No job, no alternative at the moment, due to exceptional circumstances. I decided to emigrate. This experience was indeed extraordinary. It was also a life lesson.
I arrived to the United Kingdom on the 18th May, 2015. The Elate training 1 happened in Cheltenham, on the premises of the Company. I had a week of intensive training. Elate training one. Everything went well. I received two uniforms and a service coat, a set of sheets, a pillow and a duvet. I was lodged in the nursery staff house during this period of time. Loved the United Kingdom. The green landscapes, people, houses, everything.
In the nursery were other five ladies and two men. Among them a lady with whom I have established ties until now. Sometimes I woke up and hoovered the floor early in the morning. Being myself, obviously. Also cooked in the microwave early in the morning too. Everyone laughed at me because there was nothing to do, it was so spontaneous!
On Saturday, the 23rd, left to Biscester in the car that was given to me the day before when finished the course, with my friend the Set Nav or GPS. We were sent to staff houses or live in accordingly to the applications of each others. I thought I was going to the same place that my friend but at the last moment we were separated. That morning a young driver emerged aggressively asking if I wasn’t going to leave the room. I told him that yes, I would come out in half an hour. He went and came back teasing me. I was so calm trying to tell him that I would leave in my car. However, my friend, aware of everything, came to talk to the young man. When he realized that he had the wrong person went down her nose and was out of there very confused. I figured his pressure in the bound.
I came to Bicester. I went into the house and waited for the colleagues who lived in the house to settle down. Among the grunts they got me space to put my stuff in one of the rooms that I shared with the young lady A, also they got me space in the kitchen. Everything seemed fine. After one week the atmosphere was awful. They do not care about hygiene. I cleaned the house from top to bottom. Every day I washed the dishes and cleaned the kitchen. These tasks gave me pleasure as I consider those people my family.
Since then I became lonely. Traveling from early morning until late at night. Life was driving, working and sleeping after bathing. Didn’t have time to attend calls or talk to the family. I did it once a week on a day off or gave up a few hours of sleep to reply to e-mails or talking over the internet with family and friends.
At some point the members of the house began to complicate with me for using the kitchen, laundry or shower when I finish work. In England our shower means bath. I meant a shower. That is the most enjoyable when possible. Then they invented that I used things like shampoo, creams or food and that even I stole things. I was terrified to come home, then worked all the time. My route was Oxford. Came back to shower and sleep. Living in the car. It was a terrible conspiracy!! My frustration and emotional pain increased day by day.
I liked my route. Was affordable although labor-intensive. I had done shadowing with two people and enjoyed the job. At first I didn’t have customers. When I started having steady clients I did my best trying to get the hours done, also making the difference in dealing with people. Started early and ended at 8.30 pm 09.00 pm the latest.
At the beginning I can say that I liked the three girls. Then everything changed … Everything in life changes, I stopped being confident and brave! I became a person paralized with lack of self-respect because of insecurity. But back home, it was possible? What is going to think family and friends? I wonder if they would think I didn’t care for the work? On the other hand, would they support me with the minimum livelihood as they did during so many years? No! stay here!
I asked the supervisors to moving me to another house but they made deaf ear. When I become exhausted I spoke to the boss of the company. I moved to Bampton on the 28th June, 2015 after a long waiting period of time and many endeavours. Shortly before my change S and C already were talking to me and they told me they have been aware of the conspiracy against me and explained me why they created that conflict. The house didn’t fit more than three people. Had only one bathroom. All leave early between 06.00 am and 07.00 am and come back between 21.00 and 22.00 pm. The most important for all was having shower, eat and sleep as soon as possible, in order to be well the next morning by 05.00 am. It is the struggle for survival.
At Oxford I started the day by 06.45 m in the house of a nice man that even though he was in the kitchen making meals did faeces into his comodo in the room. It should be noted that there was a toilet next to the kitchen. The work over there was giving him a bath, serving tea and toast three times a day and help him to go to bed at the end of the day, in the fourth visit of the day.
My second visit was a lady with dementia (Alzheimer’s). Was polite despite having forgotten many details of her life. The work in that house was giving her medication, bath, prepare and serve the porridge (OAT flakes) for diabetics. Made two visits to this house during the day. Early in the morning and at bedtime. At night gave her medicines and dinner. Put the food in his mouth. She was a real lady. I could understand her kindness behind the dementia.
Further was going to another client, a woman with dementia less accentuated. I did the house four times a day. She was pleasant, independent and happy. I liked her.
Was required to login and logout. If not, we received phone calls warning with authority that the office would not pay us in the case of forgetfulness of the login or if stay at client’s home less time than indicated on the route. If the client needed more time, the extra time was not paid. Should respect exactly the route delivered by them. Although it often did not apply.
Then a pleasant and polite woman. Despite his health problem wanted to give me some consideration. Went there in the morning and afternoon. The work there was giving her medication that was carefully stored in a vault which key I used was deposited in the key safe of the house. We talked a little bit every time.
After, a very elderly lady with very little mobility, thin and fragile. Shower daily, helped her put herself into the tub and get out of it. Helped her dress up and wear the shoes. Prepared, served and gave her in the mouth the breakfast, prepared lunch and serve and leave ready food for the night. I had thirty minutes for her but many times spend there more time, almost one hour.
