The Cast of Characters

Yesterday, I was told that my last day will be March 26, 2013. Because I know that date is less than two weeks away, I thought a review of personnel would be timely.

Staff:  Most of the younger staff look a lot like clones — of whom, I know not, but she was small, slight, with pixie features and brown hair in a pony tail. This origin of the species, in this place at least, was cheerful, helpful, and quite dedicated to her job, as are all her clones. Telling them apart has become something of a chore — the Occupational therapist and the Physical therapist look very much alike, thoughtheir personalities differ as a function of their jobs. I prefer OT, though I enjoy them both. PT is straight exercise, while OT is becoming much more about moving safely while cleaning, cooking, and other basic home chores. My OT and I are going on our first home visit tomorrow, which will offer her a chance to bring to my attention any dangerous or potentially dangerous situations, like food too high or too low in the pantry, or the fridge, or bending and reaching into the oven. SHe will also assess my need for special equipment; I expect to need this walker for at least a couple of weeks after I leave Horizons. The next couple of weeks will involve more and more of those kinds of tasks, while PT will continue on strength building and range of motion.

The charge nurses are as different from each other as the CNAs are alike. Mary Alice has pretty well adopted me, and she is quickly becoming quiteS familiar with the vagaries of insulin dosing. She is a little high strung, and she is still thrown by blood sugars higher than norm, but I have worked hard, explaining all of the different situations which can affect blood glucose levels, and she is far more settled each day. My favorite nurse, Mary Ellen, is my wing’s night nurse, (whose name I had to ask once again tonight — my memory for names is almost gone, at least for short term recollection.) She is jolly and relaxed and friendly, without the sudden gasps and worries of some of the others. MAry Ellen understands that we are not in an ICU, and not everything is drastic. The head nurse, Linda, is mostly in her office, but I’ve had a couple of opportunities to meet with her, including early today, when she remarked on my improvement after stopping the Ultram. (Ultram was the cause of another day of hallucinations last week, as well as turning me into a zombie. Many staff members remarked today on the improvement they see in me.)

That’s the staff. Now let’s meet a couple of the residents.

Bea is a lovely woman with whom I occasionally share a table. Often she is attended for the day by her husband, who is as jolly as a department store Santa. He knows most of the residents by name, and everybody smiles some when he comes into the room. He is very attentive, and he and Bea are obviously very much in love. (Bea confessed to me, the first day we sat together, that her real name is Beulah, but she doesn’t want to hear it from anyone besides her husband.)

Marian is very interesting, but sad. At first I thought her completely unreachable — she would sit quietly, nodding and falling off to sleep, and then she’d suddenly feel threatended, or left out, and begin to repeat, in a loud and plaintive voice, such phrases as “May I please?” “Can I go?” Or saddest of all, “Is it safe?” This continues until someone moves her, or comes over and sits with her. One morning, after a few days of this, Marian suddenly became much more aware of the people around her. She addressed each of us, asking our names and seeming to remember, at least for a few minutes. She told me about her family of birth, with ten children, and the many times they created new ways to accomplish tasks or games that would otherwise not be available to them. We enjoyed a couple of meals in this manner, and then, sadly, the blank stare came back into her eyes, and she returned to her pleas of “Is it safe?” òr ” May I please?”

I feel as comfortable here as I can — I have not made a lot of friends, but I’m on a smile and greet basis with most everyone. The staff members with whom I have become close are talking already about me leaving. One of the CNAs said that she wished I would get a job here, because she thinks I could do this work easily and well. I have to say, however, that my work history will be just as rich and fulfilling if it doesn’t include asking adults if I may wipe their butts. I understand the need, and I would actually enjoy working with some of these residents, but I am not strong or patient enough, by far, to expend the necessary energy they all require. I am happy that I’ve been here — actually really happy — but I’ll be happy to go home.


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