My mother, Alberta, arrived at her new inpatient rehab/ nursing home by ambulance. She had only one bag carrying three medications (Aggrenox, Lipitor and Lisinopril) from the hospital with her. She was wearing a hospital gown, socks and pull-up style diapers. My mother had grown so weak and frail during her hospital stay that she had completely given up on any attempt at using a toilet. This is when her nearly 9 month dependency on diapers started.
My mother was hospitalized twice while in the nursing home. Once was for a Urinary Tract Infection. I later learned that “most of the residents get UTIs because they wear diapers.” The time when my mom got a UTI was when she was left in her urine soaked and waste laden diaper until morning. The night staff was mostly interested in sleeping, not working. Although my mom called for help with the call button, no one came. Unfortunately, the night staff was also not well educated about the different needs of the different residents. A more effective approach would be to train the staff about what it means to have stroke. Or what it means to have Parkinson’s. Or what is means to have Dementia. Regardless of the condition of the residents, the true missing component of the night staff was compassion.
The daytime nursing staff at the facility was great. They were always busy–but for the most part–they were kind, caring and attentive. My sisters and I practically lived there. The daytime nursing staff even knew our schedules. My older sister Aellyn was there from the early morning hours until about 9:45 am when my twin sister and I would arrive. At around noon, my twin sister and I would leave the facility, go to the office (and mostly refer patients to other psychiatrists). Then we’d go home for lunch, walk Kookaburra and then return to the nursing home and stay until dinner when our older sister would come back and stay until it was time for our mother to go to sleep at around 8:00 p.m.
My mother had daily Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy. My mother appreciated all of her therapists. But she particularly adored her Speech Therapist and her Occupational Therapist.
From the moment I saw my mom’s Occupational Therapist I had a strong feeling that I knew him. It was an unusual experience– but not an unfamiliar one for me. I had a feeling like this once before when I got extended eye contact with Ricky Martin. Yep, that Ricky Martin! It may sound odd, but I think different realities/past lives must sometimes overlap and something like a bleed through happens. Did I seem familiar to my mom’s Occupational Therapist? We’ll never know for sure. But one time, it kind of seemed like maybe, perhaps he did remember our romance in 4th century China. He was assisting me and my twin sister in the bathroom with our mother when suddenly our mom was about to fall over on me. I stabilized my mom. Then I noticed hands around my waist and a thumb gently caressing and stroking my back. It was the Occupational Therapist! I turned around– he was intensely blushing and his beard was all fluffy. When I later told my twin sister, she said, the Occupational Therapist was just acting and reacting from “plain animal instinct. Nothing more.”