At Clara’s this morning. Sleepy. Today I don’t feel like being here. It’s never my favorite place but today I really don’t feel like it. Gotta shift my energy soon because this shift is twelve hours. I think one of the reasons I’m resisting being here today is because I had such a good night last night at home. Bought a few groceries, watched a movie, finally cleaned my room and drifted off so peacefully. It rained last night and I had my windows open. I love to feel the night air on my face while I’m under a bunch of covers. Also I bought some new pillows. I slept well! It is so rare that I wake up in my own bed. This morning I woke up in my own bed and in a clean room. Let this be an easy, quick day please. Of course, I’m back here tomorrow.
Thankfully Clara is still sleeping. Jennifer and I were talking this morning about the really racist statements that Clara makes. Jennifer usually works the night shift for Clara and we sit for a minute when I relieve her in the morning. Today she told me that Clara asked her if she was trained in Mexico. Jennifer is from Puerto Rico and took the time to explain that to Clara. Surprisingly.
I dozed off. Clara is still sleeping and the men are here to fix the air conditioner. Hopefully they won’t wake her up. As I was asleep a minute ago I remembered a dream I had last night. Almost like the dream came back to remind me it was there.
I was holding a cat. It was a black and white cat with black on the body and white on its face. I was standing and holding the cat with one hand. Almost as if the cat was hanging on to me. The cat was looking up at me and I was looking down into its greenish blue eyes. Slowly the cat showed its fangs and extended its claws and opened its mouth wider to bite my hand. Someone else was in the room. A woman. I don’t know who she is but in the dream I knew her. I woke up as I began to try to push the cat away from me but its fangs kept growing.
I don’t know what the dream meant but the cat reminds me of Clara who bites the hands that feed and care for her and try to hold her up. I read a dream book that said that the dreamer is often all of the characters in the dream. Perhaps. This dream felt like a message. I am very much not a cat person and Clara is in fact, and this is kinda spooky, as I am writing this entry I looked up and the book directly in front of me is called THE CAT. I never noticed the book before. Creepy. Maybe the cat is Clara biting at my hand as she is trying to hang on for life as I shake her off of me.
Even in the dream I remember knowing myself as someone who didn’t like cats yet I was willing to hold the cat until it showed its fangs. I didn’t start to shake it until I felt threatened. As Clara is concerned, all of the caregivers give and give and give to this woman who constantly insults us.
Talk about dreams coming true. This is my most difficult day yet with Clara. She is just now having her breakfast because she has been fussing all morning. Yelling, screaming. It has never been so bad for me that I wanted to walk away from the condo and drive home. Right now that’s how I feel. No, I won’t do it. I had to step away from her and breathe and pray. And curse and pray and breathe.
I called my supervisor and left a message for her to call me back. She hasn’t yet but she needs to soon. I have worked well for this company and perhaps have led them to believe that I can take anything. I can’t.
I just looked at that book again, THE CAT. It’s kinda freaky. I gotta get some rest ‘cause she is getting on my fucking nerves.
Eight hours to go.
I don’t like it when she refuses to get out of bed because she doesn’t want me to stay in the room with her (and I don’t want to either) and she keeps calling me and expects me to come immediately from the living room to her bedroom.
C: Hello! Hello! Hello! Anybody there!?
Me: I’m here.
C: Well how am I supposed to remember what I wanted now?
She is on the phone with her niece now. Not Helen, but someone from out of town.
I think we are both on one today. I’m tired and she’s extra cranky. She’s accusing her caregivers of stealing her life alert medallion. Thank goodness her niece keeps pulling her away from that conversation.
I gave her her medication this morning and she said that I needed to call the doctor because she hasn’t been taking medication.
Me: Why haven’t you been taking it?
C: Well because the druggies here have been stealing it of course.
After work I have to go to Hawthorne. I really just want to go home and go to sleep. Calgon!
She’s off the phone now and what a difference journaling makes.
C: Hello! Hello!
Me: I’m here.
C: Well I have to have a bm (her third today).
C: Well do I have a diaper on?
C: Well how am I supposed to go in a diaper? Just let it go?
C: Well how was I supposed to know that? I’ve never gone in a diaper before.
Me: (I started laughing inside because I thought about my conversation with Jennifer this morning and how Clara asked her if she was trained in Mexico or something. Also thought
C: Hello! Hello! Are you coming back this way?
Me: (Walking way to the back room) Here I am.
