Something off my chest.

Okay, we all know I have this deep-seeded need to get things off my chest. Have you ever actually thought about that phrase? It’s kind of weird when one thinks about it but anyway… I digress.

Do you all know what a PCA is? It’s an acronym for Personal Care Attendant. This is a person that comes into the home and helps with daily living tasks such as, meal prep, laundry, errands, transportation to and from medical appointments, bathing assistance, dressing, cleaning, etc. Both my husband and I have qualified for these services for the past three years. We’ve had good helpers and poor helpers.

Recently, about.. oh time is fuzzy for me… three months? Four months? ago.. we hired a new agency and therefore a new PCA. The first one didn’t work out so well because she couldn’t even cook corned beef hash from a can. I even told her how. Like, four times: open can. Pour contents of can into fry pan. Stir and heat until heated through. Serve. How easy is that?

Apparently, it was not that easy at all. So, we requested a new PCA and in walked Misti. She told us on our first day together “I’ll clean your home just as I would my own. If you don’t like the way I do something, just tell me and I’ll do it differently. There’s no need to call [my boss]” This statement was witnessed by my husband’s case manager, on numerous occasions, phrased differently at various times but all amounting to the same thing. As the weeks went on, we got along great.  She cleaned well and beyond what was on her list. We continually told her that she’s doing too much, that it’s not part of her job description. She continued to do these things anyways. These things include such items as making us a pot of coffee and serving us cups of coffee (she’d also drink some coffee with us). Picking up dog messes that the dogs left behind over night, changing the cat boxes. Picking up the family room that the kids left a mess in. She’s only supposed to clean up after us adults.

As time worn on, we’d give her cigarette money, gas money, food money. We’d let her bring her kids to work with her since it was summertime and school was out and she didn’t have daycare for them. They could play with our kids while she worked, we reasoned. We let her stay with us for two weeks rent free, bill free, not even a penny towards food-free. We asked that her husband do chores around the house in lieu of all of that since they said they didn’t have a dime to their name. The second weekend they stayed with us, she got paid and went out and spent the entire check on a bathing suit for herself, things for kids and camping stuff and the family went camping (one of the times she did not take our kids with them, by the by as she didn’t always do that). They borrowed money and we forgave the debt after they moved out because we knew they were “broke.” We barely had enough money ourselves that month but I hate “loaning” money to friends because it never fails to cause a problem between friends if one cannot pay back the other, you know?

I let her bring her younger brother and sister with her to work, I let her bring her nephews and nieces with her to work. Her father came to our house once. I let her bring her dog to work. We’d sit and play cards and drink coffee while she was on the clock but her work was done. She was supposed to clock out at that point, but I’d let her stay clocked in of course. On her days that she wanted off, to make up for all the extra she did for us, we’d clock her in via the telephone system, even when she wasn’t there, so she’d not miss the money in her paycheck.

A lot of this amounts to a big no-no. We could BOTH seriously get into trouble for this sort of stuff if the boss people ever found out. I was informed of this of later on, when I *did* inform the boss people exactly what had transpired between the both of us (or all of us). Both sides. We gave and we took, as one does during a friendship. It was a two-way street the whole way through until she threw me under the bus.

So, last week… on Monday, she called out sick because she had a doctor’s appointment. She has an illness she was getting tested for. She came to work Tuesday.

Wednesday, she didn’t come to work because, she claimed, while she was at her daughter’s doctor’s appointment, her doctor’s office called her in to have two emergency tests done and she didn’t know why because they didn’t tell her. They only told her that the doctor wanted her to have these tests and that he’d put a rush on the results so that she could return the next day to get the results.

So she didn’t come to work on Thursday. She was told on Thursday that it was “nothing” after all, the doctor was mistaken… she was good to go.

She came to work on Friday.  She told me that this would be her last day because her husband didn’t want her to work anymore. You see, he had gotten a new source of income and they didn’t need her to work outside the home anymore. He had gotten a large chunk of cash via a check through the mail on Tuesday related to this new source of income, by the by.

Oh, will you look at that? That’s miraculously the day before she took two days off! Well, at the end of her day on Friday, she decided she didn’t want to quit after all and she told me she’d tell her boss on Monday that she’d changed her mind.  And she told me that the boss lady had told HER not to tell me she was quitting that day as I might not let her finish out the day if I knew it would be her last (why wouldn’t I??) and she’d just randomly send a new person to my house on Monday (and not even tell me first!!).

Well, Monday came and after Misti was supposed to show up for work, I get a call from her sister-in-law telling me that she couldn’t wake Misti up. It seems Misti had dehydrated herself over the weekend and allegedly ended up in the ER the night before for hours getting fluids pumped into her and she was very tired. *IF* she woke up in time, she’d come to work. If not, she wouldn’t.

