Thursday, March 19, 2015

More Than the Plot Sickens

      I was awakened the next morning shortly after seven AM for my CNA to take vitals. It was Tara, with whom I had and still have a close relationship. The last time we had talked was before the whole mess with Caligula. She took my blood pressure and pulse.
     “Are you okay?” she asked.
     “Yeah, I'm all right,” I answered.
     “I can't believe they did that to you.”
     “Well, believe it. They did.” 
      I was not being entirely snarky with that. Tara knew full well management made some incredibly reckless decisions without regards to the consequences. The only question was how they were going to paint a happy picture of it. So far, being dismissive the matter was a big deal appeared to be the strategy.
     “Nicole would have hurt him if he had gotten hold of you,” Tara assured me.
     “I know. She flung him around like a rag doll as it was.”
     My blood pressure was fine, but my heart rate was elevated. It had rarely dropped below a hundred since the whole sitter ordeal began. The anxiety was taking a physical toll. I soldiered through it rather than request more Ativan. Becoming reliant on pills was not on my agenda, which was difficult, since the first thing a mental institution was going to do was dope me up. Yes, things were not going well. When things are not going well, I get sick. Getting sick is exactly what I did.
     On the bright side, I did not follow my usual pattern of nausea and inability to eat. The last thing I needed to do was lose more weight. It was not always easy with the plastic silverware to which my highly dangerous self was now relegated, but I got it done. My nightly tube feed drip was going smoothly, too. But my immune system was shot. I felt run down. Eventually, I developed a soar throat and the sniffles. It was a cold winter, and though though I had not left the building in days, the germs floating around inside were too much for my weary state.
      I am generally too cautious to look on the bright side of anything, but at least I was now going to be left lone for a while. It was friday morning. Weekends were always subdued at Oakhaven. With management of work, there is much less stress.  I now lived on a dead end hallway. I had no roommate. My sister, who was a new girl I did not know, was sitting in the hallway far more interested in playing candy crush Saga on her smatphone than wathing me. It was the perfect opportunity to sleep off the last few weeks. I do so for nearly two solid days.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Quality of Mercy

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:.

--The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene 1.

     My day was not over yet. I was presented with two additional encounters. If you want to classify them, cal them a split. I had to be on guard for both, but for different reasons. The first turned out well. The second smacked me around some more. The bullseye which had apparently been painted on my back was becoming a serious sorce of aggravation.
     The first encounter was in the late afternoon. Christie came by to visit her father. Christie's daughter, Whitney, had been my nurse at McLeod Darlington. It was a fortunate break her father happened to be a resident. She visited him frequently, as did whitney, and they often dropped by to see me, too. Christie had visited numerous times since I had been assigned a sitter, but I suppose the situation was not that conspicuous since this was the first time she expressed curiosity about it. I was still sitting in the hallway with Ticia's replacement, so I took Christie into my room to tell her everything.
     I knew she would be sympathetic. Christie is a caring person. But I was embarrassed nevertheless. I had celebrated Christmas along with her family when they visited, and she gave my some extremely nice presents. It was firmly in my mind as I told Christie everything I had done Christmas had been thirteen days beyond the day I had planned to commit suicide. I felt a sense of guilt, presumably because I was still hiding what I had nearly done and was still keeping the means to my suicide stashed away in case I changed my mind. It would be another two weeks after Christmas before I gave those two secrets up.
     But Christie was understanding. She did not scold me for keeping these thoughts to myself, as others had, and just told me she was glad I had changed my mind. She hoped my institutionalization was going to help me sort things out, and requested I let her know where I was going to be.
     The idea of being institutionalized still burned. I did not have any mental disorders beyond depression. I had also confessed what I was planned to do and gave up the means to do it. I had had cooperated with everything asked of me since. But now I was being tossed carelessly without without anyone even discussing the issue with me. These thoughts came pouring back At least the anger over Caligula's attack were displaced. I sat on my bed facing the window, bummed. I only wallowed in about twenty minutes of moping before someone walked up behind me and introduced herself.
     Her name was Nikki. She appeared to be in her late thirties like me and soft spoken. In spite of her being soft spoken, she still startled me when she said hello. Nikki had not made her presence known before she was right beside me. Considering the verbal sparring in which we were about to engage, I reflected later she must have been hoping to throw me off. An aggressive stance is not the way to get me to open up, but whatever. He was the professional, not me.
     Nikki was the social worker at another Wilson Senior Care facility. Sonya, the Chief Clinical Officer, had asked her to talk to me. Nikki's previous job was counseling at home for troubled youth. The type of kids who figured they had no future because of their personal issues, emotional problems, and what have you. Sonya thought we would be a good fit. I assumed Paulette had told Brock all about our meeting that morning, and the chain of command needed some way to defuse the situation. Considering the timing, and some strange comments regarding some of my complaints regarding my treatment, this felt more like a soothing my ruffled feathers deal than working through any emotional issues.
     I was on guard here. It seemed more important for me to size up her intentions than to open up. Yes, the fruitless encounter between us was probably due more to my defensive behavior than than Nikki's attempts to put a smiley face on WSC/Oakhaven. But they were going to toss me into a mental institution anyway, so what difference did it make?
This was an admitted evauation from the get go. Nikki told me she had rushed from work to see me, and we were not going to have a continuous, therapeutic relationship. We then discued the better part of the last decade's travails, from leaving law school because of my retina detaching to my colon rupture, living with Denise, and how an underlying death wish finally manifested in a suicide plan which fizzled out. I was careful not to twist any of it into anything more sinister sounding than it already did. Her assessment? I was an arrogant manipulator who sabotaged relationships, most likely by deflecting my true feelings, what little feelings my sociopath mindset allowed me to have, through sarcasm. She was also certain I had not gotten passed the anger stage of some grief, but it was difficult to tell because I was eaten up with self-loathing. To hear her describe me, I suspected there were no lack of volunteers wanting to rid the Earth of the pustule known as me. Or something like that.
     I assumed Nikki's bluntness was a product of her tough love experience dealing with the worst of teenage angst in her previous job. She admitted she did not know what to expect before meeting me. It was understandable. What kind of shape would yu expect a 37 year old nursing home resident to be in? I do think she went a little overboard, ut there you go. As noted, my guarded attitude probably did not help any. My fate appeared to be sealed regardless.
     As for those two points I mentioned above. Nikki spoke highly of Sonya, whom I knew vaguely, and Brock, whom I was quickly wishing I did not know at all. Sh confessed to not really knowing Paulette. I found this a bot odd. Did WSC's social workers never connect with one another? it would appear not. Nikki assured me they were all concerned about how to help. I asked her how having me committed without speaking to me and moving me into a dilapidated room room with a violent schizophrenic who attacked me fit into their plan of assistance.
     She asked how I felt about being involuntarily committed to a mental institution. She was, oddly enough, unaware that was the plan for me. I figured my opinion on that was obvious, so I pointed out the involuntary part precluded me from having an opinion. Either she agreed, or took my response as sarcasm. Whichever the case, no answer. From her. She described the no nurse call button, broken light, and jamming bathroom door as part of a lot of little things which will always be around to bug a person. As for Caligula, she asked if I believed we were paired up on purpose. I did, but I decided to label it a reckless decision instead. Nikki sort of grunted in response. The sound reminded me of the one Marge Simpson makes when she is annoyed. She did not actually say anything. I guess being strangled by a schizophrenic s another of life's little annoyances. I should not allow such a trivial matter to ruin my day.
     There was one saving grace during our talk. My Janice, entered at one point to give me my evening medication. As I was gulping down pills, Nikki asked janice what she thought of me. Janice gave her an odd look. So did I, but I was curious was janice might say, so I told her niki was a social worker, and being honest with her was the only way to help me. Janice described me as a quiet, independent person who liked to keep to himself, but was still friendly and approachable. When Nikki asked if Janice liked me personally, she said she did. Neither of us expected Janice to be anything but complimentary regardless of how she really felt, but it was an uncomfortable moment for both of us. We both laughed about it later that night because it was so strange.
     I tried to offer some explanations or excuses—you decide—for the aspects of my personality Nikki had pointed out. I considered myself more of how Janice described me. So I went into some details about my family and health issues whch surely had a profound effect on me in my formative years. She admitted, even though a devout Christian, if she had lived my life, she would doubt God's existence. I told her Dr. Hiatt, who she knew, an I had been going back and forth over God's status. In short, it was easy to doubt his existence emotionally, but not intellectually. She left the issue for Dr. Hiatt and me to wrestle.
     We talked for about an hour-and-a-half. Suddenly, she sprang up and said she had to go, but she was going to talk to sSonya, Brock, and company. I asked what she was going to tell them. She only told me not to worry about it. She never stopped or looked back at me while answering me. She just kept on walking to the door. It seems to be a moot point, though. No one in charge brought up any issue we had talked about or changed their care plan. I nevr saw Nikki again. I did not want to, mind you. Even if her intentions were only to make me feel better about things, she failed miserably.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Plot Sickens

