Independent observer and Freddy Barsoum denied visit to Freddy’s Mom

11 May

Today I went to see Mary Barsoum, Freddy’s mother, at the Care Centre. As we spoke to the reception, right away it they did not want to let Freddy see his mother in my presence. The secretary and the nurse both insisted that Mrs. Barsoum is not allowed to see her own son if he has a guest with him. This was obviously not the case one week ago when Freddy went to the Care Center with a different guest. Surely, they were not sure who I was and were worried. Maybe I’m a lawyer who can expose them? After asking why we couldn’t see Mary Barsoum together (oh, the dining room is too small), we asked if we could see her in the lobby of the Care Center all together. The nurse answered yes right away, at the same time that the secretary answered no. We were able to get her to promise to bring out Mary Barsoum at 6pm, after dinner was over, to the lobby.
As we waited for Mrs. Barsoum, the reception began to back down from what they were saying before. We can’t promise anything, said the secretary. As we tried to understand why the promise made 10 minutes earlier was not being kept, the nurse came back and informed us that “a new rule has been put in place”.
“Mary is only allowed to see 1 person at a time” said the nurse. We were confused about this “new rule”, and pressed to find out more. We were told that the new rule was made by the manager, and that it was not made for the reason of protecting the health or security of Mary Barsoum, but was made because “there are a lot of problems around this person”, so personal issues.
The nurse also advised us that if we did not want to listen that “we can call the police to escort you out”. This was maybe one of the most shocking parts of the day at all.
In what nursing home in Canada are people only allowed to visit one at a time? Even in jail, prisoners are allowed to see more than 1 person at a time. How is this cover up unraveling before us, but the police are still being used as the guard dogs of the reactionary and colonial policies?
In this society where people don’t or can’t go to visit their parents and grandparents, and where the elderly are condemned to pass their dying days among strangers, away from their communities and families, here are 2 people trying to see Mary Barsoum out of care and interest, and the Care Center, the secretary, the janitor and the nurse, all of them supposedly responsible for Mrs. Barsoums health and security, is blocking us from seeing her.
As 6pm approached, the time we were supposed to see Mrs. Barsoum, Freddy’s niece shows up at the Care Center. She strolled in, and was acting surprised that we were there. She knew the pass code to exit the Center, and was trying to find all kinds of information on me. Freddy’s niece was sent by Reggie, who was notified that we had arrived at the Care Center as soon as we signed in. His niece has become intertwined and wound up in this story, and has now been forced to choose a side. Unfortunately for her, she chose the wrong one. She chose the side of the colonial State that promotes elder abuse. She chose to be someone called in to intimidate and bully Freddy into backing down. But Freddy did not back down.
We had no choice to leave at that time, because we were officially under surveillance of Reg via his daughter.
What shocked me was how the workers of the Center just went along with this plot to separate Mary Barsoum from her power of attorney. How can the workers get roped into saying lies, inventing stories about phone calls, “new rules”, policies that are “put in place for the resident’s safety”, and many other such nonsense?
If I was working at a nursing home, I would refuse to play games and lie to families. I would tell whoever asked me to do that that there is no way I am getting involved in a web of lies just for my boss. I don’t understand why they would do that, how can this be so? We need solidarity among all of us, we are all in the same boat. We all want to have a good life for us and our loved ones. We must continue to fight because clearly there are forces at play here that are much larger than one nurse, one secretary, and one janitor. There is a whole system blocked Mary Barsoum from her son, and we want to let all those that would stand in the way of justice know this:
We will fight for the right of a family to stay together and be happy, and if that means taking the whole system down with us, we will do it.



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