Bob Drunkenly Authorizes a Wandering Bracelet

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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Mr. Gold Confiscates Larry’s Gun

October 24th, 2007

Once, I saw Larry in the rehab room and casually asked how he was doing.* He regarded me like I wore a turd my head, and replied in his raspy voice, ”Lousy.”

A stroke had jumbled Larry’s speech and gifted him with a shuffling limp. The ever-present unlit cigar lodged in his mouth left the charge nurses and CNA’s disgruntled. I knew that he pissed most of his days away in the basement cafeteria/smoking area, gossiping with his moth-eaten clique. When he moved into my room, I considered that he might prove himself a good fellow inmate by virtue of his almost constant absence. I later found out that I’d guessed right about the “constant absence” part, but even the brief periods I interacted with Larry made me want to go through a carwash. more »

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I Win a Million Dollars

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

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

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

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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I Ignore Unnecessary Surgery

September 5th, 2007

Read A Medical Technician Uses Me As an Inanimate Teaching Aid

After roughly 45 minutes of studious poking and prodding, the EMG ended. There weren’t any bodily tissues or fluids that needed to be sent to a lab for analysis; a trained medical professional i.e. the labcoat lady should’ve been able interpret the available data. But when I asked for the verdict, she told me I’d have to talk to my doctor “in a few weeks.” Before I could open my mouth to debate her, she’d rushed out the door.

The day after the labcoat lady and her students administered the test, I phoned my alleged hand surgeon’s receptionist, Celia. She curtly sighed and told me that six weeks from then was the soonest she could schedule an appointment. Usually the head nurse working the day shift at the warehouse made a resident’s medical appointments. Since the potential surgery had been my idea, and given the nursing staff’s inability to concentrate on issues not closely monitored by the shrew of a head nurse, I decided to initiate the follow-through myself. more »

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A Medical Technician Uses Me As an Inanimate Teaching Aid

August 22nd, 2007

Read A Thieving Doctor Tells Me My Business

My alleged hand surgeon ordered that I be tested for carpal-tunnel syndrome. His receptionist scheduled the test for three weeks from then. During those weeks I researched the condition; the basic facts made clear the patent unlikelihood of my suffering from it. But I guess the hand surgeon had kids in college.

A colleague of my alleged hand surgeon administered the test while three of her students took notes. This noble display of scholarship occurred only a few steps from my alleged hand surgeon’s complex i.e. office.

Nobody among the young females that had followed the labcoat-wearing woman into the room spoke much English. Their refusal to make eye contact with me, or acknowledge my existence as a sentient being and not an inanimate learning tool rendered any language barrier moot. more »

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A Thieving Doctor Tells Me My Business

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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Typical Reception

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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