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.

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