Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Smart Ass Cripple’s Strict Dress Code for His Pit Crew

Sometimes I place an ad when I need to hire a new person for my pit crew. My pit crew is the group of people that pull my pants on me in the morning, wash my armpits, change my light bulbs, haul my ass around, etc. When some people answer the ad, they are quick to proclaim that they are a CNA (certified nursing assistant). And in response, I’m quick to proclaim, “I’ll try not to hold it against you.”

And then I tell them that I have a strict dress code for my pit crew. I’m like Puff Daddy. I have a certain image to uphold and I expect my posse to dress accordingly. So they can wear anything they want except a damn nurse’s uniform.

And when I say they can wear anything, I do mean anything. I had a pit crew member who often wore skirts that he made himself. He was neither gay nor a cross-dresser. That was just how he felt like dressing some days. He also wore colorful tights so he looked like a character out of Robin Hood.

All that was cool with me. Just so he didn’t look like a nurse. I know nurse’s uniforms aren’t what they used to be. They aren’t pure angel white and they no longer wear those funny origami hats. Today they wear surgical scrubs, sometimes decorated with teddy bears or smiley faces or Smurfs. But that’s even worse. I don’t want my posse wearing Smurfs!

I hate to be so rigid but it’s necessary. Because there’s no stopping some people. Back when I lived in government-subsidized housing for cripples, one of the cripples who lived upstairs hired this woman named Toni to wash her floors and dust and do laundry. And Toni shows up for work with a stethoscope hanging from her neck.

My Aunt Gerry complained to me the other day over lunch about her pit crew. Aunt Gerry's pit crew is sent to her by a home health agency so not only do they wear Smurfy scrubs but they’re also obsessed with taking her vitals. A woman comes over just to help her take a shower and the first thing the woman does is take her vitals and write them down. It’s irritating as hell. I mean, how would you like it if every time somebody came to your home they immediately took your vitals? You order a pizza but before the delivery guy hands it over he whips out a thermometer and blood pressure cuff.

Aunt Gerry is hesitant to refuse to give up her vitals because she’s afraid the agency will consequently refuse to serve her. But hell, it seems to me her right to sit on her vitals if she feels like it is protected by the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Aunt Gerry ought to be able on any given day to say she’s securing her person and if anyone wants to search her and seize her vitals they’ll need a damn warrant.

This is why I’m such a hard ass about my dress code. Otherwise, look how easily things get out of hand.


  1. It is also important in a hospital for the nurses to wake you up hourly all night long. I don't think vitals are that important until you stop having them.

  2. I agree with Roger on vitals and you've inspired me to use my 4th more

  3. They also wake you up from a sound sleep & try to give you Tylenol. I don't get them at all.

    1. My favourite is the nurse who spent 20 minutes getting me conscious enough to take my sleeping pill.

  4. My make-or-break interview question for assistants I employ directly is "as you saw in the job description, some local shops are inaccessible to me so sometimes I will give you the cash and ask you to go in and purchase things on my behalf. If I asked you to pick up a bottle of vodka, 20 cigarettes and a big greasy portion of fish and chips, how would you respond?"

    It's depressing how many would-be assistants will sit there, in an interview, and calmly tell their potential boss that they would refuse to carry out this entirely legal task that falls well within the bounds of their job description.

  5. So once I got myself exclusive fan club tickets to a hot U2 concert. I arrived early and park myself right up in front and center of the stage in General Admission, where the other early fans quickly started chatting with and forming a protective circle around me. U2's head of security got nervous, though, and came over to invite me to the special VIP section inside the stage.

    WELL OK! says I. Occasionally this whole ventilator-dependent quadriplegic thing pays off.

    I take my leave of my fellow fans (they understand) and follow the man to the less crowded area. People are coming around to peddle souvenir t-shirts and plastic tumblers of champagne with strawberries... pretty nifty. Then U2's personal security reappears to tell me they notified their EMT team to be on standby in case I have any trouble. He points just outside the heart section where two EMTs in full uniform with stethoscopes and tackle boxes are waving at me delightedly.


  6. Sometime during the 1990s, New York State decided that agencies must require that all PCA's and HHA's must start using universal precautions and wear gloves all the time. I thought about this. This was probably decided by some committee. Everybody at this committee gripped their steering wheels, probably put money into a parking meter that is out in the open and exposed to the elements, touched door handles and elevator buttons that are touch by hundreds or thousands of people a day, passed around water pitchers and cups to each other, and shook hands. None of these people took universal precautions, and exposed themselves to who knows what. And they made this rule that the people who work for us have to cover themselves while they use soap and water on us.