Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Working for a livin'. Workin'.

Isn't Zach Braff so cute?

With all due respect to the direct care staff at my son's unit (I know they have a thankless job, believe me, I do, I do), if I hear one more person complain about their work schedule I am going to go all Van Gogh and lop off both my ears.  (And those that know me understand that I've got some really big-ass ears to lop off.  It won't be easy.)

Look, I know it's hard taking care of individuals with developmental disabilities.  (Lord, try raising one.)  I know they have all been extensively trained, and they behave quite professionally with the patients.  I have no complaints about that, and am thankful, so thankful that they are there. Really, I am grateful.

But I swear, these people talk about their schedules like, well, like young kids with autism talk about Thomas the Tank Engine.  Incessantly.  Loudly.  Annoyingly.

OMG, could they talk about ANYTHING else?

 I get it.  You're working for the man, making an hourly wage. It’s a really tough job. You have to come in when you're on call.  The patients can’t say “thank you”.  Often, the parents are in a separate state, so they can't say "thank you" either.  Getting holidays off is difficult. Someone's always telling you what to do, how to do it, and when to do it, and damn, Maureen won't stop playing with her spit already. 

But would it kill you to, I don't know, talk about a movie you saw or a book you read?

Here’s the rub. Visiting with my son is difficult.  Not because of his behavior (we’re used to that), but because it's hard to have a real conversation.  Quite honestly, I think he's more interested in putting on his headphones and listening to the iTouch I bring than visiting with me.  (Of course, he's all snuggly and tries to sit in my lap. Smile.) 

So I have a lot of time to sit next to him (or with his 100lb big butt on my lap), and also to look around the unit and listen to the conversations.  Most of the patients are nonverbal, so the staff talk to each other a lot.  

Ok, I admit it.  I'm nosy. And not subtle.

(One wonderful staffer was simultaneously playing hangman with a patient while talking about her schedule with the adults in the room. He was largely nonverbal but clearly loved the game.  It made me smile. I'm going to try hangman with Conor.)

It’s totally understandable.  People are social creatures.  But seriously?  

At this point, I would welcome a discussion about Rush Limbaugh, the debt ceiling, or even vaginitis, which tells you how bad it’s gotten for me. 

Please, for the love of Pete, discuss Jennifer Aniston’s new tattoo, something more than your on-call schedule. (Should she really have gotten it on her foot?  Poor dear, that thing will fade quite quickly.  Should have gone for the tramp stamp.)

One on one, the direct care staff are polite, and talk to me if I want to talk.  They answer my questions, and if they don’t know, they find out the answer. If I want to be quiet, they’re quiet.  Many are working on furthering their education and I enjoy hearing about how they came to work there. Very professional.

But the conversations going on around me?  One employee was seriously wondering… why is it, exactly, that her mom can’t watch her daughter while she was at work? I mean, why should she have to put her daughter in day care or hire a nanny when her mom is retired?  When she’s not at work, she’s with her daughter, she’s not leaving her there to go out with her boyfriend or out to a club. 

Are you kidding me?

Clearly a close friend, Conor’s clinical assistant responded that 1) it was her child, so it was her responsibility 2) her mom is just trying to have her own time, she raised her children already and 3) she better start checking people’s references if she’s going to have a nanny coming in to her home.  And get a nanny cam.

I didn’t get a warm welcome when I gave my “Amen, sister”.

Hmmmm, guess I better start focusing on my own kid. And keep my mouth shut.   

1 comment:

Barbara said...

I would love to talk with you sometime. My son was just admited monday to the NBU. I believe I saw your husband visiting Connor on Friday evening. It would be nice to know another family on the ward. Everything you blog about resonates so loudly. teacherbarb2005@comcast.net