Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Shellshock

       It should come as no surprise I walked out of the conference room shocked. Who would not after experiencing a meeting like I had just been through? It did not even occur to me or anyone else I was walking the halls without a sitter as escort. I passed by Paulette as she was leaving her office. She smiled at me.
       “How are you?” she asked.
       I looked at her. “I supposedly hate my sister and am projecting my hatred unto Brock.” I turned and walked away, but not before I noted the puzzled look on her face.
       When I got back to my room, the nursing staff crowded around to find out what happened. I handed the hard copy of Lofe's statement to my sitter, Ticia. Aftr she rad it, it got passed around. Everyone who read it became angry. A couple cried. I had formed some strong bonds with my caregivers after all this time. I talked to everyone and hugged many times for the twenty or so minutes the remainder of the conference took. Michelle and Aysa came back to talk to me. The two were just as befuddled as I was.
       “Lofe asked why you were there. They weren't expecting you to be. I asked him why. We've had residents who were practically comatose at these meetings.”
       “I don't think they wanted me to hear that. Maybe I was supposed to be in a padded room instead.”
       “I asked why Paulette wasn't there since she was so involved,' Michelle said.
       “I think she's the fall guy,” I offered.
       Michelle shifted gears. “Lofe said you had hit yourself in the head the morning you were put one on one.”
       “That's not true,' I said, my brow knitting. “I got a small puncture wound with a comb tooth. Three nurses saw it, including Victoria and Keisha. Besides, I was careless because I was angry about being placed one on one. It was after the fact.”
       “Do you mind if we look?” Michelle asked.
It took a second pr so before I ralized she wanted to examine my scalp. I agreed. Michelle and Aysa stood on either side of me as I sat down. They slowly picked through my hair. First in the general area at which I had been punctured, then branching out after not finding any mark. I had to laugh in the middle of it all.
       “You know, if we were chimpanzees, this would make us extended family,” I joked.
       They both laughed. It was the first chance the three of us had enjoyed a release of tension in well over an hour.
       “At least you haven't lost your sense of humor through all this,” Michelle said.
       “How can you not laugh at all this?” I asked. “It's theater of the absurd.”
       The pair finished rifling through my hair, and came up empty. There was no visible scar. I reiterated it was merely a puncture wound. My blood was thin because of anemia, so even the smallest wounds bleed profusely. Why Lofe claimed I had hit myself with hairbrush was a mystery, but considering the blatant falsehoods in his written statement, an outright le and the incident should not have been a surprise.
       Michelle took down the names f the three nurses who tended to the puncture wound. There was an unspoken acceptance she was just going through the motions. Director of Nursing Victoria and Unit Supervisor Keisha were not likely to contradict the official line. One wondered if they falsified the report in the first place. Keisha confiscated the comb in question. Yeah...this was a lot of cloak and dagger shtick for a nursing home.
       As Michelle and Aysa prepared to leave, she paused. “lofe refused to take the sitters off. I'm going to contact our legal team. Just sit tight. In the meantime, thy cannot force you to keep the door open. Don't do anything that will give them justification. I agreed, and she left with Aysa.
       I opted to leave the door open. As irritated as I was over the lack of privacy, it was probably was probably wisest to show I had nothing to hide. Considering the pictue of me corporate/oakhaven was attempting to paint of an emotionally unstable firebrand, I should not do anything provocative. I quietly wrote up an email to Dr. hiatt explaining what had just happened, then ate lunch as though nothing was out of the ordinary.
       It was about an hour after lunch when Victoria and Keisha came by to tell me the next shift's sitter would be the last. The circumstances were the same as when Victoria told me the previous week corporate was going to do me a favor and allow Courtney's visits without a chaperone instead of the realty Michelle told them they had no choice. In this case, corporate was supposed making a peace offering to remove the sitters when in reality the legal team from the ombudsman's office told them they had no choice. These ding-a-lings never saw fit to tell the truth no matter how blatantly obvious the lie.
       “This should make you feel better,” Victoria said.
       It would have if the chess game was not going to continue to the bitter end. Rather than ending the sitters immediately, corporate insisted on the second shift sitter coming in because she was aleady scheduled. Surprise, surprise—Nicole B arrived to sit, she was cold and wanted to come in the room by the heater. I internally laughed—no closing the door, huh?--and agreed. If corporte wanted a couple more passive aggressive shots at me, why not let them? Oh, if only those were the last jabs!
