16 June 2017

A Ghost Story Told by the Ghost by Robert Spearman

A Ghost Story Told by the Ghost

JUNE 5, 2017 – Rice Paper Press is pleased to announce the official release of Georgia native Robert Spearman’s new novel, Obadiah: A Ghost’s Story. The new novel fits into the historical fiction, Southern gothic, and magical realism genres with a plot that keeps readers guessing as to what will happen next.

The plot of Spearman’s novel takes place in 1905, Hahira, Georgia, where Obadiah Sampson, a carpenter’s assistant dies while helping to build a strange house for one of the town’s wealthiest families, the Stanleys. Two angels bar him from entering heaven and enlist him for an undefined mission. He later assumes his task is to protect the Stanleys from their arch rivals, the Leiber family, a clan who will stop at nothing to reclaim a treasure in gold and diamonds. Obadiah soon meets the Stanleys' eight-year-old daughter, Avie, who has the unique ability to see and talk to the kindhearted ghost, and Obadiah forges a grandfatherly bond with the young girl. After a family tragedy, Obadiah learns his true task is to protect Avie at all costs.

Obadiah: A Ghost’s Story is available online at all major booksellers including Amazon.com in both Kindle, paperback, and hardback versions. Currently, the new novel holds a 4.7 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon, and customers continue to leave high marks and great reviews for Obadiah.

One recent reader said, “I read hundreds of books each year but it is seldom that I read one that makes me laugh out loud several times and then makes me cry at the end. I loved the setting, the characters, and the story. I can't remember when I've enjoyed a book more.”

More information about Obadiah: A Ghost’s Story can be found on Amazon at http://bit.ly/PR_Obadiah.

About Robert Spearman

Spearman was born in Hahira, Georgia, where he attended Lowndes High School in Valdosta and Georgia Christian School in Dasher. Over the past twelve years, Spearman has lived in China where he attended Beijing Normal University and became fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

He is the author of Carnies and Wildcats: Ulciscor, A Time for Diamonds: From the Case Files of Oatmeal and Grits, General Lee’s Jacket: From the Case Files of Oatmeal and Grits, and the upcoming novels T. H. E. Knight and Escape from Oddities.



Contact Rice Paper Press:

Ms. Etta Mims, publicity contact for Rice Paper Press
Phone: 229-834-2668

Contact the Author:
srspearman@gmail.com

Twitter: @SpearmanAuthor
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RobertSpearmanAuthor

22 May 2017

Show Gratitude to People Who Love You

Show Gratitude to People Who Love You

1. Share a specific example of something they did for you and how it made a difference in your life.
2. Do something little but thoughtful for them—like clean up after Thanksgiving dinner!
3. Give a long, intimate hug; or if you know they don’t like hugs, stick out your hand for a handshake to cater to their preferences and make them smile.
4. Tell them you’re there if they have anything they want to talk about—and let them know they have your full attention.
5. Give them something of yours that you think they would enjoy, and let them know specifically why you want them to have it.
6. Invite them to do something you know they’ve always wanted to do.
7. Encourage them to try something you know they want to try, but haven’t yet because they’re scared.
8. Offer to do something you know they don’t enjoy doing, like organizing their closet or mowing their lawn.
9. Compliment them on a talent, skill, or strength that you admire.
10. Look them straight in the eyes and say, “You make the world a better place.”

Show Gratitude to People Who Challenge You

11. Fully listen to what they have to say, instead of forming your rebuttal in your head and waiting to speak.
12. Thank them for introducing you to a new way to look at things, even if you still don’t agree.
13. Pinpoint something you admire about their commitment to their beliefs—even if you don’t hold them, as well.
14. Resist the urge to tell them they’re wrong.
15. Challenge them right back to be the best they can be, with love and positive intentions.
16. If they inspired you to push outside your comfort zone, thank them for inspiring you to take a risk, and let them know how it paid off.
17. Write a blog post about how they helped you see things differently and dedicate it to them.
18. Use the lesson this person teaches you through your interactions, whether it’s patience, compassion, or courage.
19. Introduce them to someone who may challenge them and help them grow, as they’ve done for you.
20. Let them know how you appreciate when they challenge you in a loving, non-confrontational way—and if they don’t do that, be calm and kind when you ask them to do that going forward.

