Thursday, July 28, 2011

At Clara's again (from journal entry 7-24-11)

I'm at Clara's again today. It's 7am. I have plenty of energy today. It was great going to my mom's last night and spending the evening with Uraeus. We talked, laughed and he shared some new comedy episodes with me on youtube. I shared some things with him on youtube also. I showed him a video of some of the students being interviewed in Norway. I was sick about that. Our children need to know that the world is not that big and that there is nowhere that is way over there. Anything that happens anywhere in the world is happening in our own backyard.

He stood above me at first. I sat at the desk at the computer and as the young man spoke, the young man who was about the same age as my son, Uraeus watched and listened to him speak and slowly sat his almost fourteen years big ole self on my lap. And he wasn't heavy. He was my son. And so was the young man speaking, way away right next door in Norway, my son.

That wasn't the only situation that had me in tears yesterday though. Amy Winehouse passed away. What a precious gift to the word. Wow. My pen. This prophet pen. I meant to write what a precious gift to the world and wrote word instead. And she was indeed. A precious gift to the word. She sang her stories as richly and as truthfully as a human being can sing her story. And that voice. I am too lazy in the moment to work for words to describe her voice. That touched me. Here.

Clara is sleeping on the couch. I have my feelings about her sleeping on the couch. I don't like it. My first impulse is to judge the caregiver from last shift for not putting her in her wheelchair and pushing her back to her room then putting her in the bed. Yes it's hard work. But it's hard work from me too. Yesterday I made her breakfast, lunch, dinner, gave her a bath, changed her diaper every two hours from 7a to 7p, cleaned her feces and urine a million times and did the laundry. Not to mention listening to everything I need to know about bananas. I acknowledge that getting her back in the bed is hard work. And? I should be more understanding though. I wasn't here last night. She was. And sometimes Clara won't let you move her. I do get that. I'm more frustrated here sometimes than I allow myself to admit. The thing about the couch though is that I don't want the couch to become the new bed. The place where she stays for a week until I or maybe another caregiver moves her. I only know what goes on here during the week through the notes because I'm usually at Debra's during that time. But enough about last night.

I pray that this will be an easy day with Clara. Yesterday was pretty easy. Stealing moments to write about it helped. Did you read the last blog entry, Therman? Do you remember the nurse I was talking about? The one at the hospice in Georgia?

Clara is talking in her sleep again. That makes me feel weird a little bit. Hearing her sleep words. I meant what I said about that yesterday. That is so private. It's like walking in on someone wiping themselves in the bathroom or something.

Almost my whole check last week went to my rent. You know how it is moving into L.A. apartments. That and the fact I had to pay full rent and utilities in my old place in the same month put a pucker my finances to the tune of my phone being off this whole week, until Friday. That's cool though. I'm in my place, the car is running well and I have the hours I need at work and Friday is coming. And everyone who needs to reach me has my client's info. Of course that list is very short. My son, Lynette, D, my mom. Everyone else can find me oline. Go Facebook! Go hotmail! Go yahoo!

And Red Stories is this Saturday! Yes! I'm always uber excited about Red Stories. This month Shay Fresh is featuring with me. Also Brad said he was coming. I'll send him a message tonight to see if he will get on stage and tell a story. I know he has plenty. Other than Brad as a surprise hopefully special guest, I think I'm going to keep Saturday night to just Shay and me on stage. I've got to do some more promoting this week.


Just looked at the paper. Front page: Norway. Amy Winehouse. I can't stop reading.


I just gave Clara her bath and noticed that the scab on her leg that I reported yesterday is very bloody today. Also reported a bruise on her right arm that was and is bleeding. Expecting nurse today. She said this morning that one of the caregivers squeezed and twisted her arm and that's how her arm was injured.

C: 85 people killed?! Good God!

She just read the headlines in the paper. She is sitting up now on the couch with her tray of breakfast, juice and coffee.

What I really feel for with the elderly who live alone are their complaints of abuse going unrecognized. Clara is constantly accusing me and others of stealing from her, lying to her and hiding things from her and I know that I am not abusing her in any way. She has said really mean things to me and has greatly gotten on my nerves. I have never, however and would never abuse her in any way. Of course though, I can only speak for myself. Now I don't think any of my coworkers would abuse her either but I can't say for sure because I'm not here. I walked into the room once and Clara was lifting a lamp above her head. I caught her and took the lamp before anything happened, but what if I walked into the room a minute later? Her head would have been bruised and I would have been the only staff on duty and her story probably would have been that I hit her on the head. Or something like that. I don't like being under 24 hour camera watch when I'm at Debra's but I sure understand where her family is coming from. Also it protects me. If Debra ever said I did this or that to her we can always go to the tapes.


