Transparent tragedies

The News has been full of HealthCare horrors.
The Media is focused on disrespect or perceived disrespect to Seniors.
First up was the glaring attention on a longtime married couple in the interior of the Province who were separated when the wife required Extended Care and the husband was intermediate. The wife was shipped off to a new facility in a new city an hour or so away and died within a short time. Away from her husband.

Nanaimo Regional Hospital was next up and has stayed up at bat for over a month as families come forward with more and more stories about inattention in the ER ward. It is not a new thing nor is it something easily band-aided but with the Media staring and taking notes it is an easy target. This week it was an elderly man dying on a gerney in the hallway with not even a blanket and now, today, an elderly Volunteer at the Hospital gift shop beaten to death by a raging patient. It all comes down to the same thing: not enough of any type of staff and droves of critics.

We pride ourselves on being a civil and gunfree society but noone told the bad guys. We need better security in Hospitals. We need more positions like the old-time Clerks who can hand out things like blankets and walk around giving indications of how things are going. Obviously critical care has to come first but equally obviously something is wrong when an elderly man who was IN CARE is sent to hospital to die in a hall. I think the family is asking the wrong questions. Why could he not die in the dignity of his own room in the place he resided?

I can tell you why but you won't like it. I don't like it either.
There are private care Facilities with beautiful rooms and lovely names where the client pays a big rent and must take dinner daily in the gracious and lovely dining room with others. The cost is generally $1000 a month for this dinner and housekeeping. Security locks at the front and back doors off the spacious lobbies are welcoming features for families who fly in to see all is well. There is a reception area there and an office manned by a $12 dollar an hour person. It's all very nice. If you are renting it is around $1700 and up and if you are buying it is close to $200,000 IF you can find one. Most places prefer renters. So your rent and your $1000 a month and you are in business.
If you require assistance you press their lifeline which is in each room. Do they come and help you? No. They come and wait with you for the ambulance they have called.

Some of these places take extended care as well and charge for every single event they are involved with. If a Care-aid hands you your pills it costs you $15 each time. If a Nurse beit LPN or RN hands you those same pills it is $25. A charge for walking you down the hall, a charge for everything other than a cheery hello. But if you require critical care well 9-1-1 and off you go to the hallways of the hospital.

I have no solution to offer. Perhaps some of those massive dollars spent in Human Resources and studies as to where to cut staffing could actually be used to staff. I know it is tough to be a CEO. Hundreds of thousands of dollars a year worth of tough.

Will anyone ever get in public office who is able to turn things around without that cash giveaway for inquiries that everyone already knows the answer to?

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Honourable Mention

Well shiver me timbers!

A message in a bottle washed ashore.


Okay so it was not a desert island escapade but we takes what we can get in the excitement arena. A mystery letter arrived for me. It was all very curious.

Our Lady of the incredibly-difficult-to-cope-with-right-to-the-very-end passed on to the next world where I hope her spirit has found peace at long last. As HealthCare professionals we got off easily. The family bore the brunt of her slow and painful decline. I always felt they deserved alot of credit for honouring her wishes to stay at home when so easily they could have done otherwise with the understanding and blessing of virtually everyone who ever met her.

The message was from the family thanking me for "kind and compassionate care."
It sounds silly I am sure but this really means alot to me.
A few words on a page.
I am a strange woman I know.


Sslithers and Woozles

Laying in bed before work I was daydreaming about this and that happily intersperced with the morning CBC when suddenly I realised it was the 7am news I was listening to.

Heighing ho I offed to work went singing, yes! Yes I did!
Twas a simple day by comparison. Alot of easy things and one or two new faces.
One of the new faces was in a new building right on the tony avenue we all aspire to.
Well, some of us anyway. I was admittedly distracted by the prospect of finally seeing the inside of the place but not so much as to forget why I was there.

It was not the voice of a client that answered the intercom.
"I suppose well yes okay sure yes I guess you can ok let me see well yes you can come up."
Not the standard greeting.

