I am screaming. Can you hear me?
I went to see Al today over the lunch hour. I had a whole set of different plans than what others had for me. I went in and had my head held high ready to do battle if anyone stepped on my toes.
I ask the nurse to have someone get Al ready, including shoes and socks and she just stared at me. She immediately got on the phone and called that psyche doctor and then handed me the phone.
“Yes, this is she.”
“I’m afraid that you can not take him out of the facility.”
“Why? I am his sister and guardian. I want to take him out to eat and to an outing.”
“I’m sorry, I am in charge now over him since he is trying to kill himself.”
“Excuse me? You are not in charge. I don’t even know you. You are not one of Al’s doctors. I am his sister and his guardian.” and after a deep breath;
“I read the doctor’s report. There is no suicide threat. The doctor saw nothing. In fact the doctor has stated on the discharge papers that this is due to Dementia, PDD.”
“You can not take him out until after I have assessed him tomorrow morning.”
I smiled the whole way through the conversation. I was so darn nice I was making my own self sick. I wasn’t going to get Al in any other trouble because of me. I thanked her for her time and reminded her I will be there in the morning.
I went to see Al and had to tell him that we could not go out. Immediately the tremors tripled. He and I had planned all week to go to the local car show where there was going to be a 1921 fire truck and Al’s favorites, vintage cars.
I was seething inside but dared not show Al my anger. I decided to eat lunch with Al. I wept inside as I saw him trying so hard to use plastic silverware. There was no weight to them and he could barely keep his tremors under control to get food on the cheap plastic. Yes, they took a way his only way of eating weighted silver ware because he might hurt staff with them or himself. To this moment he still has no water in his room. No water except for meals and the way he sweats, oh my gosh. Three days of this crap.
I knew at that moment I was at the boiling point and I could not stay there. I would end up yelling at everyone there and maybe doing some threatening myself. I worked hard to be bubbly during our lunch, but Al didn’t really notice me too much. He was trying to get the food in his mouth.
In the corner of Al’s mouth I noticed a big crud of food and drool. He had not been shaved today. I have tried to convince Al to let me shave the mustache off because of drooling and the food attaches to the hairs but he wants to keep it. If it is cleaned after every meal I can keep it looking alright. He must have read my mind because he said, no one shaved him. I told him that I had bought him a brand new electric shaver yesterday. The nurse was going to charge it for this morning.
He also stated that since Friday he has only brushed his teeth once.
I thought I was going to blow my top. Then Al said he would like to have his Bible. As soon as his nurse walked by us in the dining room, I stopped her. I asked her for Al’s Bible, and for his tooth-brush and razor.
She tells me,”Um no he can’t have his Bible.”
I looked at her with snake eyes and said,”If you refuse him his Bible you are going to wish that you had never said no. I want him shaved and his teeth brushed. Even prisoners are allowed to brush their teeth and shave and they are entitled to a Bible.”
I thought she was going to collapse right there on the floor. Her eyes got so big they were bigger than full moons. After lunch I pushed him back to his room. He was a sweaty mess. I knew that I needed to get out of that place but I wanted to make sure Al got what needed to be done for him.
Two aides finally showed up and they said,”The nurse said there is a Bible in the dresser drawer.”
“Is it his?”
“No, it belongs to the facility.”
“Wow, Al has been here six months and none of you still know that Al can’t see clearly. He has a large print edition in his room and I want it brought here right this minute.”
They laid down his toothbrush and toothpaste and took off. They didn’t come back for sometime, so I ventured out in the hall to see what was going on. Soon here comes those two aides with the nurse. I was ready with armor on to do battle when they said something I wasn’t prepared for.
“Um, did you say you brought Al in a new razor yesterday?
“Yes, I did. I handed it to the nurse on seconds, Rachel is her name. She said she would charge it and have it ready this morning for him.”
“Well we searched his room and we didn’t see any razor.”
“Well I guess you better start looking in other places then.”
She finally found it locked up in the nurse cart. It hadn’t been opened so it wasn’t charged. I blew out a big breath from my lungs and the one aide said she would plug it in and shave Al.
I also stated, “He is a sweaty mess. I took his shirt off and sweat is pouring down his back. The pants that he has on are inappropriate because they are sweats and it is 80 degrees outside. He has several pairs of shorts to wear. I also noticed that he has big sores in between his legs from not being washed each day. I tackled these last summer and so I know what he is in for with infections unless he is washed up every single day during the summer.”
I walked with the two aides down to Al’s room and made sure they didn’t leave. I hugged Al good-bye and said I would see him later. He cried. I know he didn’t want me to leave, but it was for his best interest that I did.
It just so happened that today the facility had traded a picnic for some work done by a local church. The facility had grilled hamburgers and hotdogs. There were pasta salads and chips. For dessert there were cute cupcakes with white swirled frosting on top with a cherry.
When the servers got to our table I requested that instead of the normal pudding they give Al that he have one of those adorable cupcakes. I started laughing so hard I thought I was going to pee my pants when she told me,” The hamburgers and hotdogs and cupcakes are for the church. Residents don’t get any of that.”
Al pays $7,000 a month to stay there. He is kept in an empty room at the end of the hall. He has a tinker bell that he rings if he needs to get up or use the potty. He can’t have his silverware so he can eat. He can’t have his own Bible, and now he can’t have one stinking cupcake.
Because of the church being there, I had parked outside right in front of his room window. I was so glad that I had a front row seat. I got in my car and started it. I rolled down the windows and looked up. There were the two girls who were taking care of Al.
Now take in mind it takes less than four minutes to get from his new room to my car. In four minutes they had shaved him and washed him up, changed his clothes, helped him brush his teeth.
Bull shit!!!! I watched them. They finished shaving him but didn’t let the razor charge. They took it out of his room. They did not wash him up. He was trying to brush his own teeth with no help. No wonder he has caked on food all around the edges of his teeth. Then they wheeled him out of the bathroom and put him back on his bed with no clean shirt and no washed up skin, with the sores in between his legs unattended to. There was no wash rag or towel that entered that room or exited that room. I was so darn close to the window I could see it all very clear.
I left and stopped at the grocery store. I wanted to get groceries but I couldn’t keep the tears out of my eyes. My mind was racing on the abuse I knew was happening to my brother I love.
I am a dangerous person right at this moment. I could mouth off throwing darts so bad at this moment. This is why I have to stay here. I am debating whether to go back at dinner hour. I probably can get myself together for another picture show by the time three more hours pass.
I know Al is trying so hard but he said he feels so alone and no one wants to be around him. I tried to picture what I would be like locked in a room for three days with no human contact. Not being allowed out except for meals, and this is what is making me think I will be back at supper with another fake smile plastered on my round little face.