Well, when Andrea is here, she’s the boss. She owns Rose Blossom. When she’s not here, the caregiver, whoever that may be at the moment, is the boss. Right now, the caregiver is Glenda. She’s kind, has a good sense of humor, and is a good cook. Jo is doing all she can to ruin this situation. Jo is Andrea’s “Golden Girl”. Jo thinks she has the right to run things around here, which generally irks the rest of us, especially if we appreciate the caregiver and Jo, with her Grinchy attitude, decides to make the caregiver miserable. Today is New Year’s Day. Happy, Happy. For lunch , we get a half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and starve our way to 3:00, when our “traditional” (not MY traditional dinner on New Year’s Day, but Andrea doesn’t listen to me) New Year’s Day dinner will be served. Ham, blackeyed peas, turnip greens. Or collards. Corn bread. White rice. Thrill. I can’t eat ham. Dr’s orders. I spoke with Andrea, who is an RN, about my diet , at length. It has made no difference. At this moment, both legs are swollen. I was surprised at Christmas that she didn’t give me a box of Morton’s salt. With a tablespoon.
Anyway, I am going to take my life into my hands and and ask for several slices of bread before Andrea gets here. Bread and hot tea usually get the fluids out of my system. So, Happy New Year. Here’s hoping you have a wonderful day and a wonderful year ahead. 🎉🎈🎊🎈🎺🎈🎶🎈
The Communists always required complete cooperation from their citizens. Parents like for their children to cooperate fully with the rules that they set down for them. If not, some form of punishment usually follows for the transgressor. Communists use punishment for those who transgress their rules and laws , also. The difference between parents and Communists is vast, however, one difference being that parents usually love their children while Communists only tolerate their citizens. While parents loathe the punishment they dish out, Communists relish theirs. Communists will go so far as to set traps for some citizens just so they will be able to remove these people from their positions of authority in the Communist’s society and punish them. Americans call this “railroading” a person. It’s what’s done to an innocent person, one who has committed no offense or crime but is accused, taken to court, and accused to further the purposes or agenda of another person or group.
The nursing home I attended for 3 years was definitely Communist. Residents were accused, sent to a psychiatrist to judge, condemn, put on medication, and all to further the agenda of the staff of the nursing home. The agenda being: soak more money from Medicaid or Medicare. Compete cooperation was required of the residents there, which meant no calling the Ombudsman. No refusing any medication. Total and complete cooperation was required or intimidation would be forthcoming and soon.
Rose Blossom has followed the funeral, ah, nursing home ‘s. game plan. Complete cooperation or else. Although sometimes, even complete cooperation isn’t enough. They just don’t want you here. At all. They don’t want me here. At all. I have cooperated fully and completely. I feel like a cooked chicken. I’ve been in your oven, you cooked me to your temperature, and now you don’t want me. It’s very tiring to cooperate and be bullied. Very tiring.
I think I have discovered what it is that I don’t care for at Rose Blossom. The Owner demands complete control over us when she is here. She is here now. There are five of us here. Two get freedom of speech and a relaxation that the other three aren’t blessed with. Especially myself. I believe I have solved that mystery, the mystery of the lies Owner gives to my aunt. The baseless accusations against me from Golden Girl and Owner. In short, the continuous bullying. Owner and Golden Girl attend church with my aunt. Were my aunt a gossipy woman, their reputations would be shot. My aunt is obviously not a gossip, which protects their rather feeble reputations, but they just keep picking at me. At least, Owner does. Had I somewhere else to go, I would be there. I would leave so fast no one would see my departure.
I had 6 months of Caregiver’s bullying. It bothered me so much I couldn’t sleep at night. The last time she yelled at me was the day before she left. Owner decided to take her place. Christmas party is tomorrow. Owner is cooking dinner. Lots of salt. Think I will eat in my room. Or bring my own food to the table. My ankles swell so bad from all the salt these Jamaicans use, in spite of my doctor’s orders. I give up. They can just get offended all over the place. They accuse me falsely anyway, so often that this feels like the funeral, ah, nursing, home. I must care for myself. These people obviously don’t care for me. They sure like my checks though.
