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Friday, May 22, 2009

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.

For years and years, Horticulture Therapy has maintained the waterfall in the Hospice which was above and beyond the original contract. This was a job that we did year after year, repeatedly fixing and tweaking until last summer when things got out of hand. No Horticulture Therapy staff were actually trained how to do this, but we have taken our own free time and put in personal effort to learn how to do a good job. I thought that the issue was resolved with the agreement stated below but, the issue keeps raising its head...

It all started late last spring before Memorial Day when I cleaned out the muck and mire in the lower pond of the waterfall at the Hospice because they were complaining that it was dirty. Its amazing, the nurses will become gardeners... plant flowers, plant veggies...but they won't fix the pond. That's too dirty they say. Got it running and thought it was doing OK. However, a few days later, I started get distressing emails and then phone calls, that the pond was loosing water. Shut it off, I said so that the pump doesn't burn out. But we have visitors coming, so they started putting in a couple of inches of water once a day and kept it running! ERR!

I eventually ascertained that the pond had a leak somewhere that I couldn't find... and the nurses were filling it every shift. So I pursued obtaining professional help from the contractors (that involves $ and no one wanted to pay) who installed the pond in the first place. This wasn't easy nor was it quick since I have one assistant, a flower shop, and 4-6 patients. During this time, I shut the water off. The Hospice turned it back on. I turned it back off telling them that turning on a pump in a pond that was leaking was like driving on a car with a leaking tire. It is making matters worse.... FAST. Since I couldn't be convinced to turn the water back on, the staff called the Patient Advocate and complained saying that the patients were complaining that the waterfall wasn't on.

He told me to turn it on and "they" would deal with the consequences. That was about 11 months ago.

Fine. I said, I will no longer fix the pond and I put it in writing. In my note that was noted and approved, it stated that Horticulture will return to the original agreement that was made between Horticulture and Facilities Management. The agreement stated that Horticulture would weed, mulch, and take care of plants around the waterfall. The rest was the Hospital's responsibility. This is something that we know and are qualified to do... not large ponds. Of course, no one was thinking that I was really serious but I was tired of being harassed and verbally abused.

Finally, after about a month, the company sent a crew to look at the pond. They said the pond had a serious leak in the liner because rodentia had chewed through the liner. The rodentia liked all the birdseed that the nurses and therapists continued to put out even though pest control told them that it attracted critters. The liner needed to be replaced and the spillway rebuilt. Additionally, it needed a new pump since the one in the pond was not running properly.

Off went the waterfall. Of course this time, the Hospice had to listen this time, since the "contractor" said turn it off.

I have been officially relieved of the duty of cleaning and maintaining the pond. The Hospice was notified. The pond is now under contract. However, it has not been cleaned.

This has been viewed as an injustice by the Hospice staff so they complained to the Patient Advocate again.

The Patient Advocate summons me on Thursday while I was working in front of the main building. When are YOU going to work on the Hospice waterfall, he asks/demands. It is not my responsibility, I answered. He asked me why I am not doing the waterfall, I said because they call you every time that they don't get what they want. I told him that I would never do anything to intentially hurt a patient. Of course, no comment. They can deal with a contractor now.

When will I ever learn? No good deed goes unpunished.


  1. It's amazing how things go sometimes. It's hard to know what lines to draw, and where. Sounds like you've resolved them in a good way. Good luck with that.

  2. You are so kind. The issues rebound, and so must I rebound. As the years go on, rebounding is not quite so easy. Thanks for listening!