Friday, May 30, 2008
I love my friends. They are truly amazing people. And they put up with me when I've had too much (coffee) to drink. That in and of itself is an amazing feat.
One of my friends from the states called yesterday, which totally made my day. I was SO excited to hear her voice on the answering machine and later to talk to her.
Having friends makes all the difference. I can't imagine not having people that I could talk to and confide in. So yay for my friends. Keep being awesome!
Weekends and EIA (welfare) cheque days are possibly the worst. Cheque days in particular because they craziness starts earlier. For example, last cheque day there were already 17 when I came in for the night as opposed to the usual 12ish.
When we fill up we have a problem, in that the police want us to have space. If we can't take someone, they wind up having to hold them in their car (keeping them off the street for other things), arrest them, or take them to the hospital. None of which are very good options. Of course, for some people they could just drive them home, but it doesn't work for everyone, particularly if they have no where to go. So when we're full, they start phoning, just itching for us to be empty. The cars start lining up outside the door, stocking us. It's fairly easy to ignore their pressure though, they're outside, we're in.
Unfortunately perhaps, we get pressure on the inside too. Management does not believe we should be filling up, and the shift coordinators are tasked with making sure we don't. That means they're pressuring us from up the stairs to discharge as well. And sometimes, there's just no one you think is quite ready to go. Because you sign your name to that discharge. If they go out and get hit by a car, or get picked up again by cops, you're (apparently) screwed. Some of the staff are obsessively worried about this. That their name will be ruined. They'll make the coordinator sign off on someone who they don't believe is ready to go.
I don't know what I think. I think some of the staff are too cautious. They're leaving people in there upwards of 8 hours. Which I guess in some cases is necessary, but after 6, most people have sobered up enough. Maybe not completely, but enough that they can get themselves home, or up the stairs to the shelter to sleep it off some more. I think it takes talent to still be drunk after 6 hours. Of course it could happen, but still. 8-10 hours is fine when we have room, but we don't always have room.
I usually wind up getting the last IPDA shift of the night. We don't get as many intakes, the bars have been closed for a while, but I get stuck doing massive amounts of discharges, with the coordinator up top asking me how many more I can get done before shift change. And of course with discharges, comes cell cleaning. Fun fun!
Anyway, I've been thinking about the idea of sitting with feelings, and when it's good as opposed to when it's not.
For example, right now, I'm pretty stressed and upset about friend in the hospital and my family situation. So sitting with my feelings in this case means allowing myself to feel stressed and upset and angry and envious and worried and nervous and relieved and happy and concerned and a myriad of other things. You'll notice however, that most of those feelings are bad feelings.
So I sit with the bad feelings, and I feel pretty bad. So the question then becomes, when is it too much? When do I have to choose to move on from the bad feelings and concentrate on some good feelings? When do I say "enough, I'm going to think positive thoughts now"? It's an interesting concept. On one hand, we don't want to ignore any of our feelings, and on the other hand, we want to make sure that we don't spend all our time dwelling on the negative.
Take for example a client in detox. The client may be going on and on about how they ruined their life. I actually believe it's important for them to sit with these feelings, acknowledge them, and take responsibility for their past actions. Because, many clients will actually be sitting there talking about how someone else ruined their life. But, I think there is also a time when they need to move on from those feelings or the will never get anywhere. They need to stop, and say, I've come this far, there is hope.
So what's the balance. I suppose, that it's different for each person. Each and everyone of us needs to find a balance of sitting with and acknowledging feelings and moving forward towards a more positive state of mind. And so that, is what I'm going to do today. I've sat with these bad feelings, I've acknowledged them, and I'm going to move on. Not move on from the situations, but I just need to acknowledge that there is hope, and that not all feelings need to be negative. So we'll see... it's much easier said then done!
My friend in the hospital is not doing amazing. She'll be home soon, but it looks like she'll need heart surgery of some sort; right now she can't even walk across the room. The feelings that creates in me are varied and sometimes overpowering. I looked after their kids last night, and will again on Saturday. I love them; and it's the least I can do. And besides we're going to do something fun, like bowling!
And that's the brief update. Just came off nights, working evenings for the weekend, then on to overlap shifts (1-6:30) next week. We'll see when the new schedule comes out. But I hope to be back on nights again.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Well, I was 11. So I was in grade 6. So I was probably doing fun stuff, like gymnastics, and riding my bike around the neighbourhood, playing in the backyard and practicing the piano.
2) What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today:
Well, that depends on your definition of today, seeing as I work overnight. I don't have a clue when my days are. But, five things I need to do.
- email a friend
- return library books
- wash dishes (perhaps...)
