Monday, April 27, 2015

Cracks in the Ice

       It should be clear by now Paulette and I had a tumultuous relationship. Our difficulties would not have been such a big deal if she had not been the social worker for Oakhven. To give as much benefit as possible, Brock made Paulette’s job more difficult with the constant fear of termination for not bending to her will. While Paulette was the sole social worker during my nineteen months at Oakhaven, the turnover rate prior to my arrival was impressive due to the inability of previous social workers to dance the tune Brock played. Paulette got around the problem by never advocating for a resident against Brock's wishes, and I have the emotional scars to prove it.
     The first incident which sticks out in m mind seemed innocuous at the time. Paulette had been unable to arrange counseling at a help clinic after I learned Denise had abandoned me, so she arranged for Oakhaven to pay for five visits with a private therapist. This therapist turned out to be Dr. hiatt, a friend of Paulette's for thirty years. The day after I had my first session with Dr. Hiatt, Paulette presented me with a form to sign allowing doctor/patient confidentiality to be broken between Dr. Hiatt and me so Oakhaven could be informed of the content of our sessions. I had been given no forewarning of this, so I spoke freely during our session with the assurance of confidentiality. So naturally, I had already revealed the most sensitive issues on my mind. I refused to sign the form.
       Paulette immediately backed off. She assured me our casual conversations regarding the sessions would be enough, since I could simply decide only what I wanted to say to her. If you guessed I no longer told her anything, go to the head of the class. I only had on more session with Dr. Hiatt after that anyway until I was placed on suicide. Even then, I said if she was going to present me with another of those forms at this point, Dr. Hiatt and I would sit in a lot of silence. Surprisingly, she backed off.
      I have already gone over the incident with Caligula, as well as linked to the Department of Health and Environmental Control's Those detail Paulette's failures both in my view and the state of South Carolina's, You should go back over those if you want to refresh yourself on the major events souring me on Paulette, and ways the state believed she failed both other residents and me. Any further mentions are going to be in the form of relaying conversations in which the subject was brought up. Case in point:
       The relationship between Paulette and I began tumbling downhill two days after I reported the incident in which two residents had hit and chased off a mentally challenged woman so they could have the lobby to themselves. This was in the middle of April. We had a cool, but not icy relationship. I had even begun playing Words with Friends with her. I could keep this safe distance because I largely stopped going to her with any issues for which I might normally approach the social worker. Marlie the Healthcare Planner, Ashley the Unit Supervisor, and Ellen the occupational therapist, all of whom were sympathetic to the poor relationship I suffered with management, were eager helpers. Favorite nursing staff and even family members of other residents were more solid help. I have relayed a number of stories of how nice many people had been to me. But there were times I simply could not avoid Paulette.
       In this particular incident, she utilized the usual trick of waiting until a few minutes before five PM on a Friday to approach me with negative issues. She had three of them. One, I had not reported the resident altercation fast enough. There was a procedure they had to follow, and I had made it difficult. Two, there was a knife missing. Had I stolen it? Finally, one of the women I had reported for the beat down complained about my use of the telephone room. I needed to start using the dining more. I want to take these in detail. Everything I am about to write about them was my counterargument.
       About the incident. It occurred at 6:30 PM on Wednesday. It was at least on hour and a half after Paulette, who would be in charge f investigating the incident, had gone home. She could not do anything until the next morning, which is when I approached her to report it. She asked me to come back after lunch. I did, and reported the entire incident then. What I could have done, if anything, to expedite the procedure is beyond me. Of course, I also had to wonder what procedure Oakhaven had for such incidents/ A CNA pulled Caligula off before he cold strangle me. She did not even mention the incident the next morning when she called me into her office. It would appear I was exempt from said procedure, but still obligated to rush it for another resident's sake. I should have known this from the third class treatment I had been receiving for months by that point.
       About the knife. I will sort of concede this point. I had taken and hidden materials to use for my suicide plan, so if something alarming is missing, I would be a prime suspect. But there are two pints in my favor. One, the materials I had taken were ones that would not be missed—a plastic bag and a Styrofoam cup. I never could get a roll of tape, and the therapy band I was going to use instead I had brought with me from the hospital. I would not have taken anything that would have attracted attention like a knife. Two, Paulette defended her inquiry by assuring me she had asked several other residents as well as me. When I asked them, they denied Paulette had ever approached them about the knife.
