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Yes, I will admit I'm not a spring chick anymore. When I arose this morning, I was able to wander around my house at five in the morning. I turned on my computer, made a pot of coffee and played with my cats. I was able to look out my window to see what kind of a day it was going to be and I pretty much was able to 'do my own thing,' as they say.
It may not sound like such a big deal, but if you are living in a traditional nursing home, believe me, this kind of freedom is as 'big of a deal' as you're going to get. I wasn't made to get out of bed at six in the morning, I chose to get up at five and if I didn't want to get up, I didn't have to. In a nursing home you will be forced to get out of bed for breakfast at six in the morning. Why? Well it's always, always for staff convenience.
When I was a nurse aide, I was told: 'We have to get them up and ready because the day shift will get mad if we don't.' So screw the day shift is my response. The day shift has 'so much to do already.' So? They get paid for their efforts. (Even though I know nurse aids don't get paid near enough for all they do) I have worked the day shift and yes, people have appointments, they need breakfast and it's pretty busy. But that still doesn't warrant dragging my old ass out of bed at that god awful hour, especially since all night I've probably already been poked and prodded, so now I've had very little sleep. No wonder I'd be groggy and upset at being drug from my warm bed. The night shift people would hurriedly dress those old people, all the while saying: "Come on, we have to be in the dining room shortly." Many elderly balk at being hurried. Hell, you'd think they had some damned job to get to, instead of paying big bucks to be hurried and shuffled to the dining room like so much cattle. Traditional nursing homes are full of damned rules. Rules that, for the most part, are quite meaningless in my book.
Once they do get into the dining room, they are greeted by nurses with med carts. Now nowhere on any prescription bottles I've ever gotten, does it say: 'To be takes in a large group at times convenient only to nursing staff.' My bottles say: 'To be taken at XYZ time of day.' That medication is supposed to be individualized, for that particular patient. But, remember, all of this is for staff convenience only. Which pretty much assures that I'm no longer an individual. Just part of a herd of cattle. Kind of like when a farmer milks cows the same time, all at once, in a big group, every day.
When it's time to shower, also for staff convenience, you will be wheeled into a stall, and the experience? Well more akin to a car wash than any showers I take in my home. That Big shower wand, it gets lifted from its holder and a waterfall of water is washed over your head, your face,your eyes, your body. I'm sure this might be how water boarding feels like. Getting old and showering, equals torture. Now imagine, if you will, you have dementia and have no idea what's going on. I'm sure you would be combative too.
Today I'm going to the local store to pick up some things I need. In a nursing home, especially the one I worked at as a Social Worker, a place that doesn't even own a van for such trips; that is also a big deal. That nursing home feels it's too big of an expense to have a van to take people to the stores. Too expensive to own, even though that facility, as all nursing homes, rake in billions of dollars. But, gosh, don't spend any of those big bucks on people living there.
So as you go about your day, just think of all the little freedoms you are enjoying. Remember, those freedoms will evaporate if you have to ever live in a traditional nursing home.