Nursing Homes Make Me Sad

What started yesterday as a quiet, peaceful visit at the nursing home with my sister-in-law, Pat, ended in a heated confrontation with the social worker. I understand that people are in nursing homes for various reasons and that the facility is understaffed and for the most part, doing the best they can.

But, c’om on. Two people sharing one tiny room divided by a flimsy curtain and four people sharing one bathroom really makes my blood boil. It’s a wonder the residents don’t end up killing each other.

And Pat has had here share of less than enjoyable roommates with their loud TV’s and moaning and groaning all hours of the day and night. But they were darling little pussy cats compared to this roommate.

To get to Pat’s side of the room, visitors have to walk through her roommates space. I wouldn’t like that, either. But it is what it is. So as my husband, Buck and I tip towed past the roommate sitting in her wheelchair, she shot us a glaring, drop dead look. But she’s old. That’s what miserable old people do. So we brushed it off with a smile.

About thirty minutes into our visit, the roommate sped out of the room and down the hall telling the nurses we were threatening to kill somebody! A nurse came rushing in, rolled her eyes and left. Moments later, the roommate parked outside the door shaking her bony finger at my husband and yelling, “You have no business in here! Get out and take that woman (me) with you!”

Obviously, she has problems, and I’m sorry for her. But, my concern is for Pat’s safety and emotional well-being.

So like a banty rooster, I wheeled Pat to the social worker’s office and plead my case. Their solution was moving Pat to another room. My argument was: Pat was there first. She likes it there. And she’s not the one causing the problem, so she shouldn’t be the one having to move.

But that’s our regulations, she said.

Well, your regulations are stupid, I said.

Feeling anxious and defeated, I wheeled Pat back to her room and sat on the edge of her bed, comforting her and trying to slow down my pounding heart.

Things worked out in the end. The social worker came in and talked to us, helping us to understand and suggesting other visiting options. Pat got to keep her room and her roommate was placed in another room. Maybe the sun will shine brighter for her there. I hope so for her and her roommates sake.




Tags: A Dog Named Fizz

Art and Soul

Fizz was a cute little sidekick from the UK that appeared on Colin’s (fodrambler) blog many years ago. Fizz even had his own Facebook account! Sadly, for reasons unknown, Colin stopped blogging. With his permission to use the photos he posted, I created the following tags. I really miss those guys.

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From Family Photos to Art


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Fallen Angels in Disguise

The scariest part about the pain shooting from my butt all the way down my leg was the long, bumpy ride to the hospital. Hubby wanted to drive me, but my pea brain thought I’d get quicker and better service if I was taken by ambulance.

Twenty long, agonizing minutes later, we arrived at the ER.

And there they were. My loving, compassionate angels of mercy waiting to cover me with warm, fuzzy blankets and whisk me away to a happy, sunshiny room and pump me full of painkillers. No waiting for my number to be called. No crying and begging and pleading for help.

And there’s my room. My sad, cold and lonely little room where I was wheeled on a bed of nails and left writhing in pain to freeze to death.

Where are my people? My angels of mercy? My warm blankets? My painkillers?

The only comfort in my cold and lonely prison cell was my husband’s reassuring voice, his warm hands and big soulful eyes.

Finally, like Mary Poppins, a nurse sweeps into my room asking questions, filling out forms, talking and laughing and convincing me he can magically make the pain disappear.

Then poof! He was gone! No I’ll be back in a minute to fluff your pillow, to hold your hand, or to bring a magic potion for your pain. Not even a kiss good-bye.

It’s my fault. Maybe I should have cried and moaned and groaned instead of laughing and cracking jokes. I even told him about the time I got sprayed by a baby skunk. I’m crazy that way. I try too hard comforting others and pretending I’m okay when I’m not okay. Don’t cry. Don’t moan and groan. Don’t let anyone know how much it hurts. They don’t care anyway.

So there I lay, writhing silently in pain wishing someone would just cut off my head and be done with it!

My husband tired to be patient and understanding with the ER doctors and nurses, but he couldn’t take it anymore, especially when they were all sitting at the nurses station having a grand time doing nothing. He’s a big man. A Navy man. He knows how to fight. He knows how to intimidate. He knows how to get the job done!

