Monday, July 29, 2019

Planted: Flowers For Carol; Remembering What Others Want Forgotten

The bright yellow chrysanthemum plant reminds me every time I look out my kitchen window, walk outside my back door, of the friendship and concern we had for each other, Carol and our family.

We'd bought it for her birthday. We'd celebrated her birthday for the past several years as we'd celebrated all the holidays spending time together.

In Hospice. Not her choice. Read the entry Last Rites for Carol.

We weren't told she passed.  I knew they wouldn't contact me. They don't recognize residents when they die. As a family we had a small reception at the facility when Mom passed but we had to go personally around to people and "invite them".  

Death isn't to be acknowledged although they lead people down the last path they'll travel every day and along the way they make friends in the facility. Friends who learn "through the grape vine" -- if they're lucky.

We weren't considered anyone worthy of being told, I suppose. Seven plus years of friendship, providing for Carol and being there for her wasn't enough. 

We didn't have a signed slip of paper, no POA or other directive. I'm sure Carol was told we'd be contacted but it's now been almost two months and not even a card or phone call


What they really mean is for selected individuals to "help themselves" to increases in already high salaries (for ten or more well over $100,000 each) -- in a Not For Profit.

We had brought her some small gifts. 

We often brought things she needed or wanted. 

Lotion, liquid soap, shampoo, deodorant -- daily items of brands she preferred. 

Baseball style hats from our travels which she loved. 

Some clothing items; she bought things from their onsite "charity shop" which she loved and once worked in but something from "the outside world of shopping" lifted her spirits as it was new, truly "hers" and specially chosen for her.

No clothing any more; she wore only hospital gowns. 

A few times they dressed her -- when I spoke up and insisted. But I had no "power", no "right" and they knew it. So they continued placing Carol's feet on death's path.

They had her open the door by "agreeing" to go into Hospice. She had no idea what "hospice really meant" -- the removal of medications she'd taken for years to help with her Lupus, for example.

Carol's facility was "tired", I'm sure, of our "intervention"; of our calling attention to the violations of personal rights of residents and of bringing to light their medical practices of putting residents on enough drugs to keep them sleeping night and day and not "needing" attention except when the CNA's "got around to it". 

I wonder if my concern she had been waiting over two years for the false teeth they promised, had endured that amount of time going through a "few teeth" pulled each time and my encouraging her to speak up about not having the teeth contributed to THEIR DECISION for her to go on Hospice. 

Last count, she had around fourteen remaining teeth and none of them were the type that provided good "mastication" of food.

Carol was not terminal.  She was not refusing medication. 

We watched the facility end Mom's life. 

We watched the facility end Carol's life. 

Along the way we saw how the Administrators kept the numbers of paid staff down, the residents "out of it" and therefore the expenses down and the Bonuses at year's end always "UP" -- for the selected few.

You and I would be sent to jail for taking as many psychotic drugs as as they put Carol on  but because they were "ordered" by a Doctor, NO ONE SEEMED TO CARE -- THEN OR NOW -- will you and I also go through this "planned death"?

She didn't want to go back to the hospital. 

She had numerous infections. Especially urinary tract.

Sitting in your own excrement and urine for long periods of time and then failure to effectively clean the area is the cause but no one really seems interested.

And so it's now July, almost the end of the month, reminding me of my friend, Carol, gone before her time. 

She was a liability to the facility. She'd started speaking up. 

She wanted answers to questions and no longer accepted as easily or readily their answers.

We were involved and had contacted DHSS.

That was a problem, I'm sure. 

A CNA told us it was. It should be a problem -- but not for the staff, for those in decision making for daily living choices including on site and remote Executives who prefer to raise funds and increase compensation and expenditures for their benefit rather than resolving the daily living challenges of residents.

Carol's Long Term Care uses HIPPA to eliminate any and all communication with friends and family who aren't "legally" appointed as a Medical Power of Attorney.

This includes posting, publishing, acknowledging or advising frequent visitors/friends of the residents of the passing of someone they've cared about, yes, loved, and cared about and for.

We weren't casual visitors or those who lived far away. 

We formed a friendship, a support system and even when times were challenging, we tried, as much as we were allowed and sometimes in ways to ensure safety and well being by going behind their "closed doors" to bring in outside "forces" to ensure our friend was treated fairly, justly and considering her wants and needs.

Who will follow in our footsteps? WILL YOU?  Do you understand the importance of vigilance and oversight?

Don't walk away. Run towards. Stop by often. Or get someone to ensure the safety and well being of your loved one.

Think the facility "guards" life?  Think again. Unless you're more valuable to them alive than dead, you're just a number in the progression of residents especially in the lower cost facilities.