friendship · Home

Laughing To The Grave

Too Soon

Can anything be funny or are some things off-limits?

In my opinion, there are times you need to be serious and try not to make light of a situation. I also believe in serious moments, humor happens. Here are a few examples.

After our twins were born. The hospital gave us an option to have a visitation, people could come and see Willy and Gabe before they took them. I wasn’t for sure I was up to it or not but my husband had purchased mementos he wanted to give to everyone. That night all my friends, his parents, and brothers came up to visit. I was sitting up in bed, most of my friends were sitting on the side with me. A nurse who was assigned to my room when they first diagnosed my Premature Labor came in to tell me she was sorry to hear about my loss. She did this out of  genuine compassion because she was not assigned to me during this time. The whole room was quiet as she expressed her sympathy, which wasn’t easy at all for her to do. The only noise you could hear was people catching their breath and sniffing. My friend Sarah pats my arm, gets up off my bed, walks over and pulls a wad of kleenex out of the box and blows her nose like an eighty year old man in the doctor’s office with a hanky!  My friend Allison was the first one to laugh than me and after that there we all were!

I also chose for the hospital to put the funeral on for Gabe and Willy. Which took us to a cemetery here in town, it’s a big cemetery. They have a designated area for the babies, on top of a hill. You have to walk over another hill before you get to the top of this one. My mom, me and my friend Allison were watching people as they were trying to carefully walk down this muddy hill. One lady wasn’t so lucky as the mud got the best of her. To the ground she went and rolled like a barrel all the way down…

My dad is the serious one in my parents marriage. He secretly digs my moms humor, which sometimes involves him. Not long ago we were all out to eat together. We got on the subject of an acquaintance of theres who had a spouse that recently passed. They had found another companion. I asked my mom if she thought it was weird that she was “back in the saddle”. My mom says. “Shelley not at all, I’m engaged to be married the day after your dads funeral…” I laughed hard as my dad sat there shaking his head, rolling his eyes, and not even giving the slightest smile.

We have talked many times about where I work. My residents are Visually Impaired. When one of them passes on its hard for some of are residents to get out and go to their funeral. We have memorials here in the building in honor of the resident who passes away. This allows residents to be able to talk about their “good times”. We did this recently for “Jack” when he died. We had quite a few who came down. They sat in the dining-room. We have couches that make a square all the way around the room, They started from right to left, “Emmet” was on the other side which would make her last. They let everyone know that they had to wait their turn. Each one of the residents were standing up telling the preacher about one thing they remember doing with “Jack” or something funny he said. All the other residents and staff quietly sat and listened meanwhile Emmett was raising her hand, standing halfway up to try to raise it further, she would get tired of holding that hand up and start in with the other, grunting, moaning, whispering pick me pick me…

I call these “hold Ons” constellations to shine down on us in times of darkness giving us hope and a future.

 

Family · friendship

Interview Times Eight

Dear Christy,

How are things going with you? let me know in the comments or give me a ring. I have been thinking of my friend of thirty years lately.  So I thought I would write you an open letter and catch you up blog style. I had a job interview the other day. I may have informed you a bit ago about how Cheryl’s sister, Sondra’s husband has been trying to talk me into working where he works. He says they pay better and they have better insurance… They’re about three times the size of where I work now.

I wanted to tell you about the interview process

I signed in at the front desk at ten o’clock. The time my interview was set for. They informed me it was a group interview and to have a seat. There were five other girls sitting in the chairs in front of the desk. I put a big smile on my face and sat next to a girl who was still in high-school. She said hello and asked me my name and told me hers. She told me this was her “second interview here, but first group interview.” I could tell she was a bit nervous just like me and trying to stand out a bit by being friendly.(We discussed it might be a part of the interview to see how we interact with strangers.) A few moments after sitting down a woman named “Kathy Bates” asked us if we were ready? We all agreed, she said to follow her. We walked back further into the lobby where a Grand Piano sat, in front of it were five or six tables and chairs (wooden) If you look further there was a black tile floor for maybe dancing? (whatever you as the reader would like to imagine) we took a sharp left down a long hall, which was boring so I didn’t pay much attention to detail, around another corner we took there were residents eating in a “restaurant” type  area that actually had a counter, and a person behind it grilling, and a waitress on the floor taking orders from the five or six residents dining. We walked around another corner that led us to the door of this theatre type room with four rows of theatre type chairs, down by the screen was eight people men and woman dressed to the nines with clip boards and papers. We all got seated and “Kathy Bates” explained to us how they like doing interviews this way because it works for them. She didn’t go into detail. My mind did. I figured since they’re a good size  facility it goes quicker. They can interview everyone at one time instead of scheduling each individual interview and it taking weeks sometimes months. She said she was going to ask each of us a question, which she did. She had us start by each of us telling who we were and how long we had been nursing assistants? here are a few questions.

