Departures and Arrivals: Here is Here

October 4th, 2021


Compared to my most recent carry down the stairs (in June), the results were far more favorable this time. Why was that? All options were exhausted (literally and figuratively). We spent 45-minutes discussing alternate options, ulterior motives, and tactics unsung.

While Paramedic Daniel D. was the Orchestrator of Operations, Paramedic Marvin came up with The Plan of Plans. Options included the following:

Body boards, stair chairs, K.E.D. vests, standard wheelchairs, neck braces, tie-down straps, a simple top/bottom carry, a swift walk-down, hoists, hooks.. and even the dreaded balcony throw!

*Some of these options were mix and match, so by all means, use your imagination.

And the only casualty? Drywall. Yes, they destroyed one of the walls during their first dry run. The wheelchair got away from them, tumbling down the stairs end to end.. even partially disintegrating along the way before piercing the wall in several places. Right then and there, I should have been more concerned, but…

Method Actioning

Anyway, we finally decided on the simple top/bottom carry. The two female paramedics were opposed, but didn't protest all that much, having been outvoted 3 to 2.

*Oh, my wife offered tremendous dedicated assistance throughout the putting-all-of-my-shit-together process. She offered caring concern.

So, Marvin the Shorter bear-hugged me from behind, arms underneath mine, hands fastened to my wrists, while Tall-tall Daniel took hold underneath my bent knees. He was first down the stairs. And they carried me that way.

The reason why I agreed to this option?

Fewer physical contact points meant less muscle stress, stretch, and strain.

Additionally, they allowed me to bypass the blood pressure cuff en-route. The repeated muscle squeezing only makes my P.E.M. worsen. And worsening is always bad.

One Funny Thing

Paramedic Daniel says, "Dude, you're too young for all of this."

And I say, "I ain't so young no more. I got a twenty-one year old son, even."

Marvin be like, "How old yer son?"

So I repeat, "Twenty-one."

Paramedic Daniel, "You're thirties at most. Now stop it. Probably no more than thirty-five, right?"

My wife enters the room shaking her head. She is displeased.

"Come on, gimme this!" I almost say out loud. Her desire to appear younger than me is fierce. Ha!


Decorating Room

What does it look like in here? Well, it's a fair amount worse than I expected. The walls are colored off-brown. Different shades of that color from right to left, it seems.. with darker brown semi-circles and splotches covering up… ???

Perhaps patched drywall, hastily repaired gaping holes in the wall.. or maybe random graffiti scribbles from former prisoners?

Besides that, I count an easy dozen existing holes in the wall, the one facing me (probably the East Wall). What exactly are these smallish holes? I cannot be sure.

I can see where there was a major leak in the ceiling.. where it sags and is discolored, off to the left. And the metal air/conditioning vent above my bed is spotted brown, a perpetually dripping brown substance (like a stalactites of some sort). Could it be root beer? Motor oil?

The slightly further away inflow vent appears to be heavily caked with grey clumps of dust.

Neither of the vents does anything anyway. There's no air-conditioning in here. None that I can feel. So it's probably 85° at best. At worst?

Eh. I'll adapt.

Oh, my nurse said she'll report the issue to maintenance. She'll also report that my bed is broken. It's supposed to comfortably adjust, but it doesn't really. Unresponsive buttons.

By the way, there is one sort of decoration. It's a smallish clock on the wall.. that ticks like a time bomb. I just noticed the ticking. Finally. After having been here for seven hours already. It's probably that I finally took off my earmuffs. Ever so briefly.

A Noise

Even with my industrial strength earmuffs fully engaged, the sounds emanating from my roommates television penetrates everything and all. And besides him, every other room near and far has dueling television sets. And no, I AM NOT exaggerating.

But if I allow them to close the door to this room, it somehow gets even warmer in here. Really, it's not that awful, but I am rather sweaty.

My wife said she will drop off my bedside fan tomorrow.

There's an exterior window beyond my privacy curtain, on the other side of my roommate's bed. It faces due south. The sun shines through this window, probably making it hotter in here. But now it's dark.

Call Button

I buzzed the nurse 51 minutes ago, and ...nothing. I require new feeding formula. A bandage change. A tube flush. My probiotic. My teeth brushed.