- cook (yeah right)
3) Snacks I enjoy:
vanilla soy milk with chocolate special K
4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Implement prevention programs and early intervention programs for children and adolescents at risk.
Build a better homeless shelter
Hire more social workers/nurses/whatever else the city is short of
5) Places I have lived:
6) Jobs I have had:
Children's Program Assistant
Social Work Assistant
(note a theme??)
7) Peeps I want to know more about:
yeah...i'm not even sure who reads this, and I really couldn't care less if people did this... I'm just killing time.
Monday, May 26, 2008
I think i finally understand the concept of sitting with your feelings. It's something I've heard talked about lots of times. And I always thought about it, and thought I understand it, but now I think I really do.
Someone I love is sick, in the hospital, and I can't do anything. I don't have a clear idea what's going on and they're refusing all visitors. I'm frustrated by my lack of knowledge and control. I'm saddened at the possibility of their death. I'm angry that their sick in the first place. I'm worried about so many things. I'm having nightmares about them, and other people close to me dying. It's just not a good situation.
Sitting with your feelings though, is about just accepting them. It's not about analyzing them. It's not about asking "how can I be angry at someone for something that is totally beyond their control". It's about just letting those feelings come and go. It's about feeling uncomfortable. It's about wanting to cry and letting yourself. It's not about running, it's not about distracting yourself, it's not about covering them up. It's about letting your heart break, it's about feeling the unbearable, it's about wanting to scream and screaming.
I'm not sure what else to say. It sucks. And there's nothing I can do.
So this weekend I was in charge (with a great and wonderful friend) or a two day youth event my church was holding. It turned out great. Now, this was a definite God thing, because really, it wouldn't have happened without Him.
I went into the weekend on no sleep because of the fact I had street ministry and worked over night (see posts below). And yet somehow, I was able to be awake and coherent for the entire thing. I even learned some stuff.
The first thing I learned, is that communication is imperative. Really, it is. My pastor and I so totally had made the same plans for two different things and didn't know it, because we didn't talk before hand :P Oh well though. It still turned out great.
The other thing I learned, which was perhaps the most important, is how wonderful a smile is. Seeing the youth smiling, and having fun has got to be one of the best things I could ever see. We didn't have a great deal of structured game time and yet everyone found something to do and was spending time together during free time. It was great. And, we played an awesome game of spoons which unfortunately was cut short by lunch.
I feel like I have so much more to say, but I'm not sure how to get it out. I should have made a list, it makes things so much easier when I want to write about things later!
Friday night we were short staffed...and it sucked. The clients decided to be mean, rude and obnoxious...mostly at the same time. IPDA was crazy too. And I was sick. I had been hoping to do detox, but somehow we all volunteered...brilliant of us. And since I did it the night before, I lost.
IPDA kept filling up, and so I almost felt like the police were stalking us. Just itching for more cells. The guy I was working with though really didn't seem to like releasing people. He's just more cautious then I am I guess... oh well. I understand all the points of view involved.
The police need something to do with their intoxicated people
My superiors need have a good relationship with police and keep cells open as well as a good relationship with management who doesn't think we should ever be full.
The crisis workers sign their names to the discharges... if we let people out and they get brought back, that would be BAD!
The clients... some wants OUT and some want to stay in and have a nice.long.safe.warm.sleep!
I also did some up front stuff. None of which was terribly exciting though. Had a good talking with my favourite shift coordinator. Drank some coffee. Ate some dinner. All in all, despite the total craziness, I still like my job.
Street Ministry Friday night was very tiring. I found out someone I love is sick, and that's a bad way to start off any night.
It was a very busy night. One of the other places in the area has stopped serving Friday dinner and so we are busier then usual. We also didn't have a youth group or anyone in, so we had to do it all ourselves. That being said, we had some GREAT volunteers.
One of the participants in the adult day program for adults with mental disabilities came in to help wash dishes. It was interesting for me to work to find a balance between empowerment and practicality. I was sick, and so I volunteered to only touch dirty dishes...nothing clean. And we had two hundred people's worth of dirty dishes for me to touch!!!
The person washing dishes was awesome but slow. They're great at washing dishes, they know how, they understand how to work our awesome conveyor belt dishwasher. They're also not used to the complete and totally chaos that Friday nights can be...and I'm bad at letting things pile up. But, we slogged through it and finished just in the time for the coffee shops to be closed so I couldn't buy coffee before work. Oh well. Such is life!
