Saturday, November 20, 2010

Murphy Brown

I'm starting to feel like Murphy Brown. For those of you who never watched the show, there was an ongoing joke about Murphy Brown and her secretary. Almost every week, Murphy would have a new secretary...and she kept firing them. They were all incompetent, and it was with good cause, but after a while, her secretaries just became numbers...6, 13, 42....

As you can probably guess, our luck with caretakers has been...well, horrible. All I want is someone competent, willing to do transfers, who is flexible, and doesn't have a problem with children. Sounds simple, right? Apparently not.

The past few days, competence has been the big issue. I can't even remember how many I've fired so far. A few I just requested not return (at least 2 of them), but today I actually had to fire another one. Krystal - if you are reading this, we are counting down the hours until we see you on Tuesday!

Perhaps I'll just back up again and start from the beginning. Last night, Maya was a disaster. We just could not get her to go to sleep in her crib. I ended up taking her to bed with me at 2:00 am...she only wants to sleep snuggled close to me. My Mom was up on and off a few times last night. I went in around 1:00, 4:00 and 7:00. I really did not manage to get much sleep.

Our caretaker, Mariama, arrived at 9:00 this morning (1/2 hr late) - the same one we had yesterday. Once again, she decided to start her work day with her "breakfast" break. I have to say, I've always believed that if work starts at 8:30, it implies that you eat breakfast PRIOR to arriving, not after you get there.

My mother was sleepy this morning...we had to rouse her from bed at 9:15, and Mariama got Mom bathed. I transferred Mom to her wheelchair, and we brought her out for breakfast. I made Mom breakfast, and she decided to go back to bed after eating. I moved Mom back to the bedroom, and she napped for a while.

I've been a bit unclear as to what Mariama actually does. She does not transfer Mom to/from her wheelchair. She did help bathe Mom, but she doesn't seem to sit with Mom while she eats, and she doesn't organize Mom's things, or change her sheets, or any of the other things I expect. She does not stay in the living room with us when Mom is out of her room, and she does not seem to do anything while Mom is napping. She did continually come and ask to hold Maya...and while I appreciate the gesture, I needed her to focus on my mother, not the baby.

DH took Micah to services, and Maya stayed behind with me. My father was out running errands while I took care of things at home. Around 11, a nurse arrived to draw blood from Mom and "resume" her therapy treatment plan. This was a male nurse...who must have smoked about 3 packs of cigarettes before walking in the door. I could see a puff of smoke around him, and the stench was so awful that it had both me and Maya coughing and sneezing. Mom and I were making faces and mouthing words to each other about the stench behind his back, and every time he turned, I squirted more of the biological odor eliminator in the room! It was an adventure, and I couldn't wait until he left.

At 12:00, I made lunch. Mom wanted pizza, so I made pizza. I guess some of the cheese must have dropped onto the bottom burner, and suddenly the house was filled with smoke. Luckily, only one small piece of cheese burned, and the pizza was perfect. As I was airing out the house, two of my friends dropped by...with a delicious bread they picked up. They only stayed a little while, but Maya was in love with my friend's husband - she batted her eyes at him and gave him great big grins while I ran around the house.

Mom enjoyed lunch, and seemed to be in good spirits. My brother had called to tell us he was on his way over to visit. After lunch, I moved Mom to the couch. She rested comfortably there until my brother arrived. She sat and chatted with him for a few hours, and then my father came home. My brother and Dad left to go back out and pick up a few things we needed, while Mom, Micah, DH, Maya and I napped. As far as I could tell, Mariama was napping in Mom's bedroom from about 12:00 until 4:00. At 4:00, Mom woke up and needed to go back to her room. I asked Mariama to help me with Mom, and she informed me she was on a lunch break. I then said to her that Mom needed help now, that she had been on a break for the past 4 hours, and that I needed her to help. She actually got quite rude...she insisted that I owed her a lunch break and it was wrong of me to interrupt her. At that point, I got pissed. I told her she had just had a 4 hour break, and she should have eaten her lunch then. Her response? "I wasn't hungry then, and I can't eat when I'm not hungry. Now I'm hungry and you owe me a break." At this point, I was incredibly unhappy. She started bitching about how wrong I was for ruining her lunch, and I asked her to just stop yelling and disturbing my mother. She then talked back to me...she told me to stop talking. I was furious...I couldn't believe her behavior. I moved my mother to her chair, brought her back to the bedroom, and asked Mariama to assist her. I was listening over the monitor, and Mariama was slamming things around and bitching about her lunch break. I walked back into the room, asked her to please stop the yelling and just do her job, and she again told me to stop talking. I left the room in tears, and my father asked her to stop yelling, too. He then called the service and informed them that we wanted to release Mariama. I spoke to the manager, explained the story, and we told Mariama to go. She spent the next 35 minutes "packing up" and yelling. She then tried to add the extra time to her time sheet.

