Riding up to the 2nd floor of the Heartland Georgian in Bloomfield this morning…stepping off the chrome box, it hit like a baseball bat. Eeeuw! What is that smell? Musty, rusty, stankin’, nasty…hanging in the air like an oppressive fog. O’ yeah, it’s the normal Operating Odor for this place. Human piss and feces. Wonderful. Poor old souls strapped to wheelchairs giving that 1000 yard forlorn look of hopelessness & despair. God…what a way to live. Passing by them in the hallway en route to spring Bill, they don’t really look at you as much as though you.
Lullabies, look in your eyes, Run around the same old town. Doesn’t mean that much to me To mean that much to you.
Love lost, such a cost, Give me things that don’t get lost. Like a coin that won’t get tossed Rolling home to you.
It wasn’t very long ago that Billy was doing some serious Rollin’ In the Deep
This shot was taken in aisle nine of the Meijer’s Store in Rochester Hills. Bill takes his cereal very seriously. We became very intimate with Aisle Nine. Note the multiple jugs of Orange Juice in the basket. Make that Extra Pulp Please.
As time marched on, the ravages of age began to take a toll. One day, Bill was not answering his phone. You ever get a gut check about something that’s hard to shake? Got one that night. Arriving at his assisted living apartment, the sense to grab one of the staff was present. Upon entering his apartment, Billy was laying on the living room floor where he’d fallen. He was conscious and otherwise OK. Looking up from the carpet, he smiled and said;
“Bahurutha…am I ever glad to see you! I’ve been stuck down here for a few hours”
“Billy! What are you doing down there? Gosh, you’ll do anything for a little attention”
The nurse and I helped him up and we all had a good laugh. But behind the smiles was a deep concern that his days of independent living were coming to an end. When broaching the subject (very gently) with my friend, he would have none of it.
“Bahrutha’, don’t worry…I just lost my balance”.
OK dude…whatever…but I was still concerned. Those concerns were confirmed a few days later when the med nurse found him on his bathroom floor. He’d fallen again on the tile and received two hairline fractures to his pelvis. His daughters Karen & Pam jumped into action. Bill was taken by ambulance to Beaumont Hospital in Troy.
He was not a happy camper and initially gave the staff there a run for their money. Can anyone reading this claim to know what it’s like to be 84 years old? Do we really understand with any degree of empathy what its like to lose the ability to move around and be independent? This was a hard transition for Bill to make. Discharged from Beaumont to the Heartland Georgian in Bloomfield for “rehab” did not make it any easier. Still, he did the best he could and did not whine or bitch about it…like I probably would have.
The most positive thing that could be said about that place was the physical therapy and a small…count on one hand…group of staff members who were good to Bill. Other than that, the place was a real shithole and ought be shut down. Some day after Father calls Bill home…I vow before God & man to go viral on that evil, nasty, smelly, foul, unprofessional dump. They hurt more than helped and will be held accountable for their malfeasance. Right now, there are more important things to do. Arriving this morning, Bill was found dozing in his wheelchair. Gently shaking his knee, he slowly came to life. Looking up…a smile erupted like a dormant volcano from his countenance.
“Hello Bahrutha! What are you doing here?
My man. Within earshot of the nurses station filled with zombies drinking coffee, I replied; “Bill, it’s moving day. You’re going to a new place that’s a lot nicer”. He looked a little surprised and then exclaimed;
“HALLELUJAH! PRAISE THE LORD! LET’S GO TOM’!”
The discernment of Solomon wasn’t required to understand Bill was ready to leave and I sure didn’t care that he called me by my dad’s name. Henri is a retired Chrysler employee now doing patient transport. As is usually the case, he fell under Bill’s charm immediately and hustled him into his van. It was time to break camp and boogie. Bill was all smiles like a kid on Christmas morning while securing him into the van for this next Walk Of Life.
Following the transport van north on Adams, it was time to blow past it at 85mph when hitting I-75.
Arriving at this brand new facility was a relief. Get this kids.
Git to steppin’ my brother!
Walking into this place was like walking out of prison into a nice, cozy apartment in Royal Oak . The correlation was not lost on either of us. Grabbing his items and LG-TV (of course…first things first) the professional staff bent over backwards to get Bill’s room semi-setup. Five members of the staff met Bill to greet him. He was lapping up the attention in his inimitable, not so low–key fashion.
Aside from it being brand spankin’ new and gorgeous….
The main thing…the most important thing…was to see the level of care he was immediately bathed in. I love this shot of how the staff are fawning all over Bill while making a wheel chair transfer. Note how he’s cracking up.
The gal in the door is Tracey. She’s the head chef and could not wait to feed him,even though the pictorial evidence might suggest…aw’, who cares? The girl in the black T-Shirt is Kim…the future wife of my dreams, a consummate professional. What a babe. I remain smitten at 12:29AM by her care for my friend. Bill will have em’ all fighting over him within a week. Women love Billy.
This was his first meal…a dish of lasagna to die for.
I’ve got to express my appreciation to Karen & Pam for how hard they’ve fought for their Dad. They went shopping a couple of days ago. Pam showed up with Bill’s granddaughter Ashley and a whole new wardrobe… including a nice pair of comfy sweatpants with the Detroit Tigers Old English “D” on it…just in time for the World’s Series. We’ll have to take a break from his beloved FOX News to watch it.
Don’t hold that against Billy. Here’s a funny sidebar. A few months ago, while making dinner for Bill in his apartment, low, gutteral moans began emanating from the living room. Rounding the corner,I asked Bill what was wrong. Pointing to the screen and shaking his head, he just looked crushed an despondent. This is what he was pointing at…Greta Van Susteren’s mug plastered across the screen.
Sensing another comical FOX moment (they provide on a regular basis), I stifled a smile and asked in mock concern what was wrong.
“O’ bahrutha’…Greta’s gone left on me”
Hahaha…I began laughing so hard that I almost peed my pants.
After Pammy left, Bill finished his meal…with his year round Christmas Tree lit up in the background.
After giving a brotherly kiss on the forehead, Bill was left in the capable hands of a dedicated staff who were all too happy to finally have their first patient. I looked at Kim and told her; “All personal bias aside, you could not have asked for a better first resident”.
She smiled and replied;
“It’s obvious that he’s a real sweetheart Tim. We’ll take good care of him and give him a bath after you leave”.
I think that may have been a clue…der’. Snapping out of momentary infatuation, it was time to go home for a nap, then get up a write a blog…and encourage y’all to go visit William.
The Oaks at Woodfield
5370 East Baldwin Road
Grand Blanc, MI 48439
He’d do it for you
God Bless Your Hearts