It has been six months of working at this place… I’m not sure if I should be sharing this story but I feel I need to. The main point of this is to never EVER put your parents or grandparents in a retirement home. So here we go…
For the past few months I’ve been working at a retirement home. I will not reveal the name to keep myself and others safe. There is an AC unit and an IC unit.
AC is Assisted Care and IC is Independent Care. As a server you see everything, people fading away day by day. Old people’s limbs sagging and barely working, their shivering hands, and their bodies deteriorating… it’s horrific but after a few months sadly you get used to it. I spend most of the time in the main building that smells of rotting flowers and death. The air barely working and the carpet stained with lines indented into it from walkers and electric wheelchairs. The kitchen has the faint smell of weed and cleaning supplies, sometimes the scent of occasionally good food cooking.
After taking a deep breath, wanting to gag from the smell of the building, I walk into the kitchen. As soon as I do, I see food thrown on the floor and one of my co-workers, their face red with rage as he stares at the cook holding a knife… I walked away, ignoring the drama.
I check my schedule on the wooden lined cork board where announcements and such are placed.
Today I was being placed in the Assisted Care building. I have never been there before. A memory suddenly strikes me, a man I was serving started to panic and shake more than usual, I tried to calm him, placing my hand on his bony shoulder and sighing as he has spilt his hot soup all over himself. Two men dressed in white shirts and tan pants walk over and dismiss me… I walk back to the kitchen looking at the chipping paint on the walls when I hear the old man yelling;
“I’M NOT GOING THERE!!! YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!!!” he pleaded and I looked from the corner and saw the men dressed in white shirts drag him away by his arms and one carrying his walker.
One of the other waitress stood by me.
“Don’t worry, they do that all the time, it’s for his own good.”
For his own good… those words seemed sinister, and the way the men carried him away. Something was… off.
Someone taps my shoulder, waking me from my thoughts.
“Go get the supplies for next door.”
I nod my head hearing the distant yells of the old man in my head.
I walk into the walk in fridge, the cook and one of the waiters inside hitting a dab cart, the whole fridge smelling like weed, I cough slightly and grab some lettuce, cheese, some week old pie and ranch dressing. I walk out of the freezer and sigh, I think I prefer the smell of weed to the smell of this place.
After placing my supplies on the cart, I grabbed the keys and headed across the parking lot to the Assisted Care building. It looked like an old church building, I listen to the rumble of the wheels and take in as much fresh air as possible. Once I get to the door I unlock it and walk into the asylum white hallway, hearing the buzz from the flourescent lights ringing in my ears. The floor is stained with sticky stuff that I don’t want to know what it is, my shoes making a squeaking noise with every step.
I wheel the cart into the small home sized kitchen. No one is here yet. I see a note on the metal counter.
“Blend the salads and desserts for the residents, add more dressing if clumpy.” – Mandie.
I look at it and furrow my brow then shrug it off, taking the cheap puree machine, and pouring in one single serving salad at a time, I then pour it in eleven different bowls, each looking disgusting, like baby food, I feel a bit confused by this. After pondering for a bit the cook walks in. She’s tall and had beaded hair that reaches her hips, she’s very kind but not talkative at all. She begins preparing the food, taking the puree machine and she begins to blend everything, telling me to bring out the salads. I look down at them in disgust…
I load up a tray carefully and carry it on my shoulder to help with the weight. When I walk out it is extremely quiet… abnormally quiet.
I handed a woman her salad puree and she looked at me and nodded. I look at her back and smile, her cracked lips seemed to have a bit of blood on them. I move on and look inside the kitchen, holding my tray after passing everything out.
The food was blended, completely, baby food level. I almost gag at it. I look down at the food before putting it on my tray.
When I walk out again I see the man from my memory. He was being wheeled into a room down the hallways by a nurse, I stare for a moment getting lost in thought. I set down the food for the resident in front of me, my brain scattered. When I go to the next resident, I’m so out of it I spill the orange-ish mush all over the her… the strange part was…
She didn’t react…
She just looked blankly at the wall. Her eyes not even moving. The nurses rushed to her and started cleaning up the mess and I start wiping the table.
No one spoke… the silence was deafening it’s was scary almost.
I bite my lip and rush back to the kitchen, only to return to the dining area to find the woman and nurse were gone. I shrug it off but am suspicious a bit…
After my shift is over I walk and look at the list of deliveries, only one.
The man who was in the hallway.
I prepare the tray and begin walking to his room, accidentally slamming the swinging door as I leave.
I walk down the long hallway and the sound of they styrofoam squeaking echoed in the dimly lit hallway.
“Room 123,” I think to myself and get to the door. There’s a small light on the door, if it’s red no one can come in and if it’s green someone can. I gaze at the small quarter sized light before taking the handle…
When I walk into the room it looks exactly like a hospital room.
Freddy was in a bed with gauze in his mouth. I walked to the edge of the plastic white hospital bed and set his food on the side table.
When I turn to leave I feel a cold hand grab my arm. I turn to see Freddys’ terrified, fear filled eyes. My heart ached for him.
Suddenly he pointed to the gauze.
He pointed again.
“Take it out?”
He nodded and I did ask he asked… I carefully removed the bloody threaded gauze from his mouth.
What I saw next made my heart stop.
Stitches held part of the bloody stub together but definitely not enough. I breathe hard, my heart pounding, my body instinctively backs into the wall as a tear runs down my cheek.
“W… what did they do to you???!” I ask desperate for an answer… he points to the food.
He shakes his head no.
He nods yes.
Next to him was a cup of ice water, I look at it as his shaky hand pulls out a dripping ice cube.
My mind races, remembering every small detail of my work here, the pureed food, the strange men, the nurses, the silence… the missing tongue…
I turn and run back to the kitchen, ignoring everything around me… this can’t be real… no way..
I rush into the assisted care kitchen and rip open the freezer door, there’s nothing there. I sigh in defeat, then remember the independent living.
I run out the building and across the parking lot.
“If they ask I’ll just say I need more ice cream… it will be ok… it will be ok,” I repeat in my head.
When I get over there I open the freezer and a cold breeze hits me hard. I breathe in the cold air then start searching through the frozen desserts, pies, cookies, and meat.
Finally I come across a plastic bag full of something red. I wipe off the frost and feel like my chest has been stabbed. I scream as I drop the bag and it rips open from hitting the wire crates. Dozens of human tongues spill out of the bag. I hold back vomit as I run out… covering my mouth with my hand, only to find fleshy, bloodied, tongues in a pan covered in seasoning and bits of blood on the metal counter.
I vomit on the ground in panic, my heart slams in my chest and I break through the swinging doors of the kitchen, sweat pouring down my face along with tears, my throat raw from stomach acid.
How can this be happening?!
They’re feeding them human meat!!
I tear off my apron and name tag, slamming them down on the front desk quitting on the spot…
I’m too afraid of what will happen if I report it…
To this day I refuse to EVER… put anyone in a retirement home…
I advise you to do the same.