And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Monday, March 03, 2008

It Takes A Special Kind Of Person... do my job. The full-time one. You know, where I take care of disabled adults.

People are always saying that to me, and I usually get a little huffy about it, because I don't see how what I do could be so difficult. The guys I care for are OCD, autistic, "mentally retarded", and have health issues up the wazoo---so what? They are still people with a sense of humor and feelings that can be hurt. Not a big deal.

Today, I decided that I have been wrong. It does take someone special, and the gal I worked with today (I will call her Minnie) is not it.

Minnie, through lack of attention and following my direction, set up one of our gentlemen to have a minor meltdown and then was unable to deal with the fallout when it happened. Not only did I have to fix HIM, but I had to rescue her no less than THREE TIMES.

One of the most basic rules of doing what I do is that you need to learn what "triggers" each individual's inappropriate behavior and do your best to keep the triggers from happening. This way your job is easier and the clients avoid a whole lot of stress.

You can't always make it work, but it helps a lot. When things go wrong, you need to be able to drop your personal agenda and focus on diffusing the situation in order to get everything back to a calm state.

Minnie has worked in this house for an insanely long time, and she still hasn't figured it out.

I HATE it when stuff like this happens. Especially when it can be prevented by just a little attention. If she would have pulled her head out of her butt for 5 minutes, she would have known that there was an issue coming on and she could have prevented it. Instead, she allowed a situation to escalate until the client was violent and I had to physically get involved in stopping his harmful behavior.

What a mess.

The absolute kicker was when (after I got the client calmed and off to work), she sat and bragged about how he NEVER does that for her, and usually he just loves her to pieces and does whatever she says.


I have worked at this job for 4 years, and I have seen the clients throw her around like a rag doll more times than I can count. They ignore her directions, they get violent with her, they make her cry. In general, when she works the house is in chaos. She lets them do whatever they want and then whines that they don't listen to her. She lets them sleep all day and then wonders why they won't sleep at night.

I am so glad she is not my mother. I would probably end up an ax murderer or something.

I don't understand how she can think that she does a good job. She sits and comes up with the most far-fetched reasons for why the guys act up on her shift, and the simple reality is that they know they can get away with anything when she is there. These guys are just like you and I. They like to get away with things. They like to have someone wait on them hand and foot if they can get it. They like to "graze" in the fridge. They like to sit on their bums and avoid doing their chores. Our job is to "Assist them in living as independently as possible". That does not mean doing everything for them and letting them sit on their duffs and get fat. That does not mean feeding them McD's every meal because they like it. That does not mean letting them get away with not brushing their teeth.

Bah. Enough of that. Everything ended up fine, and I don't have to deal with her for another two weeks. Life is sweet, eh?


whimsicalnbrainpan said...

It really makes me wonder why Minnie bothered taking a job in this field in the first place.

barefoot gardener said...

I am pretty sure she works there because she likes to tell people how wonderful she is for helping the poor, helpless folks of the world. She really doesn't care about any of them, I am sure, but to hear her talk they all love her more than anything and only she knows how to care for them properly.

Golly, I can't stand that woman.

Kati said...

Sounds like great experience for raising teenages!!! I've always maintained that it takes a special type of person to be a care-giver, no matter the age & condition of the person you're a care-giver to. (Well, admittedly, some care-givers wouldn't want to take care of children, and some wouldn't want to take care of autistic adults, and some wouldn't want to take care of elderly invalids. But, no matter what their personal preference, they ALL must be extra-specially abled themselves to handle caregiving at all, I feel!)

Congrats on calming things down & getting your client back on track. I'm sorry to hear you've got to deal with such a loser as "Millie" though.

Kati said...

OOOPS, meant "minnie" not "millie". Sorry!

brad said...

Why does she CONTINUE to work there? She's a weird mix.

RuthieJ said...

Gosh BG, it sucks to have to work with someone like Minnie! Just reading your story made me feel frustrated--I can't even imagine what it must be like for you trying to deal with her for real!

Wendy said...

Sounds like your job is a lot like being a parent, and it really does take a special person not to botch that up royally!

I think it says a lot for how special you are that you are able to deal with these BIG kids every day. I can't imagine trying to diffuse a temper-tantrum in someone who is as big as, or bigger than I am. It's different when it really IS a three year old than it is when the "three year old" is thirty, stands 6'0 tall and weighs 200 lbs - a much more difficult situation.

I hope she gets out of the job soon, because it sounds like she's on the path to really getting hurt - or causing someone else to be hurt. Either way is bad.

barefoot gardener said...

Kati and Wendy-
In a lot of ways it is like parenting. We really try to get the clients to do as much for themselves as possible, but they need a lot of guidance for different things. The trouble is that they AREN'T children. They are grown men, and want to be treated as such. Sometimes it is a difficult line to walk.

I think she continues to stay on because it makes her feel special. When she tells people what she does, they give her the same speach they give me about how you have to be a special person to do that. She loves the attention.

Frustration doesn't even BEGIN to describe how I felt about this whole thing. It is disgusting and sad and irritating as well. She keeps saying that she needs to quit, and I keep telling her to, but she is just too addicted to the special feeling of superiority she gets from working here.