Sunday, November 18, 2007

How did I end up here?

See The Other Mother Blog for an explanation of the following:

Responsibilities: feeding children, bathing children, clothing children, teaching children, working, taking care of my residents, transporting the residents, feeding the residents, clothing the residents, putting residents to bed, protecting the residents, protecting my family, taking husband to the doctor/hospital when needed, driving on family trips, calling my mother, calling my brother, being available for intimacy ... every once in a while, talking to in-laws, calling friends, paying bills, keeping myself clean, laundry, grocery shopping, budgeting, locking the doors at night, making sure we have insurance, making sure we have gas, paying back money I have borrowed, smiling at people, loaning when asked if I can, going to church, tithing, writing in my blogs, wishing people online a happy birthday, doing meme after meme....:)

This is a good topic for me this week. I'm going back to work tomorrow after 3 days off from the doctor due to stress. My blood pressure was 170/110 on Wednesday. I went to the doctor on Friday, where it was like 130/90 (better), but I was having headache and pressure in my chest. So the doctor gave me some different blood pressure medication (lisinopril) and some headache pills. We got the med same day and on Friday I took my blood pressure at WalMart and it was 113/78. I do not remember the last time it was that low. I don't think it's EVER been that low ... except after the epidural when I was in delivery with Brian (my oldest). My bp then had been 180/160 and after the epidural I saw it at 70/40. DH said it went down to 40/30. But I'm still here, almost 11 years later.

But I digress.

So, what would happen if I just checked out ... took off, and left all the pressures in my life behind. Where's my angel, Clarence? (See "It's a Wonderful Life".) At least I hope it would be like that, and that people wouldn't be better off with someone else or at least without me in their lives. (See, I told you it's been a tough one. Normally, I wouldn't think like that.)

Well, work at least has had a mini-taste of what it would be like without me there this weekend. It must have SUCKED for S & J (two of my co-workers). The employees are organized into "teams" to facilitate the scheduling process. It was "B" team's weekend off. Of the 6 employees on my side in my home, 3 are on B team. That leaves just 3 of us on their days off, which is hard enough. Unless they got some good overtime staff, they are probably cursing up a storm, partially at me and partially at the admins who let 3 people be on one team, two on C team and just me on A team.

Last week the federal inspectors were in: DOJ (Department of Justice). We have been doing a LOT of extra things in order to impress them. After all, they hold the future of the facility in their hands. If they think things are going badly enough, they could shut the place down and ship the residents elsewhere.

Tuesday of the week before last, there was a "scent and feel" party at the on facility salon. While I agree that it is nice for the residents (many of whom I consider more friends and family than "residents"), to get out, we were told that EVERY SINGLE ONE of our ladies were going and the home manager handed me individual envelopes with $25 per resident to spend.

Sounds good, right?

The flip side: Out of 7 ladies, 5 are in wheel chairs. We cannot transport a wheelchair and one of the two remaining ladies who do walk (but are unstable) at the same's not safe. We had four staff. One was at dinner. Two were needed to help feed some of the ladies who have a more difficult time with that. So I took one lady up to the salon. This woman has PICA - where people eat or attempt to eat things that are not meant to be eaten. Mostly she goes for strings and such, but in the shower, when you wash her hair she will repeatedly put her hand up into the suds on her head and then stuff them into her mouth. And most of the items they had at this party were lotions. There were a few body sprays (which would have worked) but they were in sets with other things. We wound up getting her a pair of slip on house shoes and two pair of socks. Turns out she can't wear the house shoes because she fell out of them ... as have several other of the ladies.

So what would happen if I weren't there? I like to think that I am a good employee because I actually care about the residents. Of course, the management wants to keep them alive, because once they're more money. I'd like to think it's not as cold and hard as that, but the farther away the administration gets from actual regular contact with the "individuals" (which is the current 'preferred' term for the residents), the less they seem to treat the residents like numbers or units to be managed than living breathing people.

Like this whole "you have to take them out tonight" business, which actually happened two days in a row. And all to show the feds how good we were providing for the residents. IMHO it did the residents more harm than good. If staff from the salon had not come down to help us transport, not all of our ladies would have gotten to go. One lady was supposed to be restricted to the home because of her O2 sats, but the home manager got the doctor to write an order allowing her to go to the salon. This woman had just been in the hospital the week before after a series of seizures (one lasting 20:45 and the other 30 minutes).

Because of that and because the bath on the men's side of the house is broken (we have a fancy-schmancy lift tub because our people cannot get in and out of regular tubs), we are bathing 8-9 people a night in the same tub. After each bath, we had to spay the tub and lift with one disinfectant, let is sit 10 minutes, rinse it off, spray it with another disinfectant, let it sit 3 minutes, and rinse it off. That made each bath (plus sanitization) take about 30 minutes. Thirty x 8 baths = 4 hours. The night at the salon, I didn't get my last bath done until 10:45 pm, 15 minutes before the end of the shift. The lady whom I was bathing normally is in bed by 9:30 at the very latest.

The following day they (some administrators) came in at 6:10 pm and said that we were taking ALL of the ladies to the gym for a gospel quartet concert. One who was quite high up sat and spoon fed a resident, who can feed herself, going faster than that she could go. This was the same woman who has to be on O2 24/7 ... even when she's on the toilet. They built her hopes up about going to the concert. The nurse had to check her out and give an ok before C was actually able to go ... and C's O2 was not high enough, so they told her she could not go. C was crushed. I was angry. The other ladies were still eating dinner and would not even be finished by 6:35, let alone ready to go out in the cold night to a concert.

Two of them had toileting accidents, and needed baths right away, so they did not go (as the night air was too cold). But I approached the home manager and asked to "mention a concern". (Actually I wanted to tell them to pull their heads out of their a$$es and start thinking about the lives, liberty and happiness of the residents, rather than their own jobs ... but I didn't think that would be taken very well.) I explained the deal with the bathing the previous night and my feeling that 10:45 was too late to be bathing people with serious medical and developmental issues. They agreed, but mumbled something about the tub on the men's side not being able to be fixed because a part had to be ordered ... and it could take as long as 3-4 WEEKS!

While I was bathing one of the aforementioned ladies, the home manager came in and told me, that if I had to miss my lunch, to fill out a time slip for it and it would be added into my hours on my check. My feeling was then that if I didn't get a lunch, relatively at the time I was supposed to get it, they would be calling in the Hazmat team to scrape me off the walls, ceiling and floor with a spoon - because I WAS GOING TO EXPLODE!

Well, thanks to a supervisor from another area ... who went above and beyond the call by coming to cover in our home, I was able to go to lunch at the right time. (Side note: I smoked 8 cigarettes in 45 minutes - a dubious "record" for me .... THAT'S how aggravated I was.)

I know I've strayed far from the topic given, but I guess it boils down to this. Did the residents survive before I got there? Yes. Will they survive after I go? Yes. But I hope since I've been there, and for as long as I am there, that their quality of life is a little better than before. (And if I'm REALLY lucky, I'll set a good example for someone who stays longer than I do.)


Oh, and I wrote actually for 28 minutes. Once the lock opened, it didn't want to shut again. ;)

1 comment:

  1. I can only hope that a person with your caring will be around when it's my turn to enter a place like that. Good for you for giving a few people in those places do.