So my mother has a new aide. And I will use Tues Tale to vent. About aides.
Actually not about aides per se, as I have vented in the past about aides who sit in front of fans and “don’t do” watering of deck flowers, but will take down my mother’s antique glass bottle collection that hasn’t been moved from her windowsills in thirty years because there’s a thunderstorm coming…(?????)
I will vent about an aide agency.
About the “vice president” of said agency whose presence we were graced with when he came with potential employee aide to meet me and my mother – his hair gelled just enough to not look quite natural, in starched striped blue-and-white shirt unbuttoned just…enough. Yes, I could see him surfing in Miami on spring break:
…as I wondered if this were his first real job out of college.
And he was chewing gum. I have a thing about people on the job, even car salesmen, chewing gum.
In start contrast, this aide was genuine and therefore quite likable – with grown kids, which meant she knew something about taking real responsibility for other human lives. And in colorful flowered pants, the kind of cheerful look my mother craves, but also in practical shoes.
She was hired! We signed paperwork, starched man chewed gum.
I live a good hour and 20 minutes from my mother. So with past aides, I got used to texting. A lot.
I asked for said aide’s phone number.
She didn’t have a chance to answer.
“Oh, you can have my cell,” said starched vice president. “Call me any time and I’ll pass on anything you need.”
Said aide works for starched man so she said nothing. Swung her leg a bit…gazed out window as if at birds.
And I looked hungrily at what I knew was an iPhone in its pretty pink p0lka-dotted case, right there in her lap. Because we both have iPhones, our texting would be for free!
But that was that, and Mr. Starched Vice President moved onto other things, like hours, meals, Visa card numbers, etc.
I didn’t know I’d be craving said aide’s number like my favorite rich dessert, chocolate mousse, until this morning – said aide’s first morning working for my mother.
When first thing, I called my mother’s doctor to request a cough suppressant prescription; my mother is literally worn down by coughing. She is on superbug antibiotics for what most likely is pneumonia caught from her most recent hospital stay.
Said doctor agreed to the prescription, but contains a controlled substance so cannot be called into the pharmacy. Must be picked up at doctor office’s little sliding-glass window….
Which would have been fine if I had the said aide’s cell number; if I could text her. As within that same hour, she would be driving right by said doctor’s office, then right by the pharmacy where she could have dropped off said prescription on route to my mother’s.
Instead, I had to call Mr. Starched Gelled Gum-Chewing Vice President on his cell.
“No problem,” he said. Just text him and he’d forward the text to her.
He actually made this third-party communication plan sound not stupid.
So I texted him.
Didn’t hear back. “Did you get my text?” I texted.
I called him again and got this message: Not even that his voicemail “box is full,” but that it “isn’t set up” yet. Wha??
Within this one-hour frame time, said aide was already on the road and could be accomplishing this prescription-filling mission.
I did finally get a text back from Mr. VP: “I am at a client’s house with limited service. Forwarded all info to Frank and he will handle it.”
Frank? Who is Frank?? So he forwarded info to said Frank to forward to aide?
Said aide is due at my mother’s at 10 am.
I call my mother at 10:15. “Is she there?”
“Yes, she’s here….”
“Did she bring you the prescription?”
I asked if I could talk to her.
Said aide told me she knew nothing about anything.
I’m usually not fueled up for a day’s trials until after my second cup of coffee which I hadn’t had yet. To my surprise, I was as fueled and ready to be launched as a rocket. “What’s the big deal that I can’t have your phone number?” I snapped at genuine likable said aide.
I was ready for her to argue back about agency protocol yadda yadda.
She didn’t: “I don’t know, it’s stupid. Sure, you can have it. Call me or text anytime.”
Holy. Just like that, she gave me that prized precious life-line cell phone number. My chocolate mousse.
I still hadn’t heard back from starched VP, piling up numerous text message bubbles on his own iPhone in his “limited service” area. Cresting a Miami wave?
Someone else from said agency called. An assistant. Or secretary, whatever. A pigeon messenger, to inform me that prescription mission was actually finally accomplished. By “Frank” who turns out to be starched VP’s “boss,” thus president of said agency.
When starched vice president calls me later – finally having found his way out of “limited service” area with compass – I let him know that he doesn’t even have his voicemail set up yet. I felt like a mom which I am, snapping at my slacker eight year old who won’t pick up his dirty underwear and still leaves cheese stick wrappers lying around.
So on the first day of this aide’s job I gave everyone but her an earful.
Which is fine. Because my mother finally has an aide who is genuinely cheerful and personable, and who actually will do stuff, even clean out the kitty litter pan. Who today will wash my mother’s sheets and even flip her mattress. Who would rather keep busy than watch TV and wait for my mother to ring the damn cow bell I’d bought for the last aide who never heard her calls.
Said aide: hopefully a blessing to us both. Me and my mom as we navigate these difficult tumultuous waters of old-age deterioration. Waves I myself have no desire to surf but must face head on, dive through if I must, just before they crash over me. Over us.