I didn't really talk to any guests Friday night because of the infection. I figured it was probably better to stay away from them as much as possible and save my voice for work that night anyway. It was kind of sad, but again, such is life. I really don't mind being in the kitchen even though I was COMPLETELY covered in crap and water. Sigh...scraping dishes with my hands...the things I do.
Friday, May 23, 2008
I have issues. I watch far too many medical dramas. It's a fact. And while I consider House, while a bit strange, to be acceptable, I think of Grey's Anatomy as my girly-guilty pleasure. I love it. And I'll freely admit it - I'm hooked.
See but the thing is, both of these shows of mine (which I painstakingly download each week due to lack of tv) had their season finales this week. And they both sucked. People died, people fell in love, and their was LOTS of kissing, but they sucked.
WARNING - SPOILERS AHEAD!
Meredeth Grey appears to have been healed and made whole simply by realizing her mother tried to not kill herself. This of course leads to her getting back with Derrick. Oh, and the fact that their clinical trial finally worked on try 13 might have something to do with that. And, they kiss. So, off Derrick runs to dump Rose. Oh wait, wasn't it just a season ago that Derrick had to run off to dump Addison?
Meanwhile, Alex is trying to care for his almost catatonic girlfriend who is not having his baby. Izzy can't get him to stop and has to challenge herself as a doctor. Oh wait, didn't she do that two episodes ago? With a pregnant woman and an abortion? Oh, and did I mention Alex and Izzy kiss?
Meanwhile, George and Christina are busy finding their "mojo". Lexie manages to get dragged into both these story lines without actually managing to do any growing of her own. In fact really, her character has not grown all season. She's their solely to look beautiful while providing someone for George, Christina and Meredeth to interact with. And then, George and Lexie have a quick kiss.
The chief moves in with his wife again...and they kiss. Callie and Mark have sex, and they kiss. Callie and Erica kiss. Wait, what? Yes, that's right, In the last five minutes of the show Callie and Erica kiss while Mark looks on. Apparently this is Callie "finding herself" and being honest.
Have a missed anyone? Has anyone else kissed? I'm not sure it's possible. The show even came complete with a "kissing montage". It'll be interesting to see what next season brings. While I know it's coming back, enough stuff was tied up that this totally could have been the series finally.
On to House. What can I say about House? They went WAY to far in this one. I'm sorry, deep brain stimulation to recall a mystery symptom? They should have done this in one episode, not two, and with far less drama. They simply dragged the plot out to long. And honestly, why kill Amber? She wasn't really in, she wasn't really out. If you needed her off that badly you totally could have just given her no screen time. No one would have noticed. Now she's dead, Wilson's screwed up etc...
And seriously, DBS after House has a heart attack and concussion and does weird stuff with memory drugs after getting in a bus crash while drunk? I'm sorry. No. It was just a little too forced. Fine on the hypnosis, but that was really pushing it. And 13 actually having Huntington's? Interesting twist I guess, I actually didn't see that coming (as opposed to Grey's where everything was obvious) but still. Unnecessary.
So, here's the thing. I'm angry at both shows, and yet I know I'll watch them again in the fall. Because well, they make me laugh, they make me smile, and I think once in a while, they make me cry; all of which are good things. And I'll continue to mock myself for loving Grey's Anatomy so much. It's just the way it's going to be.
So, after human resources came through yesterday my co worker and I had a bit of a chat. Turns out, people have been talking about me. Or more accurately, because I expected them to talk about me, have been talking about the fact that I said that all the staff do is complain about each other. This bothers me on a couple levels but may actually have a silver lining.
First of all, I don't recall ever saying that. I have been careful, or so I thought, about who I talk to, but apparently I've misjudged some people. And beyond that, in my carefulness, I would never make such a blanket statement. But whatever, I did mention that there was a lot of gossip and complaining going on. Like I said, I misjudged, and I shouldn't have said anything. It's hard to know who to trust.
The second reason that bothers me, is of course that the gossip is happening. And it's happening instead of working apparently. Let's all stand around and talk about the new staff? I mean, I guess I did expect that, but still. yuck.
The silver lining. Apparently, the person I was working with last night, whose been there quite a while, stood up for me and said something like "well, if she's new and she sees that, what does that say". So yeah. I'm pretty pleased about that.
So then my coworker and I had a good talk. But what if they're just as gossipy. Everyone seems to mean well, and yet there's obviously people I thought I could trust who are talking about me. What if they've just been sent to "scope" me out and dig deeper. I don't know, I don't think things operate on that large a scale. It should be okay. We'll see I guess.
We have a new, or well the first, HR person at work. He just started on Tuesday. I'm not sure what to think... he came and talked to my co worker and I today and asked us awkward questions. I mean, I totally understand why he needed to ask them, but still, it's hard to know what to say, and what'll be kept confidential, and what'll get back and get blown up in your face.
