June 12, 2007

The Laughing Place - It is!

I'm very busy getting ready for my trip to Tampa on Thursday, but this book just keeps pouring out of me! I've decided (for now) to name the book, "The Laughing Place" which will become more clear in future chapters!

At some point, I'll stop posting the new book on this website, but if you would like to read the book as I write it, please add your request and email (if I don't have it) in the comment section.

By the way, you should know 'the rest of the story' about the write-up, but that will be added as a PS at the end of this posting.

The Laughing Place - Chapter 1

The Richest Woman In The World!

Samantha climbed the eighteen steps to the two-bedroom apartment she shared with the love of her life and two furry children known as ‘man’s best friends’. Her leg muscles burned with the effort of the steps. The pain in her hips was so great, she feared her doctor would recommend a hip replacement on the next quarterly visit. Her shortness of breath was almost impossible to hide from Cletus as he greeted her at the door to take the heavy nursing bag and began draw a warm bath for her exhausted body!

“Welcome home, darling. Thank-you for going to work for us,” were his calming words as Samantha carefully hung her lab coat in the closet. Without speaking. She kissed him softly and held up several sheets of a printed report.

“I’ve been written up! They are threatening to send me to another unit if I keep my ‘attitude’; Samantha fell onto the couch with sobs in her voice and tears in her eyes.

“My annual review, and I never saw it coming”.

I thought they liked me!” she wailed in frustration and disbelief.

Cletus reached for the report, but Samantha held it back.

“No. Don’t read it now. You’ll get too angry and I need you to be calm and supportive right now.

It was a three-page employee education/re-education report compiled by the unit manager (her supervisor) with CC to the director of nurses and human resources. This was all done, of course, without Samantha’s knowledge.

She was described as “unprofessional” “taking actions that are in direct violations of HIPPA regulations’, a pattern of behavior that cannot continue”.

“You leave jobs undone with the excuse, “I didn’t know how to _______”. Your request co-workers function outside their position responsibilities to assist you in your duties…Basic duties such as admissions, supply location, procedures to obtain meds, batteries, Jevity.. etc. continue to be either partially completed or not done at all.”

“There’s a palpable uneasiness between you and your staff.”

“The conflicts that occurred on 2/4 and 2/5 involving staff are only the latest examples of what has become a pattern of behavior that cannot continue on this unit.”

There was much more, but Samantha had been unable to read further. She knew exactly what this report was based on, and it wasn’t her attitude, behavior or work performance! It was another night nurse with a bad attitude and a day-shift nurses aide who resented Samantha taking the place of her favorite nurse who was out with a work related injury.

The 'conflicts' were her request for the aide to stay off the company phone, and a simple request for an aide to order a supper tray for a new admission. She had requested a 'regular' tray when the patient should have had a carbohydrate controlled tray (little difference), but the aide used that to complain and gain points with administration. The rest of the write-up related to very similar situations.

Samantha would respond to this cruel and unfair write-up, but not tonight. This was the worse thing that had ever happened to her in the four decades of nursing. The most crushing was that she loved working at the Old Gardens Place. For the first time in her nursing career, she had been working the night shift full-time and loved it.

Most frustrating of all was that she worked alone with another aide at night, and they got along very well together. So, the staff who reported whatever they reported to the supervisor knew very little about Samantha’s personality and work ethics! Which were, by the way, quite the opposite of this report!

Samantha had always upheld high professional nursing standards. She possessed true and honest work ethics and was a faithful, dependable nurse. In her 40-year span of nursing, Samantha had always received typical positive reviews accompanied with letters of appreciation. Many times, she was the supervisor to write the staff reports, and she always tried to find the best in everyone. Certainly, there were never any ‘surprises’ like this!

“Take a warm bath. Here’s some dark chocolates and a Dr. Pepper for you while you soak,” Cletus coached. “Forget those assholes!”

By the way, I think you got a letter today. It’s on the table. You can check it out when you’ve rested. Samantha noticed a plain white envelope on the kitchen table. It was addressed to her previously married name. The return address was someone she didn’t know.

“Just toss it. It’s probably junk mail,” Samantha commented. She wasn’t interested in mail from someone who didn’t know her current married name -10 years after her marriage to Cletus!

She soaked and sulked and felt generally sorry for herself for about an hour. Afterwards, she told Cletus she was going straight to bed if he didn’t mind. She wouldn’t bother fixing supper.

Twelve hours later she woke with sunlight streaming through the window and her dog on guard at the foot of her bed. Had Cletus left for work without kissing her good-bye? She jumped out of bed and raced to the living room.

Cletus sat in his favorite chair. A stunned look on his drained face.

“Why didn’t you wake me up? Shouldn’t you be at work? What time is it?” Samantha asked anxiously.

“Neither of us are going to work today.”

He held up the letter she had asked him to throw away.

“ You are the richest woman in the world,” Cletus murmured as he walked across the room and took his bewildered wife into his arms..

(This is how we are able to build our new facility called, "The Laughing Place". Chapter 2 will explain where the windfall comes from and what we do with it.)

NOW, for the rest of the story about that write-up. I got that over 3 months ago and wrote a long letter as a response but tucked it all away in a file without talking to anyone about it. Of course, any raise I was suppose to get after one year employment hinged on this review being signed and returned.
Well, just last week the supervisor asked me if I had "a copy" of the original report because the director of nurses (DON) had asked to her do a follow-up so I could get my raise. She couldn't find her copy of the original report, but she had the "follow-up" in her hand that she needed me to sign.
A quick glance indicated that I had "improved almost 100% in the last six months".
I told her I'd take it home, look it over and attach the first one to it.
Hog wash! Now they're just covering up the mess they got themselves into by listening to lies and gossip!
All of a sudden, after 40 years, I've "improved"?.

Now I have two reports to "file away" and neither of them will ever be signed!
It, for sure, is not worth the "raise' all this hinges on, unless I want to "raise" a lot of hell.
The only thing it "raises" is my blood pressure every time I think about it.
It does make for a very good (and true) lead-in to my next book! So, onward and upward to Chapter 2 - and a wonderful trip to see my very favorite sister on her birthday! I can't wait!

Take Care on the Journey,


Clay Feet said...

It is uncanny how many similarities there are between the situation you describe and what I am experiencing right now - almost scary.

Mountain Laurel said...

I don't the the rest of your story, but things happen for a reason if we let it...

Take Care!