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Blogity-blah-blah-blog: October 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

WWWE: Six Years of Hope - Part VI

Sorry it's taken me so long to get through this but this will be the final installation of Six Years of Hope. We last left off where I was asked to work at another house temporarily with a very aggressive individual because I would rather deal with that than deal with the manager of the house I was currently working in.

There were four things this particular individual would obsess over. They are hats, balls, paper, and bags. If he saw any of these items he had to have them and would mow over anyone to get them. So we couldn't really take him out in public unless we went to a park and prayed to God nobody at the park had any of those four items. He had to take him out because we couldn't keep him cooped-up in the house all day. I remember I came into work one morning and he was sitting very calmly in a recliner holding two brooms, one in each hand. The staff that worked overnight told us "We think he's trying to row a boat." I just said "Okay". Then there were times when he'd get very aggressive towards the staff or his housemates and he would have to be wrestled to the ground until he calmed down. He's not a bad guy by any means, he doesn't know any better when he does these things, it's just how he's been wired I guess.

The time eventually came when they found a new place for him to live. He now has his own space in the bottom floor of a house and staff work with him one-on-one and I've heard that it's a much better situation now. I think he is a very territorial person and that's why he would often terrorize his housemates. So with him gone, that meant it was time for me to go back to the other house I was working at. But I didn't want to go back. It was then that I made a very bold move. I talked to the director who ran both the houses and told her flat out that I wanted to stay at the house I was currently at and if I am made to go back to the other house I would quit. Guess what, it actually worked!

So after this agressive individual moved out, another moved in, so there were a total of three residents in this house. I'll talk briefly about each one of them.

We'll call the first one Rich. Rich likes to shake his head back and forth (kind of like he's saying "no") so he has a really large neck from doing this. We're not sure why he does this, but the manager of the house said he gets a head rush from doing it. Personally I can't stand it when I get a head rush because it hurts, but apparently this guy liked it. He is also deaf and he has a device placed under his mattress on his bet that vibrates when the fire alarm goes off. One night I stayed to cover third shift. We were able to sleep during third shift so that was a good thing. But this particular night the assistant manager came it and pulled the fire alarm for a fire drill. I guess we were due for a third shift fire drill, I just wished she wouldn't have picked the night that I was doing third shift. So I got two of the residents out the door, but when I got Rich up, he decided that he was going to go into the kitchen and get himself a glass of milk. So that fire drill didn't go so well. He could be kind of sneaky sometimes and try to sneak drinks and food. His parents took him home over the weekend every week so he is well taken care of. Plus it was nice to have one less person at the house on the weekends.

The next person we'll call Dave. Dave was the new guy that came after the aggressive guy left. He is a very quiet person and has dementia. It could be difficult to get him to do things or interact with staff or his other housemates. He didn't do to well on outings either. We tried horse therapy with him, but he would never get on the horse, but he would help walk it around the track. Most of the time he would stand in the hallway. We'd ask him if he wanted to sit down but he would usually say "No". The only two things that he did well was eat and sleep. He loved ice cream and he didn't talk much, but the word he said most was "pajamas" meaning he wanted to put on his pajamas and go to bed. We tried in so many ways to try to reach him, but there are some people that just can't be reached. Perhaps they have found a way since I've left, but we tried everything.

Then the third resident we'll call Gary. Gary was retired from the day program that Rich and Dave went to every weekday. I would often work with him in the mornings. I would take him to the park to see the ducks and the geese and we'd often times go for rides in the vans. He liked it when we took the back roads so he could see the cows. He liked to say "MOO!" when we saw the cows. He went to a senior center on Fridays for lunch, but he usually didn't like it. He used to when I first started working there, but then he didn't seem to like it as much after awhile. He loved to watch stand-up comedy. I don't know if he understood what the comedians were saying but he laughed anytime the crowd laughed. His favorite comedian was Larry the Cable Guy. He also loved to watch America's Funniest Home Videos. He was always a real joy to work with even though he did have his "moments" once in awhile. He could be really grumpy sometimes.

My career at Hope Enterprises ended at that house. One day while I was at school one of my classmates looked at me and said "You don't look so good." I told her "I don't feel so good." I told my professor that I wasn't feeling well and I left. I made an appointment with my doctor and met with her a few hours later. After checking me over she found three different things wrong with me, two of them related to stress. She asked me where I worked and she suggested I find a new job. The average employee lasts about three years at Hope unless they move up in the ranks. I had been there for over six years by this time. In the meantime I was able to cut my hours back and it really helped reduce the stress I was going through. I had enough sick time and vacation hours to make up for the hours I was missing.

I went back to my doctor a few weeks later and she decided to run an EKG on me. She didn't like the results. She said that I may be heading for a heart attack and she referred me to a specialist about getting a pacemaker. A PACEMAKER? AT THE AGE OF 27? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? So I went to see this specialist and he gave me a clean bill of health. He said that it was normal for someone who was in my position for my heart to be in the condition it was. I was working a full time job and going to college. He did say that I have an abnormal heart beat and said it wouldn't effect me until I was much older.

A few weeks after all this happened I was able to find another job and my time was done at Hope. I had a lot of good times and a lot of bad times and I was glad I was finished there. And I'm glad I'm done blogging about this job.