I was making out Christmas cards today, writing out little notes to put in them to let my friends know that I miss them, I am always thinking of them, and I am so grateful for their friendship. These cards are going to nursing home friends. I was doing all right until I got to the note I was writing, or should be writing, for my friend Carolyn. Carolyn is special. We share a sense of humor, and we both like to laugh a lot. Carolyn told me she came there after a car accident in which both legs were injured. According to her, she has a husband and three sons, none of whom come to see her. She keeps pictures of them. She has shown them to me.
I have loved Carolyn from the time I laid eyes on her! Her smile was beautiful. She had thick, black hair, and she was friendly to me and I was a stranger to her. We became friends almost instantaneously. I think God arranged this friendship. It has been a good one.
Until I began to attempt my note to her for her Christmas card. My heart just dropped. Carolyn began having problems with her stomach the second year I was in the nursing home. She would throw up repeatedly. Staff decided Carolyn had raided the drink machine and gotten a Sprite, and refused to clean her up, to teach her a lesson. As a matter of fact, Carolyn HAD enjoyed a Sprite. A Sprite and some chips. Totally forbidden fruit. The diet the kitchen had her on left her hungry–starving, actually. I knew another lady there who began refusing her meals, which were identical to Carolyn’s meal, and was eating the sweets people brought her. Her sister finally moved her to another nursing home. Carolyn had no one to look out for her. She told everyone she was hungry. All the time. I suggested more flavor in her food, but hunger reigned. She finally had surgery on her stomach, and all was going to be well, except that the vomiting began again. Last I heard, my friend was in bed all the time, vomiting.
So. What do I say to my friend? “Are those idiots cleaning you up now? or are they just as mean as ever?” They were always mean to Carolyn. Leaving her in her own vomit was just one way they got revenge on her for being sick. Tattnall ought to be closed down. It’s a nasty place. But what do I say to my friend? I have no idea. I have to mail my Christmas cards tomorrow. I pray for inspiration before then. Thanks for listening.
I thought I would find a certain measure of freedom here at Rose Blossom, and I have. I have also discovered that this idyllic setting has included struggles for me. Struggles provided by the owner through carelessly choosing an abusive caregiver. Struggles from discovering that certain people prefer to believe that the owner is a wonderful person and the caregiver given a bad rap.
What are elderly persons to do when, for convenience sake, others pooh at them, preferring to believe all is well? So, we have the Ombudsman. She is one safeguard. If those in authority choose not to cooperate with her, that’s the end of that conversation. Then there’s the nurse. She’s always interested, and ready to report any abuses that are happening, particularly those that pertain to health. Then there’s the State. So far, I have heard of, and witnessed, the State satisfying building requirements, but never making judgements on residents’ abuse.
Our caregiver was one who lost her temper for a week at a time. Just when the hurricane had settled, some lesser winds would be stirred up and ugliness would be spilled out all over Rose Blossom, or on just a couple of people. Mealtime became a time to see which way the wind was blowing and how hard. Meals were happy occasions before this caregiver came. Now, we are prisoners being fed. We must put up with her abuse or else.
My question: Where are the safety guards for careless owners of small personal care homes who hire abusive caregivers? I have found no safety guard. With a mentally ill person acting as caregiver, this could be dangerous. The owner/RN is out of town most of the time, so everything is left to the caregiver. What are the residents to do? Who do they call? No one. There is no one in line who will trust them about this abusive person except the Ombudsman, who has the least power. Seniors in homes such as Rose Blossom need the power to report these employees to someone who will actually protect them. This would solve the problem. Bribes and lies don’t solve anything.
