Last night I went to bed very early. My mind and my body were beyond exhausted. I feel like I slept decent, but I woke several times. Each time before my brain was in thinking mode, Al and the facility were right there.
I kept thinking back to last night when the nurse told me a couple of times that every time she walked by Al’s room he would glance up and see her and he would put his call light on. She commented on how it was becoming very irritating to her. She had work to do and all he was doing was asking for negative attention.
Negative attention, I found to be an interesting phrase coming from a nurse in a nursing home. She was too busy for Al, too busy to say hi. What I got from it was that Al was feeling alone and he was seeking out human to human contact. No one that he could connect with in his life goes to see him. His family doesn’t show up. Ten years of the same church, only the minister has been there twice in six months. He has never received mail in the form of cards. It is just him and I. I understand how he once again feels abandoned and is on that call light.
I do my very best to be there with Al in person as much as I can. I am usually there every day or every other day. The only time I have missed is the three weeks that I fought that bronchitis back in winter. I worried that Al’s tender mind would think I had also abandoned him, so I called him each day.
It seemed that the cordless phone was occupied or they were about to receive a very important call, so many times I had to trust that my messages were relayed.
Don’t we all require and need to have human contact? Isn’t it a true statement that many youth are turning to sex, not for the sex, but for the words spoken and the human touch? Is my brother no different in his own needs? Sometimes special needs people are even more loveable and require more love. Look at the label they have over their head, Special Needs.
This has been one of the biggest humps on the camel’s back that Al is so depressed. Instead of spending more time with him, our world here in the U.S. pops pills into our bodies to replace what should come freely from our hearts.
Al is now on two antidepressants because he is alone too much.
I think of Al on a sister level and sometimes this makes life difficult. There are times I do not understand people’s decisions and the ideas of where they came from. Maybe I am simple-minded. I look at Al as a brother. an abused child, and a guy who was shunned by his Dad.
Now he sits in a lonely room with a TV and a roommate that doesn’t speak. The staff ignore him because they are too busy. He is lonely and crying out. He got so offended when the Social Service lady told him I had to bring home his coca cola can filled with eyeglass screwdrivers because she was afraid he would hurt her with them.
He has never forgotten this and with the disappointment of not coming home when he thought, his brain went into automatic mode and began to blame himself for not coming home. He wondered what he had done wrong to cause this. He told me he must have screwed up again. Thus the topic of the screwdrivers became utmost in his mind and he spoke of it constantly the past 24 hours.
It isn’t that he wants to hurt someone. He is referring to the screwdrivers as the wedge that comes between people and him. No one can speak to him because he is bad. They took him out of his room because he was voicing in a mentally challenged way about the screwdriver.
This was an automatic trigger for the facility that Al wanted to harm himself or others. I heard a couple of nurses state that Al said he wanted to harm a staff. I questioned Al thoroughly about this and he did nothing but cry and say he never said that.
I have no proof. I have not heard any of these words come from his mouth. Even when I was laying the law down with Al yesterday about the way he speaks to others, not once did he admit he said those words.
I don’t know who to believe but I can see the tornado spinning and I am the eye in the middle.
If this psyche doctor who is to come in on Monday morning to assess Al decides to go over my head and place Al in a mental institution, I will scream at the top of my lungs. I will throw the biggest, adult temper tantrum anyone ever witnessed. I will call every TV station. I will talk to anyone who will listen. I will bring down this place with the truth about how some nursing homes can be. I will place Al in his wheelchair and I will bring him home while they stand there wondering what it is I am doing.
I know that Al speaks of death a lot. He is in pain and he wants it to end. He wets himself and he is highly embarrassed. He spills food constantly and gets highly frustrated from his tremors. He knows that things he used to do are no longer able to be carried out.
He really doesn’t want to die, he wants an escape. He tells me God isn’t listening so he goes to the next best thing, death. With Al’s simple thinking he believes that if he ask God to take him home, God will do it because God loves him. Death makes pain go a way. He is more simple-minded than me and it is very easy to figure out.
Sometimes I can see the abuse that I suffered as a toddler come out like Al’s does. I want to be acknowledged also. I want to hear from people here at WP. I want to read the comments and see the number of Likes clicked. Aren’t I craving the same thing as he is? But with my brain working differently than Al’s I go about my life in a different way. I think abuse, any kind of abuse, is never totally forgotten in our heads. It can pop up in weird ways, but only seeing the complete picture does anyone figure out what is going on.
But would he go as far as to harm himself? That I am not sure of. I would like to think absolutely not, but I can not guarantee it. I do know that since he has been in this facility he has sunk to an all time low. They loved him at first. When his money was gone they told me he didn’t fit in. He has been filled with more pain and pills than ever. He is miserable and now it has gone so far as staff say he is dangerous.
They have placed him at the dark end of a hall with no bed alarm and no call light. He has a little bell that he is to use if he needs help. He was given nothing to drink except for mealtime until I bitched and threw a fit. Then they took him a four-ounce plastic cup of water. I was with him yesterday when he had to go pee. He kept clicking the little bell for what seemed quite a few minutes. Finally I hunted someone down and was told that I had to wait. They said there were only two aides for fifty people. What was I to say to Al? Go ahead and pee in your pants. I know how this makes you so happy. But instead I could say nothing but lie and tell him they were on their way.
I don’t have the answers but yet some things are very clear.
Al is in pain 24/7 and he is tired of it.
The facility does not have time for patients that want to do more than sleep in their wheelchairs all day.
A mentally impaired brother has now been turned into a wicked leper.
The facility has not wanted him there ever since they took all of his money.
I will fight my very best for his human rights and for his dignity.
If I lose, the only thing I have to worry about is myself, because I will not want to go on knowing he is locked behind some padded walls with drool hanging out his mouth and he doesn’t recognize me. I would rather be dead than to see this.
Dear God, I know I was very angry with you last night. Please forgive me. I come to you on bended knees and ask for your help. Please give me the strength to keep fighting. Please hide Al under your wings and keep him safe from the evils of the world. Please let my mouth speak the correct words as I speak to the facility, that need to be understood. Please Angels, stay close to my brother. Let him feel God’s love and arms around him. I say this through broken tears dear God, as I have nowhere to turn but to you. Amen.
- Watching out for nursing home abuse, neglect (poststar.com)
- Senior Care: 5 Tips To Protect Mom And Dad From Nursing Home Fraud (medicaldaily.com)
- I-Team: Nursing home deficiencies (wwlp.com)
- Hundreds of dementia assaults going unreported (abc.net.au)
- Nursing home ‘rectifying issues’ (bigpondnews.com)
- How to Report Neglect or Abuse in a Nursing Home (nypersonalinjurylawrecord.com)
- Nurse abused care home residents (nypersonalinjurylawrecord.com)
- The Incredible Story Of The Man With No Memory (businessinsider.com)
- Elderly advocates battle bill to limit punitive damage cases against nursing homes (miamiherald.com)
- Jury awards $700k in man’s overdose at St. Louis County nursing home (stltoday.com)