Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Rant

I am tired of excuses.  I am tired of people and organizations laying the blame everywhere but where it ought to be.  I am tired of explanations and reasons and gibberish when what I want is "It's my fault"  "I am responsible"  "I can do better."

BP is the obvious whipping boy, but that feels like a cheap shot right now.  I'll leave it to members of Congress to ask questions without receiving real answers.  I'm no longer surprised that CEO's claim to have no knowledge of the heinous behaviors of their underlings.  Ken Lay set a high standard for such prevarication; Tony Hayward was an amateur in comparison.  I wondered during the Enron debacle as I wonder now:  if they were so clueless how did they manage to be in charge?
My annoyances are more personal today, though.  I went to the pod-castle to kiss G'ma good morning and found that the date had not been crossed off the calendar.  I'd asked the workers to help keep her oriented by marking the passage of time with the sharpie I attached to the calendar for that purpose..... six months ago..... the sharpie disappeared but the calendar remained unmarked.  Now, as I'm noticing a gentle fall-off in G'ma's cognition, it's becoming a more important issue to me.  For her.  Not because I'm looking to make more work for them, but because this is such an easy fix.  She knows she's missing some pieces relating to the world around her.  It bothers her but she manages to smile.  She's still able to use a calendar effectively, so why not help her orient herself to the world around her?  Everyone agreed that it was a good idea, it was written in her care plan, but it didn't happen.

I asked the med tech if she would remind the other caregivers to pay attention to the calendar.  Her face fell as she told me that yes, she had been asked to mark the days but .....
it's new behavior..... someone called.... I should have done it.... I forgot.  At least she was honest.  She didn't try to hide the fact that the work wasn't done.  Another call...  a distressed resident.... meds to give out.... I understand the pressures.  But this is work and certain things should not be optional.  G'ma doesn't need much in the way of care or assistance with her activities of daily living; her issues arise from her lack of short term memory and her inherent laziness.  The fee is the same, whether she needs help getting dressed or not.  Somehow, it doesn't seem like over-reaching to ask the workers to make an X in a box on a calendar on her door.  They check her every 2 hours as part of their routine..... is it really that hard to remember to look at the door, notice the calendar, and update it?

I'm sensitive to this issue because I'm noticing that she's slipped a rung or two recently.  It's nothing dramatic.  Rather, she's now forgetting to put her "worn but still clean" clothes on the right side of her closet so that, when she takes tomorrow's outfit from the left side of the closet she's not wearing the same shirt and pants.  She's used this routine since I've known her (she tried to teach me to do the same, but it was just a bit too anal for me) and it's served her well.  Today, though, was the third day in a row that I saw my favorite yellow shirt adorning my favorite maternal unit.  Once more, I heard excuses.  "The Sunday staff weren't the usual staff."  "There were clothes on her walker that we thought were fresh."  I can believe it all, but I don't care.  I want them to do their jobs with the same kind of care with which I did mine.  I want it to be taken seriously.

The Little Cuter laughs about her current state of employment.  If she could forward the phones to her cell, she could accomplish her tasks between 8 and 10 in the morning, and spend the rest of the day with my Grand-Dog, fielding questions and requests remotely from the beach.  She's fast, she's efficient, she makes lists and she does her work in a timely fashion.  Standing at the grocery's check-out counter, watching the cashier talk to her manager about her upcoming vacation request, I pretended I was in a high school English class and I began to compare and contrast.  Customer being ignored - Customer greeted with a smile.  Customer's needs being met - Customer taking second place to personal matters.  Time wasted - Time passed.  Did TBG and I do an outstanding job of raising the perfect employee?  Have we created a unicorn, an impossible being, one who actually takes her job seriously and finishes her tasks in a speedy and competent manner?  Did we do her a disservice by insisting on promptness? Is she alone in the world in understanding what work means?  

Sometimes I think so.

The Wall Street Journal ran an article on January 27, 201, titled "The Great American Soap Overdose."  The thesis was that Americans "pour too much detergent into their washing machines."  Amidst the reasoning and the explicating and the reporting, was the statement that the "molded lines and numbers inside detergent caps are hard to read, especially in a dimly lit laundry room."  OK, then.  The reason that my clothes aren't as clean as they were when I washed them in good Chicago or California water is because I am using too much detergent because I can't see the line on the measuring cup that All provides.  I become dissatisfied with the product, and switch to Tide or Method or Cheer, but none of them have an easier to read dispensing device and there's no measurable difference in the brightness of my wash.  (I actually did this.)  I read this article and I come to grips with the problem - I need to be able to see how much detergent I am using.  Before this, I'd been guessing.  Now, I want to be precise.  But the article is correct - the lines on the cup are teeny tiny itsy bitsy and the same color as the rest of the cup.  They aren't raised nor do they go all the way around.  They're useless.  I can understand the detergent maker's desire to have me use more of their product -- I'll be back to buy another container more quickly.  But don't they want me to have clean, bright, beautiful clothes?  I should think so.  But my mind wanders to the design studio..... "It's really hard to make it cost effective"  "We've never done colored lines before."  "Who cares?"

And I sigh.