Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

She's HOW Old?

My first assignment at the Senior Care agency is a 12-hour shift this coming Saturday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Yes. Let that soak in for a moment. It's me, Candy, who believes that getting up before noon is deep, sticky blasphemy. And didn't I just suffer through a semester of unbearably early teaching, leaving home before the sun came up?

Now, add on these details: The woman, who I will call Mrs. Fossilfuel, is 98 years old. She has recently taken a fall and cut her head open, and thus her son, a dentist in Seattle, now demands that she have 24/7 care. According to the briefing I got, (along with my high-quality company polo shirt, tote-bag and nametag), she is "very difficult to please" and has told three of the five care givers that have shown up at her home not to come back. About 2 of them, she told the agency "She's a very nice girl. It just wasn't a good match." I wasn't told what her reaction was to the third. But I was told that she said "I don't ever want any black people in my house."

I am curious to see how I do with her. It's hard to imagine that I will be her "good match," since she requested a "quiet, motherly type." The fact that I am being sent in next is a sign that the agency is running out of options. I'm the next in a long line of annoying jesters to approach the ill-humored queen, who has already thrown a dozen into the lion pit along with their punctured whoopie cushions.

Although I think of old age and mortality a lot, possibly more than I should, I cannot imagine how much it would suck to be 98 years old, my only son living what might as well be four galaxies away, and at the mercy of a gaggle of strangers shooting through a revolving door each day. I want to make her happy. But she may hate me. If she does hate me, I will have to accept it, then go back and steal all her pots and pans.


  • At 10:14 PM, Blogger Steve B said…

    She wants a quiet motherly type so she can dominate and boss her around.

    My mom worked for a lot of years in a nursing home. People that old, who aren't senile, don't like to be told what to do, even though it's what's needed.

    Unfotunately, it appears that the care is 'elective', and so your ability to tell her to shut and up and take the freakin meds is somewhat diminished.

  • At 10:21 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Steve, Steve, Steve...I would never tell her to shut up and take the freakin' meds. But I WOULD tilt her head back like a Pez dispenser and pour them in.

  • At 1:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Be sure you load your car with all the cool cook-ware she had.

    Then... ask her what she would like. What a concept! And then, do whatever you are supposed to do while explaining to her that you're doing what she asked.

    You're going to be good at this!

  • At 7:32 AM, Blogger Carin said…

    Good luck. I've spent a bit of time in nursing homes (my mom worked in them for ages, and I would visit to cheer the old geezers up.)

    At 98 - I'm of the belief she can do whatever the hell she wants.

    I find, with my dad, when they don't want to do something they are supposed to, saying in your most unemotional voice "WOULD YOU LIKE TO DIE" kinda works pretty well.

  • At 8:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Candy and Carin,
    I use that same tactic with my children. It really does work well!

  • At 8:48 AM, Blogger Jerry said…

    Oh yeah, your basic oldster is a wonderment of paradox; just when they need help the most, they decide to get particular about how they get it.

    The dementia is the culprit, that and the loss of control that manifests itself prominently in their lives. The only way they can exert control is by saying no--not doing what they are asked to do.

    Some oldsters get mean. My mom would intermittently blast my sister (her caregiver) with epithets and invectives--pretty knarly stuff.

    If this lady really pisses you off, just start taking some of her meds to ease your pain, anxiety, and distress. Oxycontins, Lortabs, Xanax, Valium--maybe even the Soma, 'cept that will make you way drowsy.

    Be careful with the Oxys.The media has made them out to be Satan's way of destroying the earth, but about 10mg and a beer and you won't give a shit what the old lady does or says. Just don't start snorting them and you will be fine--real fine actually.

    After a couple of days with this senior, you will see why so many people in the medical profession become drug addicts.

  • At 11:22 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Carin, I need to practice my most unemotional voice.

    And yeah, I think she should do whatever the hell she wants, too. As long as it doesn't involve throwing stuff at me.

  • At 11:23 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Futuresis, I know it's worked well with your children. And that little Waterboard Barbie set you bought didn't hurt.

  • At 11:24 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Jerry, dementia isn't the culprit with this woman...they said she's totally sharp. I'm at least thankful for that.

    They said some of their clients, in their dementia, call the agency to complain of things being stolen. Valuable things. Like dishtowels.

  • At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have a feeling that you're going to be the one person that this woman likes. I think you'll get her to laugh, and I think she'll respect you because I can't see you putting up with any crap from her.

    Surviving 98 years on this planet and maintaining her mental faculties is quite an accomplishment! I'll bet she's an interesting lady. Just imagine all that she has lived through! What a life story!

    Also, I can see why people would run off with dish towels. You can never have too many dish towels. If I were going to steal from someone, that is exactly what I would take. Or, perhaps their toilet bowl brush.

