For the last couple of days, I have brought Anthony home for the day. On Sunday, friends came over to see him/us so that was fantastic but yesterday he opted for a quiet day with just Ming and me. Today, I just went in late (4pmish) and grabbed him to come with me to do a few errands: groceries, returning dvds, pizza for Ming etc.
So, as I was trying to get him to walk to the door and outside to the car, I asked the couple of nurses who were helping us if they liked pizza. Their eyes lit up (as mine do when I hear ‘pizza’) so I said I was going to get pizza for Ming and I would love to bring them some too. Then, a very interesting conversation ensued:
Nurse 1: We’re not allowed to accept gifts.
Me: It’s not a gift – it’s pizza!
Nurse 2: I like pepperoni.
Me: What is the problem? I hate these stupid rules.
Nurse 1: Well, if you give us anything, and we accept it, it could be misinterpreted as bribery.
Nurse 1: No, no (laughing) we know you but the rule is that if we accept any gifts from relatives we might be in trouble because it might seem like the relative is doing it to get better care for their loved one.
Me: OMG but I bring chocolates and pistachios and olives in all the time and share it around. Does everyone think I’m a briberist?
Nurse 2: Of course not! We know you but we just have to be quite careful about this sort of thing, because of the rules.
Nurse 1: I like Hawaiian.
Me: Okay, so when I come back with Ants, I’ll just put the pizzas at the desk anonymously?
Both of the nurses nodded and we all had a chuckle but as Ants and I drove around town doing my errands and then ordering the pizzas, I asked him what he thought about the bribery nonsense and he said, “That’s what it’s like at the school, Jules.” (He always calls the nursing home ‘the school’).
Anyway, I wasn’t taking any of this seriously until we got back to the nursing home. The first thing I did was to place three large pizzas on the nursing desk (nobody was there so my secret was safe). Then I went back to help Ants into his room and chair. I turned his light and television on and then we shared a bit of his own pizza, then I left.
On my way out, I heard one of the kitchen staff quizzing Nurse 2: Where did those pizzas come from?
Nurse 2: I have no idea – they just appeared! But I am really grateful.
As I leapt to the exit door for a quick getaway, Nurse 2 called out, “Have a great evening, Julie.” I just hope that when they eat those pizzas, they also eat the boxes because my fingerprints are on them!