August 09, 2011

That Which Doesn't Kill You... Probably Will Eventually

So the ghastly rehab center from hell nearly killed Joe. Literally. He was transported to an area hospital with a nasty infection that would have killed him in days. Three different types of antibiotics later and he's doing far better.

It was touch and go. I had to call the family a couple times.

But, that's not what this is about. This is about his personal possessions.

I showed up the day after he was transported out... to pick up his 'stuff'. I got there and they couldn't find it. He was gone, someone else was moved in, and his 'stuff' was... nowhere to be found.

I looked in the window of his old room and found this sad little plant that has made it from ICU to every place he's been, I scoffed it up, and continued my search.

I was led to a closet that had filled clear plastic bags to the ceiling of 'stuff' from various people. I told my husband it was like looking for the Ark in Raider's of the Lost Ark, in that government building. Ain't gonna happen.

They searched closets, under desks, his old room... gone. EVERYTHING was gone.

I left, leaving my number, and called the family informing them everything was gone, except for the pathetic Charlie Brown plant I keep carting from place to place.

Two days later I received a phone call saying they'd found Joe's stuff. I made the 20 minute drive down, Bones was with me, picked up the clear bag and decided that Bones and I would go through it before we left, ensuring it was ALL there.

And it wasn't.

Not only was every collared shirt missing, but in their place was a calf length, low slung, underwear showing type pair of jean ghetto shorts and a size Medium Palm Beach County Fire Department t-shirt.


Bones looked at me and busted out laughing. Joe has a 46 inch waist. He probably wore a medium tshirt in high school... 70 years ago.

I walked back inside to the nurse at the desk, took a deep breath, and said, "Look, I know this is not your fault, but whoever put this together had to be joking. Mr. 'Joe' did not wear teenager clothes *holding up the ghetto jeans* and he is a dignified man. All his shirts have collars. He'd not be caught dead in a tshirt, let alone one this size. Please call me when you find the rest of his clothes."

I did get them back, but can you believe it? He is an 84 year old man. Someone really thought that? Really? That I'd not look or complain?

And it begs the question... WHOSE SHORTS WERE THEY?!! It was a rehab center full of OLD PEOPLE!

Posted by Boudicca at August 9, 2011 09:27 PM

Jesus...this is awful! Thank God Joe has you to look out for him.

Posted by: Mrs. Who at August 9, 2011 10:19 PM

I know it is not your decision but please do everything in your power to keep him from going back to that hell hole.

Posted by: ac at August 10, 2011 03:43 AM

Egads.Let me know if I can help.

Posted by: vwbug at August 10, 2011 05:55 AM

Those places drive me nuts. My grandmother was in one just before she passed, and while most of the people there were really good, some were very bad. So bad that their bad outweighed all of the good the others could possible accomplish. One of the bad ones was the doctor. To them it is just "stuff", but to the family - its what we have to hold on to that was important to our loved one. The truly sad part is not the level of care that those places provide, it is that society has come to the point that people do not check on their family, and hold these establishments to a higher level. I know that as bad as my Grandmother was treated, we were there every day and questioned everything, so they paid her more attention. Bou, for whatever reason you decide to help, because of who you are and what you do, you are a blessing to any you choose to care about.

Posted by: Web at August 10, 2011 07:29 AM

Oh the family is all over this. That's the only reason I got his stuff back... my calling the family persistently to tell them what was going on. I have no power as a family friend.

The family wants to sue and I spoke to a very well known and ethical lawyer in town who told me he'll give me names of good people, but the family won't win. 1) He's 84 and society doesn't care. 2) He didn't die. 3) He went in with an infection... and it will be tough to prove that the infection isn't persistent. And 4) expert witnesses are expensive as hell and nobody is going to want to step out on a contingency basis for a case like this.

Meanwhile, a friend of mine said to me the other day she thought I should start a business where I'm an advocate for the elderly who have no family in town. It's one thing to advocate for your family... I love my family and would kill for them all. It is another to do it for a stranger, let alone a bunch of strangers. It would be perpetual negative energy and so draining. To do this for living? No thanks.

Posted by: Bou at August 10, 2011 08:01 AM

He's not going back there...

Posted by: Bou at August 10, 2011 08:03 AM

An infection is not just an infection. You can get the path reports from before and after. That will tell you which bugs he had and which bugs he got later.

And I suspect the clothes belonged to the person who planned to steal all of Joe's nice clothes until he got caught.

Posted by: caltechgirl at August 10, 2011 12:33 PM

I've heard the same horrors from friends with family in these hell-holes. Most of the employees, no matter their job title, are incompetent abusive heartless ignorant waste-of-oxygen thieves. And worse. Doesn't seem to matter if it's a five star establishment or less.

I'd rather die at home alone.

Posted by: Jean at August 10, 2011 04:36 PM

"Rehab" is code for "find some convenient way to help these people leave. . . for good."

They killed off my mother by setting her up on the edge of the bed (she was completely paralyzed on half of her body) and leaving her there while they went to some other room. She fell off the bed and never recovered from her injuries.

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at August 11, 2011 08:46 AM