I'm at Charlie's place and Tony has to make some funeral arrangement calls, so I have a couple of minutes to write.
Charlie thought his death was imminent and so he decided he would go to a hospice. The hospice is pretty rough: dirty windows, small rooms, two patients in a room, overworked nursing staff that complain about patients being too demanding. The nurses don't seem to be aware that the patients are dying and have a right to be demanding. I heard one nurse say to a dying man, "You've pressed that button 7 times, there's nothing I can do for you. I have other patients to take care."
It's called "The Hospice by the Sea," and when I first heard Charlie was going there I had this image of a place near a beach where you could look out a window and see waves under a rising sun, and trees and gardens. But it's not that way. The place is in the middle of Hollywood, Florida, a heavily urban city just north of Miami. You can't see the sea. There are some pictures though of water.
Anyway, Charlie is there waiting to die, and it's not happening as fast as he thought it would. In fact, he perked up as soon as he got there. He started complaining about the room, the nurses. He's in some pain too. They only give medication on demand for some reason, and Charlie has always been shy about making demands. He went 8 hours yesterday without anything.
He thinks that the stronger the pain gets the closer he is to death. He's afraid that the morphine is forestalling death. We got him to agree to take something for the pain finally when it got impossible.
While Tony and I work on the condo and Charlie's stuff, Linda is there from 9 am to 8 pm each day. Keeping an eye on Charlie and arguing with the nurses.
Yesterday, we were sitting there and the guy next door got so annoyed that he couldn't get a nurse's attention that he knocked his chair over, and started banging it against the wall.
Finally, a nurse came. I don't know what this guy's story is, but he's from Peru, he's dying in Hollywood, Florida, and his wife is in Peru and doesn't know where he is. He wants to call her up but the nurses just hand him the phone and he can't figure out how to make an international call.
At one point his wife called. The nurses put her through to his room, but he couldn't handle the phone and lost the call.
Linda and I are furious with this place.
But Charlie is adamant about remaining: "I'm staying here until I die."