Life is punctuated by random occurrences that to others might seem insignificant, but to you will forever leave its imprint on your memory.
Like the time you wet your pants at little Stevie’s fifth birthday party, or when dad, panting as he guided you down the street, let go of your Stingray and you were finally pedaling without those damned training wheels — or your first real kiss, or that rush you felt when you lifted that copy of Superman No. 214 from Thrifty’s Drug Store.
Maybe it’s the bittersweet feeling of being served divorce papers, or getting that envelope whose return address said Internal Revenue Service and sparked an anxiety attack that no amount of Xanax could stand up to.
These are the speedbumps of life that you often return to and either shudder or swoon in a momentary sense of nostalgic recollection. Although you can’t escape them, you can learn from them.
At our Family Council Meeting Wednesday night in the conference room of the Motion Picture Home, we heard of an occurrence that left its imprint on my memory bank. I’m sure I’ll be revisiting this bit of news for the rest of my life. You may think it insignificant. However, anyone whose life hinges on the easy access of relief when you "have to go" will surely get the old douchechills when you read on.
One of our esteemed elderly residents, who depends on the help of others to go to the loo, was refused such aid by two MPTF caregivers who were too busy eating lunch. This man, who is as alert and affable as anyone I know, is a vital and powerfully built ex-studio electrician that putts around the property in a mobile wheelchair. Shake his hand if you meet him, his grip is powerful and his gaze is steely. He is one of our own.
I was really shaken to think that this great man was denied assistance. I put myself in his place, and visibly squirmed in my seat as I imagined the denial of the most basic of reliefs.
The starkly visible degradation of the Motion Picture Home has trickled down from the board to those managers who are making the caregivers on the floor work with one hand tied behind their back.
It’s obvious to me that the commitment has been lost at the management level, which leaves the poor staff dangling at the end of a rope where a rapid drop into the void of unemployment is a threat that they must deal with daily. The managers apparent disregard for basic human decency are fostering an environment where a sandwich reigns supreme over a full diaper.
The environment that we are fighting for has gone the way of many of the care centers that I railed against in the past. Those facilities that ‘I wouldn’t kennel my dog in’ are about to welcome the Motion Picture Home to their dubious ranks.
This begs the question: What are you doing about this, Bob Beitcher?
What have you done to clean up your new digs? There are rats in the kitchens and eating areas. I’m sure you haven’t seen them in the executive lunch room or wherever you dine. What have you done to address the complaints about descending levels of care?
There are residents who are being neglected. What have you done when presented with a check for $30,000 by Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna, raised for the nursing home residents by those whose commitment to them have not wavered?
Were you proactive or did you pass? Did you accept the check on behalf of the fund, or did you totally wuss out and claim that ‘you had to check with the board’?
Are you a tool of the board or just a tool? Being the CEO must surely allow some semblance of authority. Has the board granted you honeymoon status as you gingerly feel your way through the foreign environment of a health care center, or have you man’d up and mandated that conditons will improve on your watch?
Have you ever had to clench your buttocks during a Panavision board meeting, knowing that relief was just steps away while you silently said a prayer that your executive washroom had an ample supply of toilet paper, or have you ever been dependent on the care of someone else for that basic relief?
You may indeed be wetting your pants just reading this. That’s okay, Bob, spill a bit of Diet Coke on yourself and blame it on that. It works every time.
Put yourself in the position that I put myself in last night. I won’t soon forget the feeling of empathy that I felt for this poor old sod who is dependent on your employees, and was denied. I had to remind myself that there are still those special caregivers who tend to my mother who I love dearly.
It’s been said that evil is the lack of empathy. What do you feel when you walk the halls of the Long Term Care unit. Have you ever found the common area empty, devoid of both residents and their caregivers? Look into the activity room, they are parked in front of a television. Sitting mute, not knowing what they are watching.
You’ll find as I did that the facility is losing its personality, and becoming devoid of the spirit of "taking care of our own" as the fund shells out exorbitant salaries in a rewrite titled "taking care of us."
Are you even up to speed on what this health-care facility needs? Are you aware that there are new treatments for delirium and dementia that would improve the lives of your residents, and make them more ‘present’ in their environment? Have you read the book "Contented Dementia" and suggested that the SPECAL approach be utilized? Go ahead and Google it. Maybe you can bring it up to someone at lunch.
I’m reminded of Alec Baldwin addressing the desperate real estate salesmen in "Glengarry Glen Ross." Unfortunately we cannot award a set of steak knives if you succeed. This is a man’s game and you have to ‘close’ them. Get them to sign on the line which is dotted — and return this facility to its once world class state before it’s too late.
This isn’t Panavision, Bob. It’s a health-care center that is begging for new leadership and renewed commitment. I hope you can provide it, otherwise, "put the coffee down."