|Mom picking out her peaches... just like old times!|
My plan was to help her with lunch and then take her to Mann's Apple Orchard; a trip we often took together before she lost her mind. Familiarity helps her to have better days. I do all that I can to make her days as "normal" as possible. Shopping has always been her favorite past-time, especially shopping for food.
I walked into the dining room and Mom was already seated at a table with one of her friends. Mom had a bib on and was dancing in her seat. I asked Mom, "Do you need the toilet?"
"YES! Oh thank you." Mom answered. I took her to the restroom and she settled back down in her wheelchair, ready for lunch and then a trip to the farm.
"Stay here Ma, I'll get your tray." I said to her with enthusiasm. She was having a good day; she slept through the night in her bed. She was not left to sit in her wheelchair in the hall all night in front of the nurses station.
I asked an aide for her tray and he told me that my mom now eats over in the area next to the nurses station. He told me that her tray was there and that's where she is now assigned to eat.
Confused, I wheeled my mom to her new designated area. An area away from all of her friends; so much for socializing.
The aide assigned to the residents was in the dark room; it smelled like a toilet. A strong urine smell that began to turn my stomach, reminisce of the Boston Subway that I rode when I was a kid. How on Earth are people expected to eat food in an area that smells like pee? I couldn't sit in the room. I asked the nurse supervisor where we could sit and have lunch because the room smelled very bad.
Immediately she picked up the phone and paged maintenance. I told her that it was going to take a lot more than maintenance to clean the area in time for my mom to have lunch in that room. The carpet needed a steam cleaning or better, remove the carpet all together.
I've seen a resident pull out his wiener and arch a stream of pee all over the floor next to his chair; in the very room that my mom was now assigned to have her meals.
I asked the nurse supervisor, "Where can my mom have lunch?"
She replied, "Well, she can eat downstairs in the main dining room but the elevator is broken. You could also chose to have lunch in her room."
I was taken aback. I had no explanation why mom and I were no longer welcomed in the dining room to have meals with her friends.
I picked up mom's tray and went to her room. Her bed tray was missing. I asked the aide in the dining room for one and then I told him that the room smelled like urine and it was not a pleasant place for lunch. He told me that he was sorry, the order came down from the big boss that my mom needs to eat in that other area. He couldn't look at me when he spoke.
He said, "Well, you can come in and find a place." Always helpful, this aide is one of the quality folks that the home has employed.
"I better not. I don't want to get you into trouble. I'll take my mom to her room and then we'll go out to the farm. Thank you anyway." I said to the aide as I pushed the tray table into my mom's room where I was going to serve her lunch.
My feelings were hurt. I couldn't understand why my mom was being segregated from her friends and forced to eat in an area that smelled like a septic tank. I feel like this is some sort of retaliation because I'm voicing my concerns to the Ombudsman with the care my mom and her friends are receiving.
Mom went to the farm and enjoyed herself. She walked around pushing the cart and picking out fruit and vegetables like days gone by when she was feeding her family. My heart was full of joy for her, another good day, another day where she's still out in the world; one more day where she feels that she has some control over her life.
Mom's friends were happy to see us return, especially one patient who jumped out of her seat to chase me. She needed to talk to me. Twice she did this and finally she said, "Please, come here, I need to talk to you!"
Excited while she tried to find her words, she obviously overheard conversations which appeared to involve my mom and me. She pointed to the room that smelled like urine and told me "The maintenance man, he came." She struggled more to find the right words, whatever she had to say to me was extremely important to her."
"It's OK. Relax. Everything is going to be alright. You are safe." I offered in hope to ease her mind. Something that she had overheard completely set her off. She was not going to stop until she voiced her concern to me.
Next thing I heard her say to me is, "They don't want you here. They don't want you. YOU!" She said to me in disbelief. "You my dear. Don't stop, please. It's good." On that last word, she reached her hands out and embraced me.