Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Where Am I?

One hundred and 25 years ago, when I first began my career in nursing, I worked in a few different nursing homes.  Three to be exact.  They were each in their way, pretty awful.  I made a promise to my parents, and then my husband's parents, that this would never be their fates.  So far, I've held true to my promise.  Mr. Larger Than Life is pushing it though.

A few of these places aren't too bad and I shouldn't generalize, but for God's sake, some of these places I'd liken to being in perdition.  They're noisy and smell completely awful.  Although doors can open, alarms go off when they do.  Their call light systems are atrocious. For a girl who has ringing in her ears, being in a place like this for more than a minute, can bring on a headache of monumental proportions.

Recently, I've been in and out of many nursing homes to see patients.  When the smell of urine assaults my nostrils the minute I step through the doors, I know it's not such a great place.  For the life of me, I don't understand the use of carpeting in places like these.  For those who own animals, you know how hard it is to get dog or cat pee out of carpet, why would human pee be any different?  I'm perplexed why anyone would try to make a nursing home try to look homey when it's so unsanitary.  It's like putting perfume on a pig-it may smell a smidge better, but it's still a pig.

I'm not being critical of the need to place people in nursing homes.  I'm a lot more resourceful than many when it comes to caring for a person with physical needs.  I totally get it when it comes to being incapable of meeting a loved one's needs.  I do.  I just don't get why some of these facilities get away with what they do.  When I go into some of these places now, I don't look down on the employees.  Truly, they're doing the best they can with limited resources.  Who I think about are the owners of places like this.  Who is collecting the rent?  Do they have to squeeze every nickel out and not provide what's needed in terms of numbers to care for all of these people?  Greed is the bottom line here.  I know their reimbursements aren't that great, but I have to think care can be provided in a more humane manner.  I see it out there.  Some places do it well. 

Yes Mr. or Mrs. Landlord, it's you I think of when my ears start ringing while sitting at the desk.  Oh yes, the place devoid of workspace, copy machines, paperclips or even paper.  One day recently, the only paper available was blank on one side and had flyers from local store advertisements printed on the other.  Somehow, I don't think that this is what's meant when using recycled paper.  Usually, and I'm not lecturing here, the paper is made from other recycled paper and is blank ON BOTH SIDES.  Sheesh.  I have to make copies for a legal document on this paper and that's the best you've got?

Anyways, I went to one of these places recently and forgot to get some copies of some things and now, I have to go back in to get them.  Perhaps I should use the medical examiner's trick of Vicks Mentholated Ointment just inside the nostrils to get in and out without feeling nauseous. That's what I get for being preoccupied with the noise and smell of that place.

For my kids, if you ever put me in a place like this, I'll haunt you.  I swear it.


Mrs. G. said...

I have had similar sadness walking into a not-so-great daycare center. I think it's all about little people and old people getting the short end of the stick.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of our visit yesterday. I may come across some binders; 1,2and 3 inch binders....Do you need some. I will look for some Vicks buy I wouldn't hold my breath.


Brenda said...

I went through the homes with my Dad and Bob's Mother. Those were actually pretty good ones. I think we got lucky or something, or perhaps didn't see any of the bad stuff. We visited some that were in home care ones that were pretty depressing. The smells were so bad. Vicks does sound good.

distracted by shiny objects said...

When I was in high school I thought that all my friends and I would be at the same nursing home. In our innocence we thought it would be like a big study hall/cafeteria. Now THAT would be somewhere to live out my last days.

Sandy said...

I use to visit older folks in a local nursing home, did it for a few years but they got so possessive of my time and visits, and because of senility, couldn't remember that I had just been in two days previous, (this was just two of them) and accused me of never visiting. My kids were still little and my time was busy so I eventually backed off. This one place, wasn't too bad with the smell so I was impressed.

My MIL use to be a hospital administrator of a chain of them out here in the southland.

She was the first one who (well out here anyway I don't know about other states), made it possible for animals to be brought in to spend time with the residents. They did a thing on the local news one time.

She was great with strangers, not so much with her own family.

Rositta said...

I think you already know how I feel about these kinds of "homes"... I I think my kid will put me in one I think I'd rather go play in the traffic. They are bad in Canada too and some of the care givers are really pathetic. I guess they forget they will all get there someday. I didn't have great experiences with nursing staff at our local hospital when my Mom was dying I might add. There was no Nurse Rudee in sight anywhere, sadly...ciao