I don’t know what he did or said and I don’t care, but within seconds it seemed that every nurse in the ER was in my room, their faces bearing the look of death. Moments later an absent-minded X-ray technician rushed in, hurriedly got me out of bed then flew out the door and down the hall leaving me limping a mile behind. Suddenly, as if remembering to pick up his kids from school, he stops, spins around and says, “Oh! Do you need a wheelchair?”

And my brain screamed: Are you kidding me? I needed a wheelchair when you broke my back jerking me off the bed! But that’s okay. I’m fine. I just came to the ER because I was bored and had nothing else to do. Keep going. I’ll catch up . . . eventually.

As if torturing me with the first set of pictures wasn’t enough for him, he rushed back into my room for more!

Only this time it worse. Much worse! Wheeling his X-ray machine beside my bed, the  technician told me to lift my rear then he shoved a board under me. That’s when I died and went to Hell! That’s when ferocious demons ripped my flesh apart and began eating me alive. That’s when I cried. No. That’s when I bawled like a baby! When I squealed like a slaughtered pig! When I screamed like a burning witch!

I almost felt sorry for the technician as he hurried frantically to get the pictures he needed. He was a nice guy doing the best he could and trying to inflict as little pain as possible. And I was an angry, hurting old woman doing the best I could to keep from knocking his teeth out!

Then, like a hit and run driver, everyone left my tortured, mangled body writhing on my prickly bed of thorns to slowly bleed to death.

Another hour crawled by before a nurse came back into my room. That Mary Poppins nurse. The one smiling as big as Texas the moment I arrived and crossed his heart and hoped to die that he’d make the pain disappear. So you can imagine my disappointment when he gave me a little lonely pill in a little plastic cup saying, “Chew it up. It’ll work faster.”

I chewed it up and swallowed the bitter potion and waited for the miracle to happen. It never did.

From another room I heard a man’s pitiful moans for help. All he got in return was an exasperated, “Take a deep breath!”

The X-ray technician returned and as if telling me I’d just won the lottery he blurted excitedly, “No broken bones!”

A few minutes later, Mary Poppins came back in and jammed a needle the size of a drinking straw in my hip. It’ll ease the pain, he said. He lied!

Finally, feeling like I’d spent six months in Hell, I was released with more pain than when I arrived.

Down the hall I limped arm in am with my husband. No wheelchair. No help for the pain. No hope for the future. No promise that the sun will ever shine for me again.

But wait! Hell’s fury wasn’t finished with me yet. Moments after my husband helped me in a nearby chair before leaving to get the car, an amazon woman wearing a frighteningly unfriendly scowl told me to get up because someone else needed to sit there!

Back home at last, even the strongest pain relievers the doctor could prescribe didn’t touch the pain. My stubborn, ruptured disc refused to be comforted. So for two long months I had to ride it out wondering if I would ever stop hurting. But I did.

What I learned that day in the ER:
If you’re not having a heart attack or bleeding to death, take the car
If you’re in pain, suck it up
If you’re in a hurry, stay home
If you want special treatment, go to the spa
If you want amusement, go to Disneyland. It’s cheaper!


Retired and Glad of it!

I should be painting the bathroom. I should be cleaning the kitchen, and sweeping and mopping our new vinyl floors. I should be folding the laundry piled in the laundry basket. Instead, I’m sitting here at the computer goofing off.

And that’s okay cause I don’t have to punch a time clock. I don’t have to please a boss. I don’t even have to get dressed if I don’t want to. I’m retired. I’m my own boss. Even hubby’s boss. Okay, that’s stretching it a bit.

Twenty years ago, I never gave retirement a second thought and hardly dreamed it would sneak up on me so fast. But here I am. Retired eleven years, now. How time flies when you’re having fun.

Of course, I don’t just lay around all day doing nothing. I like staying busy. I like being spontaneous. I like driving my husband nuts re-arranging furniture and organizing closets and kitchen cabinets and putting things away and forgetting where I put them. But we have all the time in the world to look for them. It’s just a little inconvenient. And annoying.

Anyway, I can honestly say I like retirement. I’m so happy to finally be free to do as I please when I please and not feel guilty. I’ve earned this gold star and I like it!