The warehouse seemed to hire more female than male certified nursing assistants, but world-class incompetence knows no gender. For a couple months I endured the misfortune of Kelvin’s assignment to first floor.
Kelvin often barged into my room at 7:25 am and inadvertently woke my weak ass. He’d trot to the dresser and toss his sunglasses and various unseen personal items into my top drawer. Then he’d wheel the squeaky overbed table parked at my feet to the narrow space between my bed and the privacy curtain hanging next to it. Next he’d flourish a clothes iron and plug it into the chest-level outlet on the wall. Finally the overbed table became an ironing board on which he aggressively pressed his white lab coat*, making it presentable for his 7:30 shift. He never asked permission to make my side of the room his base of operations and in fact seemed to take for granted that he could do as he pleased.
I’d already encountered Kelvin. When I first arrived at the warehouse, the administration assigned me to the dreaded third floor because somewhere down the line a fuck-stupid potlicker had labeled me a suicide risk and the warehouse wanted to avoid a wrongful death lawsuit. They relegated people suffering from severe dementia to the third and uppermost story, as far away as possible from visitors and themselves. An overpowering reek permeated the “crazy floor”—the stench of an old moldy carpet on which Death had pissed three weeks previously after drinking from a puddle festering under a dumpster.
The charge nurse had scheduled an appointment for me to visit a doctor—I saw lots of doctors in those days—and Kelvin had been elected to “clean [me] up” before the medivan arrived. Clearly disgruntled by his job, Kelvin bitterly cursed his lot in life as he clumsily threw himself around, presumed to help me dress. When he finished he leaned back and examined me, curled his lip and snarled: “They should just let crippled-up retards like you die.”
I managed a feeble yet heartfelt “Go fuck yourself.”
The rage melted from Kelvin’s face and a caricature of indignation and hurt took its place. His voice cracked and he appeared on the verge of tears while he earnestly insisted that he was “just trying to help peoples like [me]” but he wondered if his efforts mattered to “peoples like [me]” because “peoples like [me] always be direspectin’ [him].” Kelvin not only performed his duties like a psycho, he also whined like a pussy.
* Most CNA’s wore white pants and a white shirt covered by a blue smock, but apparently the administration allowed males to wear lab coats. Kelvin is the only CNA I ever encountered who wore such a frock. My guess: He noticed a ruggedly handsome surgeon on a television medical drama decked out in one and concluded that all medical professionals wear lab coats.