In Brief — The author gives readers a glimpse of the hard-working personnel who care for all of the oldsters in his department. [Written in June 2017.]
Hard-Working, With Uncaring Management —
The new management of this warehouse apparently believes the personnel are endowed with super powers: They don’t get tired from the long, mind-numbing hours of seeing to the needs of both the elderly and the demented, they don’t need more money, and they never get sick.
As if that weren’t enough, management’s canned retort to personnel’s repeated complaints is that the personnel level is the same as under the old regime and, besides, it’s hard to recruit qualified people. No wonder. Why bust your butt for low pay helping smelly old folks! Don’t ask about the personnel union because the union reps might have to get out of the comfortable bed they share with management.
How do I know all this? I have an inveterate need to ask questions…and in the face of injustice I write letters to the powers who need to know. Contrary to the first, my latest letter was met with total silence. I am led to think I must be losing my touch or that we are now in the era of Trump. The latter may be true because when I moved to Sweden I was told that Sweden was five years behind America. The camel has at least its nose in Sweden’s tent.
With that as a background, here is a bit about the personnel who work so hard to care for us.
The Personnel —
My contact person, Irene, is hard-working, efficient, abundantly friendly, outspoken…and very well informed. Though rushed, Irene always makes sure that my needs are met. She knows the ropes around here and, unlike many Swedes, doesn’t shrink from telling management the truth about what it’s like on the front lines. I ask, she tells. To say she is loved and respected would be understating it. Well-l-l, management respects and depends on her.
Sven-Gunnar, one of the few men here, is quiet, meticulous, friendly and helpful in both of the departments on this floor. After almost six years of being in a reduced state after the operation, I always feel relaxed when meticulous Sven-Gunnar’s feeding me. My muscles relax when I hear his distinctive knock on the door before a feeding.
Note: As I write this notes in late-July, Sven-Gunnar has had a stroke. Fortunately, it was treated in time and he’s improving. Not yet 50, he shows that even relatively young people can suffer a stroke. If he returns, I plan to advise him to eat a vegan diet to help prevent a build-up of fatty plaque in his circulatory system. Fingers crossed that Sven-Gunnar can join us again soon.
To continue, there’s Kicki. Garrulous, helpful, overweight and something of a complainer about her assorted physical ills, Kicki may sometimes be repetitive, but she knows exactly what needs to be done and does it with a smile. She often volunteers to do small things for me like watering the drooping flowers guests sometimes bring. She’s priceless.
Tall, slender Charles, a 23-year-old Rwandan refugee who came to Sweden at 19, is smart as a whip, quickly learning exactly how I should be fed. Charles speaks four languages: his native Ikinyarwanda and Swedish (fluently), English and French (passably). Charles is pleased that I showed interest in his mother tongue by learning a few phrases that I use every time he appears. He smiles, responds in Ikinyarwanda and bows. When I asked why he bows, he replied, “Because I respect you.” When I responded, “I respect you, too, Charles,” he smiled…and bowed. The moral to that story is that we must never underestimate anybody.
Occasionally, Marie feeds me. She’s also an expert at taking care of our feet, often referred to as a pedicure. That expertise pays the rent. However, to be accurate, Marie cuts my toenails that seem to be beyond my reach. I know it’s time for her services when my toenails start snagging the insides of my socks. While that is certainly important, she is always cheerful and, more to the point, she never fails to get my feedings right. She obviously paid attention to Irene’s instructions.
There are other allegedly trained individuals anointed by management with the task of feeding me because of sicknesses, summer vacations or unanticipated absences. Of course, management stinginess may be in there somewhere. Mind you I’m not implying some personnel can’t grab their fannies with both hands — because some are sorta competent as well as always friendly — but let’s just say I have to watch them like a hawk and can’t relax as I can with those mentioned above.
I know I promised to tell you about the old folks in the next department, but you can look forward with ‘bated breath to some future installment.
Meanwhile, my heart goes out to the American readers who have to live with the antics of a nut-job and a mean-spirited political party bent on taking the country back to medieval times. At least the nut-job may be removed soon. About that political party, though…
The Weekly Sampler—
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