It’s not often I get so irate I blog about it.
But then it’s not often someone emotionally abuses a sick woman who happens to be my mother.
For the last 18 odd months, my mum has had a godawful disease that’s slowly robbed her of her ability to move and speak intelligibly. Now she can do neither. She does however have every one of her mental faculties, and is as lucid today as she was twenty years ago. Our only means of communication? A small plastic board with letters on it (an E-Tran Board). She looks at each letter and slowly spells out whatever it is she wants to say. It’s time consuming and it’s tedious, but the option is to sit silently and not communicate at all.
My mum lives in a nursing home, where as a whole the care is excellent. She has a wonderful team of assistant nurses looking after her, and we love them. They treat her like the woman she once was, and not the invalid she’s become. They treat her with dignity and respect. But every now and again, someone comes on board who doesn’t quite get it. Who thinks that because a patient is disabled, they can do or say whatever they like – and need never worry about the repercussions. Well, hey, if a patient can’t answer back, who better to abuse?
My mum hasn’t been well this week. Over and above her godawful disease, she’s a little sick, so she needs a little more care than usual. Hey, we all get sick. And we all need a little extra care when we’re sick. At the best of times, my mother feels guilty for needing to be cared for. She hates taking up another person’s precious time. When she’s unwell like she’s been this week, the guilt of needing extra care eats her alive.
This particular assistant nurse obviously agrees that my mum is more trouble than she’s worth. How do we know? She went into my mother’s room and told her as much. I wonder if she took pleasure from telling my chronically and acutely ill mother she “was wasting everyone’s time,” “she’s a burden to have around” and (the cherry on the top) “all the nursing staff hate her.” I wonder if after she’d said all of that, she enjoyed hearing my mother’s devastated sobs echoing through the corridor. I wonder if she felt better for having gotten it off her chest.
I also wonder how she’ll feel when she discovers the patient who cannot answer back can still explain the situation to us. And she did.
I’d like to be there to witness that special moment.
But I won’t be. You see, as much as I would love the chance to confront this woman, and as much as I’d like to get everything I’m feeling about her off my chest, I would never destroy another person’s self worth like she destroyed my mother’s. In this case, I’ll leave the task to her supervisors.
And now I’m going to make myself a cup of tea and try and calm down.