Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Scorching Sunday in Seattle

It is insufferably hot! Outside it is 50-something and raining. Inside it is 80º. Old people have bad circulation so they are always cold. One resident, Ray, wears a down parka all the time. Even in summer , when it was 80º outside he wears a parka. But I sit here and sweat and no matter if I complain, this is just the way it is.

It's 5:30 p.m. and all I have accomplished today was going to QFC for more egg nog and a copy of Get Smart, which I just finished watching. It seemed pretty funny. Just like when I watched Tropic Thunder last night, I think I missed a lot of jokes. My roommates TV is barely a foot away from my TV and he has been watching Animal Planet all day. i don't want to get into a volume war with him. He has been the first roommate I've had since I returned from heart surgery who doesn't annoy the hell out of me. The first one was a racist rancher from Oregon who hoped Barack Obama would not live to take the oath of office. The second one had such odor problems that I practically cried whenever I had to be stuck in a room with him. But my new roommate is pretty O.K. He is recovering from a stroke, and he is being treated for cancer. As soon as he can walk again he will leave, and I will have to get used to someone new. I don't know when I will get out of here. I am pretty independent, but I probably can't be alone 100% of the time. Starting tomorrow I can start working on getting myself in and out of the chair again. My immediate goal is to be able to use a walker to get from the doorway to the toilet then back again and into my chair. In reality this can take weeks. I was working on it before my heart problems without much progress.

Once I am able to leave, then I will have to find a place to stay. I wish I could have afforded to keep my apartment while I am in here, but at $1,000 a month plus utilities, for an indeterminant period of time, I just couldn't do it. I had hoped the nursing home could help me find a place, but I am in an unfortunate position. I make too much money in disability to be eligible for low-income housing, I am too young for senior husing, and I am in too much debt for handicap housing. i also don't want to move into a situation in which, like the nursing home, I am forced to hand over 99.9% of my income for room and board and be fed terrible food and have little or nothing to look forward to.

Dinner will soon be served. I think the menu said Roast Pork Loin and rice. It sounds better than it probably is. I had one of my Prime Rib dinners last night, or, at least I had part of it. I had no appetite and it tasted bland in my mouth. I have had these deli meals before and they aren't bland. It's the medication that robs me of my taste buds. Unless what I am eating or drinking is really sweet or really salty I don't enjoy it. Today I have had a Cinnamon & Vanilla Mocha and a Croissant. After I post this I will have some eggnog and Comfort and pick at my food. I should get some cookies or something.

This morning I tried taking my pain meds 90 minutes before my bandages were changed. It helped but there was still pain. I guess that's just the way it's going to be.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Another Saturday at the home

Saturdays in the home are usually very quiet. A few people come to visit family members, but not much else happens. Maybe someone will die today. When you are in a nursing home it happens quite frequently. At least two or three of the old folks each month will pass. You won't know right away. Sometimes weeks will go by when you'll notice a familiar face is no longer there. You hope that they left on their feet, or at least rolled away in their chair. That they are healthy enough to go home. For some folks, this is their home. Their families have long ago left the care of their seniors to this Mormon owned nursing home. It's those people who wind up lleaving here horizontaly. A well-dressed man or woman, usually in a very dark suit, working for a funeral home, will wheel the body out in a tweed body bag. I remember seeing someone wheeled away a couple weeks ago. Today I learned I knew the person. Her name was Marguerite and she used to bug the hell out of me. She had short term memory loss so could never remember my name. She remembered that she was a Cree Indian and that she grew up in Ottawa, but not much else stuck. She was insanely protective over the house plants in the nursing home. When one of the receptionists trimmed back some unruly ivy in the reception area, Marguerite through such a fit they sent her to her room. She and I did not get along. She was always telling me that I was driving my motorized wheelchair too fast. I would tell her to mind her own business and then we would wind up telling each other to fuck off. Six weeks ago, when I was in the hospital recovering from double-bypass surgery, Marguerite suffered a stroke. She did not return until after I got back and I hardly recognized her. Other than being an annoying kook, she had seemed pretty healthy for an old lady in a wheelchair. When I last saw her she was very tiny. Her toungue hung outside the corner of her mouth. She could barely lift her arms. Sometime shortly after I saw her last, she died in her sleep. But that happened a couple weeks ago and I am now just hearing about it. They never tell us anything. They say it's out of privacy for the family, but that sounds like shit. What about her friends here in the home? They are left to woner, whatever happened to Marguerite?

