Everyone was wondering by this point what come next. Corporate/Oakhaven did not want to be stuck with me. I did not want to be stuck with them, either. Pulling my feeding tube out was not a favorite option. I had dropped to 68 lbs by the time it was inserted, so I was wary of the consequences of getting rid of it. I did not want to start all over again in another nursing home, either. Lord only knew how circumstances might even be worse there. The simple solution was for corporate/Oakhaven to act professionally about matters, but that was not going to happen. They could not even manage to set up a tour for an assisted living center that would not cause a rat turn up its nose. So we are all in a holding pattern here.
Or so I thought. Corporate/Oakhaven were panicking. Chrystal notified the ombudsman, Michelle, how badly the tour had gone. Chrystal was afraid my cooperation was slipping away. I suspected our heated conversation during the trip home was at least redacted, if not omitted altogether. Whatever the behind the scenes events occurred, the goal was clear—Michelle, who was obligated to act according to my wishes even if she did not agree with them, had to convince me to depart for assisted living that, for all I knew at the time, were all as deplorable as the one I visited. Tough sell, no?
Michelle showed up to my room late Tuesday morning. She certainly was a skilled negotiator. She began my telling me Chrystal was as appalled by the first assisted living center I was, and they were not going to consider it a destination for residents in the future. Neither she nor I believed it was true, and it has subsequently turned out not to be. But in terms of corporate/Oakhaven's frequent dishonesty, the false promise qualified as “quaint.” The big deal was Oakhaven was offering to pay for a year at the second, nicer facility out of my price range if they would accept my price range after the year. As a resident with minimal need for assistance, I might be a resident desirable enough for the center to accept the deal. But it was not set in stone.
I was not too adverse to this, but I still had concerns about the feeding tube. My weight had been steadily dropping since the feedings stopped. Michelle commented that was okay, because she feared my weight would plummet instead. Her comment raised my eyebrow. This concern should have been expressed a month prior when I was bringing it up to all the medical professionals supposedly interested in my continued good health It appeared giving me the boot took precedent over my health from all folks involved except me. Go figure.
Before I could dwell much on this point, Michelle opted to appeal to my ego. She could not miss. It is huge. She told me I was intimidatingly intelligent. Corporate/Oakhaven were afraid of what concerns I could throw at them. She said I was an individual who needed more privacy. I could make my new living space my own. I could be more stimulated with residents closer to my age with dementia or stroke damage affecting their minds. I could get involved in resident council issues to fuel my legal/political advocacy instincts. All of this was likely true, but Michelle knew appealing to my ego would only take her so far before she ran into a stone cold wall of cynicism. She must level with me to seal the deal.
“There is a personality clash between you and Brock,” she said. “If they took the internet connection away or did not like the height of the mirror, I could do something about that. But I can't fix a personality clash.'
I laughed. “Personality clash. Meaning I have one and Brock doesn't. Actually, Sonya has more to do with this mess than Brock. Which one do you think hats me the most at this point?”
“It's hard to say,'” Michelle said.
She was serious. I was surprised as much by how quickly she answered as by the answer itself. I used the word hate deliberately with the anticipation Michelle would dial it down to a more appropriate term. But she did not miss a beat. I hit the nail on the head from the get go. The conversation's new direction sparked my sense of justice, and Michelle knew.
“They are not going to get away with this. They think they are going to be happy getting rid of you, but it is going to cost them a huge fine. They will never do this to anyone again," she said.
I was skeptical. Corporate/Oakhaven had moved immediately to cover their wrong doing with an ease which only comes from practice. They had effectively hidden situations over the years, it explained both their completely flippant attitude about the Caligula incident and their bitter animosity towards me for calling them out on it. The animosity was not going to go away. But whether they were fined a bundle or not, I was planning to file a lawsuit. Money was the only thing corporate/Oakhaven cared about. Their checkbook is where one must aim.
So here we were back on track. I was going to leave Oakhaven The possibility the facility would pay my living expenses a full year after I departed was a nifty prospect. After the negative emotions cleared over the first assisted living center, I could embrace the second for its far better quality. It appeared thing might go smoothly from this point forward.
You know it did not pan out that way, right?