Neglect in the community
NB, I risk your opprobrium by posting reportage rather than poetry. I just feel the need to do so. The following happened on Friday.
Jenny’s only been in the nursing home for a week, out of place at a young-looking 66.
She hates it, yet would hate even more being sent home, back to her life of passive neglect at the hands of uncaring ‘care’ staff who whizz in and out as if afraid they might catch something if they engaged in conversation. Some neglected to change her, or wash her, leaving it for the next carer to do at the next visit hours later, or the following day. Her house became filthy.
“Some look at you as if you’re making it up. They say, ‘come on, you’re not trying’ as I struggle in pain to get myself into bed or out of the chair. It was awful, you feel so lonely.”
Jenny sobs. I struggle too.
“There was one, she was lovely, who tried to help me but she would burst into tears. We’d both be in tears ‘cos she hadn’t time to make me a drink and get me into bed on her own. So I ended up sleeping in a chair. That’s how I got the pressure sores.”
In the end, Jenny collapsed and spent over four months ‘blocking’ an expensive hospital bed. She should be in her own home, surrounded by her photos and ornaments and able to at least have a go at the things she enjoys, reading, painting; not sitting in a room full of people at least 15 years her senior, most confused, one screaming, the TV, like the rest of world, carrying on regardless.
As I leave I see the nurse/manager writing up notes in his office, the call bell from a patient buzzing away behind him. I watch for several minutes until he notices me, smiles and gets up to answer the call.
There’s nothing wrong with it as ‘homes’ go, but YOU wouldn’t want to go there. Jenny doesn’t want to be there either, but considers herself lucky to have escaped the horrors at the hands of the home-carers.