2:00 p.m. Right now some residents are playing Bingo in the dining room. I tried playing once, but when I tried holding a chair out for an old lady, she took a swing at me. If you win at Bingo you get a quarter. Doesn't seem like much, but when the nursing home takes almost all of the money I've got, any extra coin helps. Four wins gets you a dollar, which equals a Coke from the taco truck in the parking lot. However, I found the cost of winning isn't worth it. Whenever you win, the group sings this stupid song. "(Insert name here) got a Bingo! Name got a Bingo! Bingo for name! Bingo for name! Yeah!"

So usually I hide in my room or out in the lobby. I'll check the Slog, but the posts and comments on the Slog on the weekends are pretty sparse. All you can expect is the Morning News, the recommendations of things to see, hear, or eat tonight. Maybe if Dan Savage or one of the other writers feel they have something that can't wait until Monday, they'll post something, otherwise the posts are pretty limited. Today there is nothing. Obviously Dan and the other writers at the Stranger have lives. I do not. For now, this is it.

I managed to get up and go to the Library, then Starbucks this morning before lunch, which once again, I did not feel like eating. I still have the two Prime Rib Dinners sitting in the refrigerator. I still don't feel like eating them. I will probably gift one of them to one of the other patients then try eating one of them myself before they go bad. The medication I'm on makes food unappealing. First the medication robbed me of boners, so I haven't masturbated in a very long time, now my second favorite past time, eating, no longer interests me. What's next? My hearing?

There is one thing I look forward to on Saturdays and Sundays. I get to do restorative therapy with Lamin. He is from Gambia and he is a Muslim. As he stretches my legs we often talk about Islam. It's very interesting. It's not a scary religion (I never thought it was). Not any scarier or far fetched than Catholocism or Protestantism. But Muslims have this belief that someone who paints or draws a picture of any living thing, not just Muhammed, will be judged by Allah. If the artist can't make the depiction come to life, then that person will burn in Hell. I think that's what is supposed to happen. I tried reading "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Islam" but grew bored about a third of the way through. Again, my medication has rob me of my attention span.

If I was to hazard a guess, I would say at least a third of the nursing staff, including the nursing assistants, are from Africa. I have met people from Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. Besides English as their common tongue, they all speak different languages. A few a Muslim, there's one Roman-Catholic, but most are varying sects of Protestantism. One thing they all seem to have in common is that they are very laid back. It makes me wonder if Africans do not suffer the same health risks that African-Americans suffer. High-blood pressure? A far greater likelihood of suffering a heart attack than any other race in the United States? I don't know how to look that information up and I have been too uncomfortable to ask. Actually I could ask. When I've asked them about their countries and their customs they have been happy to answer my questions. You would think that many or most of the Africans came to make money to send home to their families, and perhaps some do. My impression from the news is that Africa is a poor continent. And that's true the farther you get away from the ocean. But I am learning that a lot of the people who live near the coasts do alright. Many of the Africans went into nursing because caring for people increases their Karma. No matter if they are Muslim or Christian, they all believe in Karma, they may just call it different names. One of the nurses I met, I beleive he lives in Senegal, he is comparitively rich in his home country. Although he is saving money for his eventual return to his homeland, he is here mainly because he wants to care for people. But I am in danger of over romaticizing their altruism. There are plenty of people to care for in Africa, but I doubt it pays as well.