The usual stuff came up though. Poor communication between shifts, poor communication with management, disrespect between staff, yada yada. I mean really, what can you say? It was still interesting though. I suggested that he spend time hanging out and watching each shift. I really don't think you can get a good understanding of the work dynamics unless you do that. Especially cause each of the shifts really has it's own personality.
One of the things I'm really nervous about is that someone is going to have a seizure in detox when I'm there by myself. This is actually quite likely to happen, and I'm sure I'll learn to deal with it soon enough. I thought it happened today, but thankfully, I wasn't dealing with a seizure, just a panic attack.
I got called into the dorm by a client yelling for "staff". Being me, I of course left my radio in the office. I found the client lying on the ground with a couple people around him. I asked what happened, no one knew, the person just collapsed. Asked a couple questions though and ascertained it was a panic attack. I helped the person calm down and take deep breaths before getting them to come to the office with me to talk things out further.
Panic attacks are freaky, I know, I've had a couple although not for quite a long time. I'm not sure how long in fact, 2 years maybe? Maybe more like a year and a half. Either way though, I've never had them as bad as this poor person. They were quite shaken. Most people who come through detox sleep A LOT and they hadn't slept in two days. Plus, they had restarted all their meds after a binge. I can only begin to imagine what that must do to your body. Binging, quiting meds, and then detoxing and starting them again. Wow.
It's interesting how many things run through your head when a crisis is happening. All sorts of thoughts, ideas, issues, things you should be doing. And yet, at least for me, I manage to keep everything in check and still concentrate on the situation... I don't know. I like crisis, but there's too much documentation involved :P
Tonight was a busy night, I didn't have time to think really, and yet at times there were lulls. I had a good chat with a co worker, talked to some clients, and handed out meds...
When working in detox, one person is in charge of laundry, the other is in charge of meds. I was in charge of meds tonight. It's a really... annoying... job in some ways. Our shift coordinator and I talked about the fact that people are "detoxing" but they're on tons and tons of meds! And when I say meds, I mean meds for everything under the sun, plus lots and lots of psych meds and painkillers. Most of the people in there are on at least one benzodiazapine and at least one anti depressant. A lot are on anti psychotics too.
I'm definitely feeling more comfortable in my job, but tonight I made at least one med error. And I'm really not pleased about it. A guy is on an anti psychotic at supper and bedtime and I totally missed the supper one. Knowing what I know, the dose could probably have been consolidated, but you really can't do that. I'm not a doctor or a pharmacist. I had noted that on my sheet and yet I was busy with a guy having a panic attack and then stuff just kept happening. I feel horrible and stupid, and I had to fill out an incident report. Missing the one med won't have a huge affect on the man, it is something that accumulates in your system somewhat, so he should be fine, but still... I am going to have to be even more careful from now on. And I'm sure I will improve as well and get better at catching things like that!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I went to the doctor today after I woke up coughing up blood. I figured that probably wasn't a good thing. He listened to my lungs, and I have a chest infection. joy. So now I have some lovely azithromycin that makes me sick. But, it also works...who can complain.
The funny thing is this though. At reception they told me if I needed a sick note for work it was going to cost me. They also wanted to know ahead of time if I needed one. I said it depends what's wrong with me. I asked the doctor if I could work and explained my job. He was very non specific. Wouldn't give me a good answer. So I left with no doctors note, and I'm going to work today. I can't afford to pay for a note and then not go to work. Because I'm casual, I don't get sick days!
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
My summer job at the church is going well too so far. I feel like I haven't done much, but I know that that will change when the summer starts and I am responsible for preaching and children's ministry as well. I'm excited about the summer. I'm planning on doing a sermon series about the parables, although I haven't narrowed it down beyond that yet. It'll be interesting whatever it is, and I'm sure I'll wind up learning a lot.
Bestest bud and I went out to Olive Garden for that lunch i was so excited about. I couldn't even eat. I was nauseous the whole time. Whatever this mystery illness is, I don't like it! I was sooooo excited, and then, alas, I tried to eat and was overwhelmed by waves of gross feelingness. I did however get coffee inside me, so maybe that will help me feel better?? sigh.
In other news, it's a beautiful day out.
I honestly wouldn't care all that much if I wasn't so sick. But when you're sick, you're supposed to be able to sleep. You're supposed to sleep and get better, you're not supposed to be up half the night! Last night I managed to read an entire book. I have no idea what time it was because I'm boycotting the clock still (when I lie down I turn the clock around), but it must have been 4 or 5, and I was up at 8:30.
