combative, he loves nothing better than to push and instigate the CENA staff at every possibility. When they try to interact with him he reacts in a manner way over the top growling, using negative language just short of cursing, calling them names, making impossible demands and then doing it some more. On a few occasions when I have been out of bed in my wheelchair and the door is open I can see him carrying on, he will look directly at me, smile and wink, then continue his verbal tirade at the person who is unlucky enough to have the opportunity to work with him. There are some CENAs who refuse to be assigned to his case.

He has been known to press the call light button, when someone responds and asks what he wants, he tells them nothing, then maintains that he didn't call for anyone. This even when the call light cord plugs into a receptacle right next to his bed that the person answering the call has to physically push to reset so the light can be used again. The reset button itself lights up to indicate which occupant of which bed made the call as well as the light in the hallway over the door. He has been known to pull this stunt endlessly, pushing the button then denying that he had pushed it. This is probably one reason why he is removed from bed early in the morning before breakfast, takes his meals entirely in the day room and is not put back in bed until the end of second shift at 9:30 – 10:00 PM. Yet I have not earned a position within his sights for such verbal harassment. I would like to keep it this way.

Most nights I go to sleep with a pair of earbud headphones connected to an iPod, listening to some of my extensive music collection. I find that just about cancels out the idiot box next door, although the little old lady in the room on the other side of him has difficulty sleeping every night.

So in spite of these conditions, I sleep well. The same CENA as yesterday brought my breakfast today. This was not a scheduled shower day so she asked if I would like to have a bed bath? You bet! There is nothing better than to be able to clean one's body regularly, especially when the only way to urinate is while lying down supine and using a urinal to catch the outflow. There are two difficulties with this arrangement. 1) I have about thirty seconds warning that I have a bladder full and its going to let loose post haste. If I am busy doing something and it is spread out on my belly, I have to make great haste in clearing my way to get to the waste removal equipment before the deluge is unleashed. I can not always make it in time. 2) Just like the garden hose at home, the shutoff valve is up by the house, yet water remains in the hose after the tap has been turned off. How many times have I felt a slight trickle crossing my landscape? So yes I would like a bed bath.

Now these are not laborious affairs, as far as what the CENA's have to do. I cast to the side the sheets and blanket. Unhook the tabs on my brief. When the CENA brings the plastic tub of warm water and the squeeze bottle of body wash and deodorant with the standard issue two wash clothes and a towel that are dropped at my room every morning (see, someone else somewhere believes I should get a bed bath every day, hence the daily delivery of the bathing laundry)i begin to scrub and wash myself. Often the CENA leaves at this point knowing that I do not require any help or supervision to complete the ventral part of me. The comment is often left by the CENA over the shoulder as they exit the room, “Put your light on when you want me to return and do the back side.”

I finished the front side of me and put on the light. Often the CENAs do not appear right away so I drape the towel over the front of me as it can get chilly waiting for the CENA's return. After about ten minutes I tapped a bladder and recovered myself. Then the staff person in charge of keeping the consumable supplies stocked in my room (rubber gloves, briefs, hand sanitizer, etc.)dropped by to check my supply levels. Since he and I get along well, he stayed to chat for about half an hour. He left and I adjusted the towel as I am getting chilled. Ten minutes after that a different CENA appears, this one from the second shift, she was called to come in early today. She said the first CENA had indicated to her to finish my bed bath and then left. I never saw that first CENA for the rest of the shift.

Was it something I said? Why am I getting the short treatment?

The kitchen did their usual abuse at lunch. I received a usual, for here, lunch – one tube steak and seven tater-tots. At least they included a ketchup packet this time, and a small packet of salt. There was a small bowl of vegetable soup (unsalted of course), an extra salt packet would have helped here, but as we have been told, some residents here can't eat the amount of salt the rest of us can. So is that reason to treat everybody to the same menu? If so, how come not everyone is treated to the gluten free diet I get subjected to? And why did I get served apple crisp for desert tonight , with the crisp made from oats?

I try to make sense of the way things operate by watching for patterns of behavior of the staff around here. I am quickly approaching either one of two choices; either the rules around here are designed with no concept of how to deliver supportive care to the residents, or some of the CENAs here have no soul and feel they can work with impunity for either the residents under their care and any sort of oversight, OR they never developed a healthy response toward work, other people, or how to handle ones self when not everything goes your way. Some of these folks need to take some time off to finish growing up. I used to get paid for dealing with individuals in need of some growing up. Now I'm being looked after by some of the same behaviors. Scary!

I miss my quiet little house in the country. Is this to be the next few decades of my life? Life in survival mode. Yippee!

1 comment:

  1. John, work with on on looking for a new place up in the Lansing/Great Lansing area. There will probably be some trade-offs. You have a single room there which may be a luxury at most facilities, but you have a couple of people here who are willing to investigate what is available. We'd just like a list of things you want us to check out with maybe some weighting on how important each is.

    You're stories of your SOB "neighbor" (which is what he is if he is doing it on purpose which the winking indicates) would get short shrift with me. I'd call him a liar to his face and refuse to answer his call button until EVERYTHING else had been done. But I'm the combative sort.

    Have you tried calling a CENA when he is asleep to come turn his TV off? or at least turning it down?

    Talk to you soon.