11 December 2013
You can continue to turn the other cheek
but some fools refuse to notice there is something wrong,
Meanwhile, I'm running out of cheeks
Yesterday I found myself in a foul mood. Surprisingly I began the day in for good spirits. It was my shower day and I always look forward to those. However, after the shower things began to go downhill. Upon returning to my room to collect a few things to utilize during my foray in the wheelchair I discovered that while I was in the shower someone had been in my room (totally legitimate of course) but in the course of their being here attending to their chores some items on my tray tables were knocked off onto the floor. I could tell that they had been disturbed as they were not in the usual positions in which I leave them. Most distressing to me was that my iPhone was placed back in the container in which it was resting without most of the other stuff that also resides in a container and the phone was in a different position. Now I've been in this room several times in the past when various CENAs have moved the tray tables and the phone has gone to the floor before. One of the staff actually dropped her phone onto a hard surface floor once and the gorilla glass on the front actually cracked. She contacted Apple and they told her that the phones not meant to be dropped and they do not replace the glass. Her phone still works but there is a big spider crack on the front of the phone. I realized that these are somewhat robust items, but they are not really designed to make sudden stops upon hitting the floor.
Amongst the items I was retrieving was five dollars to give to the activities director, who usually makes a shopping trip for residents who are requesting certain items. The other thing that I was trying to retrieve was a dime to give to the bookkeeper.
Toward the end of October the bookkeeper approached me and indicated that the previous nursing home I had been to still feels they need to be paid six cents. Six cents!! that alone shows me what money grubber those folks were. They know that all of my worldly possessions have been dispersed due to Medicaid rules, and they are grasping for six cents?! I have been told by family members that the former nursing home has contacted them trying to get $7000 they think that I owe them. They are trying to get it from my brother or my father!
That nursing home made some sort of arrangement with the bookkeeper that they would retrieve their six cents after I had paid my next installment at this facility. So she indicated to me that if I didn't mind they would refrain from going into my bank account for the next month so that some buffer could be built and then they would retrieve both months in December. I was not pleased with this arrangement for a couple reasons. One, I had not been involved in the negotiations for this arrangement, but I was merely being told that somebody else had made this arrangement. Two, the other facility has shown themselves to be less than honorable on several occasions, which they don't seem to accept but rather look for other people to hang this problem on. After they decided I was not someone they wanted to keep in their facility (i.e. they could not squeeze any more money out of me) they finally arranged to have me transferred to this place. I find very little reason to trust these people. I do not like being made available for them to mistreat me one more time, yet again.
I have been haunting my bank account regularly to see if indeed this arranged payment has been affected as it was set up. Nothing has changed in over six weeks, and there is already has been the second installment deposited into my bank account. Yesterday I intended to give the bookkeeper a dime so that she could give the six cents to the other facility and we could be done with it. When I tried to do this she became very dismissive towards me and indicated that she could not do that, they had rules to follow. They may have rules but they have no sense of propriety, no sense about how to treat their residents. And this is not the first time I've dealt with this bookkeeper. She has the unnerving ability to talk like a young child in the way she pronounces words, and her choice of words is always very haughty and dismissive. I do not tolerate this kind of treatment very well. So already I was in a not good mood as I returned to my room for lunch.
I know not to expect any better from the kitchen staff, but lunch did not improve my attitude at all. Ever since the kitchen crew had been replaced by a different organization the quality of food here has changed quite a bit, in only very few cases for the better. Previously the meat here was all mystery meat. That is it was ground-up and formed into various shapes depending on what the meal was to be. The same type of meat was used for hamburgers, pressed into round patties, meatballs formed into round spheres, riblets, formed into faux rib bones and connective muscle tissue - much like McDonald's does. The only thing that made these various meat dishes different from one another was the kind of sauce that was drizzled over each entrée. Fine cooking technique at its best.
Yesterday, I was grumbling to the woman who was taking over the receptionist spot during her lunch hour, a rather large rotund woman who obviously likes her meals. I indicated it ever since the kitchen staff had changed affiliations that we no longer were served eggs in the morning that were prepared over easy. When they had a big meeting to inform us of this new kitchen regime several of us asked why the change in egg style, as we enjoyed our eggs this way. We were told that it was a state law, because it's easy to get food poisoning from undercooked eggs. This brings up two questions. Since bacteria are killed at 160°, and this is not enough to cook an egg yolk all the way into a hard state. Does this kitchen staff not have the equipment and/or ability to judge when 1 60° has been reached? Why, if people are so concerned about bacteria inside of an egg shell that was formed inside of the bird, obviously the bird must be sick or damaged before the egg was formed. Why is the state that looking to the egg producers for this supposed problem instead of harassing the public about their preferred eating style? Of course both answers were dismissed as ridiculous, as those in charge of the kitchen took the stance that is often taken here toward the residents. That is we know better, were in charge, will take care of you, now just run along and let us do our job.
No fried eggs are presented unless in this overcooked state. Not only that, but whatever product they use to cook the eggs in to keep them from sticking to the cooking surface is a low quality oil that one gets sick of day after day. This makes it hard to eat the same politically correct eggs every day. This morning as the plate rested on my chest, it was not perfectly flat. While I was setting up my breakfast to eat, a slow stream of clear yellow fluid slowly oozed from beneath the eggs toward the low spot on my plate. I suddenly lost all interest in eating fried eggs this morning. I found myself missing greatly cooking in my own kitchen. It seems like a cruel fate to lose my ability to stand and walk, for this get to be treated as less than human, and the food is bad too.
This lends itself to another problem that I've had here. It is the wholesale reduction of anyone (read residents) to a very diminished intellectual state. Something which I find be thoroughly disgusting. I come from a long background based upon Maslow and the hierarchy of needs. There is more to people than just food, clothing and shelter, and being able to string plastic beads twice a week or play bingo does not account for enough beyond the food-clothing- shelter scenario. And yet I find that most of the upper administration here tends to believe this way and act this way toward all of the residents. I have mentioned this to a few people in that category and they don't seem to understand. In fact they almost take offense that anybody would find umbrage with the way they are treated.
I have been in nursing care for more than two years now, in two different organizations, nearly eleven months in this facility. It is one thing that this disease has taken my ability to stand or walk, even to wipe my ass after a bowel movement. But there is no reason on earth that my very humanity should be messed with. I find that the fact that many of the people here, and certainly the administration should fail to understand this is a great indictment on these people and the culture that allows this to exist or continue unchecked. Why should I be the one that has to constantly remind them that this is not the way to treat people? There are studies, for those who can't somehow manage to find this for themselves, that show time and again that when you consistently treat people this way it shortens lifespans and lengthens the time needed to heal from bodily wounds. So why is it that I'm here? Is it to earn disapproval from many in the administration and some CENAs because I know better and refuse to succumb to their uninformed treatment of residents? These may be the last years of my life. Do they really think that under these conditions is any way to spend them? Do they even think at all?