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A surprise in the laundry barrel

May 23, 2010
by Kathleen Mears
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The residents' needs are constantly changing. They are also more likely to change things in their rooms, and the staff has to keep up with these changes. Some residents have special and even curious things in their rooms.

The facility also makes changes in the way it operates. Many of us residents ask when we see staff doing things differently so we know what is going on.

A recent change was that biohazard dirty laundry is put in a biodegradable bag, which goes into a barrel in the shower room. The biodegradable bags are then put directly into the washer. One afternoon shift aide let the laundry staff know that if she prepared any biohazard bags, she would re-bag them in two or three regular plastic bags.

The other afternoon, aides bagged my dirty clothing as usual and put it in the laundry. Several hours later the laundry lady came into my room and told me that she had found something of mine in a plastic bag. She said she opened the plastic bag and inside was another bag, and then another bag, and then another. Thinking it was biohazard dirty laundry, she went to talk to an aide. But the aide told her there was no biohazard laundry. When the laundry lady asked what it might be, the aide said, “Oh that's just Kathy Mears' bag of dirt.” The laundry lady and the aide had a good laugh about it, as did I when it was returned.

An aide, not familiar with my belongings, picked up the bag of dirt and put it in the laundry. I use it to hold my bedside table close enough so I can reach my keyboard.

I guess the laundry staff better be careful. They never know what might end up in the laundry barrel.

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Kathleen Mears

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Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...