The inspectors from the Department of Health and Environmental Control did return the next day. They were going to make the incident inspection over a resident's newly formed pressure sore due to possible neglect into the full blown annual survey. As such, residents with sound minds were going to be interviewed on the final day. As one with anxity issues, there was a lingering worry I might get skipped over regardless. One point in favor of that not happening was brock and Kendra speaking to me on friendly terms for the first time in over a month, which I took to indicate a fear over what I might say. I joked with various nursing staff Brock was likely to have me thrown into the truck of someone's car, driven out to the country, and dumped sometime before the inspection's end.
Friday came. While it was not firmly established as the final day of the inspection, logical said it was. I began the serious debate while I was laying in bed after breakfast whether I should patiently wait for DHEC to come to me or assume Oakhaven management had interfered som how, so I should just pull an inspector aside. While I was in the middle of this debate, an inspector knocked on my door. She introduced herself, and asked if we could talk. I readily agreed. She wanted us to meet in ashley's borrowed office. I hurriedly put my shoes on so we could go. While patiently on me, she commented on my laptop set up. I told her I was a writer and computer nerd. It was my stimiulation. I wanted to come across as intelligent for the sake of my credibility. Because, really...after having read my story so far, would you believe it all happened?
We settled down adjacent to one another in Ashley's office. The inspector was familiar with my file. I got the impression she knew t least the general details of what I was going to talk about. She controlled the conversation through with numerous, pointed questions. I was impressed. She took on the role of an attorney seeking only the facts. I also appreciated her professionalism, and readily assumed the role of a seasoned witness who answered only the specific questions asked. No more, no less. I did feel as though my credibility was being sound out. She wanted to know why I had been relocated to so many rooms. In other words, was it my fault I had roommate issues? Of course, she knew everything surrounding my emotional breakdown, so I made sure to be as raw as possible when answering her questions about the matter. There are no secrets when giving official testimony, no matter how embarrassing.
I have already written out the story of the things that happened to me during my time at Oakhaven, so I will not rehash them here. But I will address the three major points which received particular scrutiny during the interview. I am going to link the official DHEC inspection report at the end of the post so you can verify everything, if you so desire.
First and foremost, Caligula had been a clear and present danger to residents. He clearly had mental illness with which Oakhaven was not prepared to deal. I was unaware at the time of the interview, but caligula was no longer a resident. About three weeks prior to DHEC's inspection, Caligula barricaded himself into his room with his roommate. He then took off all his clothes and was standing over his roommate's bed with the intention of sodomizing him. A couple staff management to ram the door open before Caligula had the chace to assult his roommate. Caligula was then—finally—institutionalized. Backwards from there, Caligula believed I was brandishing a knife and threatening to “stab him where it hurts” in the brief moments I was his roommate. H had punched his fost roommate and tried to stuff a bed sheet down his throat. It took all these incidents before Oakhaven took action to protect residents from Caligula.
Second, pretty much all the blame was put on Paulette for not adequately doing her job. The failure to address Caligula's mental issues and the dangers they posed were of course a problem, but so was her failure to both properly address my difficulties in adjusting to m abandonment and to properly treat my subsequent emotional breakdown. Placing me under house arrest with a sitter while planning to institutionalize me was not the way to handle a person who has aborted a suicide plan and fully cooperated with everything afterward. This, by the way, is the point I think actually kept istitutions from accepting me as a patient rather than the colostomy and feeding tube, but no one will admit it. Take my belief for what it is worth. The bottom line is my negative experiences with Paulette were evidence of her failures as a social worker.
Finally, I got the chance to address the condition of the room. No one had ever taken steps to alleviate any of the problems. It honestly blew my mind no one had even tried to fix anything in the couple days between announcing I wanted to talk to DHEC and the interview. I truly was a victim of neglect. When I described the problems-the broken light, the jamming bathroom door, and no nurse call button—the inspector requested to go back with me to look at the rom. The bell I was supposed to use to summon a nurse was of particular concern. While it was a given I was going to be given a nurse call button, she wanted to see how staff reacted to the bell. She asked me to ring it. It only took about fifteen seconds for Jonathan, an LPN, to zip in. My remaining eye may be bad, but even I could tell by his demeanor how embarrassed Jonathan was at the awkwardness of me having to use a bell for this. Next, the inspector asked me to wait a moment before ringing again as she went to the nurses' station to see if she could hear it when I did. She could, but noted the ringing could easily be drowned out by the cacophony inherent in a busy nursing home. The inspector wished me well after assuring me she would see to it the problems ith the room were fixed. I would have liked to move to another room, but there was no sense in pushing the issue. Sure enough, all three problems were remedied within a couple hours.
I took up my usual spot in the afternoon in the telephone room. I was surfing my usual internet destinations when Paulette knocked on the open door frame. She sat down in the same chair with the same deflated demeanor as a couple days before. She appeared to have just composed herself after an emotional episode. I asked if she was all right. She told me her day had been stressful. Considering how much of my interview with the inspector had revolved around Paulette, I did not press the issue. She only wanted to tell me Caligula was no longer a resident. She got up and left without saying anything else. A moment later, I heard brock standing around the corner talking to Nicole T, the Director of Nursing.
“Jamie raked us over the coals over [Caligula].” she told Nicole T.
I guess Brock did not realize I was in earshot. It would not have mattered, I suspect. I got up and leaned against the door frame in the faint hope she might spot me. Brock did not, but Nicole t. and I locked eyes. I gave her a knowing smirk. She knew I hd heard. Moments later, Brock stomped passed me heading for the employee exit. We were no more than six inches apart, but she did not acknowledge my existence. I think I ruined her weekend before it even began.
Sources for your edification:
Oakhaven Nursing Center's Inspection Report. Caligula is referred to as Resident #5. I am Resident #11.
Pro Publica confirms Oakhaven Nursing Center's $148, 525 fine. Note as well its sister nursing home, Medford Nursing Center, paid an even larger amount in penalty fines--$283, 498.