Thursday, January 25, 2018

What could be sadder?

a few cards left in a window
at an abandoned nursing home

I asked someone about a nursing home in town. They replied, “I think it’s closed!” They hadn’t heard directly, but said the news was recent. I went over to check it out.

The place is locked up tight. It’s dark inside, with a few lamps and bulbs on at random, but not a hint of life or activity. High bright exterior flood lights shine from each corner and over the deserted parking lot, into the night traffic, across neighboring homes, buildings, and into the sky.

Gross light pollution.

It isn’t clear what happened, or just exactly when. A few months ago, someone said they saw several trucks and dumpsters with 1-800-OUR-CRAP (NOT a real number!) painted on the sides. “They were hauling out beds and mattresses. I thought they were just replacing equipment.”

From the very start of Jeanne’s illness, staying at home was the absolute priority. By the end of it we had set up and run our own little nursing care facility. We were fortunate to have the resources and ability to maintain control.

I looked up the place in the Massachusetts Nursing Home Consumer Information website. The other facilities in town had a link to their detailed contact and performance information. This one just had a phone number.

I called, and a helpful staffer with the Department of Public Health answered several questions, then directed me to a colleague. I’ve made a request for public information. We’ll see what happens next.

When do you think those cards might finally come down?

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