Tuesday April 8th, 2003
Following the conversation with the Nurse at Mom’s facility, well, actually it wasn’t a conversation as she did all the talking without answering any questions; I decided to call the Social Worker at the facility. The call was answered almost immediately.
‘Woodlawn Acres*’ Marjorie* speaking’, she said.
‘Hi, Marjorie, this is Paula Bilz, Anne Bilz’s daughter, ummm, I just received a call from a nurse regarding the suspected SARS unit that is slated to go into the day centre at Woodlawn Acres, I said quietly, but on edge. What is going on?’
‘I know Paula; we can’t do anything about it. No one wants to lose their job over this, but we are not happy at all’.
‘Marjorie, we are talking elderly, vulnerable individuals being exposed to the virus, what the hell are they thinking? Why Woodlawn Acres?’ I said feeling my blood pressure rise.
‘I don’t know, she said. The Administrator just gave us the news today and it seems like it’s a done deal.’
‘Okay, can I have the Administrators direct line phone number?’ I asked becoming angrier.
‘Oh of course, maybe you, as a family member can make a change, he certainly is not listening to staff’, she said with an edge to her voice.
‘Marjorie, put yourself in my shoes or better yet the Residents, where are their rights? This is ridiculous and I’m so angry right now, that I’m not sure I can hold it together’, I replied.
‘I know, she said. Here’s his number and maybe if the family members band together, he will have no choice but to change his mind’.
‘Thank you so much Marjorie, I’m definitely calling him as soon as I get off the line with you’, I said defiantly.
She wished me good luck and we said our goodbyes. Wow, I couldn’t believe I had to do this, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep it together for much longer. I was always the quiet one, the one who never liked to rock the boat; the one who always wanted everyone happy and now I had to go on the defensive. I took a deep breath, explained to my co-workers what had transpired over the last ½ hour and asked if one of them could cover Reception while I called from the back office. All of them said they would cover me as long as it took. The look on their faces as I explained the situation was utter shock. Even these people, who had no idea what it was like to have a parent suffer from early on-set Alzheimer’s, living in a long-term care facility, understood the ramifications regarding the suspected SARS unit and could not believe that it was going to be set up in my Mom’s building.
I grabbed the number and walked quickly to the back of the building into the Managers office, closed the door, and took a seat at her desk.
My heart was beating a mile a minute, is this how an anxiety attack feels, I thought to myself? I took a few deep breaths, lifted the phone receiver and dialed the number.
‘Hi, this is Scott Warner*, Administrator for Woodlawn Acres, how can I help you?’ he said.
I thought to myself, I can’t believe I got through immediately.
‘Hi Mr. Warner, this is Paula Bilz, my Mom is a resident at Woodlawn Acres and I just received a call telling me that a suspected SARS unit will be placed in the day centre at my Mom’s building’, I said quite calmly, surprising myself.
‘Oh yes, he said. What can I do for you?’
Really, I thought? That’s all you have for me? Now my blood began to boil!
* persons names have been changed
* facility name has been changed