Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Giant abalone shell

So -- I've had my first bad experience at UCP.  It wasn't even bad, as far as bad could possibly go, in this job, but it was very unpleasant for such as I. 

I got a call from Brenda, an Assistant Team Leader, as I was parking at Leilani's apartment at 8:30 in the morning, yesterday.  Brenda told me that she had rearranged my afternoon, so that my final two med passes would be handled by others, so that I could go and spend three hours with a woman I had not yet met.  She had dementia, could not spend any time alone, and was recently returned from an emergency hospitalization due to liver failure.  She had diabetes and was having difficulty adjusting to her return to her apartment.  I was very hesitant to just show up without being introduced and trained by someone, but it was an emergency, and I was the Eastside weekender.  So I got it.

It was not a good time.  I could do nothing right.  She was unable to wrap her mind around my being in her apartment ("Who let you IN?  Who let you into MY HOUSE?") and did not want me to help her to get up, get dressed, or go to the bathroom, did not want me in her kitchen,("You are STEALING my FOOD!") or to touch her television set, or to assist her into or out of her wheelchair.  She could not hear anything I said, and if I approached her to speak loudly close to her ear, she would shrink back ("Get AWAY from me!  Who ARE you?"). She would stare up at the corners of the ceiling, and then slowly look down and if her eyes met mine, she grew angry immediately ("Who ARE you?  How did you get IN here?")

When her regular live-in assistant arrived, I was feeling like crying -- I didn't!  I was just feeling like it -- and I fled immediately.  I still feel fairly freaked out when I think of it.

The weather, praise be to a merciful providence, is slightly cooler.  The evenings are cooler than the days, and the nights are very nearly cool enough to sleep in.  I am looking forward with eagerness to my coming weekend (hooray!) to get some housecleaning done, but you will be glad to know that I have not merely been waiting for the days off.  I am not merely existing in sweaty exhaustion amid a welter of books, crumbs, wrappers, torn envelopes and tea cups.  I have already cleared off my dresser (piles!) changed the sheets on my bed, cleaned out the vacuum cleaner (that thing has three places where filters have to be removed and cleaned out, besides emptying the main chamber), washed two drainers full of dishes, and dusted the living room.  More will be accomplished over the next few days, as long as the thermometer stays below 90!  Just waiting for the rains to come, for my apartment to rise slowly up, cool and glowing, like a giant abalone shell, pearl-like, out of greasy, trash-filled harbor waters.  Yes.

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