Archive for the 'Nurse' Category

The Administration Alleges a Charge Nurse Is John Wayne

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Some psychologists associate John Wayne Syndrome with post-traumatic stress disorder. Other shrinks claim the Duke’s namesake pathology spawns testosterone-engorged megalomania and heavy-handed impulsive behavior. The warehouse administration used their interpretation of John Wayne Syndrome to blame a devoted night nurse for their unlawful neglect.

At any given time, two or three wit-challenged high school girls worked weekdays part-time in the basement laundry room. This schedule allowed them to attend weekend classes at LaBabette’s Academy of Beauty and dream of the butt implants they’d get when their careers as beauticians took off. Repeatedly my clothes came back from the laundry splotched with large bleach stains or permeated by the pungent reek of decay and old people piss. But I should point out: Mr. Gold treated them like retarded children, an extraordinarily foul aroma fomented in the plastic laundry barrels delivered by CNA’s, they slaved in a cramped and sweltering space. Those conditions wouldn’t have motivated me to do a bang-up job either. more »

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“Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” My Ass

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

My cramped quarters in the warehouse lay a stone’s toss away from the dayroom. Sometimes a dumpy middle-aged woman carried a Casio Mini-Keyboard into the dayroom and plopped her ass onto a folding chair in front of a bunch of bewildered geezers, who wondered why she’d switched off the television. She and her Thalidomide musical instrument always managed to instigate sing-alongs that included beloved ditties like “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” and “How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?” (complete with “Arf arf!” responses to the musical question). She would begin playing and warbling; pretty soon the geezers would join in, caterwauling and clapping slightly out of time with the rinky-dink drum machine. more »

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Bob Drunkenly Authorizes a Wandering Bracelet

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

After the administration transferred Mort to God knows where, a middle-aged schlub named Bob moved into my room. Clearly, Bob didn’t qualify as mentally disabled but demonstrated he possessed the mind of a witless child—which is a semi-polite way of saying he was stupid.* Whenever some nosy CNA asked why he’d landed at the warehouse, he‘d answer simply, “Heart condition.” (“Heart conditions” were extremely popular among male residents.)

One morning at around 6:30 Bob managed to foul up the flushing mechanism in the toilet. He and he alone would reproduce this blunder at least once a week—as a young child I’d figured out how to properly flush. 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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Rehab Staff Treats Me Like a Disobedient Child

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Roughly two weeks after my arrival at the rehab hospital, an orderly wheeled me to the wing where a surgeon would evaluate the drop foot on my right side.* Though my nurses chirped that such surgery would jumpstart my recovery, I found myself involuntarily wallowing in disorientation and nausea. I’d sat upright only days previously for the first time in more than a month, during which time I’d languished in a coma. When coupled with the fact that I wasn’t accustomed to sitting in a wheelchair, it became understandable that I couldn’t carry myself in what is generally accepted as a dignified manner. In the doctor’s wing, about halfway down the main hall, the orderly who pushed my chair suddenly stopped and scolded me: “Sit up straight and don’t look so sick. People be starin’ at me.” I can’t understand why she got her panties in a bunch; apparently she was oblivious to her whereabouts.

Eventually a faceless doctor—different from the one I’d met—performed the surgery. Afterward I had to wear a cast that extended from above my knee to the bottom of my toes. One week later, a different orderly wheeled me to the wing where I’d met with the surgeon; I had an appointment with a cast-removing-guy. more »

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Typical Reception

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

Read First Leg of My Hand Odyssey

Years after the warehouse administration admitted me, I decided I needed surgery on my right hand. A hand surgeon practiced in a labyrinth of offices and lab facilities that sprawled throughout a cavernous brick building, located on a college campus in downtown Chicago.

I allowed for chronically unpunctual cripplevans when I scheduled a ride¹ to my 2:30 appointment with the digit butcher. In my experience doctors always show up late—like the pusher in “I’m Waiting For My Man”—and imagine they’re doing a tremendous favor for you by making an appearance. Patient’s are at their mercy and they know it. more »

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First Leg of My Hand Odyssey

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

Years after the warehouse administration admitted me, I decided I needed surgery on my right hand. I figured there must exist a procedure that would relieve the tendons that forced my fingers to curl inward towards the palm. I especially hoped that surgery would render my thumb somewhere in the neighborhood of opposable—it would never regain the complete functionality I was used to. A hand surgeon practiced in a labyrinth of offices and lab facilities that sprawled throughout a cavernous brick building, located on a college campus in downtown Chicago. I’d grown accustomed to tardy cripplevans and lengthy interviews with secretaries and interns before the doctor graced me with a brief and invariably overdue appearance.

There are few people more irritating than receptionists and assistants that work in doctor’s offices. 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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Go Fetch

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Warehouse living—or whatever happy-ass euphemism a clueless social worker might use—routinely dehumanizes residents. What’s more insidious is that warehouse administrations blame the infirm for their own subjugation. Before the warehouse consented to admit me, they insisted that I scrawl my misshapen John Hancock on an assortment of legal documents that gave the staff legal permission to open my mail, snoop through my drawers, administer what they deemed “appropriate” medical care, and generally butt into my business. They also required that I authorize the state government to address my benefit checks in care of the warehouse, and permit the administration to disperse my dough as they saw fit. more »

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Sanctioned Imbeciles Botch My Appendectomy 7 — Boot Camp

Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

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. more »

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