Oh well! I guess I'll curl up with my CSI book and see what happens!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
So I'm riding my bike home from the mall in rush hour today. I live on one side of the river, the mall is on the other; I have to go over a bridge. Since I was feeling really sick I decided to take the flattest bridge. This bridge however does not allow bikes on the sidewalk, I normally ride on the road, but it was rush hour and I would have had a to j-walk to get where I wanted to be.
Now, normally, despite the signs, I would probably ride my bike across the bridge on the sidewalk. I've done it before, and I'll probably do it again. Today however, the guy in front of me dismounted and started walking his bike across the bridge. I then felt the social pressure to do the same thing and thus walked my bike across the bridge too.
I found this interesting. It just goes to show how other people influence our actions for good or for bad. If this guy had ridden across I definitely would have ridden across too. But because he did the right thing, I did the right thing too. Now granted, I don't have strong values relating to riding my bike across the bridge. I'm sort of ambivalent about it, or beyond ambivalent, I just don't care. If my values about the subject were stronger, maybe I wouldn't have been as easily influenced.
So if one person can influence me to walk my bike across a bridge, what can I influence people to do? What can a group of my friends and I influence people to do? If enough people start to do something differently, will the rest of society follow? It's an interesting thing to thing about...
Today I had a youth event planning meeting. It was an awesome meeting though involving Timbits (donut holes for all you not Canadian people), chai tea, laughter and awesome friends. This afternoon I'm meeting with previously mentioned suicidal individual (positives of this include starbucks, and, starbucks), and then tonight I have a church meeting. It should be a good meeting, but that I'm sure will be partially dependent on how I feel.
Tomorrow is church meetings at 9AM and 12PM and then meeting with a friend for Olive Garden (soooo excited, I'd better be feeling better). The evening I may have free, but I do need to write what I'm saying at the youth event worship, so I'm thinking that's what's going to be happening Wednesday night.
Then Thursday is AM grocery shopping, working evenings. Friday is Street Ministry and then work over night, and then Saturday is the youth event. Sunday the youth event ends, and then I work 3 overnights starting Monday.
Don't get me wrong, I really love everything I'm doing, it would just be SO much easier to do if I could shake this fever/sore throat thing.
okay. I'm done whining. maybe.
Monday, May 19, 2008
The problem with ASIST though is that it's suicide first aid. There's no aftercare, it's all about referral, which is fine. But when people already have community supports, then it's hard to refer them to community supports. I mean, you tell them to go see their therapist and follow up with that, but aside from that, there's not much you can do.
Part of ASIST is having them promise you to stay safe for a set amount of time of their choosing. If the person picks a week, that's great. When they pick one day, but don't have a therapist appointment for a week, that's harder. You talk to them after a day, they say another day, do you do it all week? The model would say so... how realistic is that though? Plus, you're supposed to go through the whole intervention again... that's really redundant. In this case, I just made another safety plan with the person and arranged another check in time as well as reassessed for risk. Thankfully there was a lower risk then the day before.
There is no easy answer in cases like these. There are always options (calling mobile crisis, getting a form two and having them forcibly assessed, calling 911, involving the persons other supports), but there are still no easy choices. How much do you put on yourself, how much do you transfer to others. Ultimately though, it's the persons life. Whatever happens, it will not be my fault (or at least I keep telling myself that).
Two nights ago we managed to forget the condoms when we went out on van patrol. The girls on the corner were not impressed. "Don't you have any condominiums? How can you not have condominiums?" From now on I plan on referring to condoms as "real estate".
In any case, we had to drive back to work to get some "real estate" for the "girls". In fact, this particular group of street workers is entirely made up of male to female trans-gendered individuals. They hang out on a certain block which is known for this. And besides that, it's really...obvious, who they are biologically.
In any case, when I got the condoms I was once again very amused by them. For some reason, there doesn't seem to be such thing as a "plain" free condom. We had banana, vanilla, strawberry and assorted colours. Of course I couldn't just give any condoms to the girls, they had to pick and choose. It's kind of a funny site really. Me, sitting in the van, a giant handful of condoms while people pick through them selecting their favourite flavours (and toss back the ones they don't like). And I get paid to do this! I love my job :)
It got me thinking about high school, and about those few really annoying kids. Those ones who didn't fit in at all and yet just kept plugging away. They just seemed so incredibly happy. I also thought, wow, how can they be happy NO ONE LIKES THEM! And yet, there they were, setting themselves up to be laughed at time and time again.