       Ticia had been standing by the East wing nurses' desk chatting away while I had been meeting with Paulette. I was uncertain if she had heard anything. The office door had been closed the entire time, but the exchanges had gotten loud at times, at least on my part. I had a point to get across, and it obviously needed to be rammed in dramatic fashion. No matter how much Ticia knew, she could look at me and tell the emotional state I was in. we had only taken a couple steps towards the direction of my room before she insisted I sit out in the hallway with her rather than go back in.
       She was an astute observer of the residents with him she cared. Ticia knew I had a tendency to withdraw when emotional so I can wallow in it. Now was not a good time for me to cocoon in bed in a lonely room on a dead end hallway and mope on all that had happened. So in spite of what I had told paulette I was going to do, I agreed to sit in the hallway with Ticia. We sat there from about nine-thirty in the morning to three o'clock in the afternoon when her shift ended. I did not say much. Such was expected from experience with me. But at least I was distracted.
       Sometime in the late morning, Kendra came by to speak with Ticia. She ignored me until right at the end when she turned around and asked me how I was. I had seen her walking with Brock to the West Wing desk prior to my being moved in with Caligula. I figured the move was at least partially motivated because our two exchanges earlier in the day offended her. Given her usually arrogant, abusive attitude, I assumed she was gloating over the power she had to get revenge on me. Whether that was true or I just resented her at the moment, I did not want to display any betraying emotion. I simply told her I was all right with the infuriating smirk I have often given bullies to let them know they have not beaten me as well as they think.
       When Kendra left, Ticia remarked she had not intended to check on me, meaning the conversation the two shared was frivolous. Kendra simply wanted an excuse to come over and gloat while keeping up the appearance I was an incidental element. I told Ticia I knew what Kendra was doing, and I did not give her any satisfaction. Whatever smugness Kendra may have felt was a creation of her morally bankrupt mind.
       Kendra's involvement was further confirmed when Ellen, the head of therapy, dropped by. I had been out of physical and occupational therapy for over four months, but I had maintained friendships with the therapy crew. Of them all, Ellen was the closest thing my suspicious, closed off self had to a confidant. In spite of only being in her mid-20's, she had an old soul. She had clearly come to check on me, although she never mentioned the incident with caligula until Ashley came over to join us. Suddenly, they were all engaged in a conversation about the incident without me being a participant.
       I thought it was weird until it dawned on me they were both in the daily management staff meeting that morning. Any issues which had arisen would be discussed there. Caligula had to be high on the agenda. The meetings are not to be discussed with residents, but if one overhears something, accidents happen. Yes, Paulette would have been at this meeting, too. She was aware of Caligula's attack on me, she just did not bring it up. The point is, I sat bck and listened.
     “I can't believe Nicole [T.] and Kendra did that to him considering the two weeks he's had.” Ellen said at one point.
       Well, there we go. Kendra the nursing scheduler approached Nicole T. the director of Nursing, said there were not enough staff to serve as sitters, so we should pair up the schizophrenic who attacked his previous roommate with the suicidal guy. Surely nothing will go wrong, especially since we have already moved the sitter out of the room to delay any intervention of an attack. Apparently, this was a brilliant idea, because it earned Brock's seal of approval. Judging by the casual attitudes I had experienced so far from Paulette and Kendra, this was either business as usual or they were putting up the appearance of it being in the hope I would be convinced. At that point, I was unaware of the resources at my disposal in the way of state regulatory agencies that would have treated this as an emergency situation. This could have been the motivation for the laptop' disappearance, but that is only speculation. It certainly become my first line of defense when it was eventually returned.
       But this was little more than FYI at the moment. I had other, seemingly insurmountable objects to overcome. There was still an ongoing effort to commit me to a mental institution. Everyone they had tried so far rejected me as a patient, but that did not mean others would. Only one had to admit me. The second problem was the condition of my new room. I already ntioned I had no call button. But the light fixture was also broken, the bathrom door jammed, and an industrial fan ran 24/7 on the other side of the wall my headboard was up against. It looked like Caligula as a roommate was not the only method of screwing me over Oakhven have devised. I also had a new problem—i was no longer real silverware. This includes an oversized, orthopedic knife which makes it easier for me to cut meat. I had to make do with plastic silverware, which I barely managed. Keep in mind, I was still getting a nightly tube feeding because I only weighed in at a little over 80 lbs at the time. Oakhaven was failing me in every way imaginable.

