Lately my dear puts everything in his mouth. The nurse’s arm, the sensory items one might call toys, the empty glass (a problem if it’s styrofoam), the napkin, my hand. As i let him suck, he turns my hand, examines it, kisses it, and chooses a finger.  I watched bemused until suddenly, he chomps. He may not have many teeth, but yep they are sharp!

When i protested, he was somewhat abashed but mostly bemused and talked a lot, maybe explaining, but i could make no sense.

And so again we probably descend, and so again i must bear the journey.

Meanwhile,  in a great distraction,  the care home and the media are obsessed and upset because the government has assumed temporary control due to health and safety issues.

It is early days for sure, but so far there has been no indication that anyone in the local management levels actually understands the depth of the issues raised in the Medical Health Officer’s report to the Island Health Board.

They seem to think it is just a few trouble-makers, whose loved ones might have had an unfortunate accident, or two, or three. A fall, a sore, an infection, a death. Happens all the time you know, and, oh yes, it does, anywhere: accidents happen, things go sideways, but not over and over. And yes, we all know that no one gets out of Complex Long Term Care alive.

But most of the complaints and serious system failures the government has identified have nothing to do with the so-called trouble-makers. We did not to my knowledge even file more than a fraction of the complaints to Licensing.

This is personally frightening. Things were going awry all over, unknown to us. Thankfully the licensing branch of government got the trail.

One accident might happen, once, but multiple accidents are a system failure. And system failures are a management problem. And an oversight problem. Possibly,  no probably, in part a money issue, but definitely not an odd mishap or two. This is a time when management swings into action to sort things out.

As that happens, I have decided to not move my love to another facility, and to give the process a couple of months to see how it goes. He has friends and staff who know him well, so I want to avoid the upset of moving if at all possible.

Meanwhile a few overworked and underpaid care aides are the front line to stop my poor darling from eating whatever is movable and comes across his path.

Hint: Folks, better check all those soaps and deodorants and other stuff lying around in his room.  We are now in another stage where anything anytime anywhere might go in his mouth.

We have been in that stage for at least a month or two. Parents will find this familiar!

The confusing thing is his somewhat aware reaction when his instinctive motions are interrupted. Not an adult, not a child. Just a fine and much loved human doing his impressive best, with a deadly handicap of dementia.

And very mouthy, just like his chosen woman.



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3 responses to “Mouthy

  1. sally gellard

    Dear D greetings and heartfelt hello from Halifax My heart indeed goes out to you – as you turn another corner in the world of you & Don. Thank you for pouring your amazing energy and courage into the fight at Seniors Village – and it really is good to know that beaucrats do listen sometimes – and that good will come from your perseverance. I bet You have made all facilities in the province pay attention – as well as family members who often/usually feel powerless in the system. My niece & I go to PEI on Monday – and will meet with Susan on Wednesday (her day off) the weather looks promising – today was sun brisk Atlantic wind all day – apparently NS is the 2nd most sunny province in Canada (the guy who told me this didnt tell me which was #1) Im in a meditation retreat for the weekend – Shambhala buddhism – perfect – before spending 4 full days with my very sweet but somewhat “complex” niece. I look forward to seeing PEI & Susan – Shall I convince her to return to VI? gone to press? have time to rest up & eat pumpkin seeds? love sal


  2. Aw gee thanks, really looking forward to hearing about your trip and the retreat and how Sue is.
    yes chawing seeds like there was no tomorrow. … hmmmm
    I betcha the sunniest is Alberta. Maybe Sask?
    Need to write up a “Lessons Learned” from all this for others dealing with stuff but it can be summed up in three words: GO TO LICENSING
    sweet tripping, sweet.


  3. Susan Yates

    The report I head on CBC just a couple of days ago (White Coat Black Art?) seemed quite serious and delved into the issue of this and other ‘care’ facilities on Vancouver Island, and how terrible the management was and why it had to be turned over to Island Health. I hope it doesn’t just lie fallow.

    Susan >