Then of course, there were the "popular kids" those kids who were at the tops of the social ladder, talking to them though, they totally didn't see it. And often, they weren't happy.
gets you thinking, doesn' t
Anyway, we starting doing intakes for shelter at 7PM. Most people know to come then and they go to sleep. It seems earlier, but many temp jobs start as early as 5:30AM and we also kick people out at 6. It seems cruel, but we have to clean sometime, and as I said, lots of people work anyway. Once we're full, we stop taking people, we just can't. And so when someone comes at 5AM and pleads with me to let them in, I just can't. For starters, we're full, but for seconds, we would be kicking him out in an hour anyway. I told him if he could wait two more hours then he could have soup and a bed a 7AM.
The man asked me where I could refer him to. I mentioned another place and he said, we'll it's too late to go there! I felt like saying, same thing here, yet you still tried! I was nice though, I'm always nice. He left muttering about how horrible it was for a, get this, "white guy" to be walking the streets, because I care so much about what colour your skin is. Yeah right. I felt really bad for you till then. And to be honest, I still feel bad for him.
We have people who are so desperate to sleep that they try and accost the police outside IPDA so that the police will lock them up and they'll have a place to sleep. This guy was going to try it but one of our staff sent in off towards an empty teepee down the way. Hopefully it really is empty and he crashed there for a while.
It's sad really the things that people have to do, the attitudes they have, and the actions they'll take. It's sad the way I have to respond to things. It's sad, but here's how I deal with it. It's their problem. While there are huge, larger, greater systemic issues at work, in each moment, finding housing is their responsibility. They could have come at 7 and got housing. But they will not be treated differently because of their skin colour. I have people who are seriously mentally defficient and mentally ill who manage to find the shelter every night at 7. Other people can too.
But, it still sucks, and it sucks that I have to look at things that way. But, if I can keep doing it, it's part of what will make me a good social worker.
Another example of a time I stop talking, is when someone else is talking. Someone I don't feel comfortable interrupting. Last night on van patrol was one of those times. The person I was with, an older man at least twice my age, was talking and talking and talking. About absolutely nothing in some cases.... I have to admit, it kind of reminded me of what some people say about me...and I was a bit annoyed by the end. That being said, it was also between 12:30 and 3:30AM and really, I wanted to be talking about the streets not about his past housing challenges. On the other hand though, I learned A LOT last night, as I have been each night I go to work.
Continuing on the subject of my loudness, I think there are two reason I talk, well, two main reasons. One is of course that I'm not a huge van of silence. I try, but yeah, I just don't like it. I am however far, far, far more comfortable with it then I ever have been. I can deal with it. In fact in the context of a therapeutic relationship, I'm quite okay with it (well, at least when i'm the therapist). I have a harder time when I'm alone in a car with someone, or alone eating supper or something. Even then though, I'm getting better, although it does depend on the time of day... in the mornings, you'll almost always find me silent (although, we these nights, what is morning?)
The other reason I talk, is to process. I learn through hearing and I process through talking, or if I can't talk, writing. Some of you have noticed that I update this A LOT. This will probably die down after the newness of my job wears off and I have less stuff I need to process. Then only the exciting stuff goes in here. Right now I just feel like I have SO much to say and so many things to get out. I have a whole list of things I want to put in here, topics waiting to be written, because for me, in many cases, writing about them is me thinking about them and starting to understanding how I feel about the situation. So, sometimes when I talk, it's not that I'm looking for a particular response or answer, it's just that I'm listening to myself and trying to understanding and work things out.
besides. who doesn't like being listened to?
My pondering led me to wonder about whether people walking around at all hours of the night is a sign of a healthy or unhealthy community. Ideally, we would have a city in which it was safe to walk alone at 3Am... but is it a good idea regardless of whether or not it is safe? I'm just not sure...
What is a safe community anyway. Is a safe community simply somewhere in which you don't have to worry about getting mugged for that pair of Nikes you're wearing or is it something deeper. I'm a firm believer in emotionally safe communities. Place in which people are free to be who they are and share and express their believes without fear of persecution. Communities need to be spiritually safe. Communities need to be a place of education; education which is holistic and well rounded. Communities need to be loving and supportive and friendly. Is there really such a place?
So what happened, is this. I worked last night 11:30-8AM. I hadn't worked since Monday night. The new schedule, which started Sunday (today) was out, but I hadn't seen it yet. Anyway, for today in my little box on the schedule it just said "71". That's the address of our transitional housing. Now, because I can't work more then 8 hours in 24, and it didn't give me any time at all, I assumed that it was a night shift. This was a bad assumption. I did however mention it to someone that I hadn't trained there yet, and they didn't mention it to me as being odd. Oh well, not their fault.