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Sharp Pain Between the Shoulder Blades II

      I did not know what to expect the day after Caligula attacked me, but I was not expecting anything to be to my liking. Even I could not have anticipated the depths to my misfortune would. Said depths equalled the callousness attitudes Oakhaven management would stoop. It was an absolutely unreal one-two punch. The battering never put me down for the count, ut it made me wish it had. I was seriously questioning at this point whether anyone was even going to pretend to be interested in my well-being. For healthcare professional claiming a desire to save my life, they were doing a jam up of job of ending it instead.
     I assumed falling asleep was going was going to be difficult, but I came down hard once the excitement frm the afternoon's festivities wore off. So hard, I had to be awakened for breakfast. Eating is never a high priorty when I am upset. Food has been known to make a violent exit back the way it came when my stomach is tied in knots. There was some relief when I noticed there was no silverware on the tray. This sort of thing happened periodically. A resident calls for the nurse to alert her to the problem and it gets remedied. I am not eager to eat, but I instinctively look for the call button usually wrapped around the bed rail. There is not one. Period. I cannot call a nurse if I need anything. You may say they took it away to keep me from hanging myself, but you would be wrong. Had one in my previous room, and it would ultimately take two months and state intervention in order to get one. Oakhaven is a first class operation all the way.
     The combination of a jittery stomach and no silverware prompted me to go back to bed. My head had barely hit the pillow before my sitter, Ticia, called out to me from across the hallway. Paulette wanted to see me, she said. I perked up with the news. My excitement was mostly a curiosity how management would defend itself. The rest of me as looking forward to the emotional venting to which I was certainly entitled. They were going to throw me in a loony bin regardless. What did I have to lose?
     The venting did not go quite as planned. I sat down in one of the chairs in front of Paulette's desk. I shifted until I got comfy. She never said a word, not so much as a greeting, from the moment I walked though the door until after I stopped squirming in the chair.
     “I want to update you on the latest mental institutions we've contacted,” she said.
     Surely my eyes widened to anime proportions at that moment. I shifted again as Paulette detailed the three or four institutions refusing to take me as a patient. It was one o those experiences in which I wanted to laugh at the absurdity, but I fared ending the amusement value efore allowing it to peak. I simply smirked. If Pauette noticed anything awkward about my reaction to her, she never let on. When she was done, we looked at each other in silence for a long moment. I decide to break it.
     “Well?” I asked.
    “Well what?” she asked, with what I interpreted as genuine surprise I expected her to have anything else to say. Her reaction angered me.
     “Caligula attacked me last night five minutes after you put me in the room with me!”
     “I know! I'm furious about it!” she responded with the faux anger of someone who realized I was expecting righteous indignation, so she must appease me.
     “So furious you don't even mention it?” I gave her a chance to answer. She did not. No worries. I had plenty more to say. “How can you literally grovel to me two days ago over failing to protect me from involuntary commitment, and then take part in this?”
     Paulette still did not say anything, but her expression and body language betrayed her apprehension. It boggles my mind as much now as it did then, but she had no idea I would be angry over the incident. Now she was panicking as to what to do. She certainly deserved some grief for failing to advocate for my safety, but she was not one of th decision makers who paired me up with Caligula. Those were the people I wanted to chew out at the moment. I offered Paulette a temporary repreive.
     “W ho made this decision?” I asked her.
     Paulette learned back in her chair, folded her arms, and with pursed lips, shake her head no. I was about to hit the boiling point.
     “You can't refuse to tell me that!”
     “I'll take the heat for it.” Paulette offered. Either she was afraid of pointing fingers at anyone for her own sake, or she thought I would dig myself in deeper by confronting those responsible. Maybe both. It was hard to tell with her. Brock was the main culprit, of course.
     “If you won't tell me, I'll just start at the top and work my way down.”
     “You're free to talk to anybody you want to.”
     “As long as they don't think you pointed me in their direction,” I said. “You're a God-awful social worker.”
     She flinched at my words. It was the first personalnattack I had hurled at anyone since this whole ordeal began. It may have been out of line, but I still think I was pointing out a truth needing to be pointed out.
     “Well, I suppose you have a litany of things I've done wrong,” she answered.
     I tried not to snicker, but I could not resist. Paulette was articulate, but not one to toss around fancy words. The only time I ever noticed her do such a thing is when she was gearing up to spar with me. I was tempted to responded with “A litany? A plethora! A myriad! A veritible cornucopia!” but I resisted my sarcastic instincts. They were overwhelmed by paulette's conceit.
     “You're going to make this about you?”
    “You've obviously got an ax to grind with me,” she said.
     “I criticized you professionally, not personally.”
     “What's the difference?”
     Ouch. Paulette drew no distinction between her personal and professional life. Many people have difficulty keeping the two separate, but I assumed she would have an easier time as a social worker. Surely they want to keep all the horrid things they see during the day to not haunt them at night. But no. Paulette took my comment as a jab at her personally. I was not in the mood to deflate the situation, so I figured I would get more off my chest.
     “Fine. Why didn't you call denise's boss like you said you were going to do?”
     Here is some back story to the question. When Denise abandoned me the previous October, Paulette promised to pursue her aggressively. She said she would visit Denise's workplace personally. She said she would contact my brother-in-law, whom she knew on some level personally, and Denise's boss, who was out state senator. Paulette lacked the backbone to confront Denise face-to-face. I figured she would also never contact my brother-in-law. Tony is ittle more than a state trooper uniform, but enough to intimidate most people. But I did think she would call the senator. He would help on some level in the name of constituent service. Paulette kept telling me for months she would get his personal cell phone number from her brother and call for months. But she never did it. It was time to find out why.
     “I didn't think it would do any good,” she fired back point blank.
     “That is not your decision to make. At least not without consulting me and giving me a chance to make a counter argument. Insted, you just kept telling me 'I'll get the number from my brother at thanksgiving,' 'I'll call this week' 'i'll….bah. I'll just never mention it again.”
     Paulette stared at me for a long moment.
      “Fine. I screwed up,” she said.
    “No. a screw up is giving me Frooot Loops instead of Frosted Flakes. Deciding on your own to end a 36 year relationship because you don't want to be bothered with making a phone call is a little more than a screw up. I was about to tie a plastic bag over my head over it!”
     My answer ended the righteous indignation she felt over my criticism. I could only tell by the pained look on face the realization of how badly she had failed. But she did not get a chance to say anything before Ashley knocked on the door. Believe it or not, things were about to get worse.
     “Jamie, don't be mad at me, but the kitchen says the silverware didn't come back with your tray. Because you're on suicide watch, I have to search you.” she said.
     “They didn't give me silverware this morning. I didn't eat, so I didn't say anything about it.”
     “I believe you, but I still have to search,” Ashley said.
     I waved my hand in the air for her to do her thing. None of us said anything while she looked. I had experienced some odd circumstances at Oakhaven, but this was one of the most peculiar. Naturally, ashley did not find anything. She plopped down in the chair next to mine.
    “Thank you for cooperating,” Ashley said. She was clearly embarrassed over the task.
     “My pleasure,” I said a little too curtly.
     “Don't be sarcastic,” she said.
     For the first time in several days, I felt bad for someone else. Ahley had been the only person in an authority position who had been looking out for my best interests. She had been walking a fine line between appeasing management and comforting me. Sure, she had prompted Caligula's story about his zombie brother last night before leaving me to his psychotic mercies, but I never believed that was intentional. No matter how bad I felt, I had no excuse to be mean. I put my right hand on her shoulder and lightly squeezed.
     “I'm sorry,” I told her.
     She told me it was okay, then got up and left. She and Paulette never spoke to each other. I imagine Ashley noticed the tension in the air and opted to give Paulette a breather. Ashley knew from last night I was viciously angry. She also doubted a good night's sleep had simmered me down any appreciable degree. Paulette did not say anything period. I guess she hoped I was too distracted by the indignity of the search to go back to her. She was partially correct. My introverted nature, the one that insists I tell people off and leave for solitary sanctuary rather than continue arguing surfacing.
     “What is going on, Paulette? You just decide to throw me in a mental institution, Kendra mouths off about not 'babying' me, you take my laptop and refuse to give it back, move me gainst my will to a room with a psychopath who attacks me, and now you accuse me of stealing silverwre. What is going on?”
     “I...I don't know, Jamie.” she stumled over every word.
     “Find out,” I told her as I stood up. “And I want out of that room at the first opportunity.”
     “Okay,” Paulette said. She was becoming increasingly nervous at what my final words might be. I had to make them count, right?
     “I am going back to my room. I am going to get in bed. None of you re to bother me for the rest of the day. Don't tell me about the latest craphole institution yo want to dump me into. Don't move me in with another violent psychopath you'd like to attack me. Don't steal any more of my personal belongings and refuse to give them back. Make sure you don't have to search me because of your kitchen's incompetence, and don't decide on your own which family relationships I ought to have. Can you dipsticks handle that for one day?”
     Paulette did not respond to anything I said verbally, her pained expression became even more excruciating when I implied the loss of my relationship with Denise was largely her fault. I do not know how fair was being, but punctuating the meeting with the implication was enough to prevent any further arguments out of her. I waved her off with my left hand even more rudely than I had Ashley and walked out of the office.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

