The Nursing Home Director

I needed a 500 word short for a guest piece. This is a cut down version of one of the chronicles from Fun House Chronicles. For those who have read it, please bear with me. For those who haven’t, hope you enjoy it:


Personnel issues were the bane of Jeff’s existence. When the he-said-she-saids began, he pretty much wanted to throttle all his employees. And he had two incidents to deal with this morning.

Nurse Ernestine stood across the desk from him, scarlet fury on her scowling face. A resident had once called her Nurse Happy Face, a nickname that spread like wildfire until she was the only one who didn’t know it. Jeff clenched his teeth to thwart a chuckle.

“It’s no laughing matter, Jeffrey. It was right there on the floor! It could have been a resident having a heart attack. I could have had a heart attack. IT’S A SERIOUS INFRACTION OF THE RULES!”

Jeff managed a straight face. “Certainly it is, Nurse Hap, er, Ernestine. I will look into it immediately.”

The problem was the life sized dummy that trainees used to practice bathing a bedridden patient or placing one on a bedpan. Somebody put the dummy on the floor, with its nude legs sticking out the doorway of the activities room. Nurse Happy Face, steaming down the hall with medical supplies, shrieked when she saw the legs and hit the alarm. That clanging bell meant, “Help, come running.”

She dropped the supplies. Bandages unrolled everywhere. By the time she discovered that the legs belonged to a dummy, staffers and residents had gathered around for a good laugh. At her.

She was not amused. “See that you get to the bottom of this, see that you do,” she huffed, tugging down on her scrub top and marching out.

Jeff could see Lia at the reception desk outside his office. “You know who’s behind this, don’t you?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You’re not going to tell me, right?”

“No, sir.”

“What if I threaten you with your job?”

“What if I threaten you with no more coffee runs?”

“Glad we had this discussion,” Jeff said, then moved on to the morning’s second issue. Alita and Rick. Everyone knew they’d become an item. Relationships between coworkers were as common here as anywhere, but other businesses didn’t have beds in every room.

Alita and Rick were grabbing quickies in a private room that was currently empty. Jeff was in a fix. A buttinsky had told him about it so now he had to do something. Both aides were good workers, although Rick probably had something to do with that dummy incident. People good at these jobs were hard to find. Especially males. In the old days, Jeff would have just fired the woman. But not anymore, HR issues being what they were.

He tapped a rhythm with his fingers on his desk. He then called the maintenance supervisor. “Hey, Jimbo,” he said. “You know the empty room on East? Until we admit a resident, please remove the bed from that room.”

Having finished with personnel at last, Jeff could now get to his phone messages. One was from corporate. That was never a good sign.

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Charlie Dachshund

Les & Linda at the pierIt’s been a year.

Last January, Charlie jumped down from the bed, shrieked, and ruptured two discs. He was paralyzed from the shoulders back. My friend Les bought him a cart and we started walking him that way down on the waterfront. In time Charlie wagged his tail which was the first hint that he was regaining feeling. You take your miracles in this world where you can find them.

Charlie has wobbled happily through life without the cart for several months. Walking is not his strong point but he gallops with a certain amount of grace. He’s been a happy camper.

But time is growing short. This blog isn’t called the Back Nine for nothing. He has bronchitis. He’s slowing down. He turned sixteen this month. I got him a dozen years ago, a rescue dog. As far as I know, he is the only one I have owned that was physically abused. So he has always been an oddball, too dependent on me by half. Funny. Now I’ve become that dependent on him.

Charlie 14

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