  • At 12:34 PM, Blogger Tony from the Bronx said…

    Slip the Old Dear some nudies of Ramon Novarro, Douglas Fairbanks and John Gilbert--that should keep her occupied for a couple of hours while you take Jerry's advice and pop a couple valium.

    A quiet motherly type huh? Think the agency swhould send her Nature Boy Rick Flair.

  • At 1:28 PM, Blogger Citlali said…

    I have to agree with Futuresis once again. You're gonna be the keeper. Not that's it's going to be easy. I picture a knock-down-drag-out first and then the stereotypical mutual respect that follows. What's puzzling me is what the agency is up to... Why would they send you to the mouth of hell, for twelve hours no less, on your first assignment? OK, maybe they want to test the newbie and get you out of their hair as soon as possible OR maybe they figure because you don't know any better yet that you'll be completely moldable to this woman's whims... Either way, they don't know much, do they? Interesting scenario. That new cookware is sounding better and better... = ]

  • At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Can you buy a house dress and and apron and put your hair in a Gibbson Girl and wear some Clarks comfort shoes? She wants Aunt Bea. Study up on the Andy Griffith Show and you'll be fine. If you can bake an acceptable chicken pie you'll be even better.

    Really though, she's seen all of her friends die and she's lonely. No one has seen what she's seen so there's no one left to talk to who gets her. I can't even imagine being that alone.

  • At 7:39 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Citlali, they were grabbing anyone they could, I think. Thus the 12 hour shift.

    My biggest problem will be "meal preparation." Hopefully she digs grilled cheese and Campbell's soup. Because that's about the extent of my cooking. I also know how to serve Reese Cups and chips and salsa.

  • At 7:40 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Tony, I'm going to plan a little road trip to the Big Apple with her. Set us up some cots, willya?

  • At 7:48 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Ana, that kind of aloneness IS hard to imagine. Honestly, I just want to make her feel better somehow.
    But it ain't gonna involve making any Aunt Bea dishes. Before I married Scott, I lived on Panera.

  • At 9:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You don't have to make this for Mrs. Fossilfuel, but you must know how to make this. It's like tying your shoes or riding a bike or swimming. Must know.

    Chicken Pie

    1 deli chicken
    2 carrots chopped into half moons
    1 celery rib chopped into half moons
    1 tablespoon butter or whatever
    half a box of tender tiny peas
    Chicken gravy mix from an envelope
    Frozen Pie Crusts in foil pans

    Boil the carrots for ten minutes.
    Fry the celery in the butter for four minutes.
    Make the gravy.
    Strip half the chicken off the bones.
    Dump everything into the pie shell. Cover with the other pie shell.
    Bake at 400 degrees until the crust is toasty brown (30 minutes)

    It ain't gurmay but it's good.

  • At 9:41 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    I'm working on the costume, Ana. A nice gingham shirtwaist dress with a belt of matching fabric.

    I'll find some cat-eye framed glasses too.

    One day I will try the chicken pie recipe. Some day when I have my brain back.

  • At 10:43 PM, Blogger Steve B said…

    You know, you can get one of those really long shoe horns, like the shoe stores have. Slide the pills down this into her mouth. They'll pick up a lot of speed and be down her throat before she can say "Boo."

  • At 10:49 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    We're giving this poor old woman all this shit, and she'll probably knife me as soon as I walk in.

  • At 7:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Do you still have those big ass oranges? take those to her. Kill 2 birds by getting rid of them and giving her nutritional food. She might want your Doriotos though. Good luck.

    I forget-is this job for pay or volunteer?

  • At 10:03 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Belle, yes the oranges are still rotting.

    The job is for pay. VERY little pay, but not volunteer.

  • At 11:28 AM, Blogger mgm said…

    Oh, God. You're being sent in as a "quiet, motherly type"!?!? Isn't this one of the signs of the apocolypse?

    Steve's probably right, though. She wants that type so she can be bossy. You never know, she just might be the type that likes the coarse, smart-a$$ type. My grandmother was that way. She'll tell you off, you'll sass her back, and then, she love you for your feisty spirit.

    Good luck with Mrs. Fossilfuel!

  • At 1:36 PM, Blogger Tony from the Bronx said…

    Just got through the Classics Comics version of Crime and Punishment--that's the one where the pissed-off student murders his unpleasant landlady. He doesn't get away with it though. On the other hand, he doesn't seem real remorseful either. I think a lot depends on the old lady.

  • At 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hell no! It depends nothing on the elderbeast! All elderbeast are the same. Collectivism, people! Pie is the opiet of the elderbeasters! And you can smother 'em just as easily with lemon meringue as anything else, I say. God I want some good lemon may-rang pah. Mmmmm. Pie.

  • At 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's ElderbeastDay. I hope it's going well. It won't be half so interesting if it goes well but still.


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