3:30 p.m. I just got done shaving for the first time in three months. I look 20 years younger. No one notices. They won't notice for a few weeks when someone will ask if I am growing a beard. The home is quiet and devoid of activity. Nothing but College Football and other crap on the tube. I've had my therapy with Lamin and unless I eat one of the Prime Ribs, I have nothing to look forward to until tomorrow, which will be just like today, except less exciting.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

It has been dark outside all day. You'd think it would just start pouring down rain, but no. The clouds just hover like a buzzard waiting for something to die.

Today is Black Friday. The busiest shopping day of the year. At least three people were killed today so shoppers could take advantage of the low, low prices. A 34 year old temp worker was killed today when a crowd of shoppers broke down the doors to Wal-Mart in Long Island. The crowd could not wait the 30 seconds it would take to unlock the door, so the crowd of over 2000 surged ahead, the doors broke open, and the worker was crushed in the stampede. Hundreds of people stepped on the man just to be the first to pick up a 42" Plasma TV on sale for $500. The store probably only had six in stock, and since the sale is one-day only, no one would receive a rain check, but "there are plenty of other plasma TVs on sale, but they start around $1500." Several others, including a pregnant woman were injured. The store stayed open the whole time. As the man was taken away in the ambulance (he died in the Emergency Room) and the pregnant woman was also taken away (she did not miscary, Thank God) the store remained open, and the cashiers were cheerily ringing up purchases.

In Palm Desert, California, two people were shot outside of a Toys R Us. Two women were fighting over the latest electronic toy while their boyfriends looked on. Suddenly one of the men pulled a gun and shot in the air, then shot the other man in the back. The other man turned around and shot the other man before they both died of their wounds.

On the bright side , Portland cops caught the accused gunman from the Southcenter Mall shooting earlier this week. It was pure dumb luck they caught him. The cops were responding to a noise complaint at a motel and they knocked on the wrong door. Thankfully he surrendered peacefully.

This is why I shop online. I hate crowds, and now that I am in a wheelchair, I hate them even more. And I know they hate me. I know this because when I could walk, I hated being stuck behind someone in a wheelchair, or someone old and slow. Even now I hate it. It also irritated me riding the bus and having to stand because someone in a chair had to take up three peoples seats. And the time it would take for the bus lift to get someone on or off the bus seemed intolerable. Now I am the one in the chair and I know how the able-bodied must see me. As a pain in their ass. Maybe my condition is karma, who knows.

This is why I do most my shopping on line

I did do some shopping by going to QFC to buy a razor (man they have gotten expensive. $10 for a new razor and $10 for four extra blades), some more egg nog (I still have half a bottle of Southern Comfort to go through), a couple Sautsuma Oranges, some pistachio nuts, and a copy of Tropic Thunder. A lot of protein, some grooming aids, and, hopefully, a funny movie to brighten things up a bit.

This morning started with the usual 4:00 a.m. interuption by loud staff members in the halls. At 8:00 I was given 12 mg of Dilauded and it knocked my ass out, except it did nothing about my pain. It still felt like I was being dug into with a corkscrew. The rest of today I've just been in a haze.

I have to check the Slog for any more news. It's still a holiday for a lot of people so instead of Countdown with Keith Olberman and the Rachel Maddow Show, there is a marathon of pison documentaries or To Catch A Predator. People who didn't visit their families yesterday are here today. Half of the families are in the lobby watching Boise State kick all kinds of Fresno State ass (that's a football game).

My 'hit' counter for this blog remains at zero. Meaning the counter is broken or I am all alone in here. No biggie. A long as I write something, anything, for two hours a day, I'll feel productive. That my experience here isn't a total waste if time.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Holidays are fucking hard in a nursing home. Especially when you don't have family. It would just be another day, except I don't have physical therapy to take my mind off it. The staff are so fucking cheery because they get to go home to their friends or family and enjoy a real turkey dinner. I can't even go into the lobby to watch the Seahawks lose to the Cowboys because some lucky bastard's family has brought him or her a real Thanksgiving dinner and they have reserved the room. After the residents have been served their crappy excuse for a turkey lunch the staff will have a catered meal in the dining room for all to see. If it's like last year they will have real food.