1.) Tell me a negative situation you were in that had a negative outcome?

2.) How would you handle a combative resident with dementia?

3) (My question) What do you do on your down time? Me: I have been at my job for fourteen years. I have moved into a friendship with most of my residents. I’m usually in their rooms spending time with them and helping them clean.

The panel of people by the screen was taking notes after each one of us answered our questions. When they got done writing our answers, “Kathy Bates” informed  us they were going to the back room to discuss who would proceed further into the interview process and not to be upset if you  were “sent home.” I thought to myself “what is this American Idol? We all sat there for about ten minuets and a guy named “Bluto” came to the front and says Shelley and “Betty Boop” come with me!

Return for the second half of Life In My Tin Can…….

 

 

Family · friendship

In Loving Memory of Room 127

"Jack and another resident. Saying goodbye as she moved to another home.
“Jack and another resident. Saying goodbye as she moved to another home.

Hello Good People,

First of all this blog will not be as short as I would like or you would like? There is no way around it. One day I would like to be a brevity writer…

This last year at my job we have lost lots of residents. Some have moved and some have passed away, either way it’s been tearful. One particular resident who recently passed had been at the home for as long as I can remember. (I have been there fourteen years almost.)

We called him “Jack” because he favored “Jack Nicholson” right up to his brows and wrinkles on his forehead. “Jack” stayed cranky most of the time and was plucked out by a few of the residents for target practice. One lady resident he particularly couldn’t stand. When “Jack” would yell out like he did in the  dining-room. (most mornings) she would be the first to tell him to “shut up no one wants to hear your mouth.” One morning as she walked past his table after yelling at him she said “toodles Jack” he sat back in his chair slowly and nicely told her “have a rotten day.”

This was what I loved about “jack” he pulled no stops when it came to how he felt about people and when SOME of our residents would make snide remarks to him. He never backed down. He had a rival lets call him “Charlie Chaplin” for his protection and also there mustaches are similar. When “Chaplin” was able. He would go around the tables in the dining-room collecting the “clothing protectors” he was gathering up the “protectors” from a table which put “Chaplin” directly behind “Jack” (remember  my residents are blind…) “Jack” wings his “protector” backwards and it landed perfectly over “Chaplin’s” head and being the nurse on duty I yelled “jack” why did you do that? “Jack” says “Shelley I’m in the ball throw for special olympics and I was practicing!! He wasn’t trying to be funny either it came out that way because even though he was an adult he was childlike grown up but not… If you catch my drift?

“Jack’ walked on a walker most of the time. The last few years he became short of breath and walked  with a limp and grimaced as he did so. He didn’t once complain or tell us he was having trouble with these things. WE noticed he was struggling. When we confronted him, his response was “What The Hell Are You Talking About” (God I miss that man) we got him seen and he was ordered a wheelchair that we never once pushed until the man was near death.

“Jack” was a Cubs fan and also had a hard time hearing. I’m not a huge baseball fan but was born and raised around the cubs my entire life. My dad is a die-hard, my husband is too and most of the residents at the home are. You could always hear the ball game from “jacks” room because he blared it up so high. When they would win he would yell Cubs WIn Cubs Win! automatically I’d think to myself  WOO HOO WOO HOO because I knew my father and husband were happy as well. I long for the day the Cubby’s when the series’ and hope my dad lives to see it. It is on my bucket list and I hope to be sitting right next him.

A week before “Jack” passed away “Make a wish Foundation” notified our home. They asked if there was anything they could do before “Jack” died? “Jack didn’t know he was passing untill his last night here on earth. So our boss told them he was a Cubs fan and that if the announcer could just mention his dedication to the Cubs and where he was from, we thought that would be enough. Sure enough the night I was on duty taking care of him. He was all geared up in his Cubs wear telling me all about what they’d said on the radio. The whole night he repeated the broadcast over and over again.

I got to spend a night with “Jack” right before his transition  and he fought a good fight right up to the end. Even though he couldn’t talk anymore. Whenever I told him I was getting ready to give his meds or wipe his mouth, his eyebrow would raise up and he would do his best to help me. It was slight but I noticed it. I walked away that morning knowing I wouldn’t see him when I clocked back in and things have been different ever since then.

If you follow me the other day I put a picture up. One of my residents and I coming back from the doctor. My residents have taken me places that I only hope that you can get a hint of in my writing. When time allows there will be more. It has been here where my soul has grown and I can’t help but watch the wondering ways people drive by or hear about the people in our home and not stop to get a little piece of heaven.