Friday, September 9, 2011

As much TV and as many phone calls as she wants.

One mess begins to taper off, and suddenly it's four o'clock.  Amy is off work, home, and calling to tell me, ok well, here I am, home for the weekend.  What are you up to?  We talk about the van, blah blah blah, and then... Amy tell me that the new house manager has told her she can only make one phone call per night.  SCREEEAAACCCHHH!!!

When Amy moved in there was all this drama that Amy could only make two phone calls a day.  So we started calling her so she didn't have to use up her two calls.  Then they told her calls couldn't exceed 15 minutes.  This is how my mom spent the last year of her life.  Fighting with this kind of bullshit, people making up arbitrary rules and threatening Amy that they'd write her up for swearing or challenging them.  Awesome.

So mom got Amy a cell phone.  Except, Amy's hands don't work so great.  So while she could operate her big button landline phone, she was powerless over her cellphone, and so always required her to ask for help making her calls. It was impossible to tell what she was saying when the little cellphone was clenched in her hand against her face, and she hated talking on speaker phone because obviously, she was doing some chatting about people in the house.

When mom died, we knew we had to solve the phone situation.  Ta-da!  Iphone voice control!  Bought a used phone off craigslist.  Best 200 dollars I ever spent.  Problem solved.  Amy can make her own calls.

And so, the new house manager has told Amy one phone call a night?  From her own phone?  The way Amy tells it, when she finishes her first phone call they come in and say "It's [whatever time], time for bed" and put her face mask on her.  She doesn't get to make more calls, and doesn't get to watch TV.  Amy says "It's not fair!  Cami watches TV as late as she wants!  10:30!  Just because she can walk?!"  

She apparently hasn't watched TV at night since my mom died.  At first she said they wouldn't let her watch TV after her calls, but I questioned her until I realized that she hadn't asked to watch TV, but rather was told "it's time to go to bed" and is too fearful to challenge anyone anymore (that is NOT the girl I grew up with).  She is very aware that staff don't like to provide assistance after 10 PM as it requires them to clock back in.  Early on in her living there this was a huge issue where Amy was made to feel bad about requiring assistance in the middle of the night (such as going to bathroom).  Apparently the overnight person is unpaid after 10 PM unless they have to clock in to provide assistance? 

I told Amy I'd email House Head and Residential Director and clear this up.  I'd tell them that Amy can watch TV is late as she wants and can make as many phone calls as she wants any time she wants.  I'd take care of it.  She pleaded with me not to.  "Anything you do", she says, "comes down on me.  Please don't.  Please."

We agreed that tonight, Amy will speak up for herself.  She will tell them she is making another call.  She will tell them she is going to watch TV.  Speaking up for herself was never a problem before.  Where is the girl I know?

I have doubts she will follow through on this.  She has told that she sleeps on a pee pad (unnecessary, and kept there only to make it easier if you have to bedpan again, which rarely happens) which makes her sweat.  She is routinely seen wearing sweatpants instead of her real pants.  I've told her to just tell them.  Take the pee pad out.  Real pants please. When I visit her again and she's wearing sweatpants again I ask her if she told them.  No.  She didn't. 

Amy has been told not to communicate this directly to support staff, but to got to the House Head, which means going through me.  So she tells me, and I tell House Head, and House Head tells staff, and by then, Amy seems like an obnoxious tattletale forcing mandates to be handed down.  Frickin ridiculous. 

I'm going to stop now because I can go on all day. 


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