This is my second Thanksgiving here. I have a second Christmas, New Years, and will probably "celebrate my 45th birthday here." It's days like this that makes me ask God why I am still here. Growing up I had always wanted a long and something more than ordinary life. I should have been more specific. I should have added healthy.

By dinner things will be back to normal. Most evidence that today was Thanksgiving will be gone. I think a Reuben Sandwich is on the menu. I at least was able to go to QFC yesterday and buy a Prime Rib dinner from the deli. I also bought some egg nog and Southern Comfort. I had some last night. I slept really good for a change.


The only thing worse than not having a family to visit you, is having a family that says they are going to visit and they don't show up. This is what happened to the old gentleman whose family had reserved the TV room for a big sit down early dinner. They were supposed to have the room from noon to two. Noon came and went. So did one and two. By three we were allowed to go in and watch the rest of the Seahawks game (they lost to the Cowboys 34-9). I came back to my room to find my roommate crying in pain. I don't think I have an appetite for dinner. It will keep until tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What a day

Last night, while once again, insomnia set in, so I had a lot of time to think about what to write today. Do I write about how I came to be in a nursing home in the first place? Detailing the various maladies that began in 1998? Or do I talk about how shitty the food is here (complete with graphic pictures)? Eventually I will probably write about both. Both stories will be long, but I have nothing but time. But today has been a roller coaster in itself.

The day began this morning when Mary Joe, the wound care nurse from Northwest Hospital came by for her weekly visit. I have wounds that get bandaged and rebandaged each day by the resident wound care nurse, but Mary Joe is an expert with many years of experience. She is the only one truly experienced with my disease, calciphylaxis. Mary Joe looked at my latest wound and was very worried. I couldn't see it from my position but it had been oozing puss for a couple days. She kept squeezing the wound to get the puss out, and I kept biting down on my bedding, stifling my screams. She said it looked bad enough that I might have to go to the hospital. This freaked me out. I had just got out of the hospital six weeks ago to find all my stuff in boxes, and me in a new room. I just got used to my new room and roommate and didn't want to go through this all over again. But Mary Joe was able to squeeze the absess right out of my wound and patch it up. Hopefully that will be the end of it and I will start healing. As long as I don't get a fever I will probably be OK.

After I was all bandaged and dressed I went to occupational therapy, where I played the Nintendo Wii for a half hour (I shot a 3 under par in golf, a personal best). I lifted weights for another half hour. Then I had a little bit of physical therapy before I had braces put on my legs. I wear these every day for a couple hours, with the hope that they will stretch out my calve muscles and achilles tendons so I can comfortably walk again. I haven't been able to walk since early August of last year. If I can ever walk comfortably agaiin, I will not take it for granted.

At lunch I went online and tried to start writing, but there were too many distractions. (I am halving trouble concentrating right now because a feeble-minded woman has just been abandoned next to me by her care giver and she just mumbles incoherently. Is she talking to me or Judge Judy?)

I checked out the Slog to see what people were talking about. Same old shit. Nothing I felt like contributing to the dialogue. Maybe later. I checked out the news. An alleged gang banger who is accused of shooting a couple people at the Southcenter Mall was caught. Gunmen in India stormed two five star hotels and killed 78 people and injured at least 200 others. They were looking for Americans to kill. Not much else in the news, like that wasn't enough.

I was pleasanty surprised to find that my disability check was deposited in my account four days early. I wrote a check for most of the balance of what I owe the nursing home and ordered Christmas presents from Amazon for myself and a friend, then went to QFC to buy someting to eat for today, and something special for tomorrow (Thanksgiving).

