Tuesday, August 6, 2019

IWSG: Don't Go in the Bathroom

                                                                        

It's time for another edition of the  Insecure Writer's Support Group Be sure to visit Alex J. Cavanaugh  and the rest of the talented bloggers who are always willing to lend a helping hand.

                                                              Don't Go in the Bathroom

The staff at the dialysis center where I receive treatments three days a week is exceptionally efficient, and is always there within seconds in the event of the slightest problem. For example, even a leg cramp is immediately tended to, as patients usually do not leave their recliner seats until the treatment is complete. Not only is the staff extremely pleasant to talk to, but they're also excellent listeners. As patients, our vitals are taken several times, and we are continually monitored throughout the day. Recently, I was surprised to find a police car in the parking lot.

 As I walked in, a nurse stopped me from going to the treatment area restroom, and guided me to the ladies room in the lobby. I thought nothing of it, as this restroom is often occupied. On the way to my designated chair, I noticed a policeman stationed between the doorway leading to the dialysis unit and the treatment area restroom.

I quietly asked one of the staff what was going on and she offered to explain later. In all the commotion, my treatment was delayed a few minutes, so I texted my friend across the room for the 411. She explained that a 91-year-old patient from the morning shift suffered a heart attack in the restroom. The staff responded immediately followed by the paramedics, but they were unable  to revive him. Hours later the funeral home still hadn't arrived to pick up his body.

Now the pieces were starting to come together. The people that I hadn't recognized in the lobby, were the deceased man's son, daughter-in-law and grandson. They arrived after his treatment expecting to take him home, as they did every Saturday. I could see the son tearing up, while he spoke to the police officer. Though I never met the elderly patient or his family, I found myself tearing up too.


I turned to my friend, Mrs. C. in the seat next to me. Without saying a word, I could tell that she knew exactly what was going on. At 88. Mrs. C. is very sharp and perceptive. She is a trooper who never complains. Many of the older patients have a very difficult time adjusting to dialysis, but Mrs. C. seems to take everything in stride.

Unfortunately, Mrs. C's eyesight must not be the best, as she only sees the good in me. She actually thinks I move like a gazelle. Yes, I'm kind of a big-shot with geriatrics in walkers, though some cocky nonagenarians with canes have passed me up on occasion.

As Mrs. C. and I had front row seats across from the treatment area restroom, we both silently wondered when the funeral home was going to arrive to pick up the deceased patient. Suddenly, trying to watch anything on TV seemed pointless.

A few minutes after the funeral home arrived, one of my dear friends came to visit me. I quickly motioned for her to put on her protective gown and sit next to me. I didn't want her to get caught in the patient's final exit from dialysis.

Next, the staff smoothly put up privacy curtains between the restroom and the door leading to the lobby. Remarkably, a small woman from the funeral home single-handedly managed to wheel the body bag on a gurney out of the building.

After I filled my visiting friend in, she said, "I feel kind of sick, since I've used that bathroom before."

I told her that I felt for her, and was very sorry for what she was going through.

Then I tried to imagine how Mrs. C. and most of the other patients in the same age group were feeling. I turned to Mrs. C. and asked how she was doing, and as I expected, she looked very sad.

Fortunately, I cheered her up a little when I told her my brother was coming to visit. Mrs. C. and my brother also have a special relationship. She laughs at all of his jokes, and they could talk forever about their love of the Chicago Cubs. They also have a little flirtation going on, but that's another story.

The staff at the dialysis center remained professional throughout the entire experience. They are always appreciative when Mrs. C. and I don't complain when there's an occasional problem. But I tell them there's no reason to complain, as they always respond quickly, and bend over backwards to make sure that we're comfortable.

The following week everything was back to normal, but it took me a few days until I summoned the courage to use the restroom again.





20 comments:

  1. How very beautifully, and sympathetically written. I felt as though I had experienced this myself, Julie 🌹

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  2. Oh dear. I can feel how hard that was. I work in a senior center. I dread the day we have to deal with something like that.

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  3. I am sorry that all of you had to go thru that and I also feel bad for the family who had come to pick up their loved one and had to deal with the shock of their passing. How kind you were to your friends there but that is who you are. Other people first seems to be how you feel and act. You are such a lovely person and I think of you often and hope that a kidney is coming your way very soon.

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  4. Wow, how terrible. And somber. It sounds like everyone handled it well. Good on you to cheer Mrs. C.

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  5. Lost - Thank you so much for your kind words.

    Arleen - I just wanted to share this moving story. Though the dialysis nurses and technicians work tirelessly to give each patient the best experience possible, many of the patients have additional health issues. As PKD runs in our immediate family, my dear sons have launched a social media campaign to find a live donor for me. My husband was told he was too old to donate. I’m grateful to my family and whatever happens I’ll be fine. Thank you Arleen and you are a lovely person too.

    Liza - I know how difficult it must be working in a,senior center and it really speaks to what
    a good person you are. Thank you, Liza!

    Alex - Currently, I’m the youngest patient in the afternoon shift and I really admire the elderly patients who forge on. Mrs. C never seems to lose her sense of humor. She constantly amazes me. Thanks for hosting another great IWSG, Alex!

    Julie

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  6. You told this little slice-of-life story beautifully. As for Mrs. C's eyesight? From where I'm sitting, she sees you perfectly, dear lady. I hope that kidney donation comes to you really soon.

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  7. I'm so sorry you had to experience this unfortunate event. How sad.

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  8. That must have been a hard experience. Glad you cheered up one of the other regular patients and that the staff take such good care of you.

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  9. That was a story to remember, Julie. Here's to getting that kidney soon and saying goodbye to dialysis.

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    1. Lee -I’ve gone on your blog a few times, but WordPress keeps eating my comments. I appreciate your tips on networking and building an audience. You are always so supportive. I’m sorry that I couldn’t return the favor, but I’ll try again.

      Julie

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  10. Susan - My reporter instinct kicked in and I had to get to the bottom of the story. My heart went out to the family. Everyone seemed to handle the whole ordeal with grace and dignity. Thank you so much, dear Susan!

    Connie - I just felt terrible for the family, staff, and other patients. Thank you, Connie!

    Natalie - I really couldn’t ask for better care. Thank you, Natalie!

    Lee - You know I don’t think I’ll be able to say goodbye. No matter what happens, I’d like to think that I’ll still visit the dialysis center. Thank you, Lee!

    Julie

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  11. You are surrounded by compassionate staff who are right there. Wht a blessing.

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  12. A little excitement makes for a more interesting day, although a sad one. Sorry you had to go through this, but at least you walked away with an interesting story.

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  13. Susan - It truly is a blessing. When my dad was on dialysis in the late 70s, my mom had to drive him to downtown Chicago for treatments, as they didn’t have dialysis centers in the suburbs then. Needless to say, he underwent very long and exhausting days. The dialysis center that I go to is very close to home, and “compassionate” is the perfect word to describe the staff. Thank you, Susan!

    Rhonda - Some patients have come and gone since I started and it’s always nice to hear about those who have received kidney transplants. This was a very sad exit, but it was handled in the best possible way. Thanks Rhonda!

    Julie

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  14. It's so great how you helped that lady even after what you were feeling through the whole thing. So sad for the family of that poor man.

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    1. Renee - Actually my brother really cheered her up later in the day. I just made her smile when I reminded her he was coming to visit. Yes, it was very sad for his family.

      On another note, I tried commenting on your blog yesterday, but I don’t think it went through. For some reason, I’ve had many problems on word press. Thank you for co-hosting the IWSG, Renee!

      Julie

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  15. Hi Julie - how very difficult ... staff usually handle this kind of thing so well - the the wait in such a public place certainly doesn't help When someone goes up at the Nursing Centre, where my Ma was, and where I still visit ... all the doors are shut - I've now got used to it ... and just wait before I leave the place.

    I'm glad your brother came along to cheer the others up ... so difficult - when one's own time is nigh ... ie into the late 80s or 90s - we're not (quite) there yet?! Take care - cheers Hilary

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  16. Hi Hilary, It’s so nice that you still visit the nursing centre. You’re such a good person. I know it must be difficult for you, but I’m sure you bring joy to the patients and the staff. Like you, my brother has a knack for spreading good cheer. Thank you, Hilary!

    Julie

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  17. Sorry I'm so late getting here, GEM JULIE, but it's been a very busy few days.

    Wow! I think this may have been the first time I ever read a post of yours and didn't laugh. But this was no laughing matter, and this just goes to show that you can write serious pieces every bit as well as comedic ones.

    Julie, your positive attitude about life is an inspiration to me!

    ~ D-FensDogG
    STMcC Presents BATTLE OF THE BANDS

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  18. Hi Stephen, First off, no need to apologize. I am always late, and I hope this means you had a great time celebrating the big 60 in Reno! Thanks for the kind words, but I guess my attempt to lighten the mood with my nonagenarian line fell flat. You inspire me too, Stephen and I really appreciate your friendship.

    Julie

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