Saturday, March 23, 2013

Nursing home diaries

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Today I am hit with a barrage of requests to open the door to the garden area.  I approach the person at the front desk and ask for the key.  I'm met with: "Well let me see what the temperature is outside."  I inquire as to what that has to do with anything.  Desk person informs me that if the temperature is above 80 degrees or below 40 degrees, the residents are 'not allowed' outside.  I ask her who made that stupid rule.  She informs me the nursing home owner did.  

The nursing home owner is over 70 himself.  I ask desk person is the owner is outside today and about town.  Desk person is also over 65 so I ask her if she plans to go outside today after work.  I get a glare and a reply: "I fail to see the correlation to any of this."  I inform her that these residents are also adults, able to decide if they want to go outside and able to decide to come inside if the weather is uncomfortable.  I also inform her we are not a prison offering inmates recreation time.  She asks what if they get dehydrated.  I inform her maybe the aides and (heaven forbid) the nurses and even myself, can take them water or juices to be sure they stay hydrated.  She reluctantly hands me the key.  I open the door and a rush to go outside begins.  One lady immediately tilts her head to the warmth of the sun, allowing it to warm her face.  Many remind me of inmates who are allowed out of solitary to feel the breeze on their skin, smell the fragrant flowers and bask in the sun's warmth.  

Later on I get a call from the, yes, you guessed it, Administrator.  She summons me to her office.  Gosh, I cannot imagine why.  But I do know I bucked the system and their rules.  I once again expected the residents' rights as adults, to be honored.  I'm such a trouble maker.  But I don't care.  They have as much right to bask in the sun or the cold, as any other adult has.