I entered to a surplus of family just leaving.
Another kerfuffle! Hurrah hurrah!

The family did not realise I had no prior relationship with the client and were so busy kerfuffling that it took me 5 minutes just to cross the apartment.
The client was sitting quietly sipping tea in a dressing gown.

"Just went down all of a sudden. And slithered across the floor to the phone. I knew if I could just get myself slithered over it would be all right."
The point of graceful collapse was a good 20 feet from the phone indicated.

"Why didn't you use your lifeline?"

"Oh well you know it is such a fuss and all the neighbours would see and I didn't want to disturb anyone."

If I had a nickle for every time I heard that reasoning....

God forbid we have a fuss. Although to my eyes it did seem we were smackdab in the middle of one right then. Families are notorious for handling such events badly.

Most of the family left. The one who stayed talked my head off with every conceivable "What if...." as well as a goodly portion of self-blame.

When I arrived my client had a basin in case there was emesis.
There was nothing to be gained in emphasizing the negative as the client was going off to the Doctor for a post-surgerical check-up. I knew that the family would make sure that Doctor heard all about it.

The only thing that I found troubling was the amount of bruising on my client.
I was not sure how much of it was normal to the operation which was about 10 days ago or so. It was alot of swelling and bruising. Part of me was thinking there was a good possibility of a low-grade infection and the other part was reminding me my opinion although endlessly fascinating to myself is totally irrelevant.

The skills of distraction I possess in spades allowed me to get that client ready to go and forgetting about what was wrong. There was alot right. We talked about that.
I find it immensely satisfying to do a great job in tough circumstances.

I told them as I left it is a true art to be able to woozle so gracefully.

Bless this little client who is brave and strong and true.
My chips bet hospitalisation or at least convalescant care for a few days.



Sweet Souvenir

This was written in a little postcard with a picture of the Madonna with Child given to me by the family of someone I cared for.
I found it very sweet a souvenir.


When I'm gone, give what's left of me away to children and to old folks that wait to die. And if you need to cry, cry for your brother and sister walking the street beside you. And when you need me put your arms around someone and give them what you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something, something better than words or sounds.
Look for me in the people I've known and loved. And if you cannot give me away, at least let me live in your eyes and not in your mind. You can love me most by lettings hands touch hands, by letting bodies touch bodies, and by letting go of children that need to be freed.

Love doesn't die, people do.
So, when all that's left of me is love, give me away.

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Early Morning at the Beach

The tide was coming in as I arrived at the beachfront.
The waters were insistently lapping ever closer.
On the waters, a flock of seagulls were sitting looking towards the sands.
I thought it was a trick of my imagination until I noticed the crows.

Along the cement stroll, a trio of crows were bobbing their heads up and down and making a racket. On the beach a few feet away another few crows were squawking loudly too. Then a hawk swooped overhead shrieking. This was alot of action for the beach at this time of day. It was around 06:30am. I sat and watched the birds not understanding until ....

The tide was almost completely in. There was perhaps six feet of beach left. I suddenly noticed, behind some driftwood just barely obscuring my vision from my seat, a flicker of movement. Without getting out of my car I moved myself to the middle of the seat and sat as high as I could get. There was an eagle sitting quietly at the shoreline. This then was the drawing card for the other birds.
The circling hawk had scared away the crows but the seagulls had moved closer and some had taken to the air pursuing the hawk in a straggly group. The others seemed to be readying an assault on the eagle. The big bird did not flinch at all even though the tide was about to hit him.

Suddenly there was a huge kerfuffle followed by a scattering of every left-over bird.
Reinforcements to the eagle camp arrived. A smaller bird swooped over the area repeatedly and cleared the way for a huge mature eagle with a spectacular wingspan.
He flew down low and scooped up something from beside the shoreline one.
As soon as he grapped it the other bird flew up and away.

Whatever it was the other bird was guarding was the size of a large roast and white.
I know because the big bird flew right past me and over the highway at a dangerously low altitude. He barely cleared the house a block down.

