Posted by: silverstar98121 | January 28, 2009

Old and Decrepit

I once worked in a nursing home that was ancient. I mean really ancient. And it looked like a haunted house. Probably because it was. Haunted that is.

The interior wasn’t much better than the exterior. There were places you could step on the floor and it would sink a little bit.  Dark corners abounded. You expected to see cobwebs and Morticia Addams around every corner.

The building had been around so long it had had at least three iterations. The ghost seemed to be attached to the first iteration, and fortunately stayed on the top floor, which was unused except for storage. But nobody wanted to go to the top floor to get anything out storage, for some reason.

When it was built, the building was a rooming house.  I understand that mostly coal miners stayed there, and they had “working women” on the top floor for the convenience of the miners. Or so I heard. At any rate, the ghost was supposed to be one of these girls. I never saw her, but then I’m not very visual with psychic phenomena. I’m more likely to hear or feel them. But my skin still crawled every time I had to go up to the storage room.

The residents in this place were almost as spooky as the building. The corporate office, somewhere in who knows where, decided to make money by making the nursing home a head trauma center. Only problem was that they didn’t give the staff any training on handling people with head trauma. And some of those folks can be hard to handle. More than once we had to call the cops to arrest one of the residents who had gone off his nut. Usually it would take four or five big, burly officers to get them out of the building. And they’d boomerang back when they settled down, until somebody finally recognised that we couldn’t handle them. I didn’t like to go to the third floor, either.

Most of the rest of the residents on the other floors were about as old as the building. Some of them should have been dead years ago, but were being kept “alive” by their families. IMHO, tube feeding a 95 year old with Alzheimer’s who doesn’t seem to respond to any stimuli is just wrong. By the time most people get to this stage they have run through any money they had put away, and are guests of the state. Make out your living will, folks, so that YOUR wishes are followed.

The ones who were responsive were even more fun. Families would insist that mom be given huge calcium pills for her osteoporosis. We’d have to crush them and put them in applesausce. And I’d usually end up wearing it all over my uniform. You really needed an Haz-Mat suit to work there. Dad was even more fun. He was grabby. More than once I went home with big bruises on my boobies.

Of course, a lot of the residents were just sweet little old things. They don’t stick in your mind, however. Unless they didn’t start out that way, like Miss Sally. Then you remember.

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Responses

  1. i wonder what’s going to happen when the baby boomers are in need of geriatric bed space in the US… last i read, there isn’t anywhere near enough room for us when we start pickin’ stuff out of our Depends…

    don’t know how you worked in a nursing home – it’s a calling, and i’m glad there are folks who do it. it would be a tough, tough job…

    • I’m hoping we will all be healthier, and not end up there, Daisy Fae.
      Institutionalizing nursing homes was a mistake. They originated in the
      Depression as unemployed nurses took people into their homes to care for
      them.

  2. Very interesting story, I have an aunt who is a nurse. She has similar story’s, love to listen to them every time. I hope I do not insult you with this question: is there euthanasia in your state?

    • Why would I be insulted, Mick? We don’t have euthanasia, which is defined
      as actively causing a death by giving a deliberate overdose to a patient who
      can’t speak for themselves for instance. But you can withhold food and
      medicine if the family agrees or the resident has specified so in their
      living will. We did pass a bill in November to allow doctors to prescribe an
      overdose for terminal patients to use at their discretion, called an
      assisted suicide bill.

  3. I don´t know, here in Europe we learn that allot of USA citizens are very religious, maybe that is why I asked. Hate insulting people.

    p.s. learn is a wrong word, the media shows us allot of fanatic religious people from the US.

    • I am not one of them, Mick. I mostly believe in the things I can see, like
      the sun, moon and earth. I think we need these bills and measures. I don’t
      want to live like some of the people I described. The religious fanatics are
      a minority, although a very vocal one.

  4. Same here I do not like people who put more trust in the invisible than in the people around them.

    This is really great, the internet, getting to know more of countries, and yes you are right they are very vocal, same here.

    Somewhere around fall I hope to visit your great nation.

  5. sounds just like the Gimcrack…..

  6. when i get to a home, i want it to have ghosts… so i can have company. oh, and to blame things i do on them. yeah…


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