Sunday, October 20, 2013

20 October 2013
Sunday ...finally

This is no way to treat anyone
I certainly wouldn't book a stay in this hotel again

Sunday evening, and I have survived through the weekend. Not easily, mind you. It begin with difficulty Friday morning. Friday is one of my two shower days every week. I usually get a shower after breakfast sometimes at 9:30 sometimes at 10:30 almost 11 AM. I love showers. Since I only get only two a week, they are particu;arly joyful to me.This last particular Friday two CENAs arrived at my bedside at 7 AM to wake me up and inform me that they were going to get me my shower right now, so as to make a better working schedule for them, so they wouldn't be quite so crowded the latter part of their shift. Don't overlook the fact that this is the first I had word of this change in their work schedule, apparently no one ever figured on consulting with me earlier on this little foray into adjusting working arrangements.

I was a little groggy and explained that I hadn't quite awakened yet, they said that would be all right, they were ready. They opened the door and proceeded to draw in the Easy Stand machine which is used to get me out of bed and into the wheelchair. Having turned back the sheets and exposed me to the cooler air and twisted my feet out of bed so that I was now sitting over the edge of the bed, ready to be laced into the machine, I felt like an old boot having been laced up for a work day. I was ready to be hoisted. That was when the battery showed that it was nearly out of charge. No problem they went and got another battery. However, there was a problem, it too was without charge. They had a grand idea and they went to commandeer a battery out of another machine that was being used. When they came back with big grins and the other battery, at once they slapped it into the machine that I was attached to, it too failed to work. Finally they got another complete machine and hoisted me into my wheelchair with that.

In case you're keeping score that's 3 dead batteries to achieve what the 4th one and a different machine actually was able to do. The batteries are supposed be charged overnight and as this was seven in the morning, one would assume that they were done with the charging. I don't know if somebody is falling down on the job or the batteries are of the old rechargeable type and have gained a false bottom, in that case they could be charged all night long and nothing would really change.

After experiencing this kind if event more than once, the feeling begins to grow on you that the whole affair, this whole place is way past being efficient and top notch. It is probably past its prime, both in building and equipment. I watch some of the CENAs having to work with this crummy equipment and I see them recognize that they are not the only ones being put in an impossible situation. Some stay as they need the job, others move on to school or another job. They are glad to get out. I don't have that option. To me that shows that they have some consciousness about themselves, the work they have to do, and the people for whom they provide care. They must feel as terrible about putting me through this stuff as I do submitting to it.

At this point I began to be aware of a sense in my stomach and an uneasy feeling. Nothing seemed very settled, I seemed to have the uneasy, queasy feeling that anytime now I might be adding to the slop on the floor for the housekeeping department to clean up.

Once in the shower room, which can be very crowded, it is not big enough for 2 CENAs a resident, a wheelchair and the lift machine. Once again I am being strapped in a lift machine to be removed from my wheelchair, placed in the shower chair, an ABS plastic device designed to hold the resident and be wheeled into the shower. Yet once again the battery began to fail on this machine and I was barely lifted into the shower chair before it ceased working. The only problem was that the CENAs had positioned me too far back in the chair and I did not have a good position. The 2 CENAs decided that they could try and lift me up again and move me slightly forward, except the battery has now given up the ghost. They tried, they pushed, they pulled they did everything but get a bunch of levers to pry me about the seat just a little bit. By now the queasy feeling in my stomach has escalated. I no longer feel like I'm going to get sick, I am getting very lightheaded. The 2 CENAs decide amongst themselves that maybe they might be able to affect my shower even though I am not seated adequately in the chair. At this point I am becoming so lightheaded, but I can hardly keep myself upright in a chair using my arms. I start to flop forward and they become concerned and that I might fall right out of chair onto the floor.

The emergency call light is is activated to call the nurse in. At this point I am no longer able to sit upright and keep my eyes open. I can hear all the activity in the room and someone calls for another nurse, in turn the call goes out in the overall shift nurse also comes in. Remember, this room is not big enough for 2 nurse aides, a resident and all the machinery necessary. Now we're adding 3 more nurses - Party in the shower room and i'm the only one naked!

