Friday, October 9, 2015

The Sound of the Wheels Coming Off the Bus

       Chrystal's definition of “I'll be in touch soon” was a week and a half of no communication. It was an awkward week and a half, I might add. Everyone from Oakhaven management kept their distance. Some, particularly Brock, went to comical links to do so. There were instances in which she turned around and took a longer route through another hallway towards the West Wing when she saw me coming up the hallway she was initially waling down. I used to see her pass by my room multiple times a day. She never cam near it after I signed the discharge agreement. It was a deliberate move, but I never found out if it was her choice or if she was told by corporate to steer clear. Neither would surprise me.
       Brock may have gone to extreme lengths to avoid me, but everyone else who dealt with me opted for reinforcements. Victoria and Kisha were joined at the hip in every deliberate encounter with me. Paulette was similarly attached with Edna. Victoria denied anyone from management who dealt with me was required to have a witness, but Paulette told me otherwise. Evidence leaned heavily towards not only should no one be alone with me while conducting business, but as few people as possible should be handling matters period. Corporate and Oakhaven suffered with not everyone being on the same page in the past when presenting me the official line, and my pointing out the contradictions was costly for them. They needed to minimize any further damage. Of course, there was no point in streamlining the narrative when they were simply going to make it up anyway, but we will get to that later. Several times later.
       My situation was not the only disaster plaguing Oakhave far from it. Lest you believe Oakhaven's unethical dealings with me were isolated, there was a pervasive feeling the place was a sinking ship. You may recall corporate transferred Nichole T from Director of Nursing at Oakhaven to the identical position at Medford Nursing Center. The transfer was not a promotion. The express purpose was to spit up Brock and Nicole T for the various mismanagement issues. As CEO Lofe described it once, Wilson Senior Care lies to rearrange employees the same way ornaments are placed strategically on a tree to make it prettier. The reality is this is a way to avoid firing management personnel, thereby not attracting regulatory attention. As you can tell in my case, corporate never welcomed any agency examining their operations. It made them look guilty as sin, but that is the way they conducted business. All that to say Nicole T's departure appeared to make matters worse.
       I hope I do not need to mention Courtney's unfortunate departure, or the LPN whom I mentioned was fired under dubious circumstances the same night she slipped me DHEC's emergency number while I was under sitters. But these were not all. Three other incidents required DHEC investigation. The most serious involved a CNA flicking a resident in the face and calling him a retard. The police came to take a statement on a second incident. I am unclear of the third incident's details because it was investigated on day one of a two day inspection. The second day was devoted to my case, so I was a bit distracted. One of the night shift RN was accused of stealing painkillers from residents, and opted to quit rather than submit to a drug test. Had she tested positive, she would have lost her license. Make of her decision what you will. All during this time, CNA were jumping ship for “persona'”reasons. The reality was the increasingly toxic environment made it impossible to work at Oakhaven
    Sometime in all this mess, Paulette resigned. Exactly when or why is unknown. But her status had clearly changed since my situation flared up. She held an open animosity for me, so I assumed I was the main reason for her resignation. It was absolutely not fair. Even if her loss of status was completely related to me, I merely held her accountable for her instances of professional negligence which caused me harm. In a broader sense, the social worker is an obvious choice to take the fall for upper management's failure to prevent the aforementioned resident abuse. Whether Paulette chose to go on her own volition or was avoiding a Christmas ornament rearrangement is unknown. But what is known is no one appeared bothered by her departure.
       There were several weeks between Paulette's resignation and her beginning a new job elsewhere. During those weeks, we had virtually no official contact. The couple times I did need to speak to her were initiated by me and usually delayed until Edna was available to witness. There were two glaring exceptions. The first occurred during the week I was waring for Chrystal. I wanted Paulette to read the case against me Lofe had red out at the meeting the previous week.
       “They gave you one?” she asked in genuine surprise. She knew they would never have wanted me to see the false accusations. They could not afford me debunking them for DHEC, which I did anyway.
       “No. Aysa gave me hers,” I answered. “There is no way they wanted me to have this. Lofe whined to Michelle about me being there as soon as I was out of earshot. Do you want to read it?”
       “If you want me to,” she said.
      I knew she would not say no, but could not appear eager. Her fondness for drama made the temptation irresistible. She took the paper from me and laid it on her desk. As she slowly read it, she winced several times and apologized at least as many. The apologies were not meant to accept responsibility for anything, but an acknowledgment I was the latest person to whom corporate/Oakhaven had done this. She had seen it all before. Fair or not, her reaction reminded me how much of the mess could have been avoided if she had served as a proper advocate rather than bending too much to Brock's will. So I became a bit passive aggressive. Note I was unaware of her resignation at this point.
       “You know they are setting you up to take the fall for all this? They are blaming you for contacting the ombudsman. They are upset you gave me the email addresses. They are upset you gave me the employee handbook. I don't think it's all fair,' I told her. “Do you have anything you want to say to me about it?”
       “I choose to remain silent.”  
     Remain silent is what she did. Paulette began to read something while completely ignoring me. I remained sitting there for a few seconds. Just long enough to make things uncomfortable. I could probably have subsequently pushed her behavior as inappropriate, but I was being a jerk in my last statement, and there was no good reason to exasperate matters any further. I just got up and left without another word.

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