Wednesday, November 8, 2017

LIFE'S TOO SHORT...

Mass shootings, terrorist attacks, people fighting over different political and religious beliefs, natural disasters and thinking that building a wall to keep people out of this country will make the United States a better and safer nation. These are the reasons I do not watch the news. It's not because I do not care.   It's because I care too much. 

A man I knew was hit by a bus while on vacation in Florida. He was fine one minute. Gone the next. It really did happen that quickly.

I have no idea what the future hold for me. Only God knows. I could fall out of bed, break my hip and die from surgical complications. I do not mean to be morbid. All the silly little disagreements, all that I have had with people will mean nothing when my life is over. Will who was right really have mattered.?  All the wasted time nursing hurt feelings and grudges is a waste of energy.

"I don't have talk to you. You're not my mama.' I just want to do my job and home.' Those were comments made to me by two different aides. Where is the kindness?  Where was the empathy? Where was the compassion?  They were just counting the hours until their shift was over.  I 
had to wait to go to bed until my aide finished her French fries to go to bed.  Nurses admit to forgetting about me. I am a resident here. Where is the compassion? My requests take two minutes to fulfill. Would they like to be forgotten if they were in my place?  Life is too short for me not to get the best care possible.

Leona is a traveling nurse from Springfield. She is under contract here for thirteen weeks. She has been on my floor twice.  One night, after she had fulfilled my request, Leona noticed my swollen ankles. She asked if  I would let to put lotion on my feet and legs and massage them. She said it would help with the swelling and improve my circulation. I am not a fan of lotion, but I agreed. While she was massaging my legs and feet she talked to me. Leona went the extra mile. Leona cared.  In a facility where I am often forgotten by nurses, I appreciated her concern and the care that she gave me. I hope that Leona will be on my floor again soon. 

A tragedy is in the news every week. A sobering reminder of how fragile life is.  We are entering the holiday season. The season of giving thanks. The season of peace on earth. The season of hope. The season of miracles. The season of forgiveness.

Be kind. Show compassion.  Show empathy. Help others. Life's too short not to. 












Sunday, November 5, 2017

DEJA VU


 Thirty dollars was taken from my room last week. I was saving it to get sushi with friends. (California rolls, seaweed salad, and Philidelphia rolls.) It wasn't even my money.it was my family's money.

"It's happening again."  "Why don't they care enough about residents to install video cameras?" "I feel violated. I wondered who'd been in my room going through my things. "I don't feel safe here." These were all the thoughts running through my head.

I  have had a lot of things disappear in the last three years. I was always reimbursed for missing items. The new administration does not reimburse for lost or stolen. items. I was reprimanded for keeping money in my room. If this is my home I should be able to keep anything I choose in my room.I should feel safe and secure. If items are lost or stolen the administration should take responsibility and replace them. I have lost count of the number of things that have gone missing. It should not be my family's responsibility to replace them. Video monitoring systems are needed on the halls.

Please keep other residents out of my room. .A dirty bed pad was in my room recently. The pad was not there when I left for dinner Staff comes in my room when I am at meals. I have been asking for three years, "Please respect my things."' I am said that thefts are happening here again.. I don't like to leave my room. I do not know what or who  I might find there when  I return.  If I close my door I have to wait for someone to open it for me. The staff is not always available

Living here is a lot like high school. There are cliques. I have been called names, laughed at, gossiped about. Everyone knows my business.

I have tried to fit in here. I had tried to find my place here. I have tried making friends. I found a table in the dining room that I really liked. Three women who are around my age sat at the table. Good conversation. I was happy. I was finally accepted/ Until...

One of the women at the table is friends with a male resident. The man took my spot at the table one evening. I told him that was my spot. I had been sitting there for several weeks. The gentleman informed me that there has never been assigned seating, (not true) that he could sit wherever he wanted. He told me to stop whining.(What is it with people making comments about my voice?) The staff told me to get to my spot early the next night before. he could kick me out. I asked the woman if she minded me sitting at the table. I foolishly thought she'd say no. She told me that she'd wanted her male friend to sit there. He'd be leaving in a few weeks. (He has been leaving for six months) .Agan, I left. I told them I would never sit with them again..

I sit with two men. The one man's wife occasionally eats with us too. She has Alzheimer's. I mean no disrespect to anyone. I would rather eat by myself.

I  am finished with trying to make friends here. I am thankful for my two friends on staff.  They listen, support me and make me laugh. My life would much harder here without them.

This all happened in the same week.  I had a strong feeling of deja vu. I kept thinking, '"This is where I came in."' I urge the administrator to consider installing a  video monitoring system. It would also be nice if residents who are rude to others were reprimanded. They are the ones who should be asked to move. Not rewarded by getting their way.  (I know that's not going to happen.) I  hope this facility will change for the better soon.









Tuesday, October 31, 2017

THE GHOSTS OF HALLOWEEN'S PAST

Halloween is probably my least favorite day. Except for the candy of course.( I love candy corn.) With my sensitive startle response, I am sure that you can guess the reason why.
It wasn;t all bad. I  have some good Halloween memories too.