Drama Queen, otherwise known as the caregiver here at Rose Blossom, is leaving tomorrow at 12:00 noon. What a relief. This woman can be so nice and then turn around and be mean as all get-out. This evening at supper, I asked her for some ice and water. She slammed something down, turned to me, and said, ” You will have to wait a minute, you know. You can wait a minute, you know that?” I responded gaily,”No! I didn’t know that! Thanks for telling me!” She brought the ice and water to the table and, of course, put them out of my reach. She is one nasty jerk. I never know when she might jump all over me. She is truly one person I will never miss. Trying to guess her moods is impossible, and she always picks on me, Zelma, and once, Melinda. Why she picks on me, I don’t know. She probably thinks she’ll find an argument in me. I leave her alone. Just once I told her to go somewhere else because, I said, I don’t feel like this right now. She left. I also told her once that she is a bully. She just laughed. She doesn’t care who she hurts. I am looking forward to seeing Zelma being happy and laughing again after this bully leaves. Before Sheena, Queen of the Jungle came, Zelma was happy and outgoing. After being fussed at continually by this “caregiver “, Zelma just looks sad, and doesn’t speak unless spoken to. Zelma is in a wheelchair and suffers from some dementia. She has pain to deal with. Privately, I have dubbed Sheena our “griefgiver”, because the care she gives us involves so much bad temper. She is so mean , so ugly, that she actually expects Zelma to remember certain things she’s told from day-to-day. Zelma can’t. Of course, Juliet really just doesn’t want to have to deal with any of us. And for my part, I gave up on her a long time ago.
This isn’t going to be a funny story. Our caregiver, whom I have dubbed the Drama Queen because of her temper tantrums, ugly remarks to residents, and bad temper in general, has been at it again. Since I have been short on sleep, I haven’t been able to deal with caregiver’s teenaged behavior with my usual good grace. Caregiver always picks on me and Zelma, a lady in a wheelchair who is also afflicted with dementia, but that day she picked on Melinda, a woman born with an affliction that left her with many physical problems. She walks with a walker, but sort of drags one foot. She has a struggle, and here comes Caregiver, Queen of the Jungle, raising Cain with her because the cap on one of her liquid medications was loose and spilled. God forbid! Queenie put the bottle up, but it was Melinda’s fault. Jungle Woman blames everyone but herself for her mistakes. Me, Zelma, Melinda, even Jo, her only real friend here, as the rest of us just tolerate her. Barbara is the only one she hasn’t attacked. Barbara makes herself invisible, rarely speaking and never voicing an opinion save in the confines of her room. When Sheena, the cat woman, attacked Melinda, quiet, gentle Melinda was upset. Her hands were shaking.
I am still upset. After a week of anger strewn recklessly towards anyone at will, I don’t want to be around Juliet again for a while. My nerves can’t take it. I’m eating lunch and supper in my room. Juliet, alias Caregiver, alias Catwoman, can use her claws on somebody else. Not me. I am going to be quiet in my room and try to regain my sanity before I say anything I’m told I shouldn’t to Miss Sheena. Frankly, if I had to live in the jungle with an animal like that, I would gather the other animals together and kill the offender. Unfortunately, I can only keep my mouth shut.
On Thanksgiving, my daughter Sherry came to visit and take me out to eat dinner at the local Cracker Barrel! It was fun. We both ordered the Thanksgiving dinner, which my daughter gobbled up like there was no tomorrow, and I ate what I could. It was good. Sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, dressing with gravy, biscuits ( that I brought home with me) and sweet potato pie, which I also brought home with me. Boy ! Was that pie delicious! I found myself wishing I had bought a whole pie 🥧!
What does this have to do with bedbugs you say? Well, the day before Thanksgiving, Caregiver had treated a lady’s room for bedbugs. This particular room has been infested since before I got here. I was told that Owner called in professional exterminator to get rid of these little demons, but the exterminator must have been a cheap one , like the one she uses to get rid of the never ending family of roaches . He didn’t get rid of either the roaches or the bedbugs. Just made them a tad nauseous so they had to stay home for a while. So now! Here we are again!
