Before I could swallow, the spoon was in pushed into my mouth again, this time with something drippy. Some kind of salty broth? Not sure. I didn’t like it and was trying to choke it down when another spoon of something went in, pureed meat, I think, followed by liquid from a cup. Food was all around my mouth and dripping off my chin. I wanted to scream, “Stop! I can’t do this anymore! I’m going to be sick.”
I felt utterly helpless against these two. I wanted only to have my face wiped off. Gluey stuff covered my chin and spread up my cheeks. Liquid trickled down. They continued to talk about their lives while shoving food in my face. I’m assuming the other woman was being fed, too, but I couldn’t see her.
My arms were part of the chair, immobile. They didn’t seem to belong to me. Stuff was drying on my face. I was getting close to breaking through the act, as I didn’t think I could take it any more, when the aide said, “I think this one’s full. How about yours?”
“Yeah, she’s full, too,” the other aide said.
“Whew, someone stinks. Is it yours?” my aide said.
The woman sniffed and said no. Then my aide pushed me forward in the chair and sniffed. “Eew! It’s her. What a mess. Poop. Now I get to clean that up. I hate cleaning up poop. Yuck!”
They push our wheel chairs roughly and fast, bumping over lumpy areas in the rug, the size of doorway thresholds. Every now and then, the aide would wiggle my chair vigorously, side to side. As she pushed, she scraped my chair a few times against furniture and walls. The women continued to talk about people who kept ringing their buzzers, saying someone else could answer the calls because they “do it all the time.”
We approached a window and my chair stopped.
“Geez, there’s Harold again,” my aide said. I’d better get him.
“Yeah, I’ve got to get Hazel, I suppose.”
They left me without a word. Abandoned once more. For how long? It was kind of a relief, but I felt frozen in time. I just sat and stared out the window, seeing nothing but light.
After awhile – I don’t know how long, as I had no sense of time – the woman came and said, “We’re done. That was pretty over-the-top, wasn’t it?
She was pretty jovial. “It’s greatly exaggerated, but we want to get the point across.”
She was untying my arms as she talked. The other aide and her charge were back, too. They told us where we could empty the popcorn from our shoes. My first thought was, “You mean I can stand up? I’m free?”
I got out of the chair, somewhat amazed that I could. I found my voice, but it wasn’t quite right. Very humbly, I asked, “Where do we put the gloves?” I found I couldn’t really make eye contact.
Another woman came in the room carrying the eye glasses that had been put aside to make room on my face for the goggles. Then I was asked to stop in another room to take the same test I had before this began, the one about perceptions about care of those with dementia. I still felt I should tip toe and speak very quietly; kind of like I’d be in trouble if they knew I was out of my chair. I went into the room to fill out the form. The pair of aides had left to gather their next two victims. Those two deserve Academy Awards, I thought.