At QFC, while trying to reach for a chicken pot pie in the back of the freezer, I accidently leaned on my wheelchair controller, and slammed my left calf into the corner of the glass door. Now I have a hug hemotoma on the left leg, and four painful wounds on the right.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Friends will be celebrating with loved ones. I will be here. I will try to choke down the shitty "Turkey Dinner" that, based on last year, is worse than a generic TV Dinner version of the traditional holiday meal. But thanks to my early disability check and QFC, I will have a dinner of Prime Rib, garlic mashed potatoes and green beans. And I will follow it with a glass of egg nog with a shot of Southern Comfort ( a pint of which I smuggled into the home today).

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I don't know how it happened, but I finally fell asleep last night. It wasn't very much. Maybe three or four hours between 10 p.m. and 4:00 a.m., but it was still sleep, and after almost two weeks without it, it was most welcome.

This was despite the fact that around 9:00 p.m. last night, the woman I had referred to as "the human alarm clock" next door went batshit crazy last night. She is a very old, very frail, African-American woman, who often forgets where she is. Last night she didn't recognize anyone and started freaking out on her roommate, another elderly African-American woman. They share the same name, and I will stop referring to the first woman as "the alarm clock," and call her Crazy Alice and her roommate as just plain "Alice".

I ws just about to watch an episode of Heroes, one of the few things I have to look forward to each week, when all of a sudden Crazy Alice flipped out on Alice. "Help! Police!" yelled Crazy Alice. "There someone in my house. You better get out of here or I'll get my gun!" This went on and on for at least fifteen minutes before the nurse came into the room. The amount of time it took for the nurse to arrive, who was standing out in the hall, about fifteen feet from their room, shows how common scenes like this happen here in the home. The staff here has become so jaded at hearing people yell "Help" that I don't think they hear the word anymore. After a year of being here, it's even hard for me to take the word seriously anymore.

Everybody tried to calm down Crazy Alice. The roommate, Alice, who has to be a saint because she has lived with Crazy Alice for as long as I can remember, the nurse, and two male nursing assistants tried calming Crazy Alice down. After about a half an hour they finally wheeled her away somewhere. By law the staff are unable to restrain any resident without family permission. This sounds reasonable, in theory, but I have seen dementia patients try to get out of their wheelchairs, only to fall flat on their faces, then have to be taken to the hospital to treat their injuries. The nursing home is too understaffed to keep an eye on all the patients that need to be protected from themselves. Or protected from each other (once I watched an old lady repeatedly hit a 40-year old retarded woman for five minutes before a nursing assistant wandered into the dining room to seperate them).

As far as Crazy Alice, my guess is they took her into the dining room or the front office to call her husband. I have never seen him visit, but he is always able to talk Crazy Alice down from her delusions. Afterward she seems calm for awhile, but it doesn't last long.

Anyway, she seemed better when I saw her in the hall this morning. At least she had her wig on. It can be disconcerting to see a bald old lady rolling down the hall, yelling "Help!" or threatening to get her gun, before I have had my first cup of coffee.

Whatever happened to Crazy Alice, I am sure they didn't abuse her. The one thing I haven't witnessed here is physical abuse. I have seen nursing assistants act curt, or completely ignore residents. Often myself I feel as they see me as a piece of furniture, like an end table or a lamp.

After the commotion died down and after I finished watching my program. I drifted off to sleep. As I often dream, I was dreamt I was walking somewhere, I don't know where. In this dream my life is normal. I had no memory of not being able to walk, or if I did, it seemed like a long time ago. But as usual, in these dreams, I encounter an obstacle. It is often stairs, or a steep hill, a fence, or a high window that I have to crawl through. Then I remember I can't walk. And I am in my chair. Then, if I don't wake up from the dream on my own, I am woken up by either a noise or someone turning on the lights in my room.

