The Conundrum Of Masks Continues

, , , , , | Working | January 15, 2021

I work in a retirement living facility; it’s not exactly a nursing home, as it also has independent living options for older folks. It’s a fairly hoity-toity place and pretty expensive to live in.

I do part-time reception while the current health crisis is happening and I’ve only been there for about three months. Our policies are changing almost daily, since we have healthcare, as well. My shifts are all over the place and both staff and residents are having a hard time keeping up with all the new procedures.

One of these recent changes is that we cannot provide residents with masks, as we are all going through boxes like crazy; staff are excluded in this rule if they need a fresh one. We all have to wear surgical masks, not cloth ones. Their families are supposed to provide them with their own masks going forward. This seems a bit silly, as everyone in the building is required to wear one at all times; however, this is a set-in-stone rule that cannot be pardoned, as I’ve been told.

The residents are used to asking us for masks all the time, so naturally, they’re a bit confused and often upset that we no longer pass them out. The following two incidents happen within a day of each other on the weekend.

Incident #1:

A resident approaches the front desk.

Resident #1: “I need a mask, please.”

Me: “I’m very sorry, but we are not giving out masks at this time.”

Resident #1: “What do you mean? I don’t have one and I need one. You can’t give one to me?”

Me: “Unfortunately, it’s not my decision. We were told by [Boss’s Boss] directly that we cannot give out masks anymore. I know it’s a pain, but it’s out of my hands. She also told us that you can speak with her about it, if you want to.”

Resident #1: “Well, how am I supposed to get one, then?!”

I try to explain the policy further, and then a staff member from the dining room comes over, evidently hearing the argument.

Dining Staff: “You can give her a mask; it’s okay.”

Me: “I’m afraid it’s not. We’ve been instructed by [Boss’s Boss] not to give them out to anyone but staff, and even then, we have to use discretion. I can’t give her one.”

Dining Staff: “Yes. You can. Give her one.”

It’s clear she won’t leave me alone until I do it. I don’t trust myself to turn my back in case she tries to steal one, so I give the resident a mask and stress that I will not do it again. They both leave me alone, finally.

But the dining staff member comes back after a few minutes and tells me, “I need a mask”. She reaches over the desk and takes one, and then leaves quickly before I can say something.

I send off an email to my manager about the situation and do not get a reply.

Incident #2:

Resident #2: “Can you give me a mask?”

I explain the policy again. The resident sees my box of masks.

Resident #2: “You have a full box and you can’t give me one? That’s ridiculous!”

She goes off a few feet away and starts complaining to a few people about me. This time, one of the nursing staff is around and hears the arguing, so she comes to see what is happening.

Nurse: “Why can’t you give her one?”

I attempt to explain once again, but she keeps cutting me off and asking, “But why?” again and again. I really can’t get more than a few words out before she interrupts me. Then, in mid-conversation, she actually TAKES ME BY THE ARM AND SPINS ME AROUND so I face the opposite wall.

Nurse: “Look over there!”

Instead, I turn back around to see her quickly take a mask from the box, walk back to [Resident #2], and give it to her.

Nurse: “She didn’t see anything!”

I’m stunned, to put it mildly, but I march over to her; I don’t care if I’m being a hard-a** at this point, but I am NOT going to get in trouble over something like this!

Me: “I’m sorry but you can’t do that! They’ll think they can bully me into giving out masks now!”

Nurse: “She needed one, so why didn’t you give her one?”

We go back and forth some more, again getting nowhere with her interrupting me. Eventually, she just ends the conversation with:

Nurse: “I’ll give you more masks so you can hand them out.”

And she leaves.

Fuming, I fire off another email, while keeping it discreet, to my manager, and I also tell the other receptionists what happened in case something like this happens again. I tell my manager to contact me if she wants more details. My manager reads my emails and just reiterates the policy to me, which doesn’t really help. I’m off for a few days after this, and I receive a phone call one evening.

Manager: “Hi, so… I heard from one of the receptionists that something happened on your shift? Can you tell me more about it?”

I then re-tell both of the incidents, with names included. I also mention that the staff may think they can get me to bend the rule because I am still considered “new.”

Manager: *Angrily* “That is totally unacceptable. They cannot undermine you for a rule that was set by [Boss’s Boss], no matter if you have been here three months or three years. And no one has the right to touch you like that, even if she was doing it in a joking manner. Can I ask you to send me an email that includes the entire incident? I want to have the details in writing.”

I agreed and sent off a long email, which she confirmed that she got. I haven’t heard anything since, and things seem to be settling down, so hopefully, it won’t happen again.

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Who Says Stoners Are Slackers?

, , , , , | Working | January 8, 2021

I work as a personal care provider for individuals with mental disabilities. Unfortunately, I have a severe anxiety disorder which can make the constant noise of the job difficult, as all food for four people has to be blended in an industrial blender in a tiny, echoey kitchen, and one of the individuals moans constantly. One day, I need a quick break, and as I walk out the door:

Me: *Jokingly* “I need some weed.” 

Oddly enough, I feel funny as I say it. I have my hand on the door as I turn around to say I was joking, only to shrug and go back out to my car; surely, my coworker will take it as a joke. Still, I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve just sealed my fate as the last day on the job. 

While I do live in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, it’s illegal to smoke pot on the job, especially THIS type of job. Really, all I do is walk to my car — parked two feet from the front windows — grab an energy drink from my front seat, and walk right back inside to get some ice. Total time out of sight: maybe thirty seconds if I dawdled.

My coworker decides that I couldn’t have been joking. I have my hair dyed bright red and I admittedly do smoke when I’m safely at home, so clearly, I am a heathen. (Really, I think she is pissed that I am being unwillingly groomed for the soon-to-be-empty manager’s job.)

