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Tossed Salad Friday

Written January 2, 2019

~~ Holy hell, living in Dementia-ville these past two weeks has been like a bad dream. Christmas arrived and a seemingly calm and competent aide departed. In her place came two people: a short woman with a pantyhose turban and a tall woman with extremely curly hair. Wait — they are the same woman! The short one sneaks up to her room while on duty and the one teetering on extreme platforms returns, wearing a wig even “Tacq-E” the drag queen would find vulgar. What the hell is going on? An occasional aide wears scrubs, but other than that, casual clothes are the rule. This bewigged exception must be porn-chatting or hookup hunting when no one’s checking on her, because why else would she be caring for an enfeebled person while dressed as a 1970s parody?

~~ Along with the inexplicable attire, this aide made it clear that she didn’t want to be on the job once she found out my spouse would be around. Seems she’d been reassigned from the care of an elderly person living all alone and was likely able to do anything she damn well pleased. Now someone was directing her and questioning her and that just wouldn’t do.  So she ignored him while calling the agency to complain.

~~ Asking for a transfer isn’t prudent if your complaint is that the caregiver in the home wants you to just do your job, so our latest antihero came up with a bulletproof grievance: she had no food. The agency liaison called my spouse and wondered why he wasn’t going shopping for her (while acknowledging she’s supposed to bring her own food or get takeout). He was aghast, as she hadn’t asked him to make a food run for her. Of course he agreed, and the agency was relieved.

~~ My spouse asked for a list, saying he’d shop for her shortly. She presented him with said list: Water, green tea, and whole wheat bread. Yep, you read that right.

~~ As the weekend arrived, I was filled with anxiety. We were invited to New Jersey, but how could we leave a now-glowering, openly unhappy, and indolent aide in our home? I was concerned for the patient’s wellbeing and scared for the welfare of my three dogs (not to mention any encounter with the petsitter coming to feed them). We locked up rooms, set cautions in place, and visited NJ, but my heart was in my stomach the entire time. Who wants to live like this?

~~ The last few years have been nightmarish, as I have dutifully recounted for you. Setting aside the sadness of watching someone devoured by dementia, I haven’t had a home to call my own for a long time. No solitude or sanctuary for me — just screams and smells. And angst.

~~ You probably don’t have time to hear about her elbowing me OUCH! Or her loading the washer with laundry smelling of urine and feces and leaving it (unwashed) overnight with the machine’s door open GAG! Just as well.

Written January 3, 2019

The only permanent resident of Dementia-ville has passed away at the age of 90. She was a pianist, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an aunt, and a friend. But yet it seemed this past half-decade she lost total touch with all that she was, and in many ways her family did, too. She was shrunken, bent, incapable, and empty, subject to the idiosyncrasies of a parade of caretakers who mostly didn’t care.

I don’t drink alcohol, but if I did, I would have two glasses today. One for the life the patient lived and one for all those who directly or indirectly suffer from dementia.


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