At about 4:30 a.m. this morning a nurse opened the door to my room and turned on the lights, only to realize she was in the wrong room. She meant to wake up Crazy Alice and Alice to see if Crazy Alice was O.K. and to tell them both goodbye because she, the nurse, was returning to Kenya with her kids because of the economy, and because she only stayed this long to see Barack Obama elected president. I know all this because the walls in this place are very thin. Since I had got some sleep, I was more forgiving than I usually would be. I also understood that since the nurse worked the graveyard shift, the only way she was going to be able to say goodbye to the two women, whom she must have cared for for years, was if she woke them up. I was able to drift off asleep again before the parade of nursing assistants came in to check blood pressures, empty urinals, draw blood, and bring my roommate his paper.

As bad as the food is here (stay tuned for that post!), the noise, the rampant insanity, and myriad of other complaints I have about this place, the lack of sleep I get ranks number one. I am very grouchy when I don't get any sleep. After many days of insomnia I can turn into a complete dick. And I don't like that. I hate it when I am rude or curt or unkind. Even though I am not religous, I always try to follow The Golden Rule. Treat people the way you want people to treat you. I don't like it when I give cause for people not to like me. I may an unreasonable need to be "liked" but that's something to talk to a shrink about.

Anyway, finally, I got a decent night's sleep. Let's try for two nights in a row.

Monday, November 24, 2008

There is no peace

There is no peace in this place. Not a moment isn't filled with some sound or annoying intrusion. I have not had a decent nights sleep in the past year, except for about six weeks ago, when a heart attack landed me in the hospital for double bypass surgery. And even then it was only due to being heavily sedated.

I lie in bed last night while my roommate's TV was tuned to Animal Planet until 2:00 a.m. Finally a nurse shut the TV off. He had been asleep since ten, but I didn't know it. The last time I remember looking at the clock it was about three. At 4:30 a.m. a nurse came charging in like an elephant to empty my roommate's catheter and my urinal. She slammed the door open, slammed the toilet seat up, slammed the toilet seat down, then slammed the door shut. I asked her if she could keep it down and she slammed the urinal down on my bedside table and slammed the door behind her. Then she proceeded to complain loudly outside my door to anyone who would listen to her. Then she went next door and loudly woke up my neighbors, who then had a conversation until at least 5:30 a.m., when I finally nodded off.

At six the janitor came in to empty the garbage. At 6:30 a different nursing assistant came in looking for the first one. Periodically over the next hour and a half people would open the door, peer in, then loudly shut the door. This lasted until 8:00 a.m., when my roommate's breakfast was brought in. This is when they leave the door open and I can hear two dozen or more TVs blaring and people chattering in the dining room, not to mention the old lady I mentioned before who, basically, is asking God why she has lived this long. Has he no mercy?

I don't have to get up this early. I don't want to get up this early. There is no reason to. I don't have a job. I don't really have anything to do until I have to go to occupational and physical therapy around 10:00. I can't get up until the wound care nurse comes by to dress the four wounds on my right leg, two of which leak.

I can't get out of bed until a nursing assistant comes by to dress me and hoist me with a crane into my chair. Since the surgery I have been on sternal precautions, therefor and am not supposed to use my arms to do anything more than feed myself or lift five pound weights in therapy.

This morning it was loud, but it has been louder. I have been spared that the overly peppy nursing assistant isn't working today. She loves waking people up in the morning to tell them how beautiful the day is. If it's raining outside she seems even more excited. I don't get much if any sleep, so I am usually cranky. Had I slept, I might think she was cute and be sunny right back. But instead I am crabby, and I take it out on her. I don't mean to. I don't like being an asshole. But Jesus Fucking Christ, Allah save me from sunny people when I haven't had more than an hour's sleep in seven days. I am a little rude to her. Not much, but just enough to hurt her. You'd think I just killed her dog. The last time this happened, I had to talk to a shrink's assistant for an hour.