I called the agency and reported the bleeding bruises.


C: 85 people?! Can you believe that? Do I have a diaper on?

Me: Yes.

C: I have to go now!

Me: Ok.

C: It's not gonna leak?

Me: No.

C: Can I sue you?

Me: You can try.

C: (laughs) So what ever happened to Zsa Zsa?

Me: I don't know.

C: Boy, they sure hushed that situation up, didn't they?

Me: Sure did.

C: Whatever happened to my lamp? (The one I saw her lifting above her head. I took it and put it in her back room.)

Me: I think Helen (her niece) put it in your back room. She said it wasn't working.

C: Well how would she know unless she was trying to keep it for herself?

Me: Hmmmm.


Me: Who twisted your arm right there?

C: I don't know what she looked like. And I certainly wouldn't want to accuse the wrong person.

Me: Certainly.

C: But she used such foul language. Don't you know anyone you work with who uses such language?

Me: No.

C: Blond.

Me: Excuse me?

C: She was a blond.

Me: Here is your medication.

C: Oh, I haven't had my medication in so long. So this one is what?

Me: For calcium.

C: And what is this for?

Me: Stool softener.

C: Put it in my mouth?

Me: Yes.

C: And this one is the same thing? Two of them?

Me: Yes.

C: Then why aren't they working?

Me: Oh, they are.

C: How do you know so much?

Me: I clean it up.

C: (laughs) Then you would remember that. (pause) Oh, look at that! 85 people! Can you believe that?

I have to move the paper. She asks for it often if it's not right there next to her and if the front page is not on top then that caregiver is stealing from her. Today I will risk being the theiving caregiver because I don't want her to keep reading that story. It was hard enough for me to read it. And I don't want her to keep saying it out loud.

The kitchen sink is stopped up so I've been washing dishes one by one in the bathroom sink. It irrated me that the dishes from last night were still here. She just left like the dishes were going to do themselves. That's cool. I won't be here tomorrow. Although I wish I was going to be here tomorrow. Debra's case is a 24 hour case and I much prefer going home every night than sleeping somewhere else days at a time. The 24 hour cases are getting played out for me. I don't want to cancel them now because I need to get caught up on a few things. Plus I want to be a few months ahead on my rent and I want to give Uraeus a lot more.

I need to sleep. I don't remember the last time I went to sleep and I didn't have to get up early the next morning.

Me: Let me change you.

C: Well, in a minute, if I decide to let go of what I'm holding onto.

Me: Let it go, let it go.

C: You think I should?

Me: Definetely.

C: Well, you're the boss of these things.

Me: (thinking) I am the boss of shit.


It's super quiet in here. She's sitting on the couch reading the paper from cover to cover.

Dear L.A. Times,

Thank you for your thick Sunday editions. Seriously.

I was so sleepy a little while ago. I drank some coffee and dozed off a bit right here at the kitchen table. The quick nap plus the coffee helped.

What pieces am I doing for Red Stories on Saturday? Why isn't Uraeus answering his phone? Did Lynette go to church today? Am I losing weight, 'cause these pants feel kinda baggy? Is there any more wine left at the apartment? That table is dusty over there. I better wait until she goes to sleep though. If I start dusting, she's gonna want me to mop the floor and paint the walls and retar the roof. I wonder if Aquiah posted a new entry in her blog. It's really good.


C: Help! Help! Help!

Me: I'm right here.

C: Would you open the window to let some fresh air in?

Me: Sure.

C: Can you believe that man walked in and said "You're gonna die"?

Me: That was so sad.

C: Turn on the television so I can see the news.

Me: Ok. Let me change you.

I changed her and she was only slightly wet. I guess yesterday was bm day. Cool. Changing her also gave me an opportunity to put the front page under the stack of papers.

C: What ever happened to Zsa Zsa? You know she had her right leg removed.

Me: Yeah?

C: I think she called the papers and demanded that they not say anything about it.

Me: You think she has that much power?

C: Oh sure. And the media respects her and they will do what she says. And also she's very rich you know.


C: Do I have a diaper on?

Me: Yes you do.

C: I did? I'm asking if I do now.

Me: You do now.

Yesterday Clara told me that she and her husband were divorced when her son was only four. She said she remembered standing in front of the judge.

C: He had a bit of a problem with alcohol and it never got better. You know, someone asked Oprah why she never got married and do you know what she said?

Me: No.

C: She said she liked her privacy. That's what I will say if someone asks me why I didn't get married again. I like my privacy. I did all my own work you know. All of it.

Me: Yes I know. That's great.

