First Rattle Out Of the Box

Before we moved Mom from the hospital to the nursing home, I spent a lot of time talking with the administrator and others in that facility. I did my best to make sure that everyone understood her needs, and I thought I had done a pretty good job.

That is until I walked in one morning just two days after her placement in the nursing home. She was sitting in her wheelchair in the hallway. When she saw me, she began to cry. In all my life I had never seen my grandmother cry. Not when her husband died. Not when her middle son died. Not when her oldest son died.

Needless to say, her tears on this occasion upset me. She told me that she had been treated roughly. She said that the CNAs had pushed and pulled her while dressing her and transferring her from her bed to her wheelchair. She told me that they caused more pain in her back. Oh man, was I mad.

I immediately located the CNAs and informed them in very concrete terms that Mom could not be treated in that fashion. Then I went to the administrator on duty that day. I clearly made my concerns known to him. He then talked to Mom, and she confirmed everything I had said. He assured me that our concerns would be addressed and the entire staff would be informed about how to help Mom transfer as well as other needs.

The administrator was true to his word, and within a day the staff knew about Mom’s needs. Things improved dramatically for her. Sigh.

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You Are My Sunshine

“You are my sunshine. My only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. And I love you.”. That was my grandmother’s version of that wonderful old song. I heard it many times when she was in the nursing home. She sang it to me. She sang it to her roommate. She sang it to the CNAs who cared for her every day. She sang it when she was having a good day. She sang it when she was having a bad day. It was her way of expressing love to those around her. It was also her way of coping with life when things were not going well.

She told me that occasionally she felt like she was being treated roughly when CNAs were showering her or helping her change clothes. You can be sure that I had another conversation with the director of nursing every time she mentioned this to me. I asked her what she did when she felt like the CNAs were being rough. She replied that she sang the sunshine song. I asked, “What do they do when you start to sing that song?” She grinned and said, “They smile all over themselves.”

Mom understood all about catching “more flies with honey than vinegar”.