From the Fevered Minds of Marginal Souls

      Oakhaven Nursing Center is a skilled nursing facility intended to care for the elderly during their twilight years. The average stay for residents is a shade under six months. I do not have to tell you how those six months more often than not come to a close. But during those six months, Oakhaven is entrusted with loved ones in the weakest state of their lives since infancy. Sick, damaged beyond repair, and often lost within themselves mentally, residents are completely at the mercy of people entrusted with their care. It is a sacred trust. Not one to be taken lightly. So it is terribly tragic when the sacred trust is violated in the most reckless of manner.
     If there was a way to avoid using the cliché calm before the storm, I desperately would, but the first half of the next day was the calm before the storm. Nicole B was mt sitter yet again. Beides her, I did not encounter anyone I had dealt with the previous day. Perhaps they had decided to back off in consideration of my necessary sedation after our last go around. This is the question I abruptly stopped pondering at around four o'clock in the afternoon when it all went to hell.
     Oakhaven management had this little trick. They would generally wait until Friday at nearly five o' clock to deliver bad news, make unpopular changes, or anything else a resident might want to protest. Then management would go home and hope any anger a resident might have blew over before Monday rolled around. This sort of thing happened to me on four occasions –the following is the first of those four—so I am confident is saying it was a deliberate strategy. Circumstances apparently warranted pulling one of those moves on a Wednesday, but still near time to knock off work. At least they got half of it, no?
     Nicole B was my sitter again. She had positioned herself outside the door, as per orders that still made no sense. Periodically, I would lean aginst the doorway and talk a few minutes. Things were going as pleasantly as possible until Betty, the CNA who worked the East Wing nurses desk approached with a fellow in a wheelchair. I did not recognize him, but knew him through the staff grapevine. He had attacked his roommate in recent days. Betty asked if Nicole B could be his sitter for a few minutes. She agreed.
     I have more often than not used real first names while telling my story. First names are fair game as far as I am concerned. There are not many innocent people in this sordid tale to protect regardless. But oddly enouh, this poor guy is. He spent less than six months at Oakhaven. During that time, his mental state deteriorated rapidly into parnoia, hallucinations, and violent behavior against residents and staff before he was finally discharged to a mental health facility. Why Brock and company allowed him to go on a rampage for so long is anyone's guess, but I give them full blame for what happened to me and several others. As I cannot blame this fellow, I cannot comfortably use his rel name. So I am going to call him Caligula. Yes, I know. Darkly humorous. This whole affair is becoming darkly humorous.
     The moment Betty left, I introduced myself to Caligula. He assumed this was his new room and got out of his wheelchair before Nicole B stopped him. He sat back down. She tried to keep him occupied with conversation. It became quickly apparent Caligula was off, but he did not seem anymore far gon than many dementia sufferers I had encountered since coming to Oakhaven. He ranted on about how someone had cheated him out of his house and stole all his money. That is how he wound up here. I have heard all sorts of fanciful stories about how residents wound up at Oakhaven. Caligula's was not even the strangest.
     But his story became stranger when he declared 'the boy who paints” at Oakhaven stole $200 from him, then threatened to stab him in the heart. While I still leaned in the doorway, I switched sides to make sure I was as close to Nicole B as possible. Caligula could get out of his wheelchair and had twisted thoughts. I felt like some distance between use was necessary. 
      I was not the only one who discovered distance between oneself and Caligula was a good idea. A young CNA named Courtney dropped by because the sight of the three of us was so odd. Caligula grabbed wrist and begam kissing her hand. Courtney could not wiggle free, so she tried talking to him friendly before sternly ordering him to let go. He only loosened his grip enough for Courtney to yank herself free.
     We spoke for a few minutes, ignoring Caligula, before Courtney went on about her business. Ashley came up only a moment or so after Courtney left. She was only as aware as the rest of us our status. She probably just wanted to ease my mind about Caligula being there. She had dealt with him before, as I realized not only by her distance from him the, but her remark that he has made comments to her he should only say to his wife. As if I needed an example, he responded by asking her for oral sex. Of the “duck my sick” variety. So I could add perverted to Caligula's personal description.
     There was not much that could be said after that, so Ashley went back to work. Nicole B and I looked at each other with a mix of bemusement and horror. After a few silent moments passed, Brock and Kendra walked by without acknowledging any of us. Just as well. I did not want to talk to either of them. They were going to the west wing nurses' desk. Someone mercifully retrieved Caligula in short order. He was taken to the nurses' desk, too. I assumed he must be moving to the West Wing away from the roommate he attacked. I feared for whoever was going to be stuck with him.
     Guess who that turned out to be?
     Nicole B was told to bring me to the nurses' desk. I got a sinking feeling, but I still did not suspect I was going to be forced into a new room, much less with Caligula. I plopped down on the couch adjacent to the nurses' desk. Caligula was about six fee away, tucked behind the desk. I soon learned why. We were not sitting there for more than ten minutes, but he tried to escape three times in that such period. Each time, a nurse or CNA brought him back, but he would do it again. Calgula had no control over his impulses. His impulsiveness was extremely dangerous, too. When Paulette came to tell him he was being moved, she could not get his attention because he was too busy grabbing at her breasts as she knelt by his wheelchair.
     Then it was my turn. Paulette asked me to follow her into the dining hall. I had already figured out what was happening, but here is hoping I was wrong. The moment we sat down, she told me I was moving to a new room and caligula was now my roommate.
     “No, he is not," I said.
     “Yes, he is," she laughed, misjudging how seriously I was taking this.
     I told her this move was improper. They were not giving me notice. I told her about the crazy things Caligula had said. I told her about his behavior towards Courtney and Ashley. Good Lord, Paulette could not even tell him he was moving to a new rom for him fondling her beasts! All protest were for naught. This was going to happen against my will. I walked back out to the couched and collapsed in it.
     “What's wrong?” Ashley asked me.
