I have seen a lot since I have been here. Some of it has been good, some of it hasn't. All of it unexpected.
The worst thing I have seen since moving here is seeing a black body bag being rolled to the elevator on a gurney. I tried to convince myself that I had stumbled into a bad episode of Law and Order. I knew I hadn't. I knew that the bag that was being rolled down the hall carried one of my floor mates. Someone I knew. I have seen this twice. Both times a chill ran through my body. It made me think about my own mortality. I don't want to die here. You die alone in the care of strangers. Many of whom don't care. I know this is true because aides have told me they are just here to do a job. They don't have time to listen. They don't have time to be compassionate. But, then, there are some aides who are tired and overworked who never complain. They come to work and do their job because they know we need them.
One day, while I was waiting for call-a-ride last fall, I talked to one of the younger residents for a few minutes. When we'd finished talking, the resident got up and began walking down the driveway toward the exit. The sight of the road must have just too much of a temptation. I knew they were not going to make it. Deep down, I am sure, they knew they wouldn't make it. But, I understand why hey had to try. A staff member ran to get them/ They walked past me, back inside the building. The scene has stayed with me. It makes me sad. I hear aides say how they cannot wait to go home. All of us would like to go home too. We don't have a choice.
I see residents lined up in the hall waiting for their medications. Those residents who are unable to swallow pills have them crushed and mixed with pudding. They remind me of baby birds. Their mouths open as they wait for the pudding. Vital signs and weight are checked monthly. Everything's done to make sure we're okay.
I see residents on their way to the shower room. Just a sheet or towel covers them. When it is my turn for this ritual, I make eye contact with no one. I hope we get there quickly.
I see residents who need to be fed. I am thankful I can feed myself.
I see people who are very sick. I am blessed that I am healthy.
I see how happy residents are when family and friends visit. Weekends bring lots of visitors. Everyone is in a good mood. Residents enjoy the times when visitors bring them food. All of us appreciate special meals and treats when we get them.
I see how lucky I am to be able to matriculate my thoughts/ I can speak up for myself. I can make my wishes known. Many residents cannot speak up for themselves.
I have seen a lot here. Too much to put in this post. I see, and I am grateful.