(One special night in a therapy facility)
Just woke up from a dream. It’s Buzzy, a close relative of the cartoon figure Maxine, in a bikini, flip flops, kerchief tied around her head with a call light clipped to the knot, my car keys laced in her bra, and big screws sticking out of the side of her right hip and knee. She’s doing the white knuckle job on a 2-wheel walker with rear skids, air horn, sign reading OUT OF MY WAY UNLESS YOU WANNA GET CREAMED.
But wait. That’s not Buzzy, that’s ME. I remember Dr. A saying, “Your bikini days are over, sorry,” as I emerged from a post op haze. Two screws sticking out? Hope Buzzy had a different doctor. Whew! Mine aren’t sticking out. Boy, do I remember that call button up there on her kerchief. It translates as life line, help, rescue, bathroom, chaplain, hurry, OMG too late. Buzzy, you’ve got it right – up there like a coal miner’s headlamp. Man, I’ll bet the Pope even ranks the night time control button on a level with the smoke puffs from the Vatican.
But listen, here’s where it gets real. When I checked into my room at the therapy facility, a CNA snatched the call button from the wall, saying ‘this one doesn’t work.’ Deftly she stabs in the cord for call button #2. As it turned out, #2 with a broken clip must have cycled out of recycle, because for 5 days, 15 shifts, and gobs of free-flowing blue language, it was rarely where it could be found! Flung across the table; crammed toward the foot of the bed; flat on the floor caught in the table leg; stuck out of reach under the pillow “where it’s easy to find”. So how about we talk: if the paper work for the two bucks Corporate needs to buy a new clip should stall along the line, why not have maintenance set up a quick “group fund”, gather the donations and book it to Walmart. Good grief, how tough is that fix for such a panicky issue?
A day later and in response to my insistent pleas, replacement #3 arrives with another CNA’s triumphant, “This one’s testing fine”, as she plugs and leaves. At 11:45 p.m. the button is pushed on ‘need’, and Chapter 1 of Demons, Sirens and Gargoyles starts to play out….15, 30, 45, 60+ minutes – no answer. At around 1:20 a.m., 75 overage minutes later and more leaks than the White House, I grab the telephone landline direct to the crosstown daughter. She has a knack for stirring the Corporate kettle, daylight or dark, and right now it’s near daylight for Wall St. stockholders of the care home industry. Just then two CNA’s stroll in to our dark room: “Are you ladies needing anything?” MY LIGHT HAS BEEN ON FOR 2 HOURS AND 5 MINUTES, AND I COULD SINGLE HANDEDLY FILL A WATER BED,” I yell. “Really? There’s been no light ….”
Mind to Body: better go back to the dream where it’s safer right now for everyone involved! As the image of the Buzzy of the Dream fizzles and fades, blotting out the call light debacle, I give the right hip another gentle sweep. Good. No porcupine screws. Ahhhhh, there goes the bikini, car keys, ugly control button, fading, fading…gonnnne…