Show Gratitude to People Who Serve You

21. Give a larger tip than usual.
22. If they have a tip jar, include a thoughtful note of appreciation along with your coins or bills.
23. Smile when you order or enlist their assistance. Smiles are contagious, so give one away!
24. If they serve you regularly, acknowledge something they always do well—like work efficiently or stay calm under pressure.
25. Exhibit patience, even if you’re in a hurry.
26. Let their superior know they do an outstanding job.
27. Keep their workplace clean—for example, at a coffee shop, clean up after yourself at the sugar stand.
28. Offer to get a coffee for them, if it’s someone working in or outside your home.
29. If you have their contact information, send an email of appreciation—and let them know you just wanted to express your gratitude, so they don’t need to write back.
30. Praise them in a review on Yelp and/or recommend them to people you know.

Show Gratitude to People Who Work with You

31. Write a hand-written thank you note, acknowledging things you value about them and their work.
32. Offer to lighten their workload in some way if you are able.
33. Bring back lunch for them if you know they’re working hard and likely haven’t had a chance to grab something.
34. If you’re running a meeting, keep it short to show them you appreciate and respect their time.
35. Ask them about their lives instead of always being all business. This doesn’t mean you need to pry into personal matters; it just means showing an interest in who they are as people.
36. Be the calm, light voice in a stressful situation.
37. Give them flowers to brighten their desk.
38. Let their boss know how they’re doing a great job and contributing to the company.
39. Listen fully if they’re having a difficult day, and recognize if they need space to figure things out on their own, not advice or help.
40. Remember the little things can make a big difference!

Show Gratitude for Yourself

41. Make a list of ways you’ve impressed yourself lately.
42. Treat yourself to something you enjoy, like a pedicure or a massage.
43. If someone compliments you, thank them and let them know you’re proud of that skill, talent, or accomplishment.
44. Compliment yourself—say it while looking in the mirror, write it in a journal, or jot it on a sticky note and put it on your refrigerator.
45. Give yourself time to enjoy a passion you’re sometimes too busy to fit in.
46. Take an inventory of all the good things you’ve done for other people and the world.
47. Write yourself a love letter. Seriously, start with “Dear Lori” (but insert your own name) and describe all the things you admire about yourself.
48. Let go of any conditions you have for being kind to yourself—meaning you appreciate even if you didn’t accomplish or do anything specific.
49. Schedule a date with yourself—an afternoon or evening that’s all about you.
50. Share the beauty that is you with the people around you, knowing they’re fortunate to have you in their lives.
I am fortunate to have you in mine. You make the world a better place!
About the Author...
Born in the New York, R.M. Villoria began his writing career as a prolific songwriter. After two back-to-back tours as a Marine in Vietnam, Villoria spent the next few years owning and operating a myriad of businesses and in 1992 returned to writing, this time appeasing his appetite for suspense and horror fiction.
 
Years in the making, his ghostly tales touching on the underpinnings of quantum physics and the paranormal are now ready for the public. As his first published work, Villoria presents readers with Volume One of his series “Tales From the Mind Field.”
 
Villoria has a son and daughter and now lives in Las Vegas with his Wife.


22 December 2016

The Holiday Visitor



THE HOLIDAY VISITOR

By
R.M. Villoria


Copyright 2013  R.M. Villoria
This story is the property of R.M Villoria. No portions of this story may be performed, reproduced or added to by any means or disclosed to, quoted or published in any medium without the express written consent of R.M. Villoria