     "I am being moved to a new room, and he is my roommate.”
     “Calm down, Jamie,” Ashley told me. 
     " I need an Ativan.”
     Ashley dutifully arranged for me to have the sedative. As I waited for her to return, I watched two CNA push my bed, with everything I owned piled up on top, passed me and towards my new room at the nd of the hall. As if I could not feel any lower, I sank even further with the violation of people just going through my things and tossing them around without a care. I never liked Oakhaven, but my dislike was rapidly descending into a hatred. These people were horrible.
     Ashley returned with the Ativan. I took it, hoping for instant relief, but I knew it would not work that way. She could feel the anger radiating off me. I suppose she wanted to defuse it as quickly as possible.
     “This has nothing to do with you being suicidal,” she said. “It's medical necessity.”
     “Is that supposed to make me feel better?”
     Keep the term 'medical necessity” in mind. I was not in shape mentally or emotionally to challenge Ashley on its meaning, I later pressed many others to explain it. Most were highly evasive in this case. Looking into it on my own, “medical necessity” is usually used to justify a quarantine, ut it's slippery enough to be used in justification of just about anything a health facility wants to do. Since no one ever wanted to give me a clear reason for endangering me like this, “slippery” is the proper term here.
     Nicole B asked me if I wanted to go to my room now. I did not, but I cooperated nevertheless. I note with some humor my new room was the last room on a dead end hallway. Was that supposed to be a cute metaphor for the guy on suicide watch? Probably not. These bozos were not that clever. I strolled around the room once we got in. I was to have the bed closest to the wall, furthest from the door. I stood at the foot of my bed clearly in distress..
     “Do you want the bed closest to the door?” Nicole B asked.
     “I don't want this room period.”
     “You want to talk to Paulette?”
    “She's the one who put me in here. Besides, it's close to five. She's gone already.'”
     “You can talk to her in the morning.”
     “I'll look into that.”
     If Nicole b noticed the bitter sarcasm, she did not acknowledge it. Instead she assumed her place across the hall where a chair hd been placed for her vigil. I laid on the bed to stare at the ceiling. I was angry at everyone, including Denise. Giving her the most benefit of the doubt possible, she wanted me to be well cared for at oakhaven, and here I was sharing a room with a delusional psychopath who cannot keep his hands off people. Denise was responsible for my current turmoil as anyone at Oakhaven. But like Oakhaven management, did not give the first crap.
     I will give the nursing staff at oakhven much credit for caring, however. They knew I was being treated badly, but they could not do much to help. Case in point, Ashley. She came into my room a few minutes before someone was bringing in Caligula to talk to me. Her heart was in the right place, but she did make one huge blunder.
     “I understand what you are going through,” she told me.
    “No, you don't,' I laughed. I did not want to laugh. Ashley had been trying hard to be my advocate, but no one higher up was udging. I was an emotional wreck, though, and I just could not help it. She was not offended, thank goodness.
     “Okay, you're right. I don't know what you're going through. But I can sympathize. My door is always open.” she told me.
     “Thanks,” I said meekly.
     We had barely finished our conversation before Caligula arrived. He left his wheelchair outside the door and was helped into bed by a CNA. She even tucked him in.
     “Did Paulette tell your brother you were moving to a new room/” Ashley asked.
     “Yes,'” Caligula answered.
     “Is this the brother that harmed himself?” Ashley asked.
     “No, it's my other brother that shot himself. He shot half his face off.”
     “Is that what killed him?”
    “No, he survived that. Then he shot the other half of his face off. That killed him.  He came back to life after they buried him. They put a rock on top the casket the second time to keep him in there.”
    Well, he just took things to a new level of terrifying with that lovely story. To this day, I will never figure out why Ashley prompted him to recount his brother's suicide/zombie resurrection. I had already heard his stories and seen him in action, so I was already terrified. The powers that be knew I as, and ignored me, so I do not know what she was trying to make me realize. She was not trying to torment me on purpose. She succeeded in doing so regardless.
     It got eerily quiet after Ashley left. I had no intentions of talking to Caligula. He was too unpredictable with how he took things. But I expected him to keep rattling on. Thankfully, he did not for five whole minutes while I stared at the ceiling and fume over the general state of affairs. Everything was plunging into the abyss.
     Suddenly, Caligula struggled to get out from under his covers. He jumped out of bed and lunged for me. I did not catch anything about what was happening until I heard his feet hit the floor. I tensed defensive when I saw him lunging for me, but thankfully, Nicole B had a hold on him. She was coming to my rescue the moment she saw him turn in my direction. She had him by the collar of his shirt with her left hand and her right arm around his. It was with his right arm he was reaching for me.
     “He was coming at me with a knife!” Caligula screamed as nicole dragged him out the room.
     “You can't stay in here!” she told him. Nicole B dumped him in his wheelchair. They disappeared down the hall.
The whole incident took only a few seconds, but they were enough I could feel my heart pounding hard enough to cause pain in my left arm. Lord only knows the shape I would have been in with Ativan. I sat up on the side of the bed to try to calm myself. Carolyn the CNA was the first to arrive afterward.
     “Are you all right, Jamie?” she asked.
     “He thought I had a knife!” is all I could say. I was too short of breath to get anything else out even if my mind was back on track, which it was not.
     Nicole B came back in and gave me on of those huge bear hugs in which she swayed me back and forth while declaring, “See, Jamie! I'm your friend!” Indeed, she was. She was my savior that day, too. I would have a least been severely inured by Caligula throttling me, if not worse.
     Ashley came in next to tell me Caligula had been taken out of the building. He would not be back. At the time, I thought she meant he would not be back at Oakhaven, but she actually meant he would not be back into this room. She also did not tell me Caligula told her I had a knife with holes in the handle. I threatened to stab him with it “where it hurts.” So, even though I did not talk to him, he apparently engaged in a tense exchange with me anyway. Lucky me.
     The room was mine exclusively now. It took a while for me to calm down. A number of people came into check on me. I knew management had to have already been informed of what happened. I was not expecting anyone to come by that night, but I was curious what it would be like in the morning when they arrived to face me.  

Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Sharp Pain Between the Shoulder Blades

     The next day, Tuesday, is when events began seriously tumbling into oblivion. The sequence of events is still unclear, and will presumably remain so to avoid any liability issues. I have tried asking for clarification from several management types from both oakhaven nursing center and Wilson Seniorcare and come up empty because of rear end covering. Whatever the specifics, management turned on me hard that day.
     My sitter for the first shift was Nicole B. (I am giving her last initial so as not to confuse her with another Nicole who will soon make an appearance.) When Nicole B arrived, she took a chair out of my room and put it in the hallway. She told me sitters were no longer going to be allowed in the room. I did not lke the idea. I felt like I was under house arrest. Who would want everyone walking down the hallway to see a guard posted all day long? I expressed my concern to Nicole b, who asked the unit supervisor, Ashley, if she could remain in the room as per my request. Ashley agreed, if it wold make me feel better about things.
     Nicole asked a CNA named Renata to bring her a cup of ice about an hour into her shift. Renata brought the cup in, and chatted with Nicole B a moment. Suddenly, Kendra stormed in demanded the conversation end and Nicole to get back into the hallway. Kendra left without acknowledging my existence exactly as she had mostly done the previous Friday when chewing out Josette in front of me. I called out her name, but she was already down the hallway. Nicole B got her attention, and Kendra came back.
     “Kendra, may the sitters stay in. I don't want to feel like I am under house arrest.” I explained.
     She took a step forward and shook her open hand at me for emphasis as she told me, "We are not here to baby you!”
     “Baby me?” I was taken aback. I was a thirty-seven year old man. Such a comment was completely. Uncalled for. She did not take kindly to my reaction, although my anger was quite reasonable under the circumstances.
     “I'll have Ms. Paulette come talk to you!” Kendra said, then stormed off in a huff.
     A few moments after Kendra left, Ashley came to my rom and asked if I would feel better sitting at the nurses' station. It was a nice gesture in an attempt to soothe my ruffled feathers, but sitting up there in the spotlight was not much better than being under guard in my room. I politely declined. Ashley left. I laid down on the bed for a long moment staring at the ceiling before Nicole B, who noticed I was extremely angry, asked if I would like to visit paulette in her office. I said yes.
     Ashley was in there talking to Paulette when I arrived. She got up and left as I sat down in the chair she had been in. I asked Paulette if she knew what had just happened.
     “Kendra told the nurses' station you threw a tantrum,” she said.
     “I did not throw a tantrum,” I assured Paulette. “The sitters have been moved into the hallway. I asked her to let them back in the room. She said you were not here to baby me.”
     Paulette gave me a pained look. I would come to know it well in a susequent and frequent role as the bearer of bad news.
     “It has been decided that you could benefit from inpatient counseling.” she paused a beat. "Do you know what that means?”
     Now it was my turn to pause. “I am being involuntarily committed.”
     “I'm sorry. I'm sorry I failed to protect you. But when there are sitters, things just leak out.”
      I quickly rolled over every conversation I could recall with every sitter over the last thirteen days. I knew from the beginning everything I said to them was going to be monitored and analyzed. Each one was asked about my conversations and behavior, so I generally kept quiet and played it cool. But no matter how careful I was, I could not control how a sitter would interpret anything I said or did, nor could I control any rumors that might spread. The Oakhaven grapevine was much like any high school's. Not only were there no secrets, but no one ever kept the narrative straight. I had no idea what might have done me in.
     “Who made this decision?' I asked.
     Before I could say anything, Paulette grabbed my hand and prayed for my protection. I respectfully waited for the end. I still did not get to say anything before she picked up the phone and called Dr. Hiatt. I sat patiently again while she left a message on his voicemail to get back to her; this was an emergency. Paulette hung up the phone.
      “I'm in charge of placement. I'll see what Randy [Dr. Hiatt] says.” she told me.
     I walked out of Paulette's office without another word. Nicole b was leaning against the wall opposite the office. I passed right by her. She began to follow.
“What happened?' she asked. I kept walking without ever making eye contact with her.
     “I'm being committed to the loony bin,” I told her.
     As we rounded the corner to the nurses' desk, I saw Kendra standing there taking to Ashley. I came up right beside her and waitd for her attention. She finally turned to me. I could see ashley had a panicked expression. Whether she was worried about Kendra giving me a tongue-lashing or me giving her one is anybody's guess.
     “You said I threw a tantrum?” I asked her point blank.
     “We'll talk about this later,” she snapped.
     “No,” I said as I turned around and waved her off exactly as she had done m earlier. “We won't talk about this at all.”
     “Okay,” I heard her say behind me as I walked back to my room with Bicole  B, who was probably a bundle of nerves by this point, in tow.
     I have never been one, if at all possible, to allow people to control my fate without justifying their plan to do so. If Brock was gong to throw me into a mental institution, she was going to have to look me in the eyes and defend her decision. I requested an audience three times that day through Ashley and two other nurses. I got word on the second paging Brock was coming to talk to me, but she never did. Did she simply ignore me? Given times we have had subsequent issues she snubbed me to my face, I would say yes.
