Friday, 15 April 2016

The Shuffler Returns

My home care worker this morning was "The Shuffler". I swear this woman is the slowest person I have ever met, seeking to minimize every effort on her part, looking to move as little as possible with any and every task, including picking her feet of the ground as she walks about in my apartment. She slides them, slowly, the soles of her slippers sounding like sandpaper across the laminate of my floor.

First of all, let me once again state that this HCA does the minimum needed to accomplish her tasks, to fulfill her role, but she does it. This is the woman who stands in the doorway as I dress, leaning against the door frame, unable to stand on her own. This is the woman who uses my dresser to prop herself up, as if the work involved in standing was too much for her. Yet in all of this, she does, to the minimum possible, that which is asked of her. She does her job, while clearly not enjoying it, with the leanest of efforts possible.

This morning, knowing full well that if I said nothing she would do nothing, I asked her to empty the dishwasher while I was in the shower. I know this to be true from past experience, and even her own approach to things. She constantly asks "What next?", even though she has been through my routine at least a dozen times. She doesn't look at the Care Plan, which clearly says to do light housekeeping as part of her visit. She did empty the dishwasher, as I asked. What she didn't do is empty the dish rack beside the dishwasher, the one full of clean, dry dishes. I didn't ask; she didn't do. Nor did she think about doing something beyond the minimum of what was asked.

I've worked with people like this. I've learned that these kinds of people need specific, long lists of what to do next. They often resent it. They get grumpy when they see the list. They work slowly, if not on purpose at least by habit, so the list never seems to get shorter. My list here at home is very short, very specific, and when she is here, very ignored.

To be honest, she depressed me this morning with her grumpy looks and sloth approach. After my shower, I asked her to leave. No exercises please. I just didn't want her around anymore, making me feel uncomfortable. Perhaps that was her goal, to get out of my apartment while doing as little as possible. She succeeded. I wonder how she feels inside.

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