Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Life in a Fishbowl and Other Annoyances

These days, more often than not, I feel as though I'm living my life in a fishbowl.  I'm on the inside looking out while others are staring in.  I'm not talking about readers of this site because you are invited to be here.  I'm talking about the uninvited "guests" in my life.

Let's start with work.  I work in a 12 bed ICU where two rooms with glass doors and windows that separate them are joined at their center by a glass encased pod.  Each nurse is assigned a pod and by default the two patients that pod connects.  There is room enough for a desk, a computer, a phone, a trash can and a couple of drawers.  There are 6 such pods in the unit.  I am the pod goddess and the ruler of my pod.  I don't sit on a throne, I sit in a fishbowl--where family members stare, try to eavesdrop and generally just make me feel uncomfortable.  I get no peace living in my little pod.  I've even had family from one room come to get me in the next room for the most trivial of items.  I know down at the heart of things, I am nothing more than a waitress with an advanced degree.  Each and every time I sit down to work at my desk, I am beckoned through the fishbowl glass to go and fetch something.  Now the glass is present so that I can see my patient, look at their monitors and urimeters and such.  It is designed so that I can know all, see all and subsequently be all to my incapacitated patient in the bed.  The glass is not there for the entertainment of those within the room to see how many times they can get the "resting" nurse off her duff to bring the tissue box closer to the bed or change the channel on the TV.  

At home, it is my daughter's caregivers who make me feel as though I live in a fishbowl here too.  One of these young women looks through each individual piece of mail that comes in the door as though it were addressed to her.  She'll even comment on it from time to time.  Nothing is sacred here.  When married couples have a spat, it is often an unpredictable thing.  The where and the when of it.  I can't "discuss" anything with anyone in this house with the knowledge that people I am not related to will hear me and listen in on something that is often very private and isn't their business.  This has happened more than once and employees have had the nerve to weigh in on the discussion.  Excuse me?  I have no idea how or why anyone would want to share a home with someone they didn't marry or birth.  None whatsoever.  If I didn't know deep in my heart that I couldn't take care of my daughter 24/7/365 without going insane, I wouldn't have a single employee.

Years ago when we first started this employee/caregiver thing for Rachel (which is a fight I still have deep and abiding wounds from), the county would come once a month to "oversee" how things were going.  The county provided the employees,  most half of whom were insane, to work with my daughter.  They also provided speech and language, physical and occupational therapists.  What they didn't tell me upfront is that each and every month, the therapists would quit and get a new job.  This meant that each and every month, someone new would come to work with my daughter.  They would do a brand new assessment every single time.  Once a month X 3 specialists were asking me the same questions.   I can't begin to tell you how invasive I found this line of questioning.  Tedious.  I would always ask the same thing of each of them, "didn't you read the last therapist's initial assessment?"  Duh.  Answering these intrusive questions was just awful as they all seemed to judge what I had and hadn't done for my daughter and I was deemed wanting as a parent.  In retrospect, I think this may have been a ploy on the part of the county to get me to stop using the very expensive speech, OT and PT services.  It worked.  I declined those services after about a year of putting up with the revolving door of workers.  I just couldn't take answering one more question about when I first noticed my daughter's failure to meet a milestone.

Anyways, I know why these feelings of resentment have cropped up today.  It's the perfume.  My perfume.   My daughter's caregiver came in the door today and made a comment about the brand new bottle of Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue lying on the table.  It's a birthday gift from my oldest daughter.  The caregiver was glad to see it.  It seems she agrees we were running low.  Now I'm sitting here wondering what else she knows about me and like I said, nothing is sacred.


Willowtree said...

Okay, a more compassionate person would offer soothing words. All I've got is "man, your life sucks!"

My wife is an OT, and I've always been amazed at the high turnover rate.

Rudee said...

It does suck. I think I'll go drown myself in a vat of Sam Adams. The Irish Red brew is really quite lovely this time of year.

I bet your wife thinks my post is written by a pain in the ass parent. It is.

Anonymous said...

The D&B perfume was a gift for you. I suggest you empty the old bottle and refill it with a knock off brand of D&B light blue found at your nearest $1.00 store!~ of course you will have to hide the new bottle somewhere she may not look....try the cleaning products cupboard??

Sneaky Sebba

Rudee said...

LOLOL Sebba. The cleaning products cupboard! Brilliant. Thanks for the idea.