I am told I should report this mishap on the Owner’s part, and hope that this time she will actually spend some money to rid Rose Blossom of bedbugs at least. The trouble with this? I will report the situation. Everyone will become angry with me for upsetting the status quo. Owner will call my aunt and tell her I cannot stay here anymore. Then, when State comes to make sure bedbugs are on ice, the stinking little bugs that survived the cheap exterminator will be hiding and it will certainly LOOK 👀 like they are gone. Case closed. End of story. Except for the lady in the room with the bedbugs, and she gets bit.
So what to do. Play another game of trying to get something done when Owner couldn’t care less, State won’t check the room thoroughly, and the situation will remain? Or tell the Ombudsman exactly what WILL happen and what NEEDS to happen. Then if she says , Sorry. I can only do so much, give up. I have no idea. I do know this. My mother always said you had to pass a moron test to work for the government. I believe she was right on target.
Everyone loves Thanksgiving dinner. The traditional turkey and dressing, gravy, potatoes in some form. Sweet potato casserole !!! With marshmallows on top! Yummy…not to mention green bean casserole and maybe macaroni and cheese, the way my son makes it, with some vodka in it. Delicious. And maybe a fruit salad. Homemade biscuits. Pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and apple pie! I get hungry just making out the menu! My mother always added broccoli casserole that we all liked, and other fillers when there got to be so many of us. Us kids brought dishes, too, recipes the others hadn’t tried yet. It was fun to see everyone digging in and enjoying this feast of food and fellowship. This seemed to be the one time of year when bickering ceased. Old arguments were left at the door, and pure enjoyment had its way. This is why God instituted the art of thanksgiving in our lives. He recommends this practice highly because a constant giving and thankful attitude leaves us time to live our lives in the most wonderful, enjoyable ways ever. My father had always tried to teach this to me and to my brothers and sister, and while I know we fall short of living this way, we always come back around to gratitude as a way of lifting ourselves up in difficult times, and giving thanks as a form of discounting the bad that has happened. It works. It works for me because I trust God with my life.
You heard right. We have a drama queen here. Not a Dairy Queen. Wish it were a Dairy Queen. No, this Drama Queen is the Caregiver, Juliet. I must say she has the right name for a drama queen. She has always been bossy. Totally undiplomatic. Towards two of us here at Rose Blossom. Only two. When she is good, she is very, very good. But when she is bad , I start using conjunctions to begin my sentences . My eighth grade English teacher taught me better, but, gee, Mom, everyone is doing it! So I just jump in with my frustration and go fishing with conjunctions.
This woman will have a week or two of normal, calm, easygoing behavior, then WHAM!!!! Drama Queen strikes again! Unfortunately. At mealtime, say with spaghetti, the pasta is undercooked and the meat sauce is sparse on top of this treat. Yeah. The dishes are washed noisily and the cabinet doors are punished for allowing Queenie to open them. It hurts me to hear them slammed so hard. Then we are treated to a rundown of our faults and shortcomings. In my imagination I am stuffing something large and round in her mouth during this tirade, and eventually I go to my room and breathe. She gets on my last nerve, probably, because I know I haven’t seen the last of the temper tantrum. I have a whole week to enjoy watching her frown and sputter like a car out of gas. As for the dog, she doesn’t miss the dog. She yells at her also and runs her off from wherever she may happen to be. Thing is, we’re supposed to to just sit and take it. Take the bad food. Take the yelling. Take the banging and slamming and impatience. Until we, or I, just want to kick her and tell her to “Straighten up! For goodness sake! Who do you think you are? Someone special? You’re not. So shutup!”
I don’t though. I do what any sensible person would do when she’s having a nervous breakdown: I call the Ombudsman! Or text her. It may not achieve anything like a solution, but it makes me feel better. Then again, the Queen has been noted to calm herself after the call to the Ombudsman, so maybe some good was accomplished. My nerves began settling back in place, for one thing. I calmed down as Miss Moody calmed down. I feel more human, instead of like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. I am able to think. Relax.
Drama of the nature that the Queen dishes out is definitely not healthy for her or even for her one friend here, Jo. It wears all of us out. It’s not good. I will certainly be glad when she leaves. In December, at the end. Lord, hasten the day!