After getting Katie down for a nap, I went back to the nurse’s station. Janice was just finishing her paperwork. “Why was Katie still up?”
Janice raised her head, a blank look on her face, as she tried to switch her thoughts from what she’d been writing to my question. “I don’t know. She wouldn’t let anyone touch her. She wanted her ‘Bubble Girl’. Why does she call you that anyway?”
“Because I chew bubble gum and I blew a bubble one day and she saw it.”
Her face wrinkled in distaste. “That’s a disgusting habit. You shouldn’t be chewing gum on shift.”
“Ill mannered perhaps, but not disgusting and there are no rules against it. Who was on day shift?”
“Barb and Kevin here on the west wing, why?”
“Just curious.” I’d had my suspicions about Barb for a while now and the fact that Katie didn’t want the woman near her only strengthened them, but why hadn’t she let Kevin put her to bed?
“Here comes Pat. I’m out of here. Have fun.” Janice hurriedly draped her sweater over her shoulders, grabbed her purse and was halfway to the time clock before Pat had even reached the desk.
“Where’s she going in such a hurry? Got a hot date or something?” Pat turned and watched, as Janice rushed down the hall.
I laughed and shook my head. “Just happy her shift is over. Katie’s been difficult today.”
“Katie’s always difficult unless you’re here. But I don’t blame her for that. You treat her like a queen.”
“I don’t treat her like a queen. I treat her like a human being and that’s no different than I treat anyone else.”
“Not true. You broke the fundamental rule of elder care. You bonded—got too close and not only to Katie, but others like Ben.”
“Ben’s a doll. I can’t help it if I like him.”
“He’s a crotchety old man and has half the aides scared witless. Do you know some won’t even go in his room?”
“It’s all bluff. He’s the sweetest man ever. They need to tease back with him and when they see that silly little grin sweep across his face, they’ll know they’ve won him over.”
Pat laughed and went behind the desk, pulling the day reports out and looking them over. “I know that and you know that, but they don’t and I have to admit, I get a kick out of seeing how intimidated they are.”
She grinned and handed me a paper. “Here’s a list of the showers that weren’t done on day.”
My heart sank, as I saw the long list. “Goodness, did day shift do any showers?”
“Only two and don’t ask me why. I wasn’t here. And something else, you’re on your own tonight. Sally called in.”
“What a surprise. I’d better get moving if I’m going to give twenty showers before supper.”
“I’ll help, as soon as I finish meds. We can save some to do right before bed time.”
“Thanks, Pat.” Sighing heavily, I hurried down the hall in answer to the blinking light over Mr. and Mrs. Paulson’s door. The couple was self-reliant, so I hoped whatever they wanted could be quickly dealt with. It was going to be a long night and I needed to find time to question Katie about Barb in such a way that she wouldn’t know I was fishing for information.
©Elizabeth Melton Parsons