If you want to see life pass by in all its crap and glory, put a parent in a Home.
They don't change, in fact, Mother blossomed like bulb in Spring although I have to admit Autumn is more her style these days.
Nasty things are happening in that left hand and arm where the cancer is creating havoc on nerves up around the shoulder and neck and who knows where else.
She had me cutting up cards the other day and I am not being dragged back into the days of servitude.
I am investigating an iPad or eReader for when she absolutely cannot hold a book in both hands, like last week. She was terrified that she would go back to lying in a bed looking at the ceiling, not that she remembers doing that, it's just that we've told her how bad it was.
Phone call this morning and the hand is slightly better. Two fingers are cold, that's the carpel tunnel and two finger are burning hot, that's the Rheumatoid Arthritis, she says, self-diagnosing which is better than knowing the true situation.
It's the changing of the residents which is the entertainment. I think of Elephant's Child whenever the MS sniveller whines about her lot in life. She's relatively young as against the oldies and could have had a nice unit, carer during the day and nurse on call at night but she prefers not to be independent. She is not liked much.
Opinionated new resident is not well liked either and her opinions are voiced very loudly. Two of the little old ladies must have at least two wheel chair widths between them or it's like rumble in the jungle with fists flying.
What can I say about the escapee? Well he hates me because I wouldn't let him out the door. He hides behind the potted palm just waiting for the one person who doesn't read the notice and doesn't shut the door hard and fast. They found him face down in the garden last week. We're not sure if he fell or was digging to freedom. It still hasn't stopped him from trying to climb the fence or smash the combination lock on the gate with a pot plant. The good news is, he hasn't tried to strangle anyone in weeks.
And now the ladies, elderly, are having to deal with explicit sex lectures from a dear old bloke who barely uttered a word in 6 months. Something has shifted in his brain and he can't be stopped.
And in the midst of all of this is Accreditation time. A time that is really important for a small home like this as the barracudabigtime Aged Care Health providers are always circling for any that don't make the grade. This place would be torn down and two stories of tiny rooms at exorbitant prices would be up in no time. So the nurses are not allowed to be over friendly, no hugs, no pats on the head, no nicknames, not even 'dear' and no loud voices. Half of the residents can't hear if you talk softly and I'm certainly finding it hard, loud is my middle name. The best thing about this place is the staff, take away their friendliness and kindness and the heart disappears.
It's fine for the 'expert' who's been there a mere 3 weeks to say she'd like everyone to have their tea at the tables to be sociable before being put to bed. It lasted one night. The next day every resident shot off to their room as soon as afternoon tea was finished and demanded to be in bed at 3. They're in wheel chairs all day, backs hurt, bums hurt and all they want is to be settled and comfy in a bed for tea at 5. You'd have to be blind not to see the concentration waning and the bodies drooping but experiment is the name of the game.
Residents come and go, shuffling off to the big beyond and new ones take their place and the atmosphere changes to a more lively one only to change again in a few months. So if the 'expert' wants to know how things work or don't work, try having a meeting with us poor sods who are there day after day, year after year, on the other side of the bed.
I have no complaints about the staff or the Home, I think they are fabulous and are doing a great job of making the Home a home. They work for crappy wages as well. Joe Hockey should try doing it for a week.