It was November of 72’; I remember it easily as the same year I quit smoking, drinking and drinking coffee; though I have now fallen off the proverbial wagon as far as coffee is concerned. I was working at a large retail outfit getting ready for the coming holidays. It was on one quiet afternoon that I experienced a phenomenon that proved to be more common than imagined.
You’ve had it happen I’m sure. You’re someplace, anyplace and you see a dark shadow of sorts out of your peripheral vision, maybe even right in front of you. You don’t give it a lot of thought until that day or maybe the next day or two you learn that someone you know has died. You give it some thought perhaps and then simply dismiss it as nothing. I myself have had this happen on more than one occasion. The first time that I was truly cognizant of this phenomenon, I was standing at the copy machine where several of the sales offices were built along the perimeter. I stood in front of one such office looking straight ahead making copy after copy for one of our client companies that had requested copies of all of their statements for the year so they could reconcile their records. There was no one in the office at the time and the lights were out so the glass window in front of me created more of a reflection than anything. I noticed it was 2:30 in the afternoon on the clock above the machine. As I stood there making copies, I glanced up and saw the shadow of a figure behind me. I spoke, “I’ll be done here in a moment” and I was. As I turned around, there was no one there. In fact, there was no one within 100 feet or more. Odd I thought and went about my business. The next day my brother called me there at work to inform me that my mother had died.
            “Oh no” I said, “When did it happen?”
            “Around 2 or 2:30 the day before.” came his reply.
            He inquired whether I would be able to go to Phoenix and begin attending to Mom’s affairs, as he was tied up in corporate meetings and wouldn’t be able to leave until later in the week. I agreed, and so later that evening I prepared to drive to Phoenix to attend to things related to my mother’s death. It was on the drive that night somewhere on the Pearblossom highway that I began thinking about the shadow I had seen that afternoon and it struck me that the time my brother had told me Mom had died was exactly the time I saw that shadow behind me.
As the years went by, I heard and read many more stories about people who had experienced similar situations, only adding credence to the notion that death may well visit prior to its actual arrival.
Coincidentally, a few days before Christmas in 1980 I was dating a gal who was open to my theories about the matter. One evening while we were sitting on the couch in her living room, she abruptly disengaged from our “hugging”, to exclaim, “Did you see that?” I honestly had to say that I hadn’t since I had been similarly engrossed in our… uh, shall we say, “hugging?
She swore that she saw a dark figure move across the room and then disappear. Pathetically, so chivalrous was I at the time, I acknowledged that, in fact, it was possible that she might have seen such an apparition, but that she shouldn’t give too much thought to it at that very moment since there were much more gratifying things going on between us. Anyway, two days later she called me crying. Her father in Colorado had died two nights ago. Okay, that got my attention and I talked with her at length about how that was actually a good thing that she had perhaps been “witness to the actual time of her father’s passing.
I accompanied her to the funeral where she told family and friends of her “visit”. Some believed it to be interesting, while a few simply shook their heads in wonderment. 
It was several years later as I was doing some last minute Christmas shopping at the mall on my way to my sister’s house for some holiday cheer that I seemingly had yet another experience. Yes, this time I saw it again. In the window reflection at Macy’s; there it was, a dark shadow over my left shoulder. It passed right over me and suddenly shot upward. I turned to see, but there was nothing there. A shiver went down my spine as I immediately reflected on the past experiences I have had. I wondered who it might be. Someone I know? Someone close to me? What a terrible time of the year to lose someone, right at what’s supposed to be the happiest time of the year and suddenly someone dies. Although now feeling a bit down from my thoughts, I finished my shopping and walked out to the parking lot. I decided that I wouldn’t speak of this incident to anyone tonight so as not to put a damper on the party atmosphere with my sister’s guests. The parking lot was filled with shoppers going to and fro with their packages. I could not, however, shake the thought that someone somewhere was going to be crying this holiday season.
The commotion ahead distracted me from my thoughts momentarily as I witnessed several people rush to the aid of someone who had no doubt slipped on the icy pavement. A small crowd had now gathered around who ever it was that lay on the ground. Signs posted in various places warned of the icy conditions, but invariably people rushing about with their shopping failed to heed the warnings and, often with arms flailing and packages flying, ended up on their rear ends. I reached my car just steps before them and, remembering that I was already late to my sister’s gathering, quickly got into my car so as not to be held up any further.
I arrived at my sister’s home around 9:30. Everyone else had arrived much earlier. As I walked in, I was taken by how quiet it seemed for a holiday party. I immediately saw my sister sobbing as she was being held by her husband. My brother was sitting on the couch, his head down in his hands. Several others of her guests were somber and whispering quietly among themselves. There it was I thought thinking back on my “vision” from only an hour earlier. Once again, I had experienced that moment perhaps when someone we knew had lost his or her life.
“Sis” I called out as I dropped my packages and stepped further into the room, “Who is it? Tell me what happened.”
Her grief was I guess too much for her to even hear me and respond. John, her husband, slowly looked up and stared past me. He too seemed overwhelmed at the loss of whoever it was. No one was speaking, even when I addressed a couple sitting next to my brother on the couch. Everyone seemed entirely consumed by the loss of someone they all must have known. I sat down on the piano seat in the corner and just waited. I finally addressed my brother.  “Richard” I began, “Who is it? Who died?”  His head slowly rose from his hands as he seemingly acknowledged that he had heard me though he looked away towards my sister.
“Richard” I repeated, “Tell me.” He got up slowly and without speaking walked over to my sister and put his arms around her and her husband.  Why was no one speaking to me? I wondered. It was as if I was invisible there in the room with them. I stood up abruptly and spoke loudly, “Why is no one answering me?” I said
As I looked around the room, suddenly I knew.

THE END.

28 August 2016

In The Night

IN THE NIGHT

I don’t know exactly what woke me that night, but as I lay there in the darkness, I glanced over at the clock. The illuminated numbers on the face read 3:24. I felt my wife stir on the bed next to me. Her hand touched my arm. “You okay?” she mumbled half asleep. “Yeah” I whispered. “It’s okay, go back to sleep, sweetie.”
 As I got up and shuffled across the bedroom carpet, I felt as though there was a presence of something unknown, unseen lurking in the house. I suddenly caught something out of the corner of my eye, a dark shadowy mass moving swiftly towards me from the corner of the room. Was it an intruder in my home bent on burglarizing? We really had nothing of any significant value that would be a reward for this action. Or was it something else, something more sinister. Before I could even react, it moved silently and quickly and seemed to suddenly envelop me. I felt my movement stifled as if a carpet had been thrown around me. In an instant, I felt an incredible pain at the base of my skull and everything went black.
As I slowly came to, I opened my eyes. My world was upside down; I mean literally upside down. I felt the tightness of the constraints around my ankles as I hung there high above the backyard of my own home, the blood rushing to my head, everything turned about. My vision was blurred from the pain of the blow I had sustained earlier. I was hanging some forty feet above the ground by my ankles in the middle of the night. But how I thought did this intruder string me up in these trees at the end of my property? I looked from side to side and could make out no ropes or pulleys that would have been used to lift my body weight up to this height. As I strained to see my surroundings in the darkness, I heard a low moaning nearby. I squinted as I peered to my left. There, about ten feet away hung yet another figure; a person also hanging by their ankles from a nearby tree. As my vision cleared, I could make out that it was my neighbor, Charlie. I heard him moan in pain as he hung there motionless. What in God’s name was going on?
I tried calling out for help, but no sound came. I yelled again and again, but there was nothing. It was as though a mute button had been set to extinguish any sound I could make.
Now as my eyes continued to acclimate to the darkness, I began to see that there were others also hanging here in the trees. All hanging upside down like possums caught in a trap. Helpless and confused as to what was happening to us, I again called out in the darkness. Once again there was silence. Not a sound came out of me.
Suddenly it began. Not a reply to my call, but something more unnerving. A low guttural growl if you will, that permeated the darkness, like that of a large beast warning of its presence as it sized up its prey. It seemed to be coming closer and I heard the branches of one of the nearby trees crack and break as though plowed through. Then a sudden very short human scream cut off abruptly as an even more terrifying sound began. It was that of something eating, chewing, and devouring something up here in the trees. The gnawing and grinding of teeth like that of a pack of coyotes fighting over their catch. I strained to see what it might be, but I could only make out a dark shadowy movement some fifty or so feet away. Although large in size, it glided effortlessly from one hanging figure to the next. The screams of pain and horror cut through the moonless night like a knife would cut through bone as this monster ate each helpless hanging being that had this horror befall them. I knew it was only a matter of time before it would reach me. I frantically rubbed my ankles together to see if there was any give in the rope that bound them. There was none, and the movement only served to increase the pain that was now shooting through my legs.
