Veronica James loved her job as a CNA where she worked at Paradise Hills Retirement Center in her hometown, Paradise Hills, California. She loved all the residents she worked for, but one in particular touched Veronica’s heart. When a resident takes a turn for the worse, it breaks Veronica’s heart. But when another CNA falsely reports Veronica of abuse of the resident, Veronica loses all hope and faith when she is dismissed from her job. Will the truth come out and save Veronica?
Veronica James had been a CNA for 20 years and was as devoted to her residents as ever. She even won several Employee of the Month awards during her years at Paradise Hills Retirement Center. All the residents loved Veronica, but one resident in particular always looked forward to seeing Veronica come to work, Betsy Carlson—a 70-something lady in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Veronica was running late when she arrived at Paradise Hills 30-minutes late. Betsy was worried for Veronica and was in a frenzy as other staff members tried to calm her down. Nothing worked until Veronica showed up on the floor, wondering what was going on.
“What’s going on?” Veronica asked when she came onto the scene at the nurse’s station, only to find Betsy worked up. But she seemed to calm down when she saw Veronica.
“Veronica, you’re here.” Betsy said, wiping her eyes.
“You know I’m always here for you.” Veronica said, trying to reassure Betsy.
“I’m sorry.” Betsy exclaimed as Veronica took her in her arms. “Can we go somewhere quiet? I need to talk to you.”
“Sure, Betsy.” Veronica told her.
Veronica wheeled Betsy to her favorite spot in the fountain in the courtyard of Paradise Hills. Betsy loved the serenity of the flowing water. It gave her peace to be able sit there in her wheelchair and she loved Veronica taking time to be there with her, despite her heavy workload. It showed how dedicated Veronica was to her job.
“Don’t leave me, Veronica.” Betsy pleaded with Veronica, as they sat outside the fountain.
“I won’t Betsy, but what’s really going on?”
“I got news from my doctor. He told me my Alzheimer’s is getting worse.”
“Oh, Betsy, I’m so sorry. Is there anything I can do?”
“Just be there for me.”
“I will.” Veronica said, as she hugged Betsy. “You know I always will.”
“You’re the only one I have in this world.” Betsy told her.
“You have your children, Betsy.”
“They don’t come to see me anymore.” Betsy cried.
Veronica remembered that Betsy’s daughter, Cassandra, was just here last week. How could Betsy forget that? Then it hit her! Betsy’s illness was starting to get worse.
“Veronica, can you do something for me?” Betsy asked.
“Can we go fishing?’
“Fishing?” Veronica asked. “I don’t think the facility will allow me to do that?”
“Oh, please. I miss fishing with my family.”
“I’ll see what I can do.” Veronica said, not being very optimistic the facility would allow that.
“Thank you.” Betsy said. “It would really mean a lot to me.”
“It’s almost time for dinner. Shall we head inside for a bite to eat?” Veronica said as she pushed a piece of Betsy’s short black hair from her teary eyes.
Veronica wheeled Betsy back inside Paradise Hills and into the cafeteria-like dining room. Betsy felt at ease and felt hope that Veronica would come through for her and give her her request.
It hit Veronica hard to see Betsy going through such a trying ordeal. Then it came to her: Betsy wanted to go fishing. Veronica went shopping and found a virtual reality game that would allow Betsy to “go fishing” anytime she wanted. It was almost like the real thing.
Veronica arrived at the Paradise Hills and showed the game to Betsy.
“Why did you bring me that?” Betsy said bitterly. “A game on fishing? I hate fishing!”
“But Betsy, the other day-“ Veronica started to say but stopped short knowing it wouldn’t help to remind Betsy.
“Okay, I’ll just leave it here and let you visit with your daughter.” Veronica told Betsy before leaving Betsy’s room, to check on other residents.
An hour later, Veronica went to answer Betsy’s call light.
“I wish my family would visit more?! Don’t they care anymore?!”
Veronica just tried to reassure Betsy, knowing that telling Betsy that her daughter was here an hour ago wouldn’t help matters.
“Do you need a snack or something, Betsy?” Veronica asked Betsy hoping to take her mind off her troubles.
“No, I need to go to the bathroom!” Betsy said harshly. “My call light has been on for an hour and no one came!”
“Okay, let’s go, Betsy.” Veronica said to Betsy, knowing she answered Betsy’s call light right away.
As soon as Veronica helped Betsy with her activities of daily living (ADLs), she helped Betsy lay down in her bed to take a rest until dinner time. Sylvia, another CNA came in to take Betsy’s vital signs as Veronica was leaving Betsy’s room. But Veronica heard Betsy yell out in pain as the blood pressure cuff tightened around her arm.
Veronica peeked inside Betsy’s door while Sylvia spoke harshly to Betsy.
“Betsy, please, relax so I can get your vitals!” she told her impatiently.
“Get that thing off my arm!” Betsy said as she ripped the blood pressure cuff from around her arm and trying to get up but Sylvia shoved her back on the bed.
“Betsy, please, just lay down and relax.” Sylvia yelled at her and slapped Betsy across the face.
Stung by the harsh treatment inflicted on her, Betsy lay still fearing for her life.