I had a client to whom I served only lunch. Very friendly even. Gave pleasure to prepare and serve his meal. Sometimes I stood in his backyard to eat my lunch, with his permission, of course. Didn’t have time to go home. The schedule of route was impossible to achieve if I went home.
Everything is complicated, the subject of conversation was the same, the company excluded the travel time. Among the miles not paid, the fuel, the distances between clients and the time we could take more or less on the client, just find reduced the ability to proceed without comment with the managers. Before moving to Bampton the Company Owner gave me another car. Better, bride new.
In Bampton were new customers. I had to get used to new customers as well as other roads and locations. I did for one day, my friend’s clients. It was traumatizing to see the sick behavior of some of the customers. Be on the outside of the toillet waiting for the client to defecate. After that, the client’s call to bath or simply wash the anus. Certain client cleaned the anus with a folded piece of iron in the edge. My role was to observe. Taking care of people is an honorable profession. Becomes dishonorable when some people think of us as being trash.
Governments want to charge taxes. I think it fair. However, they should oblige the employer to give us safety conditions at work. Should inspect and organize periodically inspections. Get to tell the families of patients that care assistant does not mean slavery, yes they should be loved and respected too.
Installed myself in the room of my friend in the staff house in Bampton. It was fun to be together. It was so comforting to have someone to talk to. We do laughed flashing back the day activity. Sometimes my friend fought with the girls in the house because of the lack of hygiene and order. Also protected me. Thin, beautiful, fragile but firm.
Both adapted our way of being facing the circumstances. Yes, that was the case we have to protect ourselves. We were alone and dependent on the company, away from our homes! We were vulnerable. With unscrupulous people around us.
To fulfill the routine, I was off at 06.30 am. I got to the first client at 6:45 am. Steps to give her the bath: first two plastic legs on her legs, not to get their feet and half-leg wet. Poor feet that deserved to be well washed. Washing her head, dry and put a fancy hat. My gloved hands laid into her fat skin in the front and on the sides, smelly inside. Ass chubby and stinky. When I’m done, my hands are full of water, because the gloves are not suitable for bathing and shower my shoes were water soaked, too. Inside their sloppy and dirty property, she is a queen who silently despise the person who takes care of her.
Dementia causes the illusion of power and beauty. Once dressed, she was ready for eight more days of only dress up and get sticky and smelly again.
I leaved for another trip into the property of an elderly couple in which both have dementia. Surrounded of its green lawn and ornamental trees along with a beautiful garden visibly unkempt, these elderly people are living the dilemma of Alzheimer’s disease. The husband treated me by name but could also distracts me at any time. For him a care is someone homeless who steals food. Want to have a domestic slave and at the same time someone who take care with professionalism and ethics. Satisfied his need to exert overbearing and inadequate authority. It’s hard to do what is right. The woman, sometimes don’t know how to walk but could suddenly stand up and go to bed and lie down alone drawning her legs smiling.
The work on this property is hard. “We’re going to take care of your hygiene?” said me. “What does that mean?” She said. “Well, Pee, shower, brushing hair, think well” I said. “Oh dear yes!” She agreed. When she can’t walk, it complicates things. She got deep pain in the bones and yell to dress up. I counted “1,2 and 3 lift foot, hold, ok fine. Now the other foot, 1,2 and 3 lift hold, ok. Good girl, you did good.” “Oh dear!” She exclaims!
Listen carefully to what she spoke. Sometimes in his dementia talk things settled, she wants to keep the peace in the house. She knew that her husband is a conflicting person. Cunning, hiding behind the dementia his real self. In a quiet day she takes a shower, comb hair, dress up and walk around the house. I prepared and served her breakfast. She is lovely. He remains lying in bed until I tell him that she was sitting at the table eating breakfast and that my time there ended.
It is no longer possible to dressing and undressing the Lady due to the intense pain she felt. In addition to dementia had bone problems. I suffered with her pain and felt no pleasure in thinking that touching her hurts her. One day I had to call an ambulance and was a traumatic experience. Some one made me insistent questions, made me feel afraid. “What went wrong? How did it happen? Why? In what yea rwas she born?” Anyway … The Lady’s husband ripped the phone from my hand when he felt that I was terrified. At the end we were told that for this case wouldn’t be send an ambulance because she was breathing.
However, I talked to my manager and the next day the doctor came to the house when I was present in the same service. He explained that the family do not wanted to take her to any institution. I told him what was my job there, time to stay and why in my opinion the couple should have a specialized person full time service.
Did that trip four times a day for ten days more. On the 10th day I went there in the morning to take care of them. I had finished my service there. I was worried, yet, nothing else could do.