       Finally, the telephone room. I used my laptop in there quite a bit, usually because the dining hall was busy as the social hub or eating place or being hosed down after a social gathering or meal. I actually used the dining hall as much as possible. There was more room, it was brighter, and my laptop screen could face a wall behind me rather than the open doorway to a busy hallway as it did in the telephone. I was not keen on the privacy violation the telephone room forced on me. Now I was being told I was using it too much anyway. New rule: leave any and all times another resident wants to use the phone, even if I have no where else to go.
         Let us look at this. There were 88 residents at Oakhaven—87 plus me. All 87 could demand I leave the telephone room anytime they wanted, as many times as they wanted, and I had to stay out as long as they wanted. I did not have the right to insist anyone else leave the room for my benefit. At least in theory, it was possible for me to never have access to the room as long as any other resident wanted it. Keep in mind the telephone room and the busy dining hall were the only two spots in the building with Wi Fi. Let me reiterate my complete lack of privacy with my laptop screen only able to face the door. As with the abuse reporting procedure, I was not only denied a right granted to every other resident, but was reprimanded to respect those rights for other residents.
I will concede another point to Paulette, although she was a bit too slow on the uptake. She kept the one who complained about my telephone room use anonymous, but I knew it was one of the ladies from the incident two nights prior because she had already been rude to me on a couple of occasions about my laptop use in the telephone room. When I strongly implied her complaint about me was a reprisal for getting her in trouble, the probability dawned on Paulette. She became less forceful. I had no choice but to agree to terms, but I was still miffed.
       I mulled our conversation over for about thirty minutes in my room before deciding to take a walk to clear my mind. It was one of those times when I came up with a half dozen other things I wish I had said. Blowing off stem by making laps around the building should clear my head. As luck would have it, Paulette was working late instead of leaving at five. With ever lap, I passed her office, and every time I did, the urge to go in for a second round became stronger. Betty, a CNA who worked the East wing nurses' desk adjacent to Paulette’s office, even commented I seemed to be making laps more forcefully each time. She was right. I wore myself out pretty quickly. I plopped down on a conch in the lobby to rest.
After a few minutes, Paulette walked by and smiled at me. She was oblivious to how upset I was. Her clueless attitude was the trigger pint.
         “Paulette, I want to ask you something,” I said/
     She turned around from what I guessed was leaving for the night and approached the coach. “Okay. What is it?' she asked.
       “Where does my privacy fit into all this?” I asked.
       “You don't think you have any privacy?”
      “Of course not. I have my laptop screen exposed to God and everybody in that room. I have no privacy there.”
     “We don't see it that way.”
     “Maybe you should, especially if you're going to scold me to respect everyone ease’s.”
       “I didn't scold you.” Paulette was getting testy.
     “You told me I had to leave anytime anyone else wanted to use the room regardless of what I am doing. While I am in there, anyone and everyone looks at what I am doing.”
       “They're not supposed to.”
     "Well, they do. Remember this is a problem you all caused by putting the internet connection on the other side of the building.”
      “You don't think I care about your privacy?”
      “You just said you didn't.”
     “I'm sorry you feel that way," she snapped. She turned away away briskly and walked towards the employee exit without another word.
      I could not resist getting the final word. “i know. Everyone here is always sorry, but no one does anything about it.”
       I figured everyone in the vicinity heard me tell her that. It rattled her pretty good, too. She almost knocked over Carolyn, one of the night shift nurses. As Carolyn walked by, she commented Paulette had nearly steam rolled. She was not talking to me, but I could not help but let out a small laugh. Not a classy move on my part, but there you go.
       Speaking of not being classy, Paulette resigned from our Words with Friends game when she got home.
       I obviously had no desire to encounter her on the following Monday, but sh found me in the afternoon. I was in the dining hall with my laptop. I play by the rules. I would just like the rules to make sense. She sat across the table from me, and asked if I had anything else to say. I told her tersely I did not.
       “Good. I said all I have to say about it,” she told me.
       I thought this was a terrible thing to say, particularly for a social worker. But I was mostly thinking if she had nothing more to say, she should have stayed away from me. What was the point of tracking me down in order to reiterate she does not give a crap about my problem?
       “If you have any other problems will you tell me?' she asked.
       “If you're the appropriate person, yes,” I told her.
       “What does that mean?”
      “It means you are not my first choice to go to when I have a problem,” I bluntly told her.
     “May I ask why?”
     “No, you may not. I am having a good day, and I am not going to let you ruin it with a confrontation.”
     “All right,” Paulette said. She got up and left. This was not going to be the end of it, of course.

No comments:

Post a Comment