 One of my earliest Halloween memories is my brother holding me in a standing position so my mom could take a picture of me in my clown costume. (What was my mom thinking? I  was afraid of clowns.)/ I was three or four years old. I remember looking at the grainy color photo. I was smiling. I was happy. I was ready to go get some candy!

In the sixties, my parents did not have to worry about having my treats X-rayed because they may have been tampered with. People gave apples and oranges.along with candy. My grandparents lived next door to us.They gave me fruit, candy, and fifty cents. I;d hit the jackpot! I never got a treat until I had told a joke or a riddle. I went trick-or-treating until I was ten years old. When I was eleven I was in the hospital on Halloween. By the time I was twelve it was too difficult to get my wheelchair up and down steps.

My dime store costume was hot. It was hard to breathe with that plastic character mask covering my face.The rubber band around my head held my mask in place. It would hurt after a while, but it was worth it.I don't remember any particular costume. I am sure I was Cinderella one year because I loved Cinderella.

My school had a Halloween parade  We'd march around the building in our costumes. We'd end up in the auditorium for a Halloween program. When I was in high school, my mom began volunteering at my school. she worked in the office. When you are fifteen or sixteen it is bad enough that your mom works at your school, but it's ten times worse when you see your mother marching in the Halloween parade dressed as a Martian, complete with a green face and silver antennae!. I was mortified. I stayed in my classroom the entire time.

I look back on that Halloween now and It makes me smile. If you knew my mom you would know that she would never dress up as a Martian or anything else, of her own volition. How the principal and secretary got her to agree to it, I never knew. It took courage for my mom to dress up. I am proud of her.

I don't have any scary or exciting memories. Well, there was that time at summer camp when they celebrated Halloween in July. I felt an eyeball in the haunted house. At least that's what they told me it was. I was blindfolded. I found out the slimy squishy eyeball was really a grape in oatmeal. That's not scary. That's gross!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN.





Sunday, October 29, 2017

ONE CHIP AT AT TIME

I have of mental picture of my heart. It's encased in a block of ice. Protected.  Every time someone says something mean or hurtful to me, every time someone makes me feel that I am not good enough, a piece of the ice that is protecting my heart chips away. It's like an ice sculpture being carved.The ice chips go flying. I am 60. It has been a lot of years. Soon all the ice that is protecting my heart will be gone. My heart will be exposed. Vulnerable. Unprotected from. the rude and hurtful comments people make.

The kids in high school dropped heavy books to see me jump. They laughed. at me. That's okay. They were kids. They did not know any better. Adults do. I've had comments made about everything from my teeth (I live in a facility so obviously, I must wear dentures.), to my voice, ("You should learn to speak clearer.") Adults have called me names. When the staff sees my call light on, but no one helps me, when the staff hears me calling for help, no one comes, I wet my bed. A piece of the ice chips away. Why am I not important?  What have I done? Why is it okay for me to have an accident? My aide accused me of falling over on purpose when she sat me on side of my bed. A piece of the ice chipped away.when she accused me.She does not understand about my lack of balance. I wish the staff here would learn about CP.

I should be tougher. Shrug the hurtful comments off. That's difficult to do. My tears begin to flow. I visualize the ice that is protecting my heart chipping away.

I realized something. None of this is my fault. I am fine just the way I am. It;s okay to emotional. It's healthy. I empathize with and have compassion for other people. The people that make hurtful comments do it to make themselves feel better. They do it so they can be in control. It's okay to be a dreamer. Being a dreamer helps me in my writing.

The comments still hurt. I know they are not my fault. I  am becoming emotionally stronger every day. Soon I will be able to shrug off the hurtful comments.  The ice around my heart will melt. My heart won't need it anymore. My heart will be able to protect and defend itself on its own.

























Sunday, October 22, 2017

WHERE'S THE SOUP?

I love soup! My mom made the best split pea soup. It was so thick that you could almost eat it with a fork. She spent the day after Thanksgiving making turkey soup. Mom didn't make canned tomato soup with water she made it with milk. I thought this was something that my mom had invented. I have since learned that other people made tomato soup this way too.

The only soup I really won't eat is canned chicken noodle.soup. Growing up, when I had an upset stomach, mom would heat up a can of chicken noodle soup for me. I would eat the soup and drink white soda with it. I am not a fan white soda either. Just thinking about a can of chicken soup and white soda brings to mind bad memories. One morning they accidentally served Sprite to me at breakfast instead of water and.well, I  think I  will save that story for a future blog post

I loved to eat soup. I  had difficulty picking up the bowl.  Mom solved my problem. She bought a soup cup for me. I  could grasp the cup's handle and easily finish my soup.

I enjoy the soup here. Southwestern Tortilla and Clam Chowder are my favorites. I always ask for my soup in a cup, a coffee cup. It has a handle on it making it easy to finish my soup. Several other residents have their soup in a coffee cup too.