Veronica was appalled by what she just saw Sylvia do. She was just about to report it to the Patti, the director of nurses (DON) when Sylvia came rushing out of Betsy’s room, suddenly aware that Veronica had witnessed the whole incident.
“Veronica!” Sylvia yelled after her.
“What do you want, Sylvia?”
“Don’t think you’re gonna tell on me!”
“You struck a resident, Sylvia! That’s abuse and I have to report it!”
“You’re going to be sorry if you do Veronica!”
Sylvia saw her chance to keep Veronica from reporting her.
“Oh, Veronica, could you check on Mrs. Campbell. She needed a change and she wouldn’t let me do it.”
“Yes, Sylvia.” Veronica said sweetly.
As soon as Veronica headed for Mrs. Campbell’s room, Sylvia headed straight for Patti’s office.
“Patti, I need to talk to you.”
“Yes, Sylvia, what is it?” Pattie asked.
“I don’t know how to say this, but I just witnessed something bad.” Sylvia told her.
“I don’t know how to say this, but I think I just witnessed Veronica hit and shove Betsy and she harshly yelled at her.” Sylvia told Patti.
“Okay, I will handle this, Sylvia. Don’t tell anyone what you have just said.”
“Yes, than you.” Sylvia said with a sly smile on her face after leaving Patti’s office. “Good luck, Veronica. You’re going to need it!”
Veronica was called into the D.O.N.’s (Director of Nursing) to answer some questions.
“Veronica, I know you are a good CNA, but I’ve got a complaint that you’ve been abusive with a resident?” the D.O.N. informed Veronica.
“Abuse? Are you kidding me?” Veronica said flabbergasted. She knew who did this. Sylvia. The CNA who abused Betsy while taking her vitals. “I don’t understand? Who is it I’m supposed to have abused?”
“I’m not at liberty to say since we’re investigating the case.” The D.O.N. explained to her. “I am putting you on suspension pending investigation. If the allegations are false, you’ll be back to work. If you’re found guilty, you’ll be terminated and lose your CNA certification.”
Veronica couldn’t believe that she was being accused of abuse? She had been a loyal employee for 5 years and she was on the verge of losing her job because another CNA reported her own abuse and accused her of her own crime.
As Veronica walked out of the D.O.N.’s office, she could see Sylvia looking sullen. But Sylvia was thinking to herself, “See what you get when you go behind my back, Veronica? Let’s see you get out of this one, bitch?”
Now that Sylvia had brought Veronica to her knees, she was the head honcho of CNAs. Veronica wouldn’t be able to rule the roust any longer.
But Veronica intended to oust Sylvia as the one who abused Betsy Carlson and frame her for the crime. Sylvia wouldn’t know what hit her!
When Veronica got home, she decided to use the time off work to do her own investigating. And she was going to start with looking into Sylvia’s past.
While Veronica was on suspension, Betsy Carlson took a turn for the worse and was on life support and dying. When Sylvia came into check on her, Betsy whispered to Sylvia that she wanted to see Veronica.
Kneeling over the bed, Sylvia whispered into Betsy’s ear, “Veronica doesn’t work here no more. You only have me now.”
In Betsy’s delirium, she cried, longing for Veronica’s gentle touch. Sylvia didn’t care to hear Betsy whining and decided to put an end to Betsy’s pain, first making sure no one saw her, flipped the switch on the life support machine. As Betsy coded, Sylvia called out “code blue” as the floor nurse rushed in to see what was happening.
“Sylvia, I see you were first on the scene? Why didn’t you administer CPR?” the nurse asked.
“Gee, I’m sorry, I thought she was a no-code?” Sylvia defended her actions, knowing full well Betsy Carlson was a full-code.
“No, Sylvia, Mrs. Carlson is full-code.” The nurse reprimanded her.” “It’s even on the name plate outside her door. Don’t you ever notice the color-coded stickers outside the residents room.”
“I’m forgot.” Sylvia cried.
“Well, because you didn’t begin CPR, Mrs. Carlson is dead. I pronounce the resident dead at 3:47 p.m.” the nurse said, as the D.O.N. came into Betsy’s room.
“I’m sorry I’m late. How is Mrs. Carlson?” the D.O.N. asked.
“She’s dead. And Sylvia neglected to administer CPR which may have saved her life.”
“I thought she was a no-code.” Sylvia continued to repeat.
“Well, begin post-mortem care and I’ll call the mortuary to pick up the body.”
As Sylvia began post-mortem care on Betsy, she smiled slyly knowing Veronica would be the one in trouble for the death of Betsy Carlson. She intended to make sure Betsy Carlson died from the abuse that Veronica did.
Veronica was still sleeping the next morning, when she received a call from the nursing center.
“Maybe they found out I’m innocent and I can resume work.” Veronica said to herself before answering the cell. “Hello?”
“Veronica, I’m sorry but the resident in question has died and you’re being terminated immediately. You won’t be returning to work. I’d get a lawyer, because now the charge will be for murder.” The D.O.N. informed Veronica.
Veronica dropped her cell as the D.O.N. hung up. Murder. She was being charged with murder. She would never work there again. If found guilty, she would be going to prison.
She had to get the proof that Sylvia did this.
Veronica opened up her laptop and typed in Sylvia’s name in the search bar of her browser.
What came up blew Veronica away……