Then there was silence as this black shadowy mass moved about the yard. In the distance, I heard yet another scream and then nothing. The distant barking of a dog was suddenly replaced with a painful yelp and then quiet once again. Were there more of these monsters elsewhere in the neighborhood I wondered. Moments turned into long numbing minutes as I hung there trying to understand what was going on. I thought of my wife and daughter still in the house unaware of the terror outside. In the darkness, my mind raced as I tried to imagine what manner of being this bodiless creature was and where it had come from. Then without warning it appeared again and passed right through me. The stench was vile; like rotting death itself. It moved into the trees on the other side of the yard and as I watched it disappear, I saw there were more figures hanging in the darkness. Like myself, and those around me, they too hung upside down. Some wriggled and squirmed as though trying to break free; some simply hung there motionless. Some cried, while some simply moaned in pain. I heard a woman’s voice near me cry out asking for help from a higher being. We hung there for what seemed an eternity until a sound arose in the trees. It was coming back now, it’s thirst for our blood still not quenched; its hunger not abated.
I watched as the shadow moved silently through the trees stopping at each hanging “station” as if at a buffet line picking and choosing each entrĂ©e and then slowly devouring it with such deliberation; ripping apart the meat of its victim and chewing on each one. I watched as the uneaten remains fell to the ground below leaving a dark stain on the ground. It was only a matter of time now that my own fate would be sealed in the grasp of this unknown horror. I watched as it slowly moved towards my neighbor. He turned his head and looked over at me. His fear causing his eyes to bulge as the monster dissolved his skull in its dark shapeless mass. I watched the bloody remains pour from him to the ground below. Then it turned and slowly moved towards my house. My wife and my seven-year-old daughter were sleeping in there, unaware of the terror taking place just outside. I yelled out to warn them, but still there was no sound coming from my body. As the dark shadowy mass moved into the back of the house, I heard it knock over several things. That’s when I heard Cindy’s voice scream out, “Daddy, where are you, Daddy?”
“I’m here sweetheart. I’m coming” I cried, but she couldn’t hear me. No sound came from me. I continued to hear her screams as she ran from room to room searching for me. I wrestled and squirmed to try and loosen the ropes around my ankles, but again to no avail. Then I heard her final scream. It was horrible. It only lasted for moments though it seemed an eternity. It was punctuated with the same horrifying sounds I had heard earlier as the others hanging with me were systematically being devoured. Suddenly, my wife’s screams pierced the night air. I could see her at the bedroom window crying. Then I saw the darkness take over the room behind her. I watched as she was encircled by the mass and her crying stopped. The window exploded outward and her bloody remains spewed out the window as though she had been jettisoned from a cannon. What was left of her landed on the lawn below, I felt my tears burning my eyes, as I had just witnessed my family destroyed by this ungodly creature that had no real form. It glided out of the house and moved silently towards me. It was time; I knew it. There was nothing left for me to live for now anyway and so I simply resigned myself to the fate I knew was about to happen. It moved up close to me. The smell was disgusting as it stayed right in front of me without moving. I could almost feel it touching my face. I closed my eyes and turned my head away. It was then that I felt the horrible pain of its teeth as it tore deep into my skin and clean through to the bone. I screamed in agonizing pain and then everything went black.
I don’t know exactly what woke me that night, but as I laid there in a pool of sweat in the darkness, I felt my wife stir on the bed next to me. Her hand touched my arm. “You okay?” she mumbled half asleep. “Yeah” I whispered. “It’s okay, go back to sleep, sweetie.” I glanced over at the clock on the nightstand. The iridescent numbers on the face read 3:24. As I got up and shuffled across the bedroom carpet, I felt as though there was a presence of something unknown, unseen lurking in the house….
   

