Thursday, April 26, 2007

Inside Information

I went to Ocean View Assisted Living about noon to pick up a few last things.

I encountered Elisa Torres, the am caregiver who dressed my mother five days a week there, put on her make-up and jewelry.

"Hi, Elisa," I began. "I'm glad I found you. I wanted to tell you that I moved my mother to a nursing home."

"Oh, yes, Miss Anne," she said. "But they tell me Country Villa?"

"Yes, Country Villa Mar Vista," I said.

"Oh no! Is not good place," she explained urgently. "I work there five years! They no change the diapers at night, no. I see bedsores this big, red." She held up her hands making a circle with a six-inch diameter.

"Oh dear," I moaned. "You mean the caregivers have too many patients to care for?"

"Yes, oh yes. The CNA, she has ten people, twenty at night."

"But they told me their ratios were 1/7 in the daytime, 1/5 in evening shift, 1/4 at night."

"They told you, yes, but they lie!" she laughed. "Another place, I show you, is good place, they take good care of your mother. I show you today, I go with you. What time you can go?"

"Anytime--but you worked from 6 am today, you get off at 2 pm. You can't go look at another place today."

"Yes, I go with you. I visit Evelyn and show you this other place."

"Okay, if you don't mind. How about 4 o'clock? I'd like to see a place that you say gives good care."

I set my mind to face this inside information, but it was devastating news. Just two days ago I had moved all Mom's furniture--and now I was going to second-guess that decision?

After Elisa left, I cried.

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