There are new coffee cups and bowls in the dining room now. There are even water carafes on every table. There are new soup cups too. That is if you can call them soup cups. They are pretty, white, matching the new coffee cups and bowls perfectly. There is, however, one problem. They are too small. The new soup cups remind me of dining in a Chinese Resturant. You know, the small, dainty cups they serve your egg-drop soup in?  There is nothing wrong with serving soup in small cups.  However, there is a time and a place for everything. When I have soup here,, I want a  real cup of soup.With the new soup, cups I  am finished in four spoonfuls. The first time I saw them I  just looked at them for a second. Surely,. there must be some mistake. I wanted to ask "Where's the soup?' I didn't,  but I wanted to. They still have some of the old coffee mugs. (What a relief!!) If  I remember when I order, I ask for soup in a black.mug.

I  appreciate the changes the new dietary manager is making. We have had new entrees like Pasta Con Broccoli and Shrimp Fettucini. They were delicious. I know that change is good. I  have one request. Please don't get rid of the black coffee mugs. I don't want to have to start asking '"Where's the soup?"












Friday, October 13, 2017

HARVEY


When I moved to this facility I was a mess. Not only was I  forced to leave my home, I left my Maltese, Lucie, too.  She had congestive heart failure.My neighbor took care of her for me. I missed Lucie so much. Every time a small dog visited the facility I would want to pet the dog, but then something about the dog would remind me of Lucie and. I would burst into tears.

 I met Harvey and his dog mom, Jane,.through the gentleman who lived across the hall from me. Randy knew that I loved dogs. He suggested that Jane bring Harvey to visit me.It did not take long for Harvey and me to have a regular date every Monday. Harvey's visits were the only thing that I  looked forward to here.

Harvey was a Shih Tzu. He was all black fur. with big dark eyes.  I must admit Harvey was somewhat aloof when we met  He let me pet him while Jane held him. Sometimes he'd sit on my lap. Those first few months It was difficult to get him to make eye contact with me when I talked to him. Harvey wasn't big on conversation. He loved coming here. He wanted to his job. His job was to bring joy and comfort to all of the residents Harvey did his job extremely well. Everyone here loved him.

Harvey warmed up to me putting his paw on my arm. Then he gave that famous kiss on the nose that I blogged about. That was especially meaningful to me because Lucie used to give me nose kisses too.

Jane and I would talk while Harvey settled down and took a nap on my lap or put his chin on the armrest of my chair. Every visit, Harvey made me feel as like I had a dog again. I didn't miss Lucie quite as much

Life got in the way. Jane and Harvey stopped coming. Jane and I had become friends on Facebook I kept up with Harvey through Jane's   posts.  I'd send little messages to Harvey via Jane's Facebook page. Jane told me that when she said my name Harvey would start barking.

Harvey passed away two days ago. I want to thank Jane for sharing Harvey with me  That was the best gift she could have given to me.

When Jane met Harvey he was living in a horse stall. He went to her. He never left her side. Harvey chose Jane to be his family. He couldn't have chosen a better person.

I'll Miss Harvey. He was one of a kind.

Rest in Peace Harvey. I love you. If you see Lucie, say Hi. She acts like a doggie diva, but she's really a sweetheart.








Sunday, October 8, 2017

I SEE THE LIGHT

October 15th marks the three year anniversary (I'm not sure that is the right word. It is not a day that I celebrate.)  of the day my life changed forever. I moved to this facility.

People told me living here would completely different from the life I'd known for 57 years. I didn't realize how different. Nothing could have prepared me. I wasn't given a handbook when I arrived with a chapter. titled  Adjusting to life in a nursing home in 5 easy steps. Adjusting? Embracing? There was no way. When I thought about this being the place where I would spend the rest of my life. I got very depressed.

I spent my first months trying to figure out how I ended up here. Who was the anonymous individual who reported me to the State of Missouri? Why now? It had been four years since my mom died. If someone felt that I was in unsafe living conditions why didn't they report me right away?   Did someone dislike me intensely enough to turn my life upside down?  These questions went round and round in my head.

The first time I investigated my options for getting out of here I blew it. I let my emotions get the best of me. I was embarrassed.  I was afraid to contact the state again. It would be over two years until I did.

"Shit happens. You move on. You do the best you can." That was the response of the first state social worker I met with. when I told her the good, the bad and ugly of the last seven years of my life. She was very encouraging. I am not sick. I need assistance with activities of daily living.

There were meetings, assessments, and a plan was written outlining the care that I need. A nurse came to assess me. She asked what I enjoyed doing. I told her blogging, writing and being on social media. The nurse wanted to know what I liked to do before I moved to a facility. It was difficult to remember all of the things that I.  did before coming here. I told her I liked bookstores and going out to eat. The nurse was hopeful. I pray it won't be long until I am approved.

I have has been in a dark tunnel for the past three years. I am beginning to see a way out. I see the-the light at end of the tunnel. All I have to do is follow it.