For those of you who have taken enough of a beating, let me give you absolute permission to just skip reading this blog for awhile (if you promise to come back!) because for now, this space is just going to be about venting to keep me from going mad (I was already crazy, but in a lovable way).
In much the same way a robin heralds the return of Spring, we can tell it's Monday here in Hospice Acres because we saw a white staff member. Like the swallows to Capistrano, management returns on Mondays. The boss dropped in to see how we were doing, we mentioned still being in a total state of ignorance, the half-hour waits when the call button is pushed, the lack of supplies and, because I ran out of tact a long time ago, I asked why the whole frigging staff is Jamaican.
This was laughed off and I was assured they aren't ALL Jamaican, although he conceded that it's "quite an international group." I explained that between their accents and my hearing aids, there was no real communication. "I have bad hearing too," said the manager. "Yes, it's hard."
He then explained that we're lucky that there are employees at all in this job environment, when so many have found it profitable just to stay home and wait for the money to roll in.
We also saw the perky white social worker today who popped in just long enough to ask if we'd be "free" (uh, yeah) at 2 o'clock tomorrow to discuss our "care plan" and get basic orientation. This will be on day 5 of our stay. Anyone besides me see the inherent flaw in that timing?
But theoretically, several representatives of our hospice team (a different agency) will drop in today to offer us support, counseling, and guidance. I'd say there's maybe a 50% chance anyone shows, and no more than a 10% chance that we'll be any more supported, counseled, or guided when they leave.
The space we're in is essentially a dorm room with two remarkably cheap, noisy, and uncomfortable hospital beds. There are no trappings which would suggest that this is in any way a medical facility. I will occasionally leave the room and slalom my way through the dementia patients in wheelchairs (and God bless the poor souls) to get a tepid cup of coffee. Or visit the trunk of my car in search of a missing mouthful of Clan MacDesperation.
Kathy still can't speak because of her mouth sores and a universe which apparently really, really hates us. She's not sleeping well, and it doesn't help that she/we know the supposed end game but don't know what to look for now, what to expect in the future, or know how the blow(s) will be cushioned. But yeah, orientation on day 5 will be fine, thanks.
All of this being said, I doubt that other such facilities are better and I believe that many would be even worse. I don't think the home hospice we considered is likely an option at this point.
We're together, which is what's crucially important, and hopefully Daughter J can visit again today or tomorrow (after yesterday's emotional visit, she didn't sleep much last night). The bond between the three of us is about the only tangible thing we have left, so it's a good thing it's such a strong one.
Sorry for the doom and gloom, but please know that your comments, support, and prayers continue to lift us up. And to end on what will need to be considered a positive note, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will be dedicating this weekend's concert to Kathy, in part because I co-wrote it, and in larger part that I could never have survived as a creative writer if Kathy hadn't been the breadwinner (in shitty jobs) until I got my professional legs under me.
Updates and trips to the trunk of my car as necessary.