Well, I called the boss lady and asked for a fill-in. Misti had only come to work twice last week and on her last day there, she didn’t actually work at all. She sat at my table talking on my phone to her mother, brother, sister, father, uncle, husband, etc. Her family constantly would call her while at work, that’s another thing I never minded. She did finally get a cell phone but the reception was poor in my home. So, here it was after the weekend, and I needed someone desperately to come in and help me cook and clean up, not to mention the laundry she had stopped doing a few weeks back. She had all those kids with her the prior week (about two weeks ago) and they didn’t really clean up after themselves, just took all the toys they had dug out of my son’s toybox and threw them on to his bedroom floor… I spent the day cleaning that up and I’m still working on it because it takes me so long to do that sort of thing.

Well, the bosslady started yelling at me for taking advantage of my PCA and what did I expect when I treated my PCAs so poorly? that they wouldn’t quit? The woman had me in tears by the time we were off the phone. I called Misti’s phone afterward to find out what she told this lady. Misti played dumb and said “why would so and so talk to you that way??” and so on. She got off the phone rather quickly and I had thought it was because she was actually sick. Yeah, right. I don’t believe that now anymore than I believe anything she ever told me.

(Edit: I say “yesterday” in the below paragraph but more time has elapsed since I actually wrote this post but had forgotten to push the “publish” button. This below conversation actually took place on Thursday, August 19th)

Yesterday I learned that Misti DID tell this lady that I FORCED her to make our coffee, wait on us hand and foot like a slave, pick up after our dogs and cats, and our kids. She was FORCED to cook for our kids, babysit our kids and so on! Never once did Misti tell this bosslady the stuff WE did for her! NOR did she tell her that she was not FORCED to do a damn thing and in fact INSISTED on doing much of those things! Yes, we asked her to make pots of coffee for us since I can’t pour the damn water into the thing because of my shoulder and my husband can’t stand up long enough to do it, but she did it because SHE drank most of the pot! My husband and I would get a cup each out of it and she’d drink the rest! Yes, she picked up after the dogs but TWO of the dogs I have came from HER. And she’d bring HER dog to work and despite what she may think, yes her dog does go poo in the house! I’ve caught her dog doing it several times. But I didn’t tell her cause she’d beat the poor thing for it.

There is lots more that I am not saying that I witnessed that I could say. There is a lot more. But none of that matters to me. What hurts is the fact that she said these things behind my back, putting my services in jeopardy and then LIED about doing it. After I learned from *my* case manager that it was in fact Misti who said these things to the boss lady, I had called Misti directly to ask her why. Why didn’t she just say something to us, as she had asked we do for her if there was ever a problem. She denied it. I asked “Why would they say you said it if you didn’t?” and her reply was, “I don’t know but I don’t have time for this. I’m picking out stuff for … blah blah blah.” She was too busy shopping.

I was told she “misses me.” Bull. The money must’ve ran dry. Girl, this is one bridge you done burned.

Obviously, I have learned from this mistake (or many mistakes). I am not going to become friends with the helpers anymore. I am not going to let them do “favors” for me anymore, no matter how much they insist that they want to or don’t mind doing it. It’s only what’s on their list from here on out. I’m not going to do them favors anymore either. No more loaning or giving money or letting them use my vehicle after hours.  I wasn’t out to hurt anyone. And I don’t want anyone to hurt me again, either.

Also, I need to add, that this isn’t the first time this woman has lied to me, either. The first time so so silly, that I brushed it off. You see, she wanted to go to a water park in a town about an hour away and she was telling me all about it over the phone. It sounded like great fun. I think I invited myself to go along on the trip but I am not quite certain how it got mentioned that I, and my kids, might go with her. She was going to call me the next morning (a Saturday) and let me know where/when to meet with her. I didn’t hear from her. I did hear from another family member who told me she didn’t know where Misti was, but the last she had seen Misti, she was with her brother doing an errand for this family member. So, I said, okay. Later the next day, I heard from a different family member on Facebook all about Misti’s trip to the Water park. Misti had told me the later on Saturday night that she had not gone to the water park after all because she couldn’t get her check cashed and so went with her father and brother to a different watering hole and made it a family only day. I said “Oh okay, no problem. Glad you had a good time.” On Sunday, when I learned that she lied to me, I talked it over with my father.

He said that I should let it go because she probably felt obligated, as my helper, to invite me along and didn’t really want me and my kids on the trip. So, I let it go. Days later, she brought up something about giving someone money on Saturday, the day she didn’t get her check cashed. It killed me to keep my mouth shut, and I said “I thought you coudn’t get your check cashed on Saturday?” and she looked at me with her eyes tearing up and her jaw quivering. I felt bad. I told “It’s okay, I already know you lied to me because so and so told me you went the water park on Sunday. Please, just don’t lie to me. You’re not under any obligation to have me go with you anywhere.” and we talked it out.  She promised never to lie to me again.

Now that I know that she has, this is why I no longer believe her about anything. It seems she lies about everything, big and small.


2 Responses to “Something off my chest.”

  1. August 25, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Thanks!! I’m glad someone got some use out of it besides me 🙂

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