Quick note: I drafted this several weeks ago but never posted. So, the timing mentioned may not always make sense. Just go with it and read between the lines. Ha!
When I tell you the last few weeks have been a struggle, I mean the last few weeks have been a struggle. As a Social Worker, it seems that our day, our week, our month never ends. Thank God for the warm fuzzies received along the way or we’d probably just drink beer into oblivion or whiskey (verb) so hard every night until we needed our own Social Worker. (God bless the dear soul that has to be my Social Worker one day. Poor thing isn’t gonna know what hit him/her. I’m crazy now…Lord help us all after a few more years of this. Ha!) But I digress; back to my last few weeks.
As for patient referrals, I have had a bed bound patient’s caregiver admitted to the hospital unexpectedly in the middle of the night for cardiac issues leaving no caregiver in place for my patient; a patient with suicidal ideation; a patient dependent on oxygen evicted from her home who had to sleep in her vehicle for a short while; bed bugs and fire-hazard-level unsafe wiring in another patient’s home…oh yeah, and another caregiver who needed respite care at the last minute; and about a trillion miles traveled to “handle” all of this. Then of course, routine visits plus two precious long time hospice patients who I have grown to adore who were declining and I needed time (for them AND for myself) to just sit with them, rub their hair or hold their hand.
As I reflect, I distinctly recall an entry Green Beans on the Interstate where I watched a lady eat greenbeans while she zoomed in and out of traffic.
I watched her and wondered why…why she couldn’t just take a damn minute and eat her green beans while parked.
I immediately stopped the top-of-my-lungs duet with the radio and began to ponder what the bloody hell would make her be in such a big hurry to not just take an extra ten minutes before she left home and sit, while not zooming, to eat her green beans.
Well, now I understand. SHE WAS A FREAKIN’ SOCIAL WORKER!!!
When I got the call about my little lady evicted who was about to spend some nights in her car, it was late in the day and something had to be done. I had already had some doozies that day and hadn’t eaten lunch. I brought a salad that morning with the intentions of stopping somewhere to enjoy the salad after one of my stops. Well, I knew I couldn’t let her spend more nights in her car, therefore didn’t really have time to stop and eat that salad that had already wilted from staring at me all day. So what did I do? I ate that salad while driving to handle business. All I could think about was Green Beans on the Interstate and how I had so quickly and smoothly transitioned into a major hypocrite. Ha!!!
As Social Workers we tend to have hearts that are sometimes too big, and we just have to keep rolling and doing and calling and following up and advocating…and all the other words, that as a Social Worker on a Friday night I just can’t come up with; cognitive abilities wane fast at end of week. Ha! But this job, this career choice, this mission…is so worth the stress and fatigue and brain tiredness that we experience. We get to come home to our nice relaxing homes that have a/c, no bed bugs, electricity, a place to sit, food to eat, no loved ones who are dying, no family member requiring wound care or diaper changes. We get to come home and shake off the week. These precious dear souls we help and worry over and spin our wheels for all week are stuck in their situation 24/7. Twenty-four/seven. No reprieve. No rest. No break. We do this so that they can have hope of something better.
Jokingly, I have been known to ask the question “What the hell was I thinking?! Social Work?!” Ha! But I am truly so honored that on days like today, I get a call from a dear lady who now has an apartment to move into, “Ms. Paula, I’m here.” Tears in my eyes! What a blessing to see that dear lady come through all those weeks of hell from being evicted, spending nights in her car, a couple weeks in a hotel to finally moving into her new apartment. Blessed is what I am! I was able to be a tiny part of that woman’s life. I will never forget her and in some little selfish part of my Social Worker heart, I hope that she will never forget me either. Not really for the “toot your own horn” part or accolades of any type…I just want her to remember that someone loved her enough to hang in there with her and stand by her until all was well.
Sipping coffee tonight but thinking I probably should have chosen beer. Ha! ~paula