Read Part 2
Many warehouse residents were elderly and/or near death. The chintzy bastard administrator, Mr. Gold couldn’t justify paying a trained therapist to work with a resident, only to watch that resident waste any newly learned physical strategies by dying. The warehouse bosses promoted easily manipulated CNA’s who excelled at making beds and emptying bedpans to revered positions as physical therapists, much like teacher’s pets are chosen to clap erasers. Stupendously lazy young residents didn’t care about the administration’s tacit ban on competent therapists; they rationalized that their own lack of ambition demonstrated a mature acceptance of their bodily deficits. Or maybe they realized physical independence meant an end to their mooching. more »
Archive for the 'Convalescent' Category
Read Part 2
Read Part 1
While staying at the warehouse, I phoned a paratransit company licensed by the city and scheduled a ride to my bank. As the female driver strapped my wheelchair to the floor of the van I noticed a small portable black and white television stationed on the driver’s side of the dashboard. I assumed that during her breaks she parked in a lot somewhere and stared at mindless shows. She glanced at the schedule attached to a clipboard while she absently grabbed my fare. No sooner had she merged into traffic than she switched on the TV; it was tuned to a soap opera.
Three minutes into the journey she complained that she hadn’t eaten breakfast. While the TV blared, the van jerked to a halt in front of a McDonald’s or as she familiarly called the popular fast food chain, Mickey D’s. more »
Back when I almost languished in the warehouse, paratransit companies expected their drivers to follow stringent rules when serving the infirm and disabled—at least that’s what they wanted everybody to believe. (This may have changed, but I doubt it.) The reality of high employee turnover for an underpaid and largely unskilled position (though many unsophisticated drivers insisted otherwise) forced urban paratransit companies to shitcan reasonable standards when hiring workers.*
Cripplevan companies trained their drivers to assist elderly customers as they shuffled up or down the van’s ramp, and to always back wheelchairs in or out of the vehicle—never to push except on level ground. A driver who followed proper procedure used heavy nylon straps to secure the wheelchair to the van’s floor, then fastened a seat belt around the passenger. (I remember once when I reached for the safety strap; the driver ordered me not to move, to let him do it because “I be a trained p’ofessional.”) more »
Cripples and retards are not worthy of respect solely by virtue of their deficit(s). They can be just as amazingly stupid, petty, and annoying as able-bodied and sound-minded members of society. For example, gimps acknowledge a silly hierarchy among themselves: A person born disabled enjoys a higher position on the gimp totem pole than a person fucked up by illness or injury. Christopher Reeve’s antics left the self-righteous in-crips reeling with indignity. more »
Mr. Foley had arrived at the warehouse dependent on an oversized wheelchair. After many weeks of therapy he found himself able to slowly lumber while leaning on a cane. The simple-minded therapists and staff didn’t pay the gargantuan Mr. Foley much attention when he used the chair, but eagerly allowed themselves to be charmed by his dumbed-down sardonic-with-a-heart-of-gold personality when they noticed him walking. I often speculated that Mr. Foley’s brains were in his ass, though that would’ve certified him a genius.
When the administration discharged one of my roommates and I learned that they had dumped Mr. Foley into the bed next to mine, I briefly relaxed—relaxation at the warehouse always wound up marginal and short-lived. more »
My pre-warehouse roommates had always maintained their own area in our shared dwelling. They regularly used soap and for the most part knew when to make themselves scarce. But while I vacationed at the warehouse, the administration almost always assigned an unwashed and inconsiderate dimwit to the bed only two-and-a-half feet away from mine. The staff and the other residents considered me an uppity asshole because I chose to draw the privacy curtain hanging from the ceiling around my bed, thus defining a personal cubbyhole.* And I’d demonstrated the habit of rejecting the staff’s minor-league bullshit instead of cowering and blindly accepting anything thrown my way.
While I enjoyed a welcomed but way too brief period without a roommate, a guy in his early fifties strolled into my room. more »
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 »
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 »
Questionably skilled but consummately arrogant MD’s descended on the warehouse every couple weeks to examine residents. They depended on the charge nurse behaving like a shameless lickspittle, scampering behind them and juggling charts while they made their rounds. When the duo entered a room, the nurse informed the preoccupied doctor of the occupant’s condition and its progress or deterioration. (There’s nothing quite as pathetic as a wide-eyed simpleton striving to gain the confidence of an uninterested taskmaster.) While the nurse groveled in the background and scribbled notes, the doctor examined the resident and intermittently deadpanned statistics and generic comments. They both usually ignored questions posed by the resident. more »