Went to the care home to have lunch with my love today. He had just got up, which means he had missed breakfast but the new Director of Care has put a note on his care plan to stuff him when he is up and around.
So he was calm, a little sleepy still, but happy, smiling at me. Lunch was actually pretty good too and I was happy to help him navigate it.
At one point he looked away from me, not knowing me in the moment, and said contentedly, “yes she is a wonderful woman and a very good wife.”
Made my day!
I have sat through dozens and dozens of forest industry corporate exercises in persuading the community folks in the room that a) they can’t afford to do better or b) they are going to do better tomorrow or c) they are great well-meaning people and it is all someone else’s fault. Meanwhile of course the chainsaws bite and the toxins flow.
We in the environmental field call it “Talk and log.”
Today at the mock Family Council at Comox Valley Seniors Village where my true love is entombed, we got all of it full press.
We got the lovely delicacies. We got the excuses – not me, it was before I was in charge (but of course the Chinese corporation and Island Health were in charge whoever the faces in the minor management roles at the moment).
It is the government’s fault because they don’t pay us enough (said with sorrowful faces while they know they do not deliver the hours of care they ARE paid for, because how else can they make a profit?)
It is the union’s fault because they aren’t negotiating for pensions for the staff (I kid you not, and about then I got very nauseous.)
It is those lazy care aides, standing round doing nothing. Yep their fault. You bet, let’s blame the workers.
oh yeah it is you families, always phoning the nurses to find out how your beloveds are. You have to stop that because we’ve cut the shifts and they don’t have time to talk to you anymore.
The difference for me from the forest industry is now they hold my dear very ill darling captive, while the lies grind slow.
I went home and cried and cried. I have failed him, leaving him, in my desperation, in the clutches of a company that will do anything for profit.
Then I took a very long shower trying to wash off that “Family Council.”
It didn’t work.
He was snoozing in his lunch chair but the care aides were watching carefully and went with me to see him. He promptly stood up although he kept his eyes closed as we went to his room.
Occasionally he would stop and say insistently, Ma… Maah… I was confused but he looked awfully pleased with himself.
Oh! said one of the aides. He had the doll all morning. All was explained, We cracked up, and he grinned.
Never one to let go of a good thing, he happily stretched out in bed to a chorus of Ma, but as that clearly got less and less response, he began to snore.
He snored loudly as the nurse came in to give him his pain med and we fussed around, until she said, clearly, Don, I have some pudding for you.
Lo and behold the sleeper woke, to another round of laughter.
Well, that had worked so well he lay back down and continued snoring, an eye cracking open and a smile curving his mouth from time to time. Sometimes we got Ma! again and I would pat him in that ancient rhythm we use with babes to soothe them.
Eventually the snoring took over for real and I tiptoed out.
Can’t communicate? I think he did a great job, happily keeping us laughing and keeping our attention. Because he was with people – staff and family – who knew and liked him, and understood the pantomime.