THE END

This is but one of the short stories you'll find in Vol Two of the series Tales from the Mind Field coming in late 2016.
Don't miss out on any of the stories in Vol One available right from any of these sources:

17 July 2016

Are you Happily Married?...or....

Successful couples are savvy. They read books, attend seminars, browse Web articles and observe other successful couples. However, successful couples will tell you that they also learn by experience — trial and error.
Here are 10 principles of success....

  1. Happiness is not the most important thing. Everyone wants to be happy, but happiness will come and go. Successful couples learn to intentionally do things that will bring happiness back when life pulls it away.
  2. Couples discover the value in just showing up. When things get tough and couples don't know what to do, they need to hang in there and be there for their spouse. Time has a way of helping couples work things out by providing opportunities to reduce stress and overcome challenges.
  3. If you do what you always do, you will get the same result every time. Wise couples have learned that you have to approach problems differently to get different results. Often, minor changes in approach, attitude and actions make the biggest difference in marriage.
  4. Your attitude does matter. Changing behavior is important, but so is changing attitudes. Bad attitudes often drive bad feelings and actions.
  5. Change your mind, change your marriage. How couples think and what they believe about their spouse affects how they perceive the other. What they expect and how they treat their spouse matters greatly.
  6. The grass is greenest where you water it. Successful couples have learned to resist the grass is greener myth — i.e., someone else will make me happy. They have learned to put their energy into making themselves and their marriage better.
  7. You can change your marriage by changing yourself. Veteran couples have learned that trying to change their spouse is like trying to push a rope — almost impossible. Often, the only person we can change in our marriage is ourselves.
  8. Love is a verb, not just a feeling. Everyday life wears away the "feel good side of marriage." Feelings, like happiness, will fluctuate. But, real love is based on a couple's vows of commitment: "For better or for worse" — when it feels good and when it doesn't.
  9. Marriage is often about fighting the battle between your ears. Successful couples have learned to resist holding grudges and bringing up the past. They remember that they married an imperfect person — and so did their spouse.
  10. A crisis doesn't mean the marriage is over. Crises are like storms: loud, scary and dangerous. But to get through a storm you have to keep driving. A crisis can be a new beginning. It's out of pain that great people and marriages are produced.

Copyright © 2009, Mitch Temple. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

21 June 2016

Common Sense....not so Common.

     Common sense....often times I hear someone say."Don't they have any common sense"? The obvious answer is "No"
     Because common sense isn't something someone just has.  We're not born with common sense. It has to be taught and shown examples of. For generations now, it simply hasn't been. Why? I really can't answer that except to  conclude that somewhere over time people just got tired of thinking things out and decided to just do whatever was easiest and damn the consequences.  I've related a story countless times to not only my children, but others who have posed that question outlined at the beginning of this piece.
I dated a gal for a short time many years ago who had a young son. His bedroom was an absolute disaster. You basically couldn't see the floor. I being something of a neat freak apparently intimidated this girlfriend into trying to get her son to clean up his room. She would send him in there time after time to clean up but he would inevitably end up sitting on the side of his bed staring at the wall. You know, that deer in the headlight stare. The girlfriend would say to me "I don't get it. By this age you'd think he'd have enough common sense to see how messy his room is and want to fix it"
I finally gave in to my temptation and sat her down one afternoon for a chat. Her own room wasn't anything to shout about either though she tried hard to impress me with her limited domestic abilities.
I asked her if she had ever...I mean EVER gone into his room and showed him HOW to clean his room? After some thought she conceded that "No, not really "showed" him but told him what to do. Of course for most of his formative years he had only to glance into his Mom's room for the example.
     Expecting people to behave in a certain way means that you believe that they may have been taught to yet, sadly that is not necessarily nor even commonly the case. So the next time you see young people or even adults behaving badly and you ask " Don't these people have any common sense"?
Chances are they don't and it's not there fault.
















About the Author...
Born and raised in the state of New York, R.M. Villoria began his writing career as a prolific songwriter. After two back-to-back tours as a Marine in Vietnam, Villoria spent the next few years owning and operating a myriad of businesses and in 1992 returned to writing, this time appeasing his appetite for suspense and horror fiction.
 
Years in the making, his ghostly tales touching on the underpinnings of quantum physics and the paranormal are now ready for the public. As his first published work, Villoria presents readers with Volume One of his series “Tales From the Mind Field.”
 
Villoria has a son and daughter and lives in Las Vegas with his Wife.

12 May 2016

Calling Out a Flawed Facility

This "Rant" was written by my daughter Nicole Villoria ( @NikkiVilloria) in calling out a supposed nursing facility here in Las Vegas. I'll let you decide.....

     I’m typically not one to spread negative reviews, I prefer sharing the good that people can find over pointing out the bad. However, I also am inspired by raising calls to action and educating people on things that can aid in a healthy life. Therefore, it only seems necessary that when I come across something so appallingly overwhelming that I raise awareness about it and hope that others won’t fall prey to it’s errors. In this case, I’m referring to a local care and rehabilitation facility.

