Read Part 6
. . . an orderly wheeled me to the rehab floor, where I spent the next couple of weeks in a private room. My newly-appointed caregivers structured my days basically the same as they’d been at the previous rehab hospital. A social worker I met the first day good-naturedly laughed: “This place is just like boot camp.”
Though I still felt exceedingly nauseated and debilitated, I noted a pang of giddiness—at least temporarily, I wouldn’t have to endure an unwashed batshit-crazy roommate. The rehab floor far outshone the warehouse by providing: a clean, intelligent, and hard-working staff (most of them anyway); slightly better than decent food (and lots of it); reasonable frequency of assisted showers (daily instead of biweekly)*; competently prescribed and executed physical therapy. (As always, I found the accompanying occupational therapy a waste of my time albeit a welcome respite, like study hall after calculus.) I’d forgotten that the fairly well-managed department of a health facility can be somewhat lively.
But a small handful of employees on the rehab floor displayed an ineptitude worthy of the warehouse. Most offending staff members conducted themselves as garden-variety fuck-ups that you’d find in any hospital. But two drones distinguished themselves by each giving an outstanding performance in the clueless dumbass category.
I hadn’t bargained for the complications spawned by my appendectomy, so I appeared on the rehab floor without a change of clothes. After the first physical therapy session my therapist mentioned that she’d arranged for the warehouse to forward my garments. (Of course the warehouse CNA’s screwed up and gathered only a fraction of my modest wardrobe.) Before an obviously low-ranking orderly trotted into my room and threw my just-arrived clothes onto the closet floor, I heard her holler to a colleague in the hall: “I be all late for my break an’ shit.” I’m guessing that her mother spent all her time turning tricks and neglected to impose upon her idiot daughter the nessecities of bathing and wearing a clean uniform while working in a hospital.
One middle-aged nurse reminded me of a constipated pug wearing clownish makeup. Whenever I asked about the pills inside the white pleated paper cup she’d handed me, she rolled her eyes and huffed that she “wasn’t about to waste [her] time” identifying my meds and explaining their effects. I would have silently swallowed the pills if she’d provided an appropriate explanation; I felt lousy and gulped them rather than argue with her. After I regained my health, it disturbed me that I’d allowed this amoral frump to treat me like a seventh class citizen, and that she took for granted her superiority to vulnerable people.
* After a few years of self-styled therapy while staying at the warehouse, I found myself virtually able to take care of myself—my repitroire included daily solo showers. But the appendix debacle had stolen most of my strength. While I recuperated on the rehab floor, I needed assistance for routines as basic as transferring from my bed to my wheelchair—just like during my stroke’s halcyon days.