So, two days later, on my day off, I get called on my cell.

Boss: “Effective immediately, you are under investigation for consuming drugs illicitly on the property. You will not be receiving any type of compensation or allowed to work again until the charges are cleared. The investigation may take two to four weeks to conclude.”

Mind you, this call comes two days before Christmas, and I am the sole employee scheduled to work twelve-hour day shifts on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. Not only am I losing my double-time pay for covering the holidays, but they are losing the one person who doesn’t already have plans on those shifts. 

After receiving that phone call, I sit there for a minute and decide that that job isn’t worth the additional stress — I’ve been doing the manager’s work for her for a third of the pay for six months at this point — and I am done. So, I type a short letter of resignation, drive to work on my day off, and slam it down on my boss’s desk. I tell all of the managers present:

Me: “If you are going to throw me through the wringer based on a single comment and not a shred of evidence, I’m not coming back.”

After that day, I took a week off for the holidays and then started applying to job after job in my tiny town. Nothing came my way, so eventually, I turned to an employment website. When that came up blank, I decided to try building a writing portfolio on a couple of freelancing sites, as I’d always wanted to be a published novelist.

One year later, I’m now published in “Forbes” as a financial analyst for several major investing and consulting firms. I work from home, choose my own hours, and get paid top-dollar — despite my lack of a college degree — for doing what I’ve always loved.

All because I made a dumb, offhand comment to my coworker on her first day on the job.

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A Very Thorough Bath

, , , , , , , | Healthy | December 24, 2020

I have a friend who works in an assisted living facility; her job includes cleaning patients. One day, my friend was giving a sponge bath to a male patient when she heard him say something from under his mask.

Patient: “I think my testicles are black.”

She peeked under the towel.

Friend: “No, they look fine.”

She then proceeded to clean him and he continued to ask her about his testicles, and each time, she would respond by lifting the towel and reassuring him that they were fine.

Finally, the patient took off his mask.

Patient: “I think my tests should be back.”

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When “Care Facilities” Don’t

, , , | Working | CREDIT: Anonymous by request | December 10, 2020

I work for an assisted living facility in my hometown, and facilities like these are notorious for overworking staff and lack of people.

I have been working in our memory care unit, and I finally get three days off after working twenty-eight days straight. Half of my shifts were sixteen hours long; the rest were ten to twelve hours. Mind you, I was only scheduled for eight hours a day, five days a week.

I am resting in bed at home on my second day off when I get a frantic call from my boss.

Boss: “Our entire evening shift staff just quit. All four of them. I need you to come in.”

That means it would be just me and a new trainee watching our nineteen residents.

Mind you, I would be passing medications, bathing, assisting with dinner, and training someone on their first day. So I’d practically be doing all of this on my own. With no breaks.

Me: “I’m sorry, but I’m really not feeling well. This is my second day off in a row after working nearly a month straight. I do not want to come in.”

She begs, and I finally acquiesce, but on the promise that she stays to work the rest of the shift, too, so I won’t be the only one doing the work of four people. She quickly agrees, and I get ready and head in. I don’t want my residents to suffer and they surely would if it was just my boss. She is insufferable and cruel.

About two hours into this shift, I overhear the new hire talking to our boss.

New Hire: “I am missing my daughter’s recital, and I’d really like to be there.

Boss: “You can go ahead and leave after [My Name] passes out dinner meds and dinner is given.”

The new hire quickly agrees.

I am pissed because we are about an hour out from dinner and none of the caregiving duties are fulfilled, as I am still working on a pass that wasn’t completed by the previous shift.

Well, time passes, and sure enough, the new hire leaves. None of the important caretaking tasks outside of medications and dinner are done. My boss is of little to no help and doesn’t have an endorsement from our nurse to pass medications.

Come 8:00 pm, I am in full swing, running between rooms to assist residents with all needs before bedtime while simultaneously giving their meds.

My boss, who has been sitting down the entire time, pipes up.

Boss: “I’m tired; am I going to be able to leave soon?”

Me: “I’d like to remind you that the only reason I came in was on the premise that I wouldn’t work alone.”

She keeps pressing me, and I finally snap at her.

Me: “I worked twenty-eight straight days, I have had one day of rest, and I have been left by myself on a shift more times than I could count on both hands. I want to go home, too. H***, I could have been home. I came in to take care of my people because nobody else will.”

But that isn’t enough.

Boss: *Quips* “I understand that, [My Name], but I’ve been here since nine this morning. That’s twelve hours.”

I am so done. I finally look at her and say:

Me: “If you can let me finish my med pass, I will let you leave.”

Boss: “How long?”

Me: “I still have six rooms to finish.”

Boss: “Okay.”

I took up the entire rest of the night before the next shift came in, going as I had been before my boss piped in. I even got my showers in.

She was sitting down still, not saying a word as I moseyed along, giving my residents their medicines, brushing their teeth, and finishing up new briefs and bedclothes. She didn’t say a word.

I texted my resignation to the head administrator and reported the facility to the authorities the next day.

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Learning How To Swab The Deck

, , , , | Working | November 11, 2020

I am starting a new job caring for adults with learning disabilities. There is training to be completed as part of my induction, especially in regard to hazardous chemicals used for cleaning.

The training includes some “exams.” Thankfully, I am completing the training at home, as I can’t keep a straight face when I see these questions.

Question: “What does a ‘skull and crossbones’ chemical hazard symbol mean?”

Answers: “A) Corrosive, B) Flammable, C) Toxic, D) Used by pirates.”

Yes, “used by pirates.”

Question: “Do you know where the Material Safety Data Sheets are kept?”

Answers: “A) Yes, B) No.”

I wonder how they are going to mark this.

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