       The next day was Thursday. I was greeted with a mixed bag of oddities and olive branches. Marlie the healthcare planner was the first. She usually dropped by evey morning with friendly visits to evey resident. But she was the socially awkward type who said plenty of things she should not say. It was good fortune how often her tendencies worked to my advantage.
       “After the meeting yesterday, everyone stopped talking about you,” she said. “i asked Jonathon 'I thought we were all in this together!'”
       “'In this together?' As in ganging up on me?” I asked.
       She laughed, oblivious to the reality she should have kept that little bit to herself. But, as I have said before, her social fumbles were often useful. We continued chatting another few minutes about something frivolous and unrelated. Even my elephant-like memory cannot recall it. She moved quickly onto someone else in a few minutes.
       Next up was Victoria and Keisha. They acted all friendly. I found it odd they would act as they there should not be any tension between the two and me. I found it odder still they had no idea at all what was going to be said to me at te meeting. I let them read the statement. Victoria acted even more strangely after reading. I had assumed her managerial position would have put her more in the know, but se seemed genuinely surprised at how vicious Lofe and company had been. She even thanked me for allowing her to read it. I was still skeptical she was sympathetic, so I let slip I knew Sonya had added aggressive behavior and suicidal “ideations” [sic] to my healthcare plan.
       “Who told you that?” she exclaimed.
       “Don't worry about how I know. Just know I do,” I said.
       So Victoria was still more interested in keeping me in the dark about things which could help my case than helping me out. At least I got quick confirmation. Victoria and keisha left quickly after my declaration, so I assume it struck a nerve in one way or another.
       As it wa my first full day with a sitter in over a week, I strolled around quite a bit. These strolls were the first time I noticed brock was actively avoiding me. It was not unusual to be snubbed her, but now she wos turning around in the hallway if she saw me coming and the like. I never found out if she had been instructed to steer clear by corporate or if it was a personal choice. Either way would be amusing. Corporate had either flexed muscle over her or I fraked her out. Feel free to choose your favorite interpretation.
       While Brock was even more standoffish than usual, Victoria was the exact opposite. Before this whole mess started, we had not spoken ten words between us in nearly a year and a half. Now she was suddenly deeply concerned about me in all respects. I tried to be nice, but the combination of her detrimental actions and my cynicism regarding people in general made it difficult. Whether I pushed her way or pressure from corporate/Oakhaven forced her back into taking a hard line, are interactions soon faded back to normal.
       Lost in all this until mid-morning was the fact Dr. Lilly was still my attending physician. It was never made clear whether my request to have him removed from that job had been ignored or just fell through the cracks during all the excitement. Whichever the case, he came to Oakhaven to sign his portion of the discharge agreement, and then visited me afterward. He was noticeably subdued from Monday night. What a difference sixty hours can make.
       I did not ask if he had read the email I sent off critiquing his previous visit. I would have sent it to him as well if I had known his address. But I assumed he had at the very least been consulted. He seemed to feel it was important to tell me he never had any intention of removing the feeding tube. He only wanted to halt the feeding in order to gauge my weight loss. Fair enough, but my big concern was he had floated possible involuntary commitment to a mental institution as a Sword of Damocles to scare me into cooperating. All that was technically irrelevant now that I had agreed to pull the feeding tube and leave regardless. Technically irrelevant, but not personally.
       “Well,” I began “the meeting yesterday was an ambush. The accusations made against me are hearsay, speculation, and outright lies. They hoarded statements secretly to build a case against me. They tried to convince my therapist to violate confidentiality to concoct a reason to have me forcibly committed, and Sonya settled on bullying the healthcare planner into adding aggressive behavior and suicidal idealizations—excuse me--'ideations,' as Sonya calls them—right before placing me one on one. These people are unethical and dangerous.”
       Dr. Lilly nodded an acknowledgment which did not commit him to agree with anything I had said. No matter. He spoke a few words strongly, but politely indicting he wanted to be anywhere but here right now, and he prepared to leave.
       “You asked me Monday night if I thought all this was worth it,” I said. He paused in expectation of me continuing. “Yes, it is. Exposing these people for what they truly are is totally worth it.”

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