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. Her 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 get my racing heart to slow down.
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.