     Robyn and Alisha, the activities personnel, came by my room during late morning. They were planning to take residdents to the circus the following week. Would I like to go? My sitter would go along. I politely informed the duo I had a date with a padded room in my near future. They did not know what to say at that point, so they left. But a moment later, they came back and asked if I would like to use the laptop.
     Oakhaven had provided a laptop and wi fi hot spot for me. Paulette had just brought the laptop into my room the previous night. I had not even cut the thing on yet. I was not in the mood to do so now, however.
      “Are you sure? We can bring it in here for you.” Alisha said.
    “It's already in here. Paulette brought it in here yesterday afternoon.” I reflexively turned tp look at the spot where Paulette had left the laptop. It was gone. “It was in here! Where did it go?”
     “It's at the nurses' desk,” Alisha told me.
     “What's it doing there? Who moved it?” I asked.
     “Do you want us to bring it here?” Alisha asked.
     “Yes!” I told them.
     I buried my head in my hands as the two of them left, presumably to retrieve the laptop. It was overwhelming what a terrible day this was turning out to be. It was going to get worse, too. Robyn and Alisha never brought the laptop back. I was enormously upset. The only time it could have been taken is when I was in Paulette's office. I was definitely being ganged up on here.
     Nicole B noticed the physical toll the built up pressure was taking on me, so she suggested we go for a few laps around the building to blow off steam. I was not in the mood, but I agreed anyway. We did not get far before she noticed I was becoming short of breath. No wonder. My heart was pounding. I told so. She put her palm over my chest to feel it thundering. She told me I needed to sit down. I went over to the couch across from the nurses' station to do so. It looked like I was just destined to hover around the nurses' desk under duress today. 
      Nicole B asked Ashley to come check my blood pressure and pulse. They were 170/90 and 142, respectively. I needed to calm down. I was not keen on taking a sedative, particularly since Dr. Hokanson had threatened to up my antidepressants to the maximum degree if I did not straighten up, but the day's events insisted I acquiesce. Ashley went off to called my new physician to authorize Ativan. Nicole sat down beside me and tried to calm me down. It was not to be, however, because Paulette arrived and insisted I go to her office.
     “My blood pressure and heart rate are skyrocketing,” I told her.
    “You'll be all right with me,” she said. 
     She kept on walking down the hall towards her office without ever looking back to see if I was following. I was tempted not to comply. The disregard for my well-being was irritating. I needed to adjust to it, however, because such neglect was going to be the norm for quite a while. So, I got up and trotted after Paulette with Nicole B shadowing behind me.
     I sat down in one of the two chairs in front of Paulette' desk and sank into it as thought I had just turned into liquid. I let out a loud sigh.
     “Where are you at mentally?” Paulette asked.
   “Brock's throwing me in a mental institution. Where do you think I am mentally?”
    “Brock? Not Brock. Randy.” she told me in direct contradiction to what she had said that morning when I point blank asked her who wanted me committed.
     “When I asked this morning, you said Brock.”
    “No, I did not. Randy is the one who suggested you could benefit from intense, group therapy.”
     I feel the need to elaborate on something here. It will sound mean, but as you red along, you will see the accuracy of the claim—Paulette was a habitual, perhaps even pathological, liar. If you caught her in a lie, as I frequently did, she would blame the discrepancy on bad memory. The reality is she frequently needed to cover her mistakes, particularly when it came to Brock. She was terrified of Brock firing her. Paulette had recently divorced, and had no other source of income. There were several times when I saw Paulette crying in her office after Brock had dressed her down. She never went against Brock, even if it meant a resident would suffer because of her decision.
     In this case, Paulette made a mistake, as far as she was concerned, informing me Brock made the commitment decision. She probably did not want me to confront back over the matter because Brock would blame her for the tension that would most certainly flare up. I had asked to see Brock three times, and all requests were ignored anyway, so Paulette probably had no worries. Brock lacked the courage to face me in the first place.
     But none of this changed the fact Paulette was lying now. She told me brock made the decision to commit me before leaving a voice mail message to Dr. Hiatt informing him of Brock's decision to do so. Now, she was claiming Dr. Hiatt made the decision, and Brock was complying. Was Paulette defusing the situation to take heat off Brock, herself, or both? I did not know at the time, but I opted to let it go to avoid any further acts on my part which might be interpreted as aggressive I was going to be committed at this point regardless of who made the decision.
     “I've been asking to see brock all day about it.”
     “You should have had me paged. I could have cleared this up.”
     “There is another matter...the laptop. It's gone. Someone took it to the nurses' desk, but it is not there now.”
     “It's in Brock's office,” Paulette told me without skipping a beat. I skipped a couple, though. Her answer was a surprise.
     “Why is it in Brock's office? Who took it there?”
     “Robyn. She said you told her you didn't want it.”
I was taken aback yet again. “Where did she get that from? I haven't even talked to robyn today. She came by with Alisha when asked if I wanted to go to the circus. That's it.'
     Paulette did not say anything.
     “Can you get it back?” I asked.
     “Yeah, I'll get it to you,” Paulette assured me.