Several people are shouting at me and calling my name and trying to get me to wake up. Voices demanding that I open my eyes and look at her, which I can do for about 2 seconds of time. Meanwhile I have no desires, I have no idea what's up. It doesn't bother me that I'm stripped naked in front of 5 different women. All I wanted to lay down. After much questioning, some of which was quite accusatory (remember hearing his last thing to go when you fall asleep or even when you go under general anesthetic, everything else seems to shut down but your hearing is still there right up until the bitter end). With some of those accusatory comments I could hear the voice and I can name the person. Those words and that attitude they present continued to echo in my mind. I lost control of my bladder sphyncter and peed all over the floor, got some of myself too.

Eventually it was determined that there was going to be nothing to get me cognizant enough to have a shower so they might as well get me dressed then back into bed. A large class of orange juice was produced for me to drink. The nurses left and the comment was made that I should be rinsed off, toweled dry, dressed and taken back to bed. The other CENA had left the room by now. Only the one CENA remained. She turned on the water valve to the shower, without waiting for the hot water to arrive from the first floor where the water heater lives to the third floor where I am, she immediately takes the shower head in hand and proceeds to “rinse” me off. I could only make gutteral sounds, not speak. My muscles were spastic and uncoordinated as I growed and tried to fend off the cold water from its application to my now chilled body. Just as suddenly as it happened the liquid assualt was over. As I was slowly dressed and loaded back into my wheelchair , I continued to sip the orange juice. Wonder of wonders! This time the battery seem to work in the Easy Stand.

As this unfolded I felt like some newly discovered specimen that had never been seen before. At no time did I feel met and acknowkedged as a fellow human being. Instead I was approached at a less than human level, hosed off and disposed of.

When I got back into bed I was exhausted all I wanted to do was sleep. About 90 min. later my breakfast was produced. This is not strange as I take most of my breakfasts while in bed. Between the sleep that I had and the orange juice, I maintained enough conscious ability to eat the breakfast without spilling any and making a mess. I proceeded to go back to sleep and slept all way until lunch. Which again was presented on the tray table that can be pushed up to me so the meal can be presented right in front of me while still in bed. Again back to sleep where I slept solidly until about 3 in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, I had been aware of a growing sinus headache since around 11 o'clock that morning. I had made a request for some Excedrin and a Claritin. Half an hour later another CENA came in to check on me and I restated my request for the medication. Another half hour after that nothing had arrived so I got my phone and called the front desk, to be transferred back up to 3rd for nursing station where I requested of the nurse who answered that I'd put in a request for some Excedrin and Claritin over an hour ago, and I still hadn't seen anything yet. I was informed that the nurse had been told and she will be reminded again. Finally, at a quarter after one the nurse arrived with my Excedrin and Claritin. Only this time she brought only one Excedrin, not 2.

This nurse and I went through this issue once before. For some stupid reason she believes that she knows better than me or the doctor who prescribed the standing authorization of the medicine upon my request. She believes that she knows best what I need and since I have no way to get the medication myself, she gives me just exactly what she thinks I need. She and I have been round and round about this before. I don't know what her problem is. In the end she comes across very passive - aggressive. She acts very nice nice and at the same time she delights in using her authority to use her power to be very mean and punitive. It appears that once again she is doing the same behavior. Hers was the voice making those accusatory statements in the shower room, by the way ...

I remember when I was going into nursing care for the 1st time. I told my father that I did not want to go into a facility that treated everybody the same, at a very low level, and took away your humanity and reduced you to an object so that you are not cared for but rather in this way reduced you to where you were more warehoused.

He assured me that would not happen. At the time I remember thinking, how can you guarantee that? You won't even be there. You'll stop in occasionally and think everything is just fine. Meanwhile, I'll get the horrors of healthcare as delivered by an organization is guded by stockholders. And you know stockholders - the only thing they can see is that dividends are going up. And you know why the dividends are going to go up, corners are going to be cut. All the finer things, the stuff I have worked for, the level Ihave taken for granted or have worked so hard to gain will be snapped right away. I will be reduced to the common level what is considered good enough for everybody, and if I raise a protest or act differently I will be singled out as what's wrong with you? Please, dad, don't promise the things that you can't control. I'm a big boy now, the time for you to make everything okay just by saying so is passed. I know how the world works. If it is good enough for some bookkeeper type, it will be considered appropriate for me.

So over time I began to realize that I have indeed entered into a world where some people under the guise of offering care, really reduce people to less than human, and they don't even see it, nor the part they are playing in causing this to happen.

I spent most of my weekend sleeping, partly because I needed to regain my strength from the harrowing shower episode. And partly because there's actually nothing to do.

