Archive for the 'Long-Term Health Care' Category

I Win a Million Dollars

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

Read I Lose My Arms and Penis To Cancer
Read I Ask Questions

September 11, 1995

Dear Sister XXX,

Guess what? Yesterday I won a million dollars at Bingo. The dog next door told me how to play and he has glowing red eyes and he always talks to me and he says he is my friend. Sometimes he says bad things about God but I think he just needs to go to the bathroom more. No one believes me. Why was I born? more »

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I Ask Questions

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

Read I Lose My Arms and Penis To Cancer

Unfortunately, I no longer have Miss XXX’s replies. I threw them into the garbage, along with other reminders of the warehouse, when I moved into my own apartment. I recently discovered my end of the correspondence saved on an ancient floppy disk. Her letters were brief—just two or three sentences scrawled on undersized dimestore stationary festooned with images of flowers. In her initial reply, Miss XXX informed me that a chaplain visiting her nursing home had christened her a deacon (hence the “Fr.” greeting). She also claimed to “love” and “care about” me. more »

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I Lose My Arms and Penis To Cancer

Friday, September 28th, 2007

One afternoon when I lived at the warehouse, I received a letter. Judging from the poorly sealed envelope, schmaltzy stationary, and shaky handwriting, it appeared that an enfeebled elderly woman had written it. In the brief three-sentence letter she revealed that she herself lived in a nursing home. She explained that she regularly wrote notes to nursing home residents, and signed-off with a call for God to bless me.

Some greenhorn “Up With People”-type psychologist had likely hijacked the poor woman’s good intentions. That’s terrible and awful and everything, but it’s a safe bet that she had allowed the psychologist to hijack her good intentions.

Like most bullies, the controlling powers-that-be in a nursing home—from fuck-stupid CNA’s to the browbeating administration to arrogant visiting MD’s—prey on those weaker than them, the elderly and infirm. more »

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A Thieving Doctor Tells Me My Business

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

Read Typical Reception

If you live in a warehouse, nobody respects your time because everybody assumes you lead a useless life. Many doctors—that is, their lickspittle secretaries—schedule a ridiculous number of needless appointments and unnecessary tests, clearly because the government is footing the bill, and they think warehouse residents have nothing better with which to occupy themselves anyway.

After Celia graced me with her keen insight, she high-tailed out of the office. She returned fifteen minutes later and ushered me into a hallway that led to a myriad of identical examination rooms. I followed her down the hall; she stopped and ordered me to wheel into one of them. more »

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Simple Minds Embrace Clichés

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

After I’d been a patient at the rehab hospital for several weeks, the faceless administration assigned me to the brain trauma floor. My stroke technically qualified as brain trauma, but I’d managed to survive the debacle with my cognitive abilities unscathed. Other patient’s serious injuries had forced them to accept a diminished level of mental competence.

My first roommate appeared to be in his late teens. One afternoon his family—mom, dad, and little sister—showed up for a visit. He greeted them with befuddled grunts. After his father slowly and loudly recited the litany of events leading to his hospitalization, he warmed up and began to mumble at them. more »

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Sanctioned Imbeciles Botch My Appendectomy 3 — Painful Jaunt

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

Read Part 2
My condition became obvious. I conceded to myself that I had no choice but to surrender my life to snooty half-witted dickslaps and their lickspittles. When I informed the charge nurse of the recent development and asked her to phone an ambulance, she seemed delighted. She spent the next half-minute gloating that she’d been correct in her scripted assumption, then scolded that she’d have to finish “passing out meds” before she could tend to me. Only my acute distress kept an angry reaction in check.

The dolt who helmed the ambulance didn’t see fit to flip on the siren. He asked his female partner:

“What’s his problem, again?”

“Stomach pains.”

He sighed. “I’ve dealt with people like him before—probably just has gas. I guess we’re not in a hurry.” more »

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Sanctioned Imbeciles Botch My Appendectomy 2 — Escalating Distress

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

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 »

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Bobby Goes On a Trip

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

My one-time roommate Bobby led a pointless life—unless you consider taking up space, pissing on the floor, and fouling the atmosphere with a pungent reek worthwhile endeavors. But when his crackwhore sister visited him, their prattling vaguely amused me. That and his comically inept burgling provided marginal worldly value to Bobby’s existence.

Particleboard nightstands stood next to each warehouse bed. (A few years into my stay, the administration tried to buy my testicles with a cheap desk from the basement. Their strategy failed but I thoroughly enjoyed my new furniture.) A hinged latch had been screwed to the top of the nightstand, and fit over a metal hasp protruding from the drawer (as was the case with my desk’s main drawer). The administration sold padlocks. Mr. Gold advised residents to buy and use the locks, store valuables in the secured drawer to thwart thieving staff members and dodgy roommates. more »

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The Curse of Mabel

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Mabel packed an ass the size of a small continent. Her gargantuan derriere and beer-barrel legs appeared wildly mismatched to her plump but normally proportioned upper body. The warehouse administration employed Mabel as head nurse. (There’s a joke in there somewhere.) While the stubby angle of mercy pushed a cart filled with medicines and dressings from room to room, she didn’t walk so much as laboriously waddle. When she pulled a graveyard shift, she routinely interrupted the slumber of residents in order to tend to their medical demands. Of course some residents needed round-the-clock care, but clearly not everybody required frequent attention. Shortly after I arrived at the warehouse Mabel woke me at 4:00 am for some reason—I don’t remember why, so the reason couldn’t have been too stellar. more »

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Paratransit Follies — Part 3

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

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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 »

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