food~definitely not delicious, or glorious, melt in your mouth, savour the tasty bites…
Long winded today, better grap a coffee or tea, perhaps a cookie or two.
Every level of government is struggling to balance budgets. All I hear when the powers that be open their mouths is blah, blah, blah and more blah. I want to and do shout back to them on the television, as they drone on about the programs and the lack of funds and the change in spending and the need to balance budgets and pay down debt and blah, blah, blah. Perhaps you are aware, in my view, of the shameful way, the most vulnerable citizens are being treated. Or am I jumping to conclusions. Perhaps.
When mom lived in our home, I was care giver, the advocate and keeper of all things, making mom’s life safe, pretty, and easy. Then she moved to Courtyard Gardens, the private assisted living apartment. If I had the money she would still be in Courtyard Gardens. But, alas, as all things go, a sudden mental and physical breakdown led to more nursing care required. More money required. Private care was very expensive, even with my brother’s financial help, between mom’s pension, my brother and I, we made it work. The decision, after all resources were exhausted, was made, we moved mama to a public long-term care facility. They call it a residence. HA. It is a hospital. An institution for the aged and infirm. And, I am noticing more discrepancies in mom’s care.
Wednesday, I arrived for the dinner hour, noticing once again, there seemed to be less care workers. Less residents around the tables. A lot of empty spaces. Mom was not in the dining room. Okay, off to her room. There she was sitting in semi-dark, no music, no book on tape, no sound, except for the cries and bursts of anger from a couple of residents. My routine is put away the clean laundry and take home the dirty laundry. I looked in the closet, in the laundry basket for the dirty clothes. Hmm… only a nightgown and a slip. There should be more dirty clothes in there. Something definitely not right. Mom’s dress was dirty. Not good! Another bad sign. Are there new care givers who don’t know the routine? Perhaps, they are unable to read the “place all dirty clothing in the laundry basket, family will do the laundry” sign taped to the closet door. Really, how hard is it to read a sign. Or, can they not read english? Or, have they been told to put the dirty clothes in the laundry basket in the closet and not the institution’s laundry bag for the trip to “wash and dry everything at 900 degrees, thus ruining the clothes” hell hole? Oh, excuse me. My patience is missing again.
I’m try to visit during dinner hour, spending time, feeding mom and chatting about her “boring” day. Wednesday’s meal was the worst ever, seriously, the worst, dinner meal. There have been a few bad ones. Wednesday’s dinner made Number 1 Worst Meal for consumption. If I had my camera, you would see for yourself the gruel, otherwise known as cream spinach soup, dried skim of cream corn in a styrofoam cup, and the most unappetizing half, (yes, I did say half) piece of fried chicken patty on a bun I ever saw. No condiments. No butter. No margarine. Nothing. Oh yeah, the coffee, a watered down version. Thankfully there was a small orange juice and a milk. A dessert – wait for it, a chocolate brownie, perhaps, giving the poor residents a wee taste of real food. Not a good sign. Budget restraints? Bad cooking? Not enough kitchen staff? You know I marched, yes, I marched out to the dining room, asked for the condiments as per the list on mom’s dinner menu. Nothing. Nada. No condiments. I looked at the other dinners. Just as bad. Some even worse. Something pureed on a few plates. Finally, someone found a little packet of ketchup. Are they trying to ….no, I will not express what I really thought. You fill it in. Nutritious – highly doubtful. It was the last day of March, were they using up the last of a variety of foods and it became a hodge podge of poorly prepared meals? Were there new cooks, nervous on their full day preparing meals? Food is delivered on the 1st of each month? Whatever the cause, my indignation kicked in. Perhaps, a better term would be “righteous indignation.” I was ticked.
Mom does not like to make waves. She informed me NOT to mention it or go purchase some real food for her. I respected mom’s wishes. But, that does not mean I will be silent. Nutritious food, seasoned and prepared with care, should be a right for seniors. They have worked hard for the majority of their lives, helping to build this nation. Shouldn’t they be rewarded with good food? Meals are the highlight of their day. The day centers around the meals.
The provincial government changed the monthly calculations for residential care. More money is required. Again, meager pensions are almost depleted. Mom has a private room which is considered a luxury item and is not part of basic necessities. Mother’s privacy and the quiet is worth the “luxury.” Once more into the pocket-book. The balance left over is about $20.00. Sad, but, true folks.
Long term care facility is just a polite, politically correct term for a hospital where old people in advanced stages of aging live. It stinks, people. Literally. “If I had a million dollars”… I would renovate, bring mom home and hire a full-time nurse. Life as you know is not fair. It is shameful to see what has become of this nation and how the poor are treated. Next Thursday, is the six month care conference with family members – that would be me. I have a list. It is growing daily. I will be kind, thoughtful and very, very patient with the powers that be. I have been known be all that and more. Iam very persuasive when I want. Afterall, I am woman. I will speak firmly, express my appreciation for everyone’s hard work, try to get some things sorted out, again, and, then, start writing letters, calling the politicians, calling into radio talk shows… Will it make a difference, probably not. Will I be able to say I have tried everything to change or help mom’s situation. Yes. More to the point, will anyone listen? Or have I jumped to a huge conclusion and this was an off day?
I was watching “Shadowlands” for a bit today. Anthony Hopkins said, (my paraphrase) “when you see someone you love enduring or suffering, you want to take that suffering and pain onto your self.” How true. Where is that strong, upright, full of faith woman who endured widowhood twice, raised two families, put herself through school, started a new career in her fifties, endured betrayal, deep hurt, all siblings die including her very much-loved sister, go? Is she still in there? Yes, she is just fading before my eyes.
Stay warm, safe, and loved where ever you live.