Dear Uraeus,

Every day of your life, make sure someone else's life is better in some way. That is how you have a great life. That is what matters.

Love Mom

C: Hellooooo!

Me: Yes?

C: Do you like that picture?

Me: Yes. It's beautiful.

C: I bought that picture from Barker Brothers and it was on the floor. Do you believe that?

Dear Uraeus,

Make your life bigger than yourself.

Love Mom

With everything going on in the world, who I am in this moment, a caregiver sitting on Clara's couch talking about the picture on her wall, is not so big. If big or small is really a measurement at all. If important or irrevelant mean anything at all. But because of who I am in this moment, a caregiver sitting on Clara's couch, discussing the picture on her wall, a painting I am not particualarly imprssed with by the way, Clara is not hurt. She has someone to listen to her. This is my opportunity to cause somebody's moment to probably be better than it would have been. Or at least my opportunity to have my life, my moment, be about someone else.


She is still sleeping.

I talked to Lynette and was glad to hear that she had a good day at church.

Called my mother and Uraeus was with her. They went to church together and afterwards they went to Sizzler to eat. Mrs. Clinton was in the car when I called my mother and it reminded me of when I was my son's age spending time at church and then to eat and then to take Mrs. Clinton home. Mrs. Clinton was my grandmother's friend and she makes me think of my grandmother. I look at her and wonder what she would be like now. She passed away June 97 and Uraeus was born November 97. Mrs. Clinton ate at Sizzler with Uraeus in my grandmother's place.

Lynette called and may take Uraeus with her to pick up the twins from her father's house in Laguna Beach. Lynette and I were pregnant at the same time with our boys. The twins were a month premature so they were born in October. I used to babysit all three babies while Lynette and her husband were at work.


C: Help! Help!

Me: I'm right here.

C: What time is it?

Me: It's 4:30.

C: Well why am I up so early?

Me: It's 4:30 in the evening.

C: What day is it?

Me: Sunday.

C: Well, I didn't even go to church?

Me: No.

C: You know I'm English.

Me: Yes I know.

C: They were the first ones to abolish slavery you know.

Me: Really?

C: Oh yes. The English are good people. Very liberal. You know Jesus was liberal.

Me: Hmmm.

C: I go to an Episcipal church.

Me: Yes I know.

C: Not one of those churches where they scream at you. Where you brought up in the church?

Me: Yes.

C: Episcipal?

Me: No. A Baptist church.

C: How could you go to a baptist church? I wouldn't touch a baptist church with a ten foot pole! All that screaming and hollering at you. And they are so conservative. No, that's not good. You should talk to your minister and ask him what he thinks about the baptist church compared to the episcipal church.

Me: Ok.

C: What's your minister' name?

Me: Henry Ford. (of course he passed away in 87)

C: I don't know him. I was just trying to see if he was a leader or not.

Me: (thinking) He was more of a leader than you will ever know.

C: Can I have coffee?

Me: Sure.

C: (while I am in the kitchen) How can anyone be a baptist? I wouldn't touch a baptist church with a ten foot pole.

Awwwww! I have the best friends! D said she was sick of not being able to reach me and turned my phone on.


Less than two hours to go.

C: You know, I think because I'm accustomed to going to church on Sundays is why the time is all thrown off in my head.

Me: That must be it.

C: That was good soup. Thank you.

Me: You're welcome.

C: They sure make weak coffee here though, don't they?

Me: They sure do.

C: Oh my goodness! 85 people!

They are talking about the massacre now on the news. How incrediblly sad. Those were children. I should be making coffee. I have to unfreeze myself to make coffee important right now. This is just horrible.


C: Help! Help! Help!

Me: I'm right here.

C: I'm having a bm.

Me: Ok.

C: Well, help me do something about it! I haven't had a bowel movement in a whole month you know.

Me: Well, you had three yesterday and two today.

C: Well, that's what you say but I've been having bowel movements a lot longer than you have and I know a thing or two more than you do about the topic!

Me: Ok.

C: Well?

Me: Well what?

C: Aren't you going to give me some good advice?

Me: What would you like me to say?

C: Well, you could say "just push it right along and keep helping it as it comes."

Me: Ok. Do you want some water?

C: Well, sure. Everyone needs water. Don't you even know that?

Me: Ok.

C: Help! Help! Help!

Me: Clara.

C: I'm slumping too far down in the couch. Stand behind me and pull me all the way up!

Me: One. Two. Three!

C: Whew! Thanks.

Me: No problem.

C: You're so big and strong. I can see now why they selected you for me.

Me: Wow.

C: Oh boy! Nothing is more tiresome than lying here doing nothing.

Me: Nothing more.

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