1 April 2014
A Brand New Month
I often listen to the radio on my iPod . It is convenient, small, and is easy to have nearby as I live my life horizontal in a hospital bed. I plug a pair of Sennheiser earbuds into the iPod as Apple's earbuds, even the new style, don't stay in my ears very well.
Today I was listening to the University radio station, WKAR (wkar.org). The station is non commercial so there are none of those pesky ads that do so well at injecting a for-profit mentality into my daily life. The station promotes itself as a classical and an NPR station, this means the only times there is a break for filthy lucre comes only twice a year for week long pledge drives. That I can tolerate. The radio station produces a local news program called Current State, aired every day just after the NPR Morning Edition and All Things Considered programs. Current State is about local and regional items of interest.
This morning on Current State there was an article about how the University has begun a project to digitize its video and audio records collected over the years. These records extend from the game films made by the sporting team coaches of various games over the years to be used as training for the athletes to learn from the last game, to various speakers who have been on campus. These records have been available to anyone over the years for pleasure or research. The digitizing project is being undertaken because some of the records are in their original formats in which they were made. Old video and audio tapes are slowly breaking downand disintegrating, in some cases the technology has out paced the equipment used to make and replay them. How many people can find a Betamax player any more, or a reel to reel tape player? Quick hand me that thumb drive before this one gets away. No thumb drive anymore? Then make that a USB adapter and a nano SD card, before things change again.
Hearing that article reminded me of how many iterations some of the technology has gone through. Remember 45's, LPs, reel to reel tapes, 8 – tracks, cassettes, CDs and their necessary players? Each used its own technology, that was not compatible with the prior equipment. The information these various technologies kept for us was always valuable, but it soon became a supreme hassle to transfer the information across various platforms.
I still remember hearing a lecture by the famous American psychologist, Urie Bronfrenbrenner, speak on campus once. I was so intrigued that when I found the radio station had taped the presentation, I wrote for a copy. I received, gratis, a copy of the presentation on a six inch reel of tape. I listened to it many times. When I left my home behind, I still knew where it was, on the shelf in the closet along with a box of other audio tapes I had always wanted to digitize. My little brother said he would take care of all that material for me, take digital pictures of my art on the walls, everything. Then he flipped, called it all junk and threw out or gave away everything.
It is very strange to have so much of the results of your past interpreted as trash and then similarly disposed of. Like being eviscerated as a public form of execution, as used to be done in England. Things that are important to you, stuff you have made or collected are infused with a large part of yourself, are very publicly disdained and belittled then discarded. It used to be difficult to gradually lose control of my body, I got used to that. It is still difficult to be “cared for” in a facility that can't settle on exactly what caring for someone means on a surface as well at a deeper level. I'm reconciling that one with some difficulty. But to have your own brother promise to be caring and helpful in relation to your possessions then casually dispose of them, and afterwards claim that he had no choice, there was too much “junk” and not enough time. Well, duh! What do you think I did with the last forty years? Sleep, eat and work?
The premise of Dr. Brofenbrenner's presentation comes clear to me even now. That people learn to care for one another through being cared for themselves. Just receiving food and shelter alone is not enough. There has to be a connection, when we are new born it can be physical as touching and being cuddled. As we grow older it can be verbal interactions, giving one the space to be themselves rather than being rendered into an object to be manipulated.
I have just been told as my lunch was delivered that due to so many showers being given there won't be enough time for my shower today. If I want, the CENAs might be available to give a bed bath. My choice. ( Hmmm, no shower versus a light rubbing with a damp washcloth, what a deal.) Then to further explain the reasons for being so thoughtfully taken care of, I was told that part of the cause of why they were behind with the showers is that two residents family's are raising a real ruckus with the administration that their family member only get two showers a week. They insist that they each get one shower every day.
So what are the rest of us? An inconvenient after thought!?
My father is out in Colorado enjoying his second home in the mountains. My mother lives in North Carolina. My middle brother lives in Utah. And my youngest brother lives in town and he could care less. I am dependent on the thoughtfulness and concern of others, which as we have seen, is definitely lacking.
I am screwed. Destined to being offered the also ran status, if it is available.
Rejoining the previous thought …
Now having been changed of briefs, they were soaked (somehow the briefs are not designed to capture all the effluent one can generate since the last time they were changed at 4:30 this morning). And the urine soaked sheets and my wet T – shirt have been changed but a washcloth was only dabbed on me during the entire process. I suppose this is the real meaning of a bed bath to some people, but it really does not speak of being clean to me.
It is just this very state of being treated as a chore that has to be dealt with, that makes being here so defeating. No one seems capable of interacting with me without resorting to letting their mind hijack them into thinking through everything. First comes the thought, then comes the behavior. The tyranny of words is that they reduce everything to being so mono dimensional. If it hasn't been thought of, then it doesn't exist. Thoughts rule, feelings are just in the way. Problem is that there is way more to life than just thoughts. Feelings can go on in addition to thoughts. This makes the thoughts more real, more multidimensional. A feeling can enjoin you back into the experience guiding you to true relationships.
While the two CENAs were “cleaning me up” the one was complaining to the other that her last check was “only” $425.00, due to the low resident population and her work schedule being shortened. With some emphasis she said this low of a check better not happen again, she had bills to pay. (as if there was something she could actually do about this) Since this conversation was going on as if I couldn't hear or wouldn't be involved with any of this, I decided to involve myself. I said that I am not allowed to earn any money (Medicaid rules) and yet the Department of Human Services has been dragging its feet re-instituting my Medicaid coverage for this year and the Neurologist's office continues to send me a bill for $108.00. I just got a second notice with some dire consequences giscussed if I don't personally pay up. No change in the two CENAs. The tale continues with how such a great affront has been committed by sending her such a meager check. The race was on to get me finished before the end of the shift that somehow the actual bathing part of the bed bath never really happened. Not enough cleaning and scrubbing to equal a shower, to my way of thinking. Oh well, I suppose that I should feel grateful I'm not out on the street, at the curb. If I don't think about it, my skin won't crawl and my scalp won't itch, my next opportunity for the next shower is Friday. The next opportunity to be similarly abused and ignored, treated in ways I wouldn't do to anyone arrives with the next interaction.