Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Nursing Home Meeting

Today was a "care meeting for Paul Williams" at the nursing home he's been living in for the past two and a half years. I've been pretty upset about Paul losing his front and side teeth (could be three now) these past few weeks and I prepared myself in advance, so I wouldn't lose it (ie become the raging relative) in the meeting. 

The reason he's lost his teeth is completely down to lack of care by the nursing home, they haven't been brushing his teeth and he doesn't remember how to take care of himself anymore. Actually he will brush and spit when given the tools but you gotta stand there with him and direct the show. 

Anyways I bought a box of See's candies and took it to the meeting, a reminder to myself to keep it light even while getting into the facts and sorting out what we need to do. I found out the dentist is coming tomorrow and MediCal/Medicaid will pay for dentistry, so let's see how far they will go. 

Will they replace the missing teeth? I doubt it. At the very least they can do something, I hope, to stave off the oncoming gum disease. 

Poor Paul. I stood by him while he brushed his teeth and flossed today, the bleeding gums...sad. But the good news is the chocolate's worked their evil charms and me and the staff had a reasonable meeting.


  1. Cindy:

    I recently friended you on Facebook, having not heard you since Mariposa. I did not know about Paul Williams' condition.

    What you are going through has become, unfortunately, more common. Mary Rose O'Reilly of the Twin Cities went through this with her mother, and wrote about it.

    "The chapter on trying to get her mother through rehab (and keep her out of a nursing home) is so sterling it should be faxed to every national or state representative in America ... if only those boobies could read. The last few chapters are a manual on how to protect friends and family from the claws of the moguls of what they laughingly call 'healthcare.'"

    That's from a review of "The Love of Impermanent Things: A Threshold Ecology," by Mary Rose O'Reilley (Milkweed)

    The review is at http://www.ralphmag.org/FF/impermanent-things.html

    Hal Davis

  2. As always Cindy Lee, your path of grace and dignity for your family, and most especially for Paul, humbles me and makes me feel really glad I know someone like you :-) You rock!
    Missy Peterson

    1. I can't put it any better than that, so I won't try.

  3. I have had similar issues with my dad's care. And I think what really bothers me is the thought that the staff can see that they aren't brushing their teeth or changing their clothes often enough but they just let it go. Forget that they are being paid to oversee day to day care...where is the compassion, the decency? At least make a phone call to the family.

    1. My feeling Jenn, is that maybe they, the workers, cut off that sensitivity to notice things like teeth or clothes because they are overwrought with too much misery. A way the brain copes with too much despair. Just visiting the nursing home with the howling old women crying to go home or the smell of human feces...it's too much to bare and I find it hard to stay there long myself....