Right now, it doesn't seem as though that's going to happen.

Oh. My roommate is snoring.

Someone just came in to get my vitals - she said she'd hail the nurse.

bp 101 over 64
hr 82
oxygen 94%

Loud Lewd Angry Angry Roommate

When I first started writing down these words, my roommate was spewing out f-word expletives like they were going out of style. That was immediately prior to him and the staff going toe to toe.

Nope, my 61-year-old roomie (Jeff) wasn't at all happy. An hour later, another argument ensued because his dinner had yet to arrive. But really, I suspect the poor man was just plain jealous. You see, my dinner did arrive. Except, I don't eat. So the tray got sent off to the actual honest-to-goodness intended recipient.

Well, possibly it did.


They keep trying to give my belongings away to my roommate. They think he's me, and they think I am nobody. Or Jeff. But you've got to know, I do not look like a "Jeff" .. but probably not a "Howard" either.

Night Nurse

At long last she arrives.. 71 minutes post-button push.

We agree to skip certain tasks, eliminate the least important objectives. No bandage change. No probiotic with a spoonful of apple sauce.

And halfway through the visit, my designated CNA shows up. So now we've got a full-on party happenin'!

Night Nurse is a groovy woman. She's modeling tattooed arms, elbow to armpit, and facial piercings. And she tells me not to fret over lost milk. Spilled coffee?

No, her advice doesn't make all that much sense.

The Overnight CNA seems puzzled by things. When I ask, she defers to the Night Nurse, no matter the simplicity of the task. Fetching whatever, for instance. She has no footing. And her eyes only look at me indirectly. A shy curious introvert. Bespeckled. Busy calculating infinity.

Note: most of the staff has been agreeable and almost friendly.

Lights On

It's minutes after midnight. I slept for seventeen minutes. The lights are on. All of them. My neighbor needs something. Requires servicing. He and someone else are laughing. A woman. My nurse?

Tight as a snare drum, I wrap the red bandana around my earmuffs, across my eyes, to shield my face from the light.


I only count four televisions sounding off at once, right now. But my ears need to breathe. They are a sweaty steaming mess. My hair is soaked, too. And my right inner arm is sticky stuck to my right rib cage. Adhering.

Yes. Perspiration, Alabama style. Total humid saturation. No hint of cool air. Nothing moves besides my recycled breath.

Alright. I'll post this now. Fresh words. First interpretations.

And I'm okay. Amused. Somewhat. But also, I wonder how anybody does this day in and day out? I mean, their lives end this way. In this environment. And for some, this must be the worst kind of suffering. TV hell aside.

At least for me, I am merely reporting, for now, because my emotions have yet to catch up. And I do not suspect I shall end this way. This ending does not suit me. Then again, neither does this illness.



Oh, Howard
You poor thing!
I can’t imagine!!

Im glad you’ve been able to amuse yourself so far, but this doesn’t sound like a place to live for a long time….
Are there no single rooms?
Or at least a room at the end of the corridor with perhaps a bit less noise?
Or maybe even at the other side of the building, a bit less hot?

I thought, deep down, that as time passed by, and the grief somehow faded a little bit,
that maybe more people,
staff at hand to fix what needs fixing,
people to look after you 24-7,
I thought maybe this could be a ok-ish change for you.
But at the moment I’m afraid I’m wrong…

well, as time passes by, there might be better rooms to get,
or better places to move to…

and ever so soon your fan will arrive.

by the way, I usually sleeps with my earmuffs on most of the night as well.
But it’s not at all that hot in here…

oh dear oh dear…
All this noise, and heat, and light on in the night and lack of help…
Im glad you’ve been able to amuse yourself so far, but this doesn’t sound like a place to live for a long time….
I'm okay. And I don't mean to worry anybody.. just attempting to observe, report, and hopefully entertain a wee bit.

The staff seem very nice. Maybe not readily available. But we shall see. They are rather intrigued by me, thus far. :)

I'll have to see what happens next...

And maybe everybody in here is okay with the noise and the heat and the light. I am mostly sad for them. But it probably doesn't affect them the same way. Of course, I am just especially sensitive to this stimuli. But I'll adapt.