It was magnificent how bravely the smaller bird had stood guard.
There must have been 60+ birds ready to try to dislodge him.
He did not move not even when the tide had almost taken his prize.
Where did the other birds come from?
How did they know to come?
How long was the bird waiting?

It was a fabulous display of nature.

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Having it all.

I read the name on my list with some surprise. This person is somewhat well-known.
I cannot recall reading that they were ill but of course they are.

Going to the home I park on the street below and walk up the hill onto the property.
There are alot of gorgeous people buzzing about. Family and friends.
In I go to see a younger woman sitting smoking.
I am somewhat surprised as oxygen is in use in the home.
Noone seems to be attending to anything other than themselves.

I walk my mind through the notes and in the background this blonde is telling me some long story about a meal that did not go well. When I do not respond in the way she is hoping for she smacks my arm for emphasis. I just look at her.
What is she really thinking I wonder.

I go looking for my client who is in bed behind double doors.
Everywhere you turn there is opulance.
Even the bed is garbed in expensive linens.
Even now the client will not use the *good towels*.
I suppose they are being saved for something. Someone. Not her, not today.

As soon as my client's eyes opened the gasping began.
It is a dread of running out of air that seizes the imagination.
Puffers of all colours sit on the bedtray.

My client has everything money can buy. And more.
Currently, it means nothing.

I leave and the blonde calls out: "That's it?"

Goodbye I say.
The client is more relaxed now but the air holds bitterness.

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Coming home after a non-stop day with no breaks at all I think to myself:
"I will just take the dog for a walk and then fall into a bath and read."

Two messages from my parent.
"It is just time to go. Where are you? I am waiting. If we leave right now we can make it to my appointment..."

message 2:
"Ok I am at my appointment. Call me anytime."


He drove himself. On the Highway.

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"The Trouble with Women..."

Listening to an Audiobook file I downloaded on LimeWire: John Cleese:
"How to Irritate People"

"The trouble with women is that they always take things personally....
to which 4 women replied:
"Well *I* don't " "

--------------hee hee hee


feeling lazy

Yes yes I know.
No new posts.

I can't be bothered to tell you the truth.


Lots of interesting things have happened and many a fine tale been told.
I will get my butt in gear soon.

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My body is a temple

We sat sipping tea. I am coming to enjoy a good cuppa more than coffee.
Does this mean I am officially old now?

I know I am dressing in layers all the time now --and-- wearing socks to bed.

My right side hurts like a bugger all day every day.
It scares me to think what I will be like when I am 50-60-70
This is the ghost of long-ago accidents come back to haunt me.
I do not think the ghost ever extemporated completely.

I have a topper on my mattress that is made of down and so soft, so very soft I feel like I am floating. I have to sleep on my left side or on my back. I can no longer
relax enough to sleep on my right. I cannot even lie on it.

All day at work I can blank out my leg. Advil 600 helps.
I look in the mirror and there she is.
That woman has jumped in front again.
She is friendly looking and pleasant but wow--- is that really me?
I guess so.

The weather announces itself in my bones.
I knew it was raining before my eyes were open.
The years are so sneaky.
One minute you are counting the days and the next, months slide by in stealth mode.

Oh it is an amazing journey this life is.

What shrine is my body?
A temple to.... ?



Contractually speaking

from both the Nurses and the Government came to agreement last night. The proposed settlement is not really about ca$h or bonu$e$, but about respect and workplace conditions. Remember it is not long ago that when the Nurse's Union was in a striking position they simply refused to work overtime and were promptly blamed for everything that went wrong because of the nursing shortage. I say look in the mirror employers!

Overworked and understaffed is a familiar refrain but we have a repeat chorus: "Not enough new hires, and we can't keep the staff we have. We have record numbers of people on sicktime or long-term disability stress leave and still people think nurses are greedy. Noone values healthcare until they are sick. Strange values.

Thankfully the representatives
I am pleased that most everyone was able to negotiate a settlement.
I have not heard about the Social Workers. We shall see.

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