Even the meals have proven less than wonderful. Every month they give us a menu so that we can participate in choosing what we'd like to have at each meal, except that nobody ever takes your requests, and if they do you are met with all that menu is made up months ago we don't actually have that food right now. Just today, Sunday, 20 October, lunch was to be turkey tetrazzini, broccoli, creamy carrot soup. What actually arrived was tomato soup, a grilled cheese sandwich and a very small bowl of diced peaches. The alternate was a chef salad. I don't believe that I have actually had a chef salad here, although it had been quite often at the other facility. Chef salad is not bad. You can make a meal from a chef salad. Not this place. They are so niggardly on portions. A chef salad would be considered grand, so I have never seen one.

For dinner the menu for tonight says salad with tomatoes and cucumbers Italian dressing, stuffed pepper, green beans, and a dinner roll. Instead what was sent out was chopped up lettuce (no tomatoes or cucumbers), Pan Seared Swai (don't know what Swai is? Think cheap fish with no flavor), they were accompannied by instant mashed potatoes and a spoonful of green beans. I would've loved to have a stuffed pepper, I have had them here before, they are not half bad. I don't know why the kitchen decided to have a fit and send the alternative, but once again they've chosen the most dull, tasteless ill appetizing food - as per usual.

Sometimes I wonder who have I offended to consistantly be treated this way? Do these people get their jollies from being so oblique about serving food to those who can't leave. Does the food cart leave the kitchen for the residents accompanied by muffled guffaws and covered sniggers from the kitchen staff? What a bunch of cards!

When I asked the CENA later this evening what everybody else had, she said stuffed pepper. When I told her what I had, that I would have loved the stuffed pepper, she told me that I should have requested the pepper dish, implying that they would have sent the other meal. I told her I have tried that several times before and was always met with the response that there is no more other dish – we're all out. I've stopped requesting, as the kitchen doesn't seem able or willing to work with me on that issue. Somewhere there is a stockholder smiling …. Meanwhile its midnight and I'm hungry.

Meanwhile I have always made do with some snacks that friends have brought by for me.

Lately I am out of snacks. I requested of the activities person before if she would make a small purchase at the grocery store for me when she is next out and about. She has done this for me, and it has worked out well. But now I'm out of even peanut butter. I had asked her two weeks ago, but she said she was not scheduled to work the shopping day, but as a favor to me she would pick up a jar of peanut butter on her own time and get it to me.

No peanut butter has been forthcoming that I can see – yet. (there is always hope)

Last week was another time to get my request in for a shopping trip, I had my cash in my pocket and could never find her to ask for some snack foods. Two weeks now I am without extra eats. And the kitchen sends up what ever they want, minimalist portions too.... I didn't treat myself this poorly when I could cook for myself. I'm having a hard time getting used to this style of life now.

When I was living at home I had my retirement stipend from the county when I used to do court work. It wasn't much but it was more than enough to meet my costs every month. I always ate well, and never went to bed hungry. Even at that I managed to lose one hundred eighty pounds in one year. The trick is to eat when hungry and stop when you are not. I ate about six small meals every day, right up until I went to bed. My doctor was pleased, I was happy, and I never felt as if I was missing anything.

Now that I have been instilled into nursing care, the quality of food is lousy, it only arrives when they are going to bring it and only what they want to provide, and these people instist that they need just a little more than my stipend every month to provide this lower level of care. I seriously think something is wrong here but no one seems to be able to understand that. Somehow everything I mention gets discounted the moment they hear it. In their mind they are doing everything right. No one semms able to hear me clearly yet.

There is a very strong implied message here. I get the message loud and clear, everyone else, it seems, is marching to a different tune, one that I can't quite understand. (maybe I wouldn't want to) The longer I am here the more I experience little events that show me I am not made for a place like this. It isnot as overt and in your face as the last place, they didn'teven try to hide their disapproval. Here its all not seen or not quite fully understood. They have tried, asking me what would I like to do. It is not as easy as that. There is no woods here, no way to lose myself in nature when ever I needed to get connected with reality again. Don't tell me anything related to people is going to be real, they can't help but to insert themselves in there somehow, thats not real - only what some people delude themselves to be real. Not enough people have looked into themselves deeply enough to show they understand what real is. I suppose I need a cross between a Bhuddist retreat and a nursing home, one where care for ALL sentient beings is the standard. Not where you can be hosed off with cold water after you are deemed unable to take a shower. (I hope that is not considered standard offering to all residents)

Well, its past midnight, I'm hungry and breakfast is eight hours away. I should go now.

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