And yes, I'll first gauge the lay of the land, see if there are any options/solutions.

Thanks for your care and concern. :)
I was concerned about your many and varied needs in relation to the kind of care you can expect at those places. Even the more expensive ones.

They're almost invariably understaffed, and the staff that's there is over-stressed and under-paid, and carrying a way more than optimal patient load.

You might want to talk to your LPW about gettng a nurse or caregiver in 2 or 3 times a week to take care of things that the staff will invariably pass on, because they just dont have the time.

The AC doesn;t work because it costs money. A lot of money.

I agree with @Hufsamor. A move to a room on the North side would lower the temp, and one on the North side at the end of a corridor would be optimal. You'll have to ask for that, and agitate.

But that's for down the road.

How quickly can you line up dental care and then some Dr's visits for issues that you haven;t been able to address as yet? Who's going to find the Drs and set up those appts for you?

There's a Dr assigned to oversee every extended care place, often two, one for the day shift, one for the night, and they're as stressed and stretched as the staff. Their main job is to make sure the place can't be sued and to oversee medications. Try to find out who's running the place if you can.

Make friends with the staff, whch is a natural for you. You're way more interesting than their usual fare. They can tell you a lot about how the place works and help you get to where you need to be, room-wise, Dr-wise, appt-wise.

Hang in. Get stuff done, then get outta Dodge :hug::hug::hug:.
Thanks! @YippeeKi YOW !! And agreed. Will have to gauge potential strategies. :)

Something funny for y'all - and relevant

The maintenance guy just brought a large flat screen tv in here for me. With one billion channels. And almost immediately my roommate freaks the f#$% out. Literally.

"How come he gets a tv? I been here lots f'ing longer than he has. I gots here Friday!"

He HAS a television, but it's smaller, fits on his tray.

"They says I gots to pay for my own f'ing television. Why he so f'ing important? Why he get one free?"

So yeah, per his request, the director of admissions came in here.. and my roommate launched into expletive filled tirade. So they promised they'd find him a tv somewhere.

And I was gonna tell them to just give him my tv.. but that would be disrespectful to whomever made the effort to get me this one in the first place.

I'm ok. It'll be alright.
And I was gonna tell them to just give him my tv.. but that would be disrespectful to whomever made the effort to get me this one in the first place.
Good thinking !!!

You're right. Someone went out of their way to get you that TV ... maybe try to find out who so you can thank them for that kindness ....

And on top of that, had you given him your TV, there'd undoubtedly be something else down the road that he might feel a tsunami of flucks might net for him. Best to nip that in the bud ....
I'm okay. And I don't mean to worry anybody.. just attempting to observe, report, and hopefully entertain a wee bit.
Ditto to Hufsamor's remark...........................and despite the muddiness of what you are currently going through, you have managed to write in such a way that I can almost be there.............right there with you. That's some talented writing for sure.................and yes the entertainment value is up there also! You really had my imagination going when you mentioned the dreaded balcony throw as one of the maneuvers discussed to get you at ground level. LOL. You're a trooper Howard. Sending mucho hugs
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The staff here is great. The conditions are less than ideal. But at least I can adjust to the conditions.
That's the second really hopeful thing Ive heard.

The first was that someone there reached out to you with a huuuuuuge flat screen TV, a genuinely kind and thoughtful gesture.

The conditions can be hacked: change of room with cooler exposure, bedside fan, a caregiver one , two or three times a week ..... but an uncaring, crappy staff is the kiss of death, so you won the draw !!!

It's gonna be OK. Maybe not perfect, but OK, and you're gonna come out of this with a whole bunch of things you wouldnt have been able to do any other way !!!

Stay chirpy :woot::woot: :thumbsup: :hug::hug::hug:


Ok, its working. Good.

well, some nice caregivers is a huge plus. The introverts may take their time, and come around.

I'm stuck back at the prior post, and the kathrumpa blood pressure cuff. I got some type of PTSD from that, during my episode of ER.

And thinking you do need socks. Because of excessive air conditioning.

It was a meat locker, in our ER. Sort of odd, a care place, in. hot desert with the elderly and infirm, isn't maintaining an approved temperature.

My best wishes for the next few days to settle down a bit.


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