All In A Day’s Work……….#262 (the 2000’s)

Colony Park

Colony Park

Before Gary’s employment Roto-Rooter was a frequent visitor to Colony Park,  an on-call maintenance person not always available in the past.  The facility having two length of the building 6 inch sewer lines, the west side line the only one to every back up, it started in the kitchen traveling south the length of the building to the city main line on E. Orangeburg Ave.   The last area before exiting to the street was the Alzheimer’s wing where most backups occurred.  The residents flushing wash cloths and sundry items causing a backup sometimes all the way to the kitchen before being discovered.  Gary soon found a contributing factor, the building contractors failed to install a kitchen grease trap, consequently forty years of grease had been deposited down this 6 inch line.  Armed with a  100 Ft.  3/8 inch hand cranked snake and a 75 Ft.  3/4 inch electric he managed the weekly backups.

M. Santos & Sons

An afternoon call for a backup originating in the kitchen, Gary snaking the familiar clean-out but the 3/8 inch auger coming to a halt,  the electric 3/4 inch blade too big to make the 90 degree turn into the 4 inch kitchen accessory line opening.    A call to Roto Rooter, they too unable to clear the line deciding to inspect with a camera.   The camera revealing the entire embedded pipe network beneath the kitchen concrete floor showed signs of  collapse followed by another casualty,  the camera got stuck and a growing concern, the kitchen unable to run any water and may have to shut down.  Placing a call to inform the administrator, then scouring the valley yellow pages in search of a plumbing source who would respond, the only response was to schedule a later date walk-through appraisal.  During a conversation with a non receptive spokesperson they suggested calling M. Santos & Sons an industrial plumbing contractor.  Gary finding  Tony Santos in the office, agreeing to stop-by and appraise the situation later that afternoon.  With Santos and Administrator Brad’s arrival Tony pointed out what would be involved with a cement floor, the time element, the removal of the cement, the noise of  a jack hammer, replacing the pipes.  Brad expressing the possibility for the kitchen to remain open, Tony relating the crew could work at night and  lay down a plywood covering so the kitchen could still function during the day and his crew could start in the morning.  Included with the proposal was the installation of an outside  below ground grease in the blacktop alley behind the kitchen.  Sashi Singh the dietary supervisor remained calm and collected taking the event in stride, her staff  utilizing paper plates, cups and disposable utensils for resident food service. The outside hot water outlet provided for cleaning the delivery carts was put in use to clean the cooking accouterments.  Much to Gary’s surprise the project was completed in four days  including the installation of the  grease trap,  the project costing over $23,000.

Brad Kikuta

 Administrator Brad Kikuta never hesitated in displaying his appreciation to the 120 employees of  Colony Park.   During the spring, summer and fall Gary would wheel the two barbecue grills outside and he and Brad would grill hamburgers, hot dogs or tri-tips and chicken for the facility staff.  Sashi, the dietary supervisor would provide the salad, sides, drink and condiments, the night shift able to partake of left over’s, but also receiving delivered pizzas.  Gary and Brad volunteering to grill when social services provided outdoor lunch events for residences and attending family members.  Gary having experienced the stewardship of authority in his years of employment but never witnessed the leadership quality of Brad.  His somewhat shielded concerns included the outward appearance of Colony Park, personally making trips to Home Depot to purchase flowers and roses bushes to acclaim the area beneath the windows of the residence room,   Gary proposing a large gazebos for the grass center area of the circular drive in front of the building, Brad concurring with the idea.  The Environmental Services supervisor starting a cost-effective search but unable to find a ready-made suitable gazebo putting forth a plan to build the structure himself.  With the purchase of the material he enabled his project,  Brad taking time to assist in the pouring of a concrete slab and the laying of a 24 inch wide stone  pathway  giving  access to the gazebos.  Gary wasn’t surprised when receiving a request for three more similar structures in the fenced-in resident patio area including the same stone presentations.

Sashi, Gary and Brenda

Sashi, Gary and Brenda

With the department supervisors involved in a diversified number of ongoing projects, quality assurance headed the list,  each department given an investigating assignment.  The supervisor would draw the name of a skilled nursing facility in Modesto,  visit and introduce themselves as a friend or family member of a prospective resident,  inquiring and asking about a tour of the facility.   Upon completion of the visit they file a written record of their assignment and during a reporting meeting verbally critique the physical appearance, room cleanliness, kitchen, dining areas and social activities. Other more interesting department work related sessions included a 70 mile retreat to Jackson and the Jackson Rancheria Casino, the group caravaning by car for the lunch endowed meeting.  On another occasion a retreat to Columbia and the state park, Gary inviting Sashi Singh the dietary supervisor and Brenda Miller, medical records department-head to travel with him, on their return the three stopping and being introduced to his 87-year-old mother who lived a short distance from the park.   Gary’s ongoing responsibility at Colony Park although sometimes trying was never without challenge.

A 9:00 a.m. morning department supervisors meeting having concluded,  all were to return at 11:00  for an in service presentation concerning the Alzheimer’s unit.  It wasn’t unusual to have a ‘all department’ in service, Gary having attended and logged hundreds of healthcare related contact hours from in services in the past 2o years, the group assembled, the speaker, a psychologist introduced.   Gary’s interest coming to attention, the presentation was on the environmental shell that accompanies dementia and the onset of alzheimer’s, the doctor provided insight to actions that the caregivers can take and changes to the physical environment of their area.   The example of a more home like atmosphere in the day room being given and another example being to provide a cabinet beside each residents room entrance, the occupants having a shelf for some type of family memorabilia or pictures.  Gary mentioning his interest in the project, Brad suggesting he look into the cost and feasibility,  his search for a cabinet or reasonable facsimile was nil. Everything even close was either too big or enclosed in glass which was an absolute no in the alzheimer’s wing.  Gary wasn’t without a plan B,  when all else fails, build it yourself.   The project wasn’t complex, traveling to Home Depot for the wood, Don’s Mobile Glass honing the 1/2 inch clear plastic for the front.  With maintenance assistant Ray Hernandez assisting he furnished nine  2 ft. x 3 ft. x 8inch wall mountable cabinets with a sliding plastic front cover plate.  Enclosed in the cabinet was a shelf for each of the rooms three residence.  Gary mounted the finished products with welcoming results cataloging it as ‘all in day’s work.

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