The manager of Whitney seemed sympathetic. On the other hand, started to put on my route an elderly gentleman with incontinence of faeces for fifteen minutes twice a day. At first the job was to prepare and serve lunch. I couldn’t get that house before 19.00m. Then I was told that the person needed a bath. I requested more time and explained why. There was poop everywhere and dirty diapers. A penetrating odor. My thinking in that house was “Is all about to go outside”. I spent time cleaning up and even gave him a bath. Came out of there with a willingness to take a shower. Even so it was gratifying to read a smile in his eyes and realize that had made the difference. Fifteen days after having put his dry poop pads in bags to throew away into the rubbish bin started to fill tired and got dry irritating cough all night over.
I wrote to the manager explaining everything and why had lost so much time in the house. I told her that I was feeling sick.
The manager of Whitney called me to include in my route another person, according to her five hours twice a week just to take him for a walk. Huuum …
Then drove for another 20 minutes to get to another client. A lovely woman in a large and well cared property. The service there was wash and dress her up on a daily basis, make the bed and tidy the bathroom. On Mondays she showered and changed clothing to wear, to sleep and changed the bed sheets. In that house I had 30 minutes.
From there I went to another lady with a high degree of independence. The work on her house was serving light meals four times a day, making the bed in the morning and pouring the urine of the comodo. Wash the dishes and clean up. This lady had medication and at the same time was taking alcoholic drinks. She was an interesting and educated person anyhow, could act with intolerance if been drinking. I reported that.
Then the heaviest psychological and physical service. An elderly woman, bedridden, in a good mood despite poor health. Breathing oxygen from a machine 24 hours a day, kept high self-esteem and gently explain what she wanted. Marked also the difference between her and my class. Had 1 hour to her. Started by bathing her, massage with cream full body, prepare and serve breakfast, prepare and leave near her food for the day. Wash up the dishes, clean the bathroom, put laundry machine to run, folding the laundry and tidy. Finally went up to 500 m getting her newspaper. I’d never been able to do 1 hour in the house, always between 20 to 30 minutes more.
Whitney again, to lunch in Bampton around 14.00. Back to the service at 16.30. In the days when was going to Wintage had no time for lunch. Worked straight. This client was suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s and had incontinence of faeces and urine. The family used to clean him. I would have to take him for a walk because he didn’t like to be at home and commonly got lost.
Many times I felt emotionally hurt. There was no time to call the family and resources were scarce because of having to pay for the fuel. The company did not treat us with consideration and the managers treat us like slaves or persons without feelings. I don’t know what kind of people they were dealing with. I do know that they were relentless and efficient in creating episodes of terror.
Without the elderly couple, went heading directly to a very elderly lady, cheerful and kind, to serve the tea time in Whitney.
From there moved to Caterton and after to East End again through the Cuckoo Lane.
The scenario concerning the company was the same. There in Bampton made 250 miles’ day. The fuel was not paid by the company. Just received the time on the client. After three months working in the United Kingdom start realizing the disadvantageous. Had no way to send money home unless spend the authorized overdraft. Eventually being another problem.
Every day, every week and every month, the days were the same. The day off was the only different if by chance we don’t get asked to do more and work effort.
I was used to going to the doctor on my day off or was at home resting, doing my laundry, room or take care of the areas of the house that needed hygiene.
I always said I didn’t want trouble. They knew that I only went out to customers.
I was happy because I finally was not always at home. I felt useful working. Did the most and the best. All of a sudden, I got a call from the Office for a meeting. I thought: “what’s happening?” Was the manager of Whitney? Greeted her and asked what was going on. In threatening tone began by saying that I was refusing customers. When asked who, raised the volume of voice arguing that she didn’t know. I told her that she shouldn’t have called me there, without first, being well informed about who was rejected and in this case asking me why. Then she said that I spent more time at client’s home and that this conduct was unbecoming in respect to company policies. I went away from there. She was talking and didn’t hear me. I chose to leave the premises and go home.
Some time past. The manager appeared in the staff house with the Whitney’s manager. They asked me to deliver my car keys which I had just clean up and top off with a full tank. Took also the business phone. I ran out of ground and was very scared. I went into the bedroom and sat on my corner. I asked for a written letter to deliver the car and the phone. When it was sent I gave them the keys and the phone.
Lived in a staff house, are they going to put me on the street? Anyway, during the conflict of women at home, tempers running high, my friend up and down mediating communication between me and them. I decided to have lunch. My friend after the confusion just wondering how I could eat in such a situation. I couldn’t explain. I told her that they won’t get also my appetite.
I got suspended, convened to research meetings, which I was not able to attend. I was sick with very high blood pressure. I talk to my family and prepared my return home after having reported to the Company Owner my decision because of my health problems compounded with the fact that I felt vulnerable as never before.
When I arrived to Lisbon hugged my little girl. Even the baby seal!!! Although I didn’t know how I felt! I kept looking at my mother. Now I come back. Come back with emotional pain, with fear of tomorrow.
There will always be a tomorrow grey because there are no employment opportunities and social support.
I trust that I will be able to turn things around. I Think about that I have worked every day, all day, every day, from 1977 to 2009 in the land that gave birth to me and I have no right to anything. Neither grant nor reform! That’s life! That’s scary!
I want to believe that one day soon I’ll get it. I’m going to make it!
No job, no alternative at the moment, due to exceptional circumstances. I decided to emigrate. This experience was indeed extraordinary. It was also a life lesson.