Saturday, August 20, 2011
Today I crossed all three Bay Area bridges: Golden Gate, Richmond, Bay. I drove to Marin to check out a nursing home, then up to Sonoma to see another after which I went to Berkeley to see Flip in the hospital and finally home after stopping for cat food. You know all those t-shirts that say "My parents went to the Bahamas and all I got was this lousy t-shirt?" Well, my daughter is moving to Paris and I'm getting her diabetic cat who requires insulin injections twice a day, so whatever hell I get into will have to be confined to the 12 hours between shots. This morning before my grand tour criss-crossing San Francisco Bay, I went to the pet store and selected a litter box, litter, scoop -- like putting together a baby's layette.
The place in Sonoma was dark and dreary with a nurses' station, like a very scutzy hospital. The director had Nazi tendencies, which is never good. He said dementia patients are not allowed on the patio, only in their own wing, and that Flip's 5150 psych hold might blacklist him so he was going to call the director of the place that had him handcuffed to get her side of the story. The one who gave Flip the bum rap. He would also visit Flip to assess him. He referred to the "general population" as opposed to the dementia unit inhabitants. It sounded like a prison term, which seems fitting. As he was showing me around, he suddenly stopped in a doorway and said, "Don't look in there. Mr. Jackson has fallen out of bed." I peeked and an elderly man was trying to clamber onto the bed from the floor. My tour guide didn't go in to help him or call someone else to do it.
The facility in Marin was the least odious of all I've seen, sunlight pouring in the windows and the beautiful Northern California hills beyond. There was a little more human warmth and kindness evident and the residents looked better cared for. No bad smells. I suspect they don't leave people on the floor if they fall, and the man I spoke with seemed very kind. Flip will probably be transported there tomorrow or Monday. I've told him that he's going to a new place until he's able to come home. I wish it were true. I am not in the habit of lying to my husband, but the truth in this instance would be too painful for both of us. I'm exhausted and living on Odwalla bars, mostly Strawberry-Pomegranate.
There was a very drunk man ahead of me in line at Safeway, where I stopped for cat food before coming home. He was clutching a bunch of roses by their heads which I first thought were plastic as they were improbable colors until I noticed they were half-dead. He lurched toward me, leered, and slurring badly, said, "I got flowers for my lady so she'll forgive me." "Well, you shouldn't have done it," said I, ever the sympathetic one. "I don't want these," he told the checker as he flung them on the counter and staggered away, knocking over a display of home carpet cleaning machines.
"How are YOU?" she said to me.
"I don't know what it is," she said, shaking her head. "They all get in my line. And he didn't even buy her flowers." ("Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she had to walk into mine.")
It's been a very long day. I've had my dinner Odwalla bar, Berries GoMega, and need to sleep. Sometimes I think about waking up in a different life, but I'm still curious about how this one will evolve, so I guess I'll keep it.