     For those who don’t know me, let me take a minute to share that over the past three years, my mom has undergone four surgeries, had dozens of hospital trips and stayed in approximately seven different hospitals and care facilities. So at this point, the medical field from a visitor and patient point-of-view is no stranger to me. That being said, I feel an obligation to others who have loved ones in need of care, to call out one facility in particular; The Heights of Summerlin.

    When it comes to The Heights of Summerlin, don’t be fooled by the use of the Summerlin area in it’s name. Quality and expertise are far from what you will receive here.

It doesn’t take a medical professional to realize that this place, The Heights of Summerlin, should incur one of two things;
1.) An immediate and complete change of management, administration and all operations and practices
2.) Be shut down immediately

My mother was a patient here for approximately 28 hours. It was only 28 hours because after only about 19 hours we were determined to get her transferred out ASAP.

First a brief back story so you know the situation:
My mom had a back surgery, and contracted an infection. After being put on antibiotics she also contracted a second infection called Clostridium difficile (most commonly known as C. diff).
After a second, successful surgery to clean and remove the first infection in her back, her treatment plan was six-weeks on intravenous antibiotics. Because this was an antibiotic treatment plan and no longer required the level of watchfulness a hospital provides, she was to be transferred to a care facility to receive her two antibiotics in a timely manner, alternately every 12 hours, pain medicine for her back as needed and eventually physical therapy. Overall this treatment plan was to help her fight the bacterial infection and be cured of the C. diff infection completely and help her recover from her back surgery.

Upon being transferred to The Heights of Summerlin, my mom received no antibiotics as their facility does not have an on-site pharmacy and did not have any of her medications available or ready for her upon her arrival (which had been scheduled a day in advance). My mom was moved into her new room at approximately 1:00 PM on a Wednesday and by the time I texted her at 7:22 PM that same day, she still had not received any antibiotics or any other medications, particularly her pain medicine.

Fast forward a bit and Thursday morning I sent a text message to my mom at 8:40 AM. My dad had already spoken to her over the phone and found her to be crying and scared at the facility, (unfortunately she also has an anxiety disorder.)  I found out that during the night she had been calling for a nurse, at one point for nearly an hour to try to get her pain medicine, after no reply she finally called my dad and he called the facility multiple times during the night to insist that someone give her pain medicine for her back. 

She also let me know that a doctor came by but let her know he only works one day a week so he would see her the following week. She also mentioned that she was in pain and had only received one of the IV antibiotics the previous night (the one to continue to cure the infection in her back, not the C. diff) but no other medications. She also mentioned the food was absolutely horrible, at the time I let it slide assuming it was merely bland when it came to flavor and nothing more, however it turns out the food was not only horrible in taste, it was all a mystery as to what it was and seemed to mostly be pureed. One nurse said he was ashamed at the food that was served at the facility and that he would never even consider giving that food to his mother as he couldn’t identify what most of the food was suppose to be. That aside one mind blowing example of the questionable nature of the dietary control and safety: her salted potato chips (not something she should have for the cardiac diet she was suppose to be on) were served in a Ziploc bag, leaving the question of what the conditions were that they were opened and transferred in or even whether they were left over from another patient.

By 9:30 AM, my mom let my dad and I know she still hadn’t received any medications and her pain was getting worse. By 10:00 AM I was leaving work and driving to meet my dad at the facility and stay with my mom. Upon arriving I learned that my dad stormed in and got in the face of the facility administrator, head nurse and anyone else who got in his way and by doing so finally was told they would go ahead and try to track down her other IV antibiotic. (That’s what it took for them to finally decide to get my mom her medicine. No one was upset at the fact she hadn’t received anything on time or at all. They were merely a bit put off that they were being told what to do.)

Over the course of the next six hours my dad and I took turns watching my mom, closing her door and not letting anyone in who didn’t need to be there, ultimately we were saving my mom’s health from the facility and the employees.

Now, rather than write a detailed account of the horrors that took place over that six-hour time frame I’ll merely list them out in bullet point accounts.

·        Linens from the hospital she was transferred from were crumpled up and left on the counter in her room (there were no linen disposal bins in the room.) They were left there until the next morning (Thursday) when my dad told them to take them away.

