Read Part 1
Suddenly the events of the past nine days bombarded me: dimwitted ambulance drivers, fuck-stupid nurses, arrogant butcher doctors, grotesque hallucinations (and I found out later, Last Rites).
The first thing I learned at the warehouse: Never ask other residents how they’re doing. If you politely ask, say, a co-worker about their health or mood, they usually answer “fine” and that’s that. Inmates at the warehouse responded to such casual inquiry by grousing about their aches, pains, and recent hospital stays; they described in detail the frequency and quality of their bowel movements, the ungratefulness of their children, and ultimately the hardships of securing government handouts. Chirpy do-gooders who took pity i.e. felt superior to elderly and lonely residents reinforced this irritating behavior under the guise of encouraging self-expression. I resolved never to pick up the habit of whining.
Several years into my stay, relentless nausea enveloped me. I couldn’t put my finger on the cause, chalked it up to stress and shitty food. I didn’t complain to the charge nurse but daily guzzled multiple doses of Mylanta (which seemed to me watered down). After a few days, the charge nurse predictably suggested that I go to the hospital. The staff strived to avoid both work and lawsuits—such circumvention took precedence over properly caring for people—and often sent healthy residents to the hospital for minutiae like a garden-variety upset stomach or heartburn. more »