As I said, it turns out I was supposed to work at 5:30. That's not even a normal shift, or a shift I knew existed. Evening shifts start at 3:30. But, as I also said, they didn't bother to phone me or anything. One of the evening staff was super grumpy about the fact that I wasn't there. He's the one who trained me in detox that I didn't like. The night staff was soooo good about it though. They were super apologetic, and got me to write down 3 hours of work. So, I do lose out on 3 hours of pay, but I get 3 free hours.
Nights took this as just another strike against management. They're not fond of them to begin with. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that management is never around at night to see what goes on but still makes all of the decisions. Either way, now I have to go talk to management about the confusion. I don't work till Thursday evening, which probably means I should phone, and I really don't like phones...bah.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Thanks to the wonderful roommate, I have now solved the mystery of the "rubee". Turns out it's "rubby" for the rubbing alcohol some people drink.
Now personally, I've never caught someone with a bottle of rubbing alcohol. Nail polish remover, hairspray, paint thinner; yes, but not that. We even have to keep our hand sanitizer behind the counter or people drink it. I found out from some cops that at the hospital, some people stand beneath the hand sanitizer thing and squirt it into their mouth to drink...ew.
It will probably never cease to amaze me what some people will do for a high. A lot of the people I work with sniff or drink some pretty strange things. And I often wonder if it's no longer about the high. If it's about feeling normal, and being in community, and about habit... ie, what else would we do? I wish I had an easy answer.
Alcohol does scary things to people... it really does. When I was out on van patrol last night we saw a young woman passed out in a bus shelter. We woke her up, and she was very intoxicated. We offered to drive her home, and after a few tries we were able to get an address out of her. This was good, and we were able to drop her off somewhere safer then the shelter.
What got me, was the fact that she didn't see anything wrong with the fact that she was sleeping by herself, abandoned and cold on the hard ground at 3AM. I can't imagine being okay with that. For her though, it just seemed run of the mill. She was tired, she went to sleep. In fact, she was pretty upset that we had woken her up for a while. Then, she forgot that whole scene and didn't remember us picking her up, or where.
I find it fascinating how different people react to things in such different ways. LOTS of my friends were drinking last night I'm sure. And yet (as far as I know) none of them wound up on the ground in a bus shelter. What makes the difference in people. How do people know when to stop. How to some people control themselves while drunk and others don't. I really feel for her.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Then I get confronted with some of the other realities of this aging process and I want to step back into my shell and holler "too young, too young"! For example, my cooking/eating habits. To say I'm a bit of a lazy cooker is an understatement. I tend just not to eat when no one is around to cook, and when I do eat it's mostly stuff that I can cook with zero effort...ie, frozen pizza or chicken fingers. Someone pointed out to me that I will need to do this on my own when roommate goes to grad school... fine, but then they pointed out it's part of growing up. To which I so maturely replied "I don't wanna grow up!".
So here I am. Stuck, in some ways. And not really wanting to go in either direction. I certainly don't want to get younger, or be treated as younger then I am, but I'm not quite sure I want to grow up either. I'm not sure I want anymore responsibility then I already have; even for myself.
We've had a lot of children at our Friday night street ministry nights lately. Both coming as "clients" (for lack of a better word, I should write about that sometime, the things we call people) and as volunteers. It's very interesting to watch them and to think about how life is for them. Even within their "groups" (ie, volunteers children) they come from very different backgrounds and life experiences.
We have some children from the neighbourhood who started coming by. It was sad in many ways, but we had to tell them that Friday nights are just not the time for them to come. We talked about it as a group, because it is hard, but it's just not safe for them. We can't supervise them in our building and they're not with an adult. That being said, it's hard, because what are they getting into elsewhere, are they any safer outside? We gave them dinner tonight in containers so they could take it with them. They're the ones who taught me the word "rubee" for homeless person. It's interesting how derogatory they are.
We also have some children who come with their parents for the meal. This is also hard to see. One family comes with children who are always really dirty, but the kids seem really emotionally healthy. I'm trying to sit down with them every week and build a relationship; with the parents that is, the kids are just little. We'll see if that happens though. It's not really a place where I can take that kind of time every single week. Things just don't work that way. I feel for those kids, but I'm also glad their parents are willing to go out of their way to bring them somewhere where there is food. That being said, I really wish that didn't have to happen in such a rich society. It must be a very humbling experience for parents to bring their kids to our dinner.
