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.
     “Brock.”
     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.  

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