Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Asking for Help

Dad lives in an independent living apartment in a senior citizens’ complex. Ever since he got out of rehab after a hospitalization at Easter, he’s been complaining of difficulty sleeping. When I’ve asked what he thought the problem was, he’s been vague, occasionally suggesting that he was having trouble getting the temperature right in his bedroom.

Dad’s apartment is always too hot for me. When we’re there, I sleep in a recliner in the living room, and Daughter gets a couch. Since there are separate thermostats for the bedroom and living room, at bedtime I adjust the thermostat down in the living room, turn the ceiling fan on high, and make sure the recliner is positioned to get the breeze from the fan.

So, I wasn’t surprised that Dad’s apartment was hot when we arrived. When I checked the thermostat, I found that though the AC was on, it wasn’t cooling. Dad told me it wasn’t working right. I found that the thermostat was loose, and if I pushed it in, the AC would come on. The second night Dad told me to leave his bedroom door cracked so that he could get some of the cool air in his bedroom. I asked about the AC in his bedroom, and he said it wasn’t working. I went in to investigate, and found it was blowing out room temperature air.

The third night it was cooler, so I opened windows in the living room and bedroom and turned off the air. Monday morning I went down to the front desk and put in a maintenance request. (I knew they wouldn’t have many maintenance people in over the holiday weekend.) I asked Dad if the AC had worked at all this Spring/Summer. He said he didn’t think so. When we left to do some shopping at stores that he isn’t comfortable driving to, he expressed concern that they wouldn’t come fix the AC with no one home. I went back to the front desk and asked the receptionist to tell maintenance to go into the apartment and fix it even if we weren’t there.
As we were out and about, Dad said, “You know, maybe the reason I haven’t been sleeping well is that it’s been too hot in my bedroom.”

One of the reasons Dad wanted to sell the house was because he didn’t want to deal with maintenance issues. He didn’t like calling plumbers and such, and doing things himself was becoming too difficult. When they moved into the apartment, he celebrated the freedom from those responsibilities and how easy it was to just call maintenance to deal with the problems. Several years after he moved in to get this freedom, he still hasn’t learned to take advantage of the services that are provided.

When we returned from our errands, the maintenance man was in the apartment. He had tightened the thermostat and replaced the heating/cooling unit in the bedroom. He was finishing replacing the one in the living room. The morning after the units were replaced, I called Dad.
"How did you sleep?"
"Best night's sleep I've had in a long time. I think the air conditioning helped."
I guess next time he complains about difficulty sleeping, I'll ask about the condition of the heating/cooling units. Sigh.

No comments: