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Undone by a cord

October 10, 2016
by Kathleen Mears
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When I came here six years ago, the call light cord in the bathroom was too long. One of the aides made a loop at the end to cover my thumb and tied it up so I could easily pull it when I needed assistance.

Since I share the bathroom with the next female semiprivate room, at times the cord was tied up or wrapped around something, perhaps to get it out of the way. I always thought a better system would be to have a cord with a keychain-type device with a ring on the end so there would be something to put over my thumb to pull.

A few weeks ago when I came into the bathroom, I noticed the call light cord was ripped in half. I was instantly frightened. That bathroom call light is my only way to let the aides know I need help. I asked the aides if they could tie something onto it. They told me to calm down and said they would figure it out and be back.

Suddenly alone, I felt uneasy. I knew the aides would come to assist me at some point. But, it was the when that was bothering me. After a few minutes, a couple of aides came in laughing. They told me they had fixed me up – if only temporarily. They had found a length of cord in a pair of sweatpants that a male resident had thrown out. They tied it to my call light cord, made a loop for my thumb, and I could pull the call light on.

That makeshift arrangement lasted several weeks. But, slowly it became more difficult for me to pull the call light on. Then, sometimes the cord sounded a click, but the call light would not turn on.

The maintenance man took a look at it. He installed a new face plate and cord and the call light is reliable again.


Kathleen Mears

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