C: Did you take a look at this? (morning paper)
Me: Not yet.
C: Because you should know that the price of gold is rising.
Me: Ok, thank you.
Me: (Walking back to living room)
C: Hello! Hello! Is anyone there?
Me: Here I am.
C: Well listen to this. The price of gold has risen in the last ten years from $250 an ounce to $1,648 on Friday so if you have any gold then now is the time to sell it.
Me: Ok, I’m gonna see if your coffee is ready.
C: Yeah. Boy, Gloria Molina has gotten awfully fat hasn’t she?
This is what happens when she stays in the bed all day. But where was I? Oh, I thought about how Jennifer told me this morning that she had a client last week, actually two clients, a husband and wife, and the neighbor came over and stayed there with Jennifer for her five hour shift demanding to see her legal papers.
Me: Shut up, Jennifer!
J: No, girl! She did! I told her I didn’t have to show her anything. She went on and on about Mexican illegal workers and I told her I was Puerto Rican. She said “whatever” and to show her my papers or she would call the police. Of course I dared her to call the cops. Which she did.
Me: No she didn’t, Jennifer.
J: Yes she did. These motherfuckers are a trip. While we waited for the police, she kept telling the couple not to worry because the stranger would be out of the house very soon.
Me: Did the police show up?
J: Yes, a long time later. They told me that they know how she is and that’s why they didn’t come right away. They asked her to leave. She got so mad. It’s so messed up. All we are trying to do is take care of these people and they act like we are freaking criminals. Oh and before she left she got all in my face and said that she had her master’s and that she knew what I was up to. I told her I had my master’s too. Then she was all “then what are you doing here?” Shit, I need the money and I know how to take care of people. I didn’t say that to her though. I just watched the police escort her white ass back across the street.
Six hours to go. I told Marquita I would come by tonight to pick up that stand but I don’t know. I get off at 7 then to go to Hawthorne then to Santa Monica, then back to L.A. I’m gonna be too tired. Of course going to Marquita’s first might make more sense. This is what today is. Squeezing in as many hours as I can for sleep. But if I don’t, tomorrow will be a repeat of today. I called Lynette and told her I was having an off day. She told me she knew how tired I was and that I let the agency use me and work me so hard and now here I am. Maybe she’s right. But I don’t look at it like they used me like I’m the victim of it. I needed the hours and so I worked. And I’m going to do what I have to do and get some rest and take care of myself and come to work tomorrow.
C: Hello! Hello!
Me: I’m coming!
C: Hello! Aren’t you even going to answer me?
Me: Here I am.
C: I need to have a bm so would you put my papers and coffee on the dresser?
C: And put my head back a little.
C: Well what do I do now?
Me: Have your bm I guess.
C: Well what position should I be in?
Me: How are you comfortable?
C: Well don’t you know anything?
Me: (Leaving the room)
C: So you’re just going to dismiss the whole thing?
Me: Are you comfortable?
C: Well yes.
Thirty seconds later.
C: Hello! Hello!
C: Would you put my head up and hand me my papers and coffee from the dresser?
I need to do laundry but she is sleeping and may wake up screaming. I should try to close my eyes while she is sleeping.
C: Did you see this? Mexicans now make up 40% of the population.
Me: That’s good.
Me: Here’s your lunch.
C: Well I don’t want ketchup on my turkey dog. Ketchup is loaded with sugar. That’s why everyone is so sick. Goodness! Go and put mustard on it.
Me: There is another way you can say that.
C: Well I just want mustard that’s all.
Two seconds later.
C: Well where are you going?
Me: To get the mustard.
C: And it’s taking you that long?
Me: Here you go.
C: Ok then.
Me: Not that you bothered to say thank you. But you’re welcome.
C: I always say thank you.
Four hours left.
I called my mother just to hear her voice. To maybe make her laugh, ‘cause sometimes, that’s what you need. You know?
C: Hello! Hello!
C: Don’t I have a telephone somewhere around here?
Me: Here it is. Who do you need to call?
C: Why do you care?
Me: I don’t. If you need help dialing let me know.
C: Well I don’t. Thank you.
She dialed and actually reached someone. Who knows who she’s talking to. Now she’s arguing with whoever it is.
C: (On the phone) Well you could just tell the truth. If you wanna go, there’s no harm in saying that you wanna go!
C: Oh well, I’m not talking about any of that.
C: Well ok, you sound much better than you did before.
Twenty minutes later.
C: You never call me to find out how I am.