In the midst of all of this, another home health aide arrived for an interview. All I could think was "great...they are here as I'm firing someone, I'm sure they'll never want to work for us." It was a man named Demisse who arrived, with his friend Senait. Demisse was one of the caretakers for my cousin's father, and she told me to call him. My mother has not wanted a male caretaker, so Demisse brought along a female friend to help out. We sat and talked, they saw the situation, and they actually jumped in and helped out with my mother! Demisse was wonderful - incredibly kind and clearly experienced. I can tell that my cousin was lucky to work with him.

Senait was quite kind. She seems willing to work and flexible. It was hard to tell much more from our short interaction, but she was sweet with my mother, and seemed to understand what I wanted. Demisse seemed to be helping her some, so it is hard to tell if she is as skilled. I have to say, I was in tears for most of the interview, and they were just so supportive and friendly. She agreed to come work with us on Monday and Thursday this week, and she said she is available to work every Friday through Monday. I'm going to test her out this week and see where we stand, and I promised next Monday to Edna.

Demisse stayed a bit later to help out more, and neither one of them would let us pay them for their time today. Demisse also said that he would be happy to work some nights and weekends now and again (especially on days when I go out of town, or even out for the evening). My cousin was right...he is a wonderful man and he was a huge help today. I am hopeful that things will work out with Senait. If not, there are still 2 other caretakers we've interviewed that are possibilities.

After all of this nonsense, we were left without a caretaker for the evening, but it felt like one of those days that would just be easier to finish on my own. DH went out to dinner with a friend to discuss a business opportunity, and Dad and I ate dinner with Mom and the kids. Mom wanted hot dogs, so it was a gourmet meal. After dinner, Mom sat in the living room with the kids for an hour, and Dad worked on the dishes. I got Micah ready for bed, and Dad and I did the double team thing to put Micah to sleep. Dad took over with Maya while I helped Mom get into bed. I was with Mom for about 30 minutes, and then I spent the next hour trying to put Maya to sleep. That child falls asleep, but every time she realized she was alone in her crib, she started to scream again!

At 10:00 pm, I was with Mom to give her pills and help her get ready for bed. Mom also wanted to record some messages for the family. So, we took some time for her to talk. I was in tears, of course. Poor Dad...Maya screamed for the better part of 1 1/2 hours in his arms! He did a great job keeping her busy, but it was a rough job. DH got home around 11:45, and Dad went to bed around 12:15 or so. It is now 1:00 am, and Maya still won't let us put her in the crib.

Tomorrow, we have Anna, the caretaker who worked with Mom her last night at the hospital and our first night with her back home from the hospital last week. She seemed nice enough, so I'm hopeful that tomorrow will go smoothly. I somehow need to figure out how to get Micah to swim class in the morning. I don't think we have anything else planned for the day, and frankly, I just don't think I'm up for it. I hope that we have some visitors...Mom looks forward to having company.

Two more days until we have a Krystal day! Right now, I spend all week looking forward to our Krystal days. Krystal days are wonderful...things run smoothly, we have a routine, Mom is always safe and cared for, my mother's room is organized, my mom is relaxed and so am I. Krystal days come with a lot of smiles and a sense of calm. It makes me wish every day was a Krystal day. As I enjoy my Murphy Brown tour of the nursing service system, I am appreciating more and more how lucky we are to have Krystal, and that I get to have some Krystal days.

I'm going to try and get some sleep before my mother wakes up again. I think my current plan is to take the baby into bed with me - I just cannot do another minute of crying tonight. Micah already woke up once, too, so I've hit my limit for the night. I'm hoping that tomorrow will start off a new week filled with good news for which I can truly be thankful!

No comments: