Good Morning

Everything on the new phone (a40) is trying to either get me hooked on some new tech or buy something.

Both adding up to the same thing.

What the hell is Bixby? The last Bixby I recall was from My Favorite Martian and the dumbest show of all The Hulk.

Then it sticks all the verizon hash numbers #BAL etc on my home screen and I can’t figure out how to get rid of the damned things.

But that’s peanuts compared to how hard it’s trying to get me to talk to the Google Assistant. It actually is a good idea but whatever privacy –

Speaking of privacy a blue coat that has never actually entered the room has a big smile on her face and is squinting through the door saying: “How are you today?” Or maybe it was “how ya doin’?”

Whatever it was I don’t even turn from the screen I’m typing this entry on and say, “Everything’s comin’ up roses.”

She has done her job. I’m still alive. My sister was here yesterday and put a “DO NOT DISTURB SIGN ON THE DOOR, NAPPING” but I told her these people haven’t learnt to read yet.

So I draw the line at talking to the Google Assistant, even if it is a good idea for trembling fingers. This isn’t the regular Hey Google thing which I still use sometimes, this is an entire eco-system where the Assistant tells you football scores (don’t watch football); gives you alerts (I use the clock on the phone to set alarms); and what movies to see and it is too much in my face.

(There’s still someone in the hall knocking on various doors over and over again. There just is no way to pretend this is just normal living. I’ve tried fitting in and at least having meals in the dining room three times a day; that didn’t work out for reasons already mentioned; and now I’m that recluse that nobody sees, and they ask if I’m still living here. No kidding. A guy in the elevator yesterday asked me if I was still living here. Said he hadn’t seen me for a while. That he was the type of guy that notices these things.)

Well I took a shower today. On my own. I sit on a white foam-ish bathroom chair. It’s a protracted procedure. I have to get the rollater close enough so that I can have my towel and pendant on it and remember to lock the handles otherwise I’ll grab for it, it’ll slide and it will count as one more fall.

And then I lean on the shower chair with my left arm (the one that didn’t get too effected by the strokes) and lead with my right foot across an inch of rubber meant to keep the water in the shower and unable to pull my left leg (that got really weak) over the inch of rubber I manage to sit in the chair.

Then I can pull my left leg in.

Now I’m all set. There’s a bar of soap on the far end of the shower that I’m not even going to try and stretch for. I have the voices of the blue coats and the OT saying, what were you trying to do? Reach for the soap? Are you crazy?

But it is relaxing and the water is hot. I also brush my teeth (the few I have left) and spit out hot water in the shower. You can’t really wash your backside sitting on the shower chair but there are rails all over, and the chair is high enough to get up, so it can be done.

A lot of people in my condition have the blue coats shower them. Usually tho it’s because they just pee themselves all the time and forget to shower.

If any of the pretty aides or OTs offered a shower – that might be another story, but I know who I’d get, the one that looks like a linebacker.

Also, it’s not that I have any modesty left, I don’t. But I still have the desire to stay quasi independent. I do the dishes. Dress myself (it ain’t pretty) and get my meals together most of the time. If I’m too tired I order from a place called Wimpie’s (yes they make great burgers) but I usually order Chicken Tenders – light and airy – with fries. I suppose it’s all bad for you but I get two meals out of it for $9. And the fries taste like fries.

So back to the shower. Now for the hard part: I decide to shampoo because today pretty OT arrives, and part of her job seems to be checking my hygiene. (There actually are clinical initials for dressing, grooming, showering etc, but fortunately for my audience I have forgotten them. However, it is one of the requirements of getting into the Castle. That’s a joke.)

After I wind up the shower, it’s all in reverse. Stand. Put right foot over one-inch rubber guard. Pull towel onto to rollater. Blow nose. Pull left leg over rubber guard. Put pendant behind me in rollater carry bag.

Dry myself off.

Push myself into room.

Take 6 different pills.

Get jeans out of drawer.

Find belt. My jeans won’t stay up any longer without a belt and I’ve been wearing sweatpants for the last week.

[Knock on door]

Come in.

Can I make your bed?

Sure go ‘head.

By the way, I say to the blue coat, I an’t find my belt. Could you look and see if it’s under the bed?

She doesn’t like the request. She’s already made my bed with the heavy comforter that is wedged in between the guard rail and the mattress tho I have told her a million times not to do that because it takes a half hour for me to get it out.

But no matter.

She doesn’t offer to help me find the belt. And she turns on her phone and I hear her humming as she goes down the hall. Oh well.

So it’ll have to be the sweatpants. I had two pair at one point. Now I only have one pair.

The Alexa guy has been going throughout this entry. I found out that he lives one floor above me, and I’m hearing him shouting at Alexa through the kitchen vent.

Blue coat knocks – they want to see you in finance…

Geez, this is really a blow by blow description.

So FINANCE is on the 12th floor. I think they hate me. Every time I arrive in my scooter I knock on the door.

The doors are too heavy and I say I need help with the door.

While I’m waiting for the dumb assistant to open the door I’m thinking, did they find out about the check my sister put int my PP account. Or was it the $450 I raised in the FB fundraiser.

And I’m busy making up stories for all contingencies, tho the thought goes through my head: oh throw me out. I don’t like it hear anyway.

I’ll get my super-duper wheelchair and live in a basement somewhere…

[Someone else just came in to ask if I pressed my pendant. No. She can’t clear it. She asks if I got a shower today. I told her I did. She goes into the bathroom and feel around. Then she asks me again, suspiciously, You took a shower this morning? I say: yeah, you wanna smell my hair? She says no. Then takes the pendant from around my neck and says she’s gotta get it fixed.]

So I get into Finance and Gail says, “did you ever get your debit card?”

This is five months after I got here.

I tell her yeah, but the pin activation didn’t work, tho I can still use it online as a debit card. I just can’t get cash from the machine and there’s an app to show your balance and purchases that won’t work.

I tell her that Juri (the case worker is on it. That a lot of people are having that problem.)

Gail looks at me as if to say Juri doesn’t know what the f she’s talking about.

You have to give them the Castle phone number not your cell number.

I say I’ll try that and see what happens.

and so back I arrive and I’m thinking, why did Gail get me out of my room, onto my scooter, and cause me all that worrying instead of freakin’ calling me.

They all do it here. PT comes up once a week and puts my OT schedule on the door, with a piece of scotch tape. You can’t call them directly. The best you can do is call the operator and tell them if you see so-and-so tell them that you have to change an appointment.

And I didn’t even mention that the first person in my room was early this morning – the head of maintenance. My door kept sticking and I couldn’t unlock it. His assistant comes by yesterday while I’m waiting to get into the apartment with my chicken tenders, and struggles with the door for a while. Finally gets in. Explains that the cylinder is loose.

Turns out to be wrong.

Boss comes in and explains that the door is slamming against the wall because the door stop came off, and that’s locking it. He does some stuff. Friendly guy. He tells me my air conditioner is on and starts to explain that the air-conditioner is for blowing cold air…

I interrupt him. God only knows what I said.

And he goes over to a thermostat, which I swear I never saw, and tells me to control the heat with the thermostat. (This was before I ever got out of bed to take my shower).

So there is a theme going through this: technology and the lack of it. Somewhere, while going through this morning I made a cup of coffee – and now it’s luke warm which is how I like it if it isn’t hot.

Published by Dave

My name is David Beckerman. I am a fine art photographer working in New York City. Or I was before I had two strokes. I now write from a Nursing Home.

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