Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Different Path

       I now had a bleeding ulcer diagnosis and treatment in hand. The treatment wound up being as simple as a twice daily pill to soothe my turbulent stomach. Slowly but surely, the pills worked. My hemoglobin rise steadily each time it was checked. But medication could not solve the problem alone. The ulcer was caused by turmoil in my environment. I was still stuck with a feeding tube because of my less than ideal weight. So the turmoil had to be reduced where I was planted. Do not let anyone tell you the poppycock notion you should be able to overcome any environment. Even the strongest among us get beaten down eventually by forces beyond our control.
       Oakhaven made a surprising effort. I do not know if management was motivated by the medical necessity of preventing my ulcer from worsening, gilt over my recent treatment, or a desire to cover their rear ends should I ever wind up being interviewed by the Department of Health and Environmental Control at some future point, but changes were made. I was finally moved to a new room along a well-traveled hallway. The new living arrangement ended the last vestiges of the Caligula incident. The Wi Fi was also moved closer to the living area in an attempt for it to reach my room. It still did not, but I now had the opportunity to sit near a large window in a far off corner with my laptop. The move was an improvement. Ellen, Lesley, and Courtney took me out to eat one night Mercy, Paulette and I even managed to go months without any personal tussling.
       The biggest surprise was Brock. I have already described in detail what I will generously call our personality clash. She did not speak to me for nearly two months after my DHEC interview. She had just gotten to the point at which she would at least greet me shortly before the tribunal incident ay which her faced fell, revealing what she truly thought of me. I learned at some point she had asked Ellen for advice on how to get along with me. Ellen suggested she sit down with me in a civil conversation and apologize for Caligula. According to Ellen, Brock appeared to consider taking the advice, but she never did. Brock was insecure with her position in life. To apologize is to show weakness. I was unaware this conversation took place when I wished Brock a happy belated birthday. In hindsight, she probably took my gesture as letting her off the hook. Which is fair. She tried being as friendly to me as her weird, condescending attitude would allow. I cannot fault someone for trying, so I went with it.
       Ellen and Nicole T were friends. I am not certain what—if any—things might have been said between them regarding me, but my relationship with her become much friendlier. While I am not certain how much I can assume, it appears Nicole T took the advice Brock rejected from Ellen. I do not want to sound like I am excluding the idea Nicole t was just a really nice person/ once I got to know her, she was.
       A resident who lived in a room within the Wi Fi range went to court to have himself sprung from Oakhaven. Nicole t arranged for me to move into his room. She warned me the fellow there already was grouchy at times. Paulette warned me there were issues with him bathing, as well, but if there was a problem, I should ask for help. I accepted the room, and thanks to Nicole T, I finally had Wi Fi in my room. I had often been puzzled why the Wi Fi had not been arranged in such a way in the first place, particularly since it was (dishonestly) hammered into me I was the only resident who used the internet. (There were three residents with laptops, and at least two with smart phones at one point. Those numbers do not count the crowds of visitors in and out every day.) Many problems could have been avoided. Either way, I was happy to have it.
       It bears noting even though I grew to like Nicole T, she and Brock together were considered a gruesome twosome running Oakhaven as their personal fiefdom. They were difficult to work for and no walk in the park to live under. Retaining staff was extremely difficult, and the DHEC fine racked up earlier in the year chafed corporate. I am not certain what the specific catalyst was, but in October 2014, corporate transferred Nicole T from director of nursing at Oakhaven to Director of Nursing at Medford, a sister facility just a couple blocks over. The move was not a promotion for Nicole T. it was a move sideways with the intention of splitting up her and Brock. Brock requested to go, too, but the CEO's son was the Executive Director at Medford. He obviously was not going anywhere. CEO Dennis Lofe use the euphemism these sideways transfers within the corporate entity as 'rearranging ornaments of a Christmas tree.” No word on how he plays down his nepotism.
       Victoria became the new Director of Nursing. I feel the need to mention Victoria replacing Nicole T because it is the only event one can point towards in order to explain Oakhven's subsequent plummet. It was clear from the get go Brock and Victoria did not like each other. From the grumbling to which I was exposed by staff, no one who worked under Victoria liked her, either. She was certainly less popular than Nicole T. The issues is mostly a tangent to the final chapter of my time at Oakhaven. What happened to me next was a symptom of the sickness plaguing Oakhaven, not the cause of the disease itself.
       I am going to tack on an eye-opening incident here. It is not necessarily a good fit, but it needs to be laid out there before anything else. This place is the last chance to do so. Recall I mentioned above I moved to a new room with Wi Fi. I moved in late august. The fellow already living there, had issues with bathing. He claimed—falsely—he was a Vietnam veteran infected with Agent Orange which kept him from bathing. I am going to refer to him as Rambo because of his claim. The reality was he rarely got out of bed. His laziness caused him to develop five pressure sores. They probably were painful to wash, but the discomfort was no excuse for him to forgo bathing, particularly when all five constantly drained. A pitch verbal battle ensued prior to any bath. Few CNA had the stamina to push for the daily bath Rambo was supposed to receive. Three or four days could sometimes pass between baths. The stench could be nauseating.
       Paulette had warned me about Rambo's lack of hygiene. She also told me to point out the problem anytime it got to be too much, and she would intervene. Paulette was true to her word, although a permanent solution was never reached. Paulette was not the only person to talk to me about Rambo's problem, however. Jonathan, the wound care LPN, did, too. I met Jonathan the day I arrived at Oakhaven. He had tended to my feeding tube and colostomy scores of times. He had even been at the dinner with Ellen, Lesley, Karen, and me back in October 2013. I thought I knew him well, so when h offered friendly advice, I assumed it would be just that. He sat down on the bed beside me.
       “I'm going to tell you something. You're not to tell anybody else, and I better not find out you have told anybody else--”
       If Jonathan noticed my brow knit, he did not acknowledge. I assumed he was pulling some bravado here, but it sounded like a threat. I do not respond well to threats. He had no business talking to a resident in such a manner regardless. But I was having a good day moving into a room with Wi Fi, so I did not respond with the '”Is that a threat?” I normally would have. 
        Jonathan's subsequent behavior showed him to be a jerk, so I have no problem calling him out now. He basically said everything Paulette had, but decided to be a complete jackass in order to keep himself covered for revealing information about another resident. Whatever, Jonathan. He and I had issues again in the near future.

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