I couldn't do much, so I reached out and touched
Sunday morning I woke up to a phone call from Pam, she’d been moved to an extended care center. Pam expressed concern about her situation at the center saying she’d been put in a room with an elderly woman with poor hearing and a nervous habit of using the bathroom many times each hour throughout the entire night. Further, the lady opened a window in the room each night leaving Pam desperately cold, unable to get up to close the window herself and unable to get the cooperation of the staff to even answer her pages. At that point I knew I should be on scene.
Pam wasn’t sure of the name of the place but gave me what she recalled them telling her. Calls to 411 and the last hospital she was in were not helpful. I decided I’d start by visiting the hospital and asking questions in person. I was told the place I was looking for was down the road and across from the Puyallup Fair Grounds so I hopped in my car and found it without much effort once I had the correct information.
Walking in to the facility I recall thinking this is a clean place, and seems to have somewhat of a hospital feel to it. I stopped a nurse and asked where I could find Pam, she took me down several halls to another wing of the building. As we entered the wing for patience in rehab I was astounded to see how dramatically the conditions changed. Gone were the pleasant smells, the happy employees, and patience with smiles on their faces. Walking up to the nurses station, I recall an orderly barking out how she’d had enough of this place and demanded to leave, saying she couldn’t take it any longer!
The nurses weren’t even sure which room she was in, but another orderly remembered and direct me to her location. I walked into the room and found Pam, along with her 80-ish year old grandmother. Evelyn was about to leave, we were introduced and I gave her my business card ask her to contact me if there was anything I could to do assist.
I could see the embarrassment on Pam’s face, though she knew I was coming. She had no make up, her false teeth were left at her home, somehow forgotten when the sheriff’s department rescued here, and her hair with tossed about. She immediately made excuses for herself and apologized for her condition, but with out hesitation I walked around to the side of her bed where her good arm was, I couldn’t do much, so I reached out and touched. This had an immediately calming effect on her. She settled down and we talked for about an hour. I gathered some information from her, and returned to the nurse’s station to ask more questions. The nurses became evasive, then started to accuse Pam of being difficult as if to justify or offset their treatment of her. This annoyed me more, I’m not sure I hid that fact very well.
Still, the presence of someone watching out for Pam should result in better care. I still believe Pam is where she needs to be. She is complaining about her conditions because she’s still a bit dazed by the events of the past year that set her on a course the leads to this facility. The system is slow admittedly, but she will ultimately get the rehab she needs. One can hope that in a year from now, this place will be a distance memory.
As for me, I’m thankful once again for my health, and to have the ability to move about freely. I have no problems.
Thanks for reading this far.