     I let out another loud sigh. Ashley had an Ativan with my name on it I was unusually anxious to receive. Until I found out it was a shot. Great. Ativan was a thick medication injected directly into a muscle. It hurt like the Dickens, but it knocked me slap out, so I was happy. I had never been so eager for a day to end. I should not have been so relieved for the day to be over, however. The next dy was far, far worse.  

Friday, March 13, 2015

Up the Long Ladder & Down the Short Rope

     It definitely was a long weekend. I received my first increased dose of Lexapro on Saturday morning. The dizzy spells returned, which is always nice. They eased off after ten minutes or so, but it was still irritating. I wound up laying around all day with a new sitter. Her name was Patricia. She was...unpleasant.
     Patricia, like Deborah, had been hired at Oakhaven after the Department of Health and Environmental Control closed down the nursing home at which they were previously employed. Word is the facility had been closed down due to the mishandling of residents' finances. I had suspicions there was more to it. Five residents from the closed facility came to live at Oakhaven. All five were particularly aggressive towards both staff and residents. One engaged in several physical altercations which landed her in a mental institution for short spells each time. Their behavior hinted at suffered abuse. A number of residents with whom I was aware had suffered abuse from their previous caregivers acted in a similar fashion. So was Patricia abusive? Yes, I would say so.
     She had been what could be politely described as obnoxious all day long. Annoying enough to make her unlikable, but not so bad it could no be considered a personality clash. I was not in the mood for talk anyway, so th day was filled with quiet toleration on my part. Until the evening, that is. Patricia left me alone in order to eat. She was gone for about fifteen minutes. Not particularly long, but against the rules when one is a sitter. I was just barely allowed to close the bathroom door at the time. So when Patricia returned, I needled her about it.
     “You know, you're not supposed to leave me alone,' as told her as she walked through the door.
     “It don't matter,” she began. “You ain't going to do what we're here for no way.”
      “And what's that?”
     “Kill yourself. You ain't going to do it. If you were--” Patricia grabbed the nurse call button by its long cord attached to the wall “--you'd'a wrapped this thing around your throat already. Or smothered yourself with a pillow.”
     I was taken aback. The previous day, my doctor threatened to dope me up so much I would not be able to even think about suicide. Now here is a CNA who thinks it is all a joke because I had not killed myself yet. As bonus, she offered advice on how best to go about, albeit stupid advice.
      “So you think this is a waste of time, huh?” I asked.
     “You ought to be glad anybody will sit with you. Ain't nobody want to do this. Just sitting here. It's boring.”
    “Regardless, you aren't supposed to leave.”
     “Well, how was I supposed to eat?” she asked.
      “Everyone else eats in here.”
     She snorted through her nose loudly. “You can forget that. I'm'll take my break. You'll just be dead as a doornail.”
     I did not say anything else to her the rest of the night. When her shift ended, I informed the night nurse of what had happened. She, in turn, told the unit supervisor. They were both shocked, and shared the worry if Patricia will say something like that to me, what is she saying to dementia residents who cannot tell anyone what she has done? Suspicions residents at Patricia's previous place of employment were abused felt more confirmed. I was not expecting to see Patricia again.
     But it was the weekend. The wheels turned too slow for change, and I wound up with patricia again on Sunday. She acted as though nothing was amiss from the previous night, so I laid a little reality on her. I told her she hd been reported to the night nurse and her supervisor. Furthermore, I was seeing Paulette first thing Monday morning to switch doctors. I was going to take the opportunity to report her. Paulette would nform brock of the incident. I thought it best for patricia to not speak to me, and I will not speak to her.
     “Okay,” was her response. She was simmering on the inside. She was furious at me, but had to know she had screw herself over with her careless attitude. Nary a word was uttered between us the rest of the day.
     I did report Patricia to paulette the next morning when I went in to switch doctors. Paulette wrote everything down, then went into brock's office with her notes. Patricia never worked again. I assumed she was fired over the incident with me. But five months later, I would learn Brock never heard of the incident, and Paulette would deny I ever reported it. I am not sure why either of them wound deny such things. There was a CNA shortage, so perhaps they hoped to retain her anyway. They were about to smack me around some more, so I guess it could have simply been no big deal. Whatever the case--and whatever actually happened to Patricia—was about to become a quaint concern compared to what was about to happen.  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Better Living Through Chemistry

     The day had been going well, as described in the previous entry. Josette and I had bonded like never before. It is true the knots on my head did not always fit the dents in hers, but frm this point on, we never clashed over misunderstandings caused by personality differences. A break though, that. Josette's time at Oakhaven was coming to a rapid end due to the poor relations between management and staff which caused a constant nursing shortage. She was about to have such an encounter right in front of me before I got my own dose of harsh reality. It is always the case someone wll come along to ruin your day.
     Josette and I returned to my room after lunch. She was going to leave early to renew her driver's license. Our mutual friend, tara, was going to fill in the rest of her shift as my sitter. Staff often covered for each other. It was no big deal. At least, it should not have been a big deal. Shortly after we returned, Kendra, the scheduler, came in to talk to josette. Chew her out, to be more exact. Kendra had photocopied Josette's driver's license from her files and tossed it down in front of her.
     “Your license doesn't expire until next week,” she said.
     I had little to do with Kendra during my time at Oakhaven.   She was the scheduler and not much else.  Aside from one scuffe I will get to in the entry after next, I only knew her by reputation. Said reputation was as condescending, unreasonable, and verbally abusive. She was the type of person who had never been in charge of anything before, and now waved her pitiful power around to make everyone feel as small as she does inside. This incident was the first time I had seen the real Kendra. I was soon going to be on the receiving end of it myself.
     Josette told Kendra she would not have a chance to renew her license next week before the expiration date. It was now or go through the whole process of getting a new license. She got tara to cover for her, so what was the big deal? There was an issue of overtime pay for Tara, which probably was a legitimate issue, but Kendra's personal attacks on Josette's character and honesty exceeded professionalism and flew well into obscenity. I had to look down at the floor for a moment in embarrassment. I guess that did the trick. Kendra apologized to me, then stomped out with no further acknowledgment of Josette.
     Before I could say anything, Dr. Hokanson paid a visit. It was the first time since I confessed suicidal intentions he had seen me. Our meeting was going to give Josette a chance to cool off. Unfortunately, I was about to receive a drubbing of my own. Hokanson an unsympathetic doctor with a gruff demeanor and no bedside manner. He was definitely not the personal you want to treat your emotional breakdown. Fotunately, Ashley, the unit supervisor, was there as a witness to what transpired.
     “I hear you've been having some rough times lately,” Hokanson said.
     “Things are not going well, no,' I cautiously replied. I was wary of where he might take this conversation.
     “They tell me you wanted to commit suicide. Are you still having those thoughts, or have you accepted you're here?”
     The statement was a fine example of what I mean by Hokanson's poor bedside manner. For him, it is an all or nothing proposition. His attitude was not to find a better living situation for me. Help me get out of a nursing home, or any way to improve the living circumstances driving me to suicide. His only question is am I ready to shut up and behave yet. In hindsight, maybe he believed Denise had power of attorney over me so I could not leave of my own volition. I do not know, but I thought his attitude was awful. I still do. But I still had to be careful with him.
   “I'm not planning anything, but I'm not happy about it.” A true, but cautious answer.
     “Well, you're taking a very small dose of Lexapro. I'm going to up it. We can go as high as 48 mg.” 
      He told me that, scribbled something on his clipboard, and left without another word.
     I am no math whiz, but 48 mg was over nine times my current dose of Lexapro. Considering the effects, it was already havig on me, I figured nine times over would alter me incredibly. When we were alone, I asked Ashley what 48 mg would do to me. She did not want to answer, but to her credit, she did anyway. Such a dose would render me nearly comatose. I had seen a number of residents with mental issues ranging from severe dementia to stroke damage in such states after unruly behavior, so I could not dismiss the possibility of being subject myself. Ashley told me Hokanson had only doubled the dose, but told me I could switch doctors if I did not feel comfortable with him. A change sounded like a good idea to me.
     Matters with Josette had been resolved in the interim. She was going to renew her license, but tara was not allowed to be my sitter. I had to sit at the nurses' desk for four hours. Josette hugged me goodbye. We were both upset enough to need it. The monotony of the four hours was broken up when I visited Paulette's office to switch doctors. I told her what had happened. She was only mildly interested. She asked what doctor I wanted.
     "You can give me Dr. Seuss for all I care. Just get rid of Hoknson!” I told her.
     She was taken aback. Then she told me I would have to come back on Monday to make the change. She was about to clock out. Fine. I would wait out the weekend. What a weekend it was, too.