There is no peace. There isn't an inch of this place I can go where someone doesn't want to come up to talk to me. Whether it is a resident or a nurse, or the Recreation Director asking me if I want to play bingo or go to church services. For the 370th time, no.

During the summer I would wheel up to the parking lot at the bank next door and sit in the sun for hours. Or take my laptop to the library and download a lot of music I still haven't got around to listening to. And for two great weeks, I was gifted with some weed, which dulled my chronic pain and distracted me from my troubles. Life would be a lot easier on me if marijuana were legal, but it's not. It is good I managed to be high for two weeks without getting caught. They caught another patient with weed and they called the cops on him. You'd think he was a little kid caught shoplifting by his parents and marched to the corner grocer or police station to confess. They pretty much humiliated him, but in the end they let him stay at the nursing home, but they kept their eyes on him. He used to be happy, but he was miserable, like me, until he finally was able to leave.

I don't know when I will get to leave. Until then there will be no peace. Even now there is someone hovering, waiting to say something to me. I keep talking, using my silver Mac Book Pro as a shield from their intrusion, but they grow impatient and it is inevitable that they will say what they need to say, take what they need to take. It is noon, and I should have taken my medication two hours ago and the nurse needs to give me my pills so he can check it off his to do list. I look at the little plastic cup, filled with half of the thirty-some pills I take each day.

There is no peace.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

About me

I am a 44 year old guy stuck in a nursing home in North Seattle, surrounded by residents 20-50 years older than me, suffering from dementia. I am here due to a ridiculously rare illness caused by side effects from a kidney transplant. The condition is incurable, and potentially fatal. Odds were that I was going to die within the first week. One year later I am still much alive, but now unable to walk. I am not paralyzed, but the disease causes chronic pain, and the occasional leaky wound, in my legs. I came to this nursing home too try to walk again. I'm still trying, but hopefully soon I will move into my own place and try physical therapy on an out patient basis.

Life in the nursing home sucks ass BIG TIME. The food is not only terrible, but just the smell of it makes me gag. I don't know what is worse: the smell of the food, the smell of the incontinence around me, or the smell of my wounds. It makes me almost miss my youth spent on a farm with its smell of cow pies and pig shit.

Almost as bad as the smell is the noise. There isn't a minute of the day where this place isn't noisy. Not even in the middle of the night. Someone is always yelling. If it isn't the staff yelling at each other from either end of the hallway, it is the guy down the hall who occasionally screams for no apparent reason. Or it's the 50-something year old woman, who suffered a dibilitating stroke, who has lost her ability to communicate in words, but repeatedly makes Wookie-like shrieks. Or it's the 90-year old woman in the room next to me, who doesn't yell the word "Help!" (because she has forgotten where she is) but says the word very loudly, very often, and very steadily, as if she was a digital alrm clock going off, and it makes me want to hit her like a snooze button. Or it's the 105-year old woman who repeatedly says "Where did I go wrong? Where did I go wrong? God damn it to Hell!" over, and over, and over again.

If I seem unsympathetic, I'm not. I feel very bad for these people. It is sad this stuff happens. But I have now lived here for a year and I fear I will be here for the rest of my life. I have given God every opportunity to kill me, yet he keeps me alive. So I might as write all of this stuff down.

Here we go again

OK. I am going to try this again. A couple (several?) years ago I tried starting a blog, The Pageantry of Me, but I got distracted with health problems and work, so I stopped doing it. I was going to start it up again, but naturally, forgot my password. So here we go again. This stuff is just off the top of my head and I don't plan to spend a lot of time editing (I promise to spell check though). When I edit, I wind up not writing. This blog will be a mix of what is going on with me, what is going on in the world, and just stuff that I find interesting. I spend a lot of time over at The Stranger's blog, the Slog, and I will post stuff over here that I think they should have covered, or link to their posts that I find interesting.