“YOU PICKED ORANGE” by SSK
“And it's Back to The Asylum For Us”
or: “Put That Wash Cloth Down and Back Away Slowly”
So I had kicked a mouthbreathing nosey parker Evangelist in the verbal nads in the ER (the first emergent ER visit, the day after he had been transferred to the Asylum: there will be one more) and man, that felt good.
Too good? No, really good. Fucking great good.
When Kimit was released to go back to the Asylum, EMT's swung by and shoved him and his gurney into their ambulance and trundled back over the Big Muddy Wabash. I followed, this time with a little less stress, since I knew where we were going and I wasn't chasing a Boobo who seemed to be intentionally trying to lose me (when he was transferred, the night before, from Fourth Floor Home Hospital to Hellcare).
The EMT's got to Hellcare, offed their load (Kimit) and pushed him, on the gurney, back into his room. While they were getting him back in bed (which was not their job) aided by two unbelievably surly nursing aids (who's job this WAS), I went over to the window next to his bed, and that's when I first noticed the bird nest. I saw a male cardinal land in this tiny tree, right outside our window. The nest was only about 4 ½ feet from the ground, and I watched as the male transferred some yummy goodies he'd foraged (worms, bugs, spiders, all sorts of stuff that looked and probably smelled better than the crap they served in The Asylum) to Mrs. Cardinal, who gulped it gratefully down.
When I turned back to Kimit, he was tucked into his bed, in fresh sheets, but a blanket that looked like it had been used in a chop shop to keep the oil off the cement floor. I went out into the hall, and there was the linen cart, right next to our room's door. I bent over to grab a new blanket, and then.... I heard the voice, the snippy, curt, nasal voice, demand, “What are you doing? He's already got a blanket!”
I straightened up, and there she was: Cruella. Trying to A) deny my husband any kind of linen, and B) deny my husband a clean blanket, and C ) EXISTING AT ALL.
Cambrian Hawk Woman must have emerged; I saw her eyes dart, from my eyes, to my mouth, forehead, chin, nose, and know what?
She had fear on her face. In fact, she fairly reeked of it, curling off of her in waves. I held up the blanket, and she actually flinched, as if I was hold a .45 Magnum instead of a thin, but clean, blanket. That flinch also got me back to CHW with that polar ice clear thinking.
That polar ice clear thinking allowed me to do something else this time: Enjoy the threat that Cruella suddenly saw me as. I shifted my weight toward her. Not a step, mind. I just readjusted my position. She took two steps backwards.
This was getting better every second. “Are you saying,” I asked, quietly, “That my husband has to lie in the bed covered with a blanket that looks like 17 toddlers crapped on it?”
Is there an answer to a question like that? Any kind of answer?
Of course not. I tossed the blanket to her, and said, “Change his bed, please”; to her credit she caught the blanket, went into the room and began to cover him with it... on top of the the dirty one.
Not a jury in the world. Fortunately for Cruella, it was now Lori's half of the shift, and she appeared like an angel, her saintly face glowing with the realization of “Oh, shit, Sam's gonna kill Cruella!” so she stepped in, stripped off the dirty blanket, took the clean one from Cruella and tucked the clean blanket onto K's bed. Cruella, meanwhile, was having the motherfucking shit scared out of her by CHW (and it only got worse from that day on. I think she asked to be transferred to an entirely different wing of the Asylum, and the other wings? That's where they kept the... I wanna say "crazies" but "Mentally Affected" would be nicer. Oh, and they were ten times the pain in the ass than the patient's on our wing, but hey, she wanted to see the last of me, and it suited me right down to the ground hear the last of her whiny, bitchy self.)
So Cruella left. Fast. I went around to the window side of his bed, where the hideously uncomfortable chair was, and sat.
Lori, of course, wanted to know what had happened, at the hospital and with Cruella, and I think I grunted something short yet understandable, because she nodded, a lot, then said “I'm going to go find a DynaMap (blood pressure machine) and get his late morning meds, I'll be right back.”
And that was the beginning of the end of the relationship we had with Cruella. He was Lori's patient now (when she was on shift). He was under the care of another nurse for the two days Lori had off, and while Cruella had actually earned her nicknames, this other nurse was just an idiot. I learned to ignore her, and she rarely came into the room unless K needed a Xanax (oh, yes, many Xanax passed both our lips during this time, the time that came, in the last years and today. No, really), or a BP check, or help getting him back into bed.
And then there were the nursing aids. A nursing aid is just that: she/he has no real power, no license required, and generally do all the grunt work, just like in the real world. There were two women I saw in his room often, let's call them “Not Stupid” and “Pervert”.
Guess which one I banned from my so much as being in his room ever again?
