"Hi, is this Randi? This is Shelly Davis. Yeah, how are you?...That's great to hear. I need to order flowers for a funeral...no; it's nobody in my family...they're for the mother of a friend of mine. I know, it's too bad- it was totally unexpected. What would you recommend? " Shelly sat at her desk, twisting the phone cord around her fingers. Was this bizarre, or what? Just yesterday she'd had an uncomfortable first meeting with Yvonne, and here she was this morning buying her a dozen pink roses. "That sounds good," she said, bringing her mind back to the task at hand. "The viewing is tomorrow evening at Shubert's, and the funeral is Friday morning. Can you bill my account?... Thanks so much... 'Bye now...You too." She hung up the phone and turned her attention to an impatient Cal, who'd sat across from her, jiggling his leg, the entire time she'd been talking. What a dweeb he was. "I'm sorry," she said, "that was something I had to take care of. What's up?"
Cal took a few more seconds to gnaw on a hangnail before answering. "I came down here for report," he sniffed, "I like to know what's going on around here." He wiped the wet finger on his pantleg.
Try pulling your head out of your ass and sticking it out into the hallway sometime, she wanted to say.
"I know you do," she lied. "I'm sorry I've had so much going on the past few days. Thankfully, the building's been pretty quiet. We've had one fall this week; Arnold Haskins on B. He tried to get into bed without help Monday night and didn't make it. Complained of right knee pain, but we did an xray and it was negative. He's doing okay-"
"Did you initiate a chair alarm?" Cal wanted to know. "That's all I need is that son of his on my case again."
"No..." Shelly answered. "Arnie is confused and forgets to ask for help, but he can usually get the job done on his own. This was his first incident in three months, which is good considering his risk factors. I don't want to alarm him unnecessarily."
"I agree," Cal smirked. "Let's wait until he breaks a hip. I'll let you explain that one to the state."
Shelly gritted her teeth and engaged her filter; the one that pushed rational words from her mouth when she wanted to tell someone to fuck off. "If he continues to move about on his own, he will maintain more strength and mobility than he would if we forced him to sit in one spot all day. It's about the quality of his life, Cal. If he breaks a hip doing what he wants to do, well, that's a chance we have to take. I'd be happy to explain that to the state."
"And Barney?" Cal challenged. He always got nasty when she stood up to him. "He was in the parking lot Monday night. If Seth hadn't been out there dogging Lizzie Mills- wait; I mean 'walking her to her car', who knows where the old fart would've ended up? I'm busting my ass trying to get grant money to establish Lakeside as a premier dementia facility. How does it look if we can't keep track of our damn residents?"
"Lizzie left the floor and Barney followed her. She's his favorite nurse, because she resembles his daughter Ann. She knows that she needs to have someone from nights divert his attention when her shift ends. All it takes is a Fred Astaire movie, and Barney will sit on the couch for two hours. The problem had already been identified, and she didn't observe the care plan. She was too worried about meeting Seth."
Cal was distracted by Tiffany, who was outside bending down to help a resident step onto a tour bus. "I want Lizzie suspended."
"I talked to her yesterday. She felt terrible about the whole thing, Cal. What is she, twenty? This is how they learn. Barney was returned safe and sound, and I'm certain Lizzie won't get on that elevator again without making sure he's busy. While I've got you here, I need to take Friday off. I'm sure you heard I have this funeral..."
"You are entitled to three days' paid bereavement for the death of a relative. I'm not obligated to give you time off for non-family."
"It's November, Cal, and I have twelve vacation days left. I haven't taken more than three or four long weekends all year. I'll arrange for supervisory coverage. Would you like me to run it by H.R.?"
"Never mind," he sneered. "Have a nice time."
Shelly watched him leave her office. "Appreciate your concern," she called after him. When things settled down, she was going to have to seriously start looking for another job. Of course that would mean leaving her staff and residents defenseless, with Cal at the reins. Even though she was sure that she was growing her own brain aneurysm with every month that she stayed, that was one thing she could never do.
Unless I can muster the guts to bump him off, she thought, I'm stuck. Story of my life.
She picked up her cell phone and stared at it. What was the proper etiquette in this situation? Should she call him? Normally, this early in the game, she would rather play it cool; wait for the guy to contact her. But this guy's mother died. Would he want to hear from her, or did he have too much on his mind? No doubt, things had gotten intense in a hurry; not that she minded. She couldn't stop thinking about the way he'd needed her last night. She'd been with men for years in the past without ever having that feeling; that connection, and it felt good. She missed him.
This is foolish, she thought. I've got a million things to do if I'm not going to be here Friday. With a heavy sigh, she set out to round on the units.
She didn't hear her phone vibrating on the desk.