Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Deficiency Free Zone

I recently visited a friend of mine who is rehabbing at a convalescent facility in Portland following knee surgery. As I drove up to the address I was given, it hit me like a ton of bricks. A huge white banner was draped across the front of the building with 1 foot letters reading; “CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR STAFF FOR A DEFICIENCY FREE SURVEY!!” No way you’re gonna drive by that without taking notice. They don’t even need an address number.

Walking up to the front door, I found myself thinking that such a display doesn’t seem to take into account the fact that there are PEOPLE LIVING THERE. I’m certain it was either an attempt to drum up some business or true amazement that they are doing what they’re supposed to, but it just felt tacky to say the least.

When I went in the front door I was immediately met by the overbearing smell of feces. It seemed to be an old and permanent odor, not something I’d walked in on which was the result of a mishap of some sort. An aide approached me asking if she could help me. I told her I was there to visit my friend, and she volunteered to walk me to the room she was in. As we rounded the first corner, the smell went from feces to urine. Again; the smell was very strong. By now I was honestly feeling nauseous.

I got to my friend’s room just in time to see the Activity organizer at work. She had a list of questions she was asking in regard to hobbies and preferred activities. Following my friend’s "yes" or "no" answers to her questions she’d check the appropriate box on the list. Admittedly; I missed part of the inquisition, but I know that I didn’t hear any questions about going outside the facility. All the activities seemed to be site based.

When she had left and it was just my friend and I speaking alone, I asked if going into the community was a part of what she was offered for an activity. She told me it wasn’t. So it appears that my friend will be staying within the walls of this feces/urine smelling deficiency free zone until she goes home. The best part about it all is that she’s only supposed to be there a few more days.

Later that evening I was telling Magenta about my adventure at the convalescent center. Neither of us could figure out how they weren’t reprimanded for those nasty odors when the state did their check up. Neither of us could come up with an answer that makes sense. However; we did come up with an idea to drape a sign across the front of our house that would endear our neighbors to us. It would read...

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