When we arrived home the weather was chilly and the winter snow was starting to melt. I got my schedule for my new nursing job at the nursing facility in Wathena, Kansas. I had applied for my temporary Kansas license. I had three months that I could work there before I had to start gathering nursing credits to receive a permanent license. The credits were expensive and I would have to take a week or so off without pay to travel back and forth to Topeka. Sometimes they had classes in Falls City, Nebraska that would work for Kansas but I jut couldn’t afford to take the time off and pay for the credits. I decided to work there until my license expired and find work in Missouri, in Missouri the credits weren’t necessary as long as you attended In-Service meetings which the institution you worked for paid for and they were held during the daytime, I usually worked evenings so I had to come in during the daytime to attend the meetings or on my evening off. They would be held just one day a month.
At the end of my 3 month temporary stay in Wathena I had applied back at Citadel where I had worked when I first graduated nursing school. The administration had a new name but the facility was still Citadel.
In the Fall of 1996 we learned that Kelvin’s step-dad, Larry Higdon, had been diagnosed with Prostrate Cancer and it had spread to his bones and Lymph glands. The Doctors said this may be his last Christmas and wanted all the family to come to California to visit for the last time. Kelvin’s family wanted us to come to stay for the whole month of December. I didn’t know how I would be able to get that much time off but decided to check with the Administrator’s wife to see how much personal time I could take under the circumstances. I hadn’t been there but a few months so I knew it couldn’t be much. With much trepidation and dread I eased my way to the office at the end of the shift before I went home for the day. I worked the day shift there as I had always wanted to, the day shift seemed to be able to do more things, any parties etc were usually held during the day and the other shifts were always left out of pot luck dinners for the staff etc..
I waited for another person to leave the office and went in. I had my coat and my purse in my hands, sat down in one of the chairs. Before I could say anything she told me I was fired because the VA had sent a van to pick up a patient to take to the VA hospital in Kansas City and when they sent him home instead of back in the van the way he had come they sent him home in a cab. He, of course, didn’t want to go to the nursing home, he wanted to go to his home where he had lived with his daughter and granddaughter. The granddaughter was in school and not at home and his daughter was working in Cameron. He walked up the sidewalk to the granddaughter’s school and sat in the Principal’s office waiting for the granddaughter to get out of school and take him home and let him in the house which was locked. The granddaughter called her mother who called us at the nursing facility and wanted to know why her father was out wandering the streets when he was supposed to be at the home? I was outside on break, they came and got me since I was his nurse for that day. I spoke with the daughter and explained that we didn’t have anything to do with his taking the cab home instead of taking the van. We had sent him in the van, he should have been sent back in the van. She agreed with me that it didn’t appear to be our fault it was the VA’s fault and talked as if someone was going to be sued. She, however was nice to me and was glad I had answered her questions. Mr. Fox the administrator was upset and afraid of a pending lawsuit. I tried to explain that the daughter didn’t blame us, but he was mad and upset enough that he wanted someone fired over it and since I had been his nurse for that day he decided it would be me. I explained to Mrs. Fox, how was it my fault that the VA sent the man home in a cab instead of the van? I had sent him in a van etc… Anyway I definitely got the time off I needed.
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