You see me here, grown old and feeble. I have been squeezed dry as many who sit staring vacantly and my past keeps coming, recurring nightmare of the waking time.
In my time I was nurse and my oath ringing before me every time I took rounds. But routine takes away something from each and what have I in return? Nothing!
I was a nurse sent to care the old senile hags in institutions where I worked. I worked to go higher and raise a family that shall be proud of me.
I was also young. I worked while my skin glowed and full twenty years made me curse my work every minute of it. None found me cross or less than my professional image I set for myself. My smile and my teeth all well cared for made even a smile passed for truth. My body hygiene and appearance impressed my superiors.
Every day I signed the register and took my wards through their paces. Did I enjoy it? To tell the truth, no Oh no.
I cursed the hags in their diapers. I ladled porridge spoonsful into their dead flaccid mouth wishing they would choke. But for the money that I made I would have thrown the whole filth I daily cleaned on the matron’s head. A battle-axe who never smiled at us nurses nor at the imbeciles whom we cared for. Oh when the director and trustees of the Bethesda Old Home came trooping in she smiled. As on cue we four nurses smiled and trooped the well fed starched straight-laced bible carrying Samaritans to their car. They earned the places in heaven and we kept our jobs.
It was not that we hated the old. Caring them was not of the same league as caring our mother or children. But tell me how long one can bring out her best under all provocations? The old who left under our care just didn’t care for our lot. For them time just stood still. Whereas we walked our line whether we fell short paying mortgage or could not afford an affordable education plan for our young. Our wards just sat in their wheelchair to be moved about and expected clean up the mess they left. OhI hated it. I do not regret it even for a moment. I stoically converted our frustration into work that was all.
As I am in this Home for the Aged do I care? Oh no. Now the nurse, a poison pill has her lipstick all wrong and hair tucked in her cap,- she tells se is a Goth!, and she finds me as her millstone. I sit all day staring into TV and the nurse need not even see me twitch and squirm in pool of my own filth. She knows it by closed circuit beeps that warn her. Only she switches it off so she can rifle through her fashion catalogues or text message her boyfriend. My calls to ease my distress she treats as mere nuisance and she has learned to swat away as I did in my time. That is routine for you. I know she finds work just as I found: a A filthy business.
This evening the night nurses are planning a pillow fight for the entertainment of us, inmates. And we are all watching the nurses fight it out. It is playful and it goes spirited and when all the feathers fly helter-skelter, it is our secret night of horrors. All the feather fluff smelling of urine and shit would need mop after and some hard work. But we are the thing, morons laughing at our own cruel world we only let get this far. This night as hours tick by we only feel our private horror.
We see nurses have just shed their clothes, appearances of civility are gone. They have taken us back when we were as full as they.
Work was filthy for the peaches, the juicy young twenty something and they are us all in their ugly shapes, jeering at us.
Ah now they lug us into the heap of filth and dress us with cunning care, as chickens! It was a costume I never dreamed up! Hideous Jezebels are not done with us yet. As we scramble from mass of bodies, and pulled by hands to teeter and fall back with thud, there are screeches of merriment. There is a professional photographer who is creating a video diary. I know this age even our shame titillates some creep. We shall be in YouTube. It may be a viral hit among the viewers.
I wept at the injustice of it. One of my tormenters leaned over and pulled out a feather from my toothless mouth to say,’ Nothing personal Martha, Work these days is still a four letter word.’
Now we are a spectacle and our carers have no excuse that they are kept short on money. They make money on us.
Work is still the same soulless aspect,- the world taken through a shredder of hell just gives some compensation for it. Money they call it.