“Not Stupid” (we can call her Portia. [I just like the name. Portia. Not a great fit for her, but it's my book]) was pretty good at her job. She could change sheets in a snap, and she gave him one heck of a great shave. She clipped his nails, and helped him... let's leave it at “clean up” (the 'ick' factor, remember?) The only problem I had with her was she would just not shut up.
Kinda like me! She was extremely forthcoming (whether we wanted to hear it) with her personal problems and gossip. But, when I could tune her out by doing my crossword puzzles, she was pretty damned helpful.
And then there was... Pervert. As I said, we'd been here about two weeks, and after the second day rush back to the ER I was.... pins and needles doesn't quite correctly convey the state my my mind. Let's just say that whenever Kimit made so much as a belch, I came running. Nervous wreck? Turning into one, yes ma'am.
But, on this day, (as I said, about two weeks since we came to the Asylum) I had arrived very early, around 6:30 a.m. An hour later, I was sitting in the uncomfy chair by the window... when this woman, a nursing aid, came in, went to the bathroom and came out carrying towels and a basin of hot, soapy water. She sat next to him on the other side of the bed, and then told me that I would have to leave, as she was going to give him a sponge bath.
Umm.... I had to leave?
Raise your hand if you don't know what I did.
You are all correct- I said, “No. I will be right here, while you give him his sponge bath. Go ahead. Don't worry about me. I've seen him naked, and that does not frighten me.” Words to that effect. I flapped the paper open in a rehab version of "shooting my cuffs", and did not move so much as an inch off my uncomfortable chair.
She shot daggers at me. Cambrian Hawk Women are not vulnerable to eye daggers. She "humphed" and "hhrmphed" and set to work.
I watched as this... Pervert, or Perv, let's stick with that, it's short and utterly accurate (did I mention that this chick also had a couple of size 56 Triple J breasts that she just let run wild and free under about three cubic yards of dark blue scrub shirt? I didn't care, they weren't my breasts, but I had to wonder how in the world she functioned with them bouncing and flapping like a couple of pit bull puppies on crack. And, I am shattering the 'pot calling the kettle umber' rule here, but she also had the corpulence that often goes with big boobed women: that made her, she thought, formidable. Not to me) as she grumpily set about her task.
She closed the “privacy curtain” around K's bed (which privacy you would get only if the people on the other side of the curtain had their eyes closed) stripped the linens off K's bed, whipped his pathetic cotton gown off, and there he lay, naked, and looking vulnerable and scared. Perv wet her wash cloth and started soaping and washing him, no problems there, she got the pits and the folds and his back and his chest. Dried him with actual dry towels (which she dropped on the floor after each use, per protocal, so I thought, “This seems to be going well...” WHEN will I learn that I am STUPID??)
Pretty much right then, actually: I had been pretending to read the paper, but I was watching her wash my boy; something in this room, some palpable feeling, told me not to take my eyes off this fiendish thingie with her hands on my husband.
It paid off, when she got to his groin. The last time I'd seen someone handle genitalia like that it was in a movie that had the word “Debbie” in the title.
“Okay, that's it,” I said, rolling up the paper, and casting about for a more suitable weapon. “Get your hands off my husband's junk and get out.”
Perv tried to pull the “innocent face”, even as she gripped, far too tightly, that extremely personal body part of K's. I moved to my right, to come around the bed and beat the ever living snot out of this... pervert, really, only word that fits, swear to Goddess.
Perv, apparently not as stupid as she most certainly looked, who's skin color had turned from regular caucasoid pink to three-weeks-in-the-sun brie, got up and waddled away before I could get around the bed (what with the clothes bureau, a writing desk, the “crank” that moved the bed up and down, and the TV blocking the way, it took a pretty dab hand to slither past all that without ending up looking as if you'd gone a round with The Punisher) so she skedaddled as fast as her size Triple J's would let her.
And in came Lori. She jerked a thumb over her shoulder, at the departing Perv, and asked me what had happened.
I told her. Spared no details. (You, I'll spare. Especially if you're eating breakfast. Bleah.) I ended the tirade with “And if I ever see her bathing him again, I will be calling JCAH, and the cops.”
Lori was not slow on the uptake, ever. She considered what I'd said had happened, and what I said would happen in future if Perv ever bathed him again, and nodded. “Done,” she said, “But, there will be times I'll need both her and Portia's help, later, when he's on his feet.”
“On his feet.” All of the fury and fear and CHW face that Perv had put in me, drained out at these words. Because they meant that Lori thought K WOULD walk again, and soon.
And Lori, turns out? She was never wrong. She worked brilliantly with Kimit, and kept me from snapping necks.
The tiny tiger trap had turned out to be a bit larger than I'd thought. I hadn't trapped me a better nurse. I hadn't even snagged me a good nurse.
I'd bagged me a great nurse. And this one was also a mensch.