·        My mom is allergic to medical tape, she gets a horrible rash and her skin begins to burn when it is used. Thus, only paper tape can be used on her. This note is in her paperwork that came with her to the new facility (I know this because we received a copy). When my dad arrived in the morning my mom mentioned that her back was burning, my dad called a nurse to check her back and fix her dressing and when she was having her dressing redone, my dad noticed the nurse had the plastic medical tape. He mentioned to her that my mom is allergic to it and can only have paper tape used on her. The nurse replied that “well this is the tape I use so this is the tape she’ll get.” Long story short, he made sure she got paper tape, and shortly afterward her back stopped burning and the rash went away.

·        The IV nurse refused to wear gloves when dealing with my mom’s IV. Then when my dad told her she needs gloves and a mask if she was going to work on her IV, she snapped back indignantly asking my dad, “well where is your mask then if you feel it is so necessary.” She then proceeded to sweetly tell my mom “wow I don’t know what it is with this place right now, nearly everyone has an infectious disease.” She continued to not wear gloves each time she would deal with my mom, however after insisting she wear them, she’d put them on, but only when administering a new IV bag, every time she would come in to handle her IV lines, her skin or any medications she’d say that she wasn’t touching enough so gloves weren’t needed. (As a side note, just prior to being transferred to this facility my mom was on strict isolation that anyone entering the room need to wear gloves, a gown and a face mask.) Each time this nurse would walk in to do things, I would follow around everywhere she touched with sanitize wipes to clean after her.

·        All needles (for checking blood sugar, or IV syringes in this case) were tossed in the open garbage can sitting by my mom’s chair. The one and only garbage can in the room was an open trash can the approximately 12-inches tall with a thin trash bag in it. There were no proper sharps disposal containers in the room! When we mentioned it to the nurse (one of only three competent individuals we encountered) she said that she had mentioned to administration repeatedly that they needed them in the rooms or at least somewhere in the facility but they didn’t care.

·        The bathroom was filthy and beyond disgusting for a care facility. When my mom was checked into the room my dad made someone come by and clean it, which they did eventually, however there was still rust around the base of the shower and toilet, dirt and debris was still all over the shower floor.

·        It appeared that no, or minimal, charting was done at this facility as IV bags were left on the pole (an old wobbly IV pole with no monitoring systems). When we asked why they left them there rather than throw them away, the IV nurse said it was so the oncoming shifts could keep track of what she was given that day. When I checked the IV bags, there appeared to be no times documented on the bag, only a date. 

·        At approximately 2:30 PM my mom began to have symptoms of C. diff all over again and she began to feel very sick. I wanted to get her a cold washcloth for her forehead as she mentioned she felt like she was incredibly warm. There were none in the room so I went to the nurse’s station and asked if I could get a couple washcloths for my mom. The two nurses looked either confused or annoyed, I couldn’t quite tell, and the nurses told me that the linen cabinet was at the end of the hall and I could go get the washcloth myself. When I got to the end of the hall, the cabinet was literally an old wooden wardrobe with crooked hinged doors. When I opened it up it was complete linen chaos with gowns, sheets and towels in a disheveled mess on the multiple shelves. If it wasn’t for the paper tape with notes marking what belongs where, I would have wondered if this was clean or soiled linens.

·        The facility provides long term and short term care so some patients are merely temporary patients and others live there. On each floor however, we noticed that patients in their wheelchairs would all gather in the hallways and just stare at the nurse’s stations or gather and just sit in front of the escalator doors. Apparently no one cared that this restricted the flow of traffic and created a hazard in case of a fire or emergency.

·        The facility administrator let us know that they really seemed to drop the ball with my mom so if we found another facility or wanted her to go somewhere else that they would pay to have her transported. When we finalized the decision that we would be getting my mom out of there, suddenly people were trying to come into her room like crazy wanting to fill out their records for my mom’s care (these included initial patient evaluation forms which should have been completed the day she arrived, vital records which should have been completed throughout the time she was there, and cognitive evaluations which also should have been completed when she arrived) most all of these requests were left unfiled and we sent nurses away since at that point in time my mom was already feeling incredibly sick, yet they were only concerned with their forms and whether they could get her to sign them.

If 1,600 words of warning isn’t enough, let me summarize by saying this: if you care at all for someone DO NOT let them be put in this nightmare. A lack of professionalism, cleanliness, competence and concern are just a few of the things you will encounter