A clumsy and unsophisticated nine-year-old controlled Josh’s gnarled body though he biologically approached middle age. I had only seen Josh from afar and, based on his diminutive frame and immature behavior regarded him as a vaguely simple-minded young adult. His spasmodic pigeon-toed gait and palsied gestures advertised his physical condition before he opened his mouth. We met when he moved into my room. Up close, his weathered face revealed his age. I also realized that he smelt funny and wore an elastic band around his head to keep his generic black glasses in place, just like the pussy kid in your grade school. He immediately started jabbering, tried to introduce himself. I guess he got sick of my repeatedly begging his pardon, so he finally used a twisted finger to point to the nametag on a pair of his briefs. more »
Archive for the 'Certified Nursing Assistant' Category
Immediately after I entered the hospital, my doctors spewed their quarter-assed diagnosis at my parents who passed it along to my grandmother. She (like most people) regarded the conclusions drawn by white male doctors beyond reproach. News of their—and in fact everyone’s—irresponsible speculation prompted her to write a letter to me, her ill-bred wicked grandson. In it she expressed her hope that enduring this stroke fiasco would somehow “save” me. The correspondence caught me off guard because though she counted herself as a devout Catholic, she had never impressed me as a woman inclined to use what amounted to a popular catchphrase.
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. more »
The warehouse administration strove to methodically whittle away a resident’s peripheral reality and impose a manageable illusion of reality for the purpose of nurturing dependence and therefore obedience. Though the administration cultivated a high profile, for all practical purposes the flying monkey CNA’s ran the show.
The majority of certified nursing assistants employed by the warehouse were mouth-breathing soap-free scuzzbuckets who didn’t know shit from apple butter (though they had memorized the protocols of visiting incarcerated boyfriends and relatives). Occasionally some chirpy twat determined to save the world managed to slip through. more »
The warehouse should have retired Miss Witt like state governments should revoke driver’s licenses issued to dazed coots who imagine they’re driving a bumper car when they get behind the wheel of their Olds. Though the aging CNA maintained good intentions and a friendly demeanor, her job performance had slowly but steadily degraded. Mr. Gold, the kewpie doll-sized administrator interpreted any questioning of Miss Witt’s abilities as a threat to his authority.
New patients regularly arrived at the warehouse from a hospital. The hyper-stupidity of the administration undermined efficient communication between the warehouse and the hospital involved, and a considerable number of ambulance attendants and cripplevan drivers were thieves. more »
Anger and indignation overwhelmed me when sycophantic nurses at the rehab hospital forbade me access to my file. Yet CNA’s not associated with me freely scrutinized the documents describing my case. They believed that my cognitive abilities were fried and openly gossiped about their findings in my presence.
CNA’s often went out of their way to snoop into a patient’s file. One afternoon two obese soap-dodging pork-monsters who reeked of cheap perfume waddled unannounced into my room. I’d never seen them before. One of them snatched the manila folder from my nightstand where a preoccupied doctor had left it, opened it and riffled through its contents. She moved her lips as she scanned each document for juicy information. One document captured her attention. Her eyes bulged while she turned to her colleague and like a grade-schooler noticing a classmate’s mischief intoned: “Awwwww, it say here he tried to kill hisself. That’s a sin against God.” She nodded her head to demonstrate her simple-minded pious authority. more »
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Because most licensed doctors recognize a dead patient as a potential lawsuit, they initially performed a tracheotomy on me. I remember during my time in the ICU when I wore a string like a choker around my neck. (I’m sure there was more to it, but at the time it seemed just a string.) An either overzealous or incompetent nurse had tied the string too tightly and it mercilessly dug into the nape of my neck—I host the permanent furrows that prove I’m not whining like a drama queen. I literally couldn’t make a sound, much less complain. more »
Another cherished warehouse memory features Tim getting blind drunk and shitting on the linoleum floor in front of our shared closet.
Tim had been sloshed and passed out after mewling about the unfairness of life. After he had woken from forty-five minutes of fitful slumber I heard him stir, immediately unlock the drawer in his nightstand and fumble for a bottle—undoubtedly a pint of cheap vodka. Then I heard him unscrew the cap and guzzle a healthy measure. more »
I assure you that I think everyone should cut slack for people plagued by involuntary physical, mental, or emotional handicaps. But self-pitying dysfunctional assholes that choose not to help themselves aren’t worthy of my or anyone else’s respect regardless of whether or not they’re handicapped. During my involuntary stint at the warehouse I noticed that many residents did not suffer from an overwhelming condition that required round-the-clock medical attention. more »