Then we have the children who come with their parents to volunteer. They're fun, although sometimes underfoot. I did that when I was a kid (both volunteer and get underfoot... in fact, i know at least one person who would say I still get underfoot now)! I love that their parents bring them to a place where they are exposed to a different side of life. And, I love their energy... I'm totally jealous. I wish I could just go, go, go like that. Although, for all those who know me, I'm sure you're VERY glad I don't.
Friday, May 16, 2008
I'm feeling all old and grown up today. Yesterday I opened my very first RRSP! This is a good thing, because I'm in a good place to do it. I even think I understand what I did.
The guy at the bank was SO good to me. He didn't talk down to me, but he also took the time to really explain to me what was going on and what I was getting myself into. He gave me advise, even when it wasn't necessarily in the bank's best interest to give me that advice.
I invested in some sort of "balanced fund" which looks like it has good returns over the long run. It seemed to be the best option for me although I'm not sure what all it entails. All I learned was "don't watch it every day". So we'll see...hopefully I won't lose money over the long term.
I also set things up so that some of my paycheck gets automatically diverted into my savings account which which will be really good. And I have this thing where when I use my debit card, it rounds up and puts the difference in my savings. I don't use my debit card much, but hey, why not.
Went to the eye doctor yesterday... I much prefer the eye doctor to the dentist. The worst thing that happens at the eye doctor is the little puffs of air they blow in your eyes to test the pressure for glaucoma.
My eyes are mostly fine. My right eye needed a bit of a stronger prescription though. I debated not getting new glasses and saving the money, but since I drive at night (or I will, for work), I figured it's probably a smart idea. The ones I got weren't a bad price, but I still wound up spending a little too much money yesterday...
I hate choosing glasses. My eyes are so bad I have to stand smack in front of the mirror to see what they look like, which is really ineffectual for getting a good look at how they suit me. I let the person who work there do all the work. I told her I was hopeless, and she said "stand there". I stood in front of a mirror and she passed me pair after pair of glasses. Ironically, we went with the one pair I choose while she was doing something else. Either way, next week I'll have new glasses!
Work tried to get me to work evenings or overlap today, but I just couldn't. I had a church meeting and I have street ministry. Both of those I could possibly have missed with more notice, but not without notice, it's just not happening. I can't abandon my team the night of the long weekend. Although, that's probably why work needs me too! I hate being picky only my third week being there, and really I'm not, it's just that I need to set my limits as well. I'm not going to do things that I don't feel comfortable with hours wise. It's just not a good habit to get into, and they'll then expect it from me later on.
Either way, I'm tired right now and I need to get into a good head/energy space for street ministry. Roommate is housing sitting this weekend, so I'm on my own for cooking... some of you know how well that tends to go... (hopefully there are leftovers at st. min.). Hopefully best friend and I will go out tomorrow and it will involve food. I haven't seen most of my other friends lately either... anyone want to feed a hungry duckling?
Thursday, May 15, 2008
What's your theological worldview?
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|You scored as Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan|
You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God's grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.
I find myself laughing when I see my results on quizzes like this. I can be so over the top sometimes! Do I have ADHD? Probably, but does it really matter? No, I can function just fine thank you very much. I know the places and environments I have a hard time in, and I know how to help myself function better. When I took a week long intensive class once I brought crayons. I gave me something else to do and totally helped me focus.
I think ADHD tends to be over diagnosed in society, and I wouldn't want to have a label hanging over me, even if it did help explain some of my weird behaviour. The test results said I should "seek medical assessment immediately. Yeah right! On the other hand, if they'd recognized this about me when I was younger, maybe we could have looked at helpful ways to help me learn, instead of me getting in trouble all the time for not staying on task, talking to much, and not sitting still enough. Now I just know that I can't sit still, and if I think people are going to be bothered, I warn them ahead of time (or apologize after). I know that if I colour, or swing my feet around I'll stay focused better even if it looks like I'm not paying attention.
At work, I know that I need to get up every 15 minutes or so, unless I'm deeply absorbed in something, or at least have changing interactions. My job right now is SO good for that because I'm always doing something, or if I'm not, there's always something that will need to be done in a certain amount of time (punches in IPDA, bed checks in Detox, laundry, cups, coffee, soup etc...). I explained to a couple people that I have a really hard time sitting still, when it came up in conversation, but I really don't think it's going to be a big deal for me.
That being said, when I did program development for one of my practicums it nearly killed me. Sitting at my desk is just so not a good thing for me. At this job, I don't have a desk, and I like that. It also means I can't clutter up my space, which is really good for me. Clutter + me = bad.
Oh, and before anyone says "don't let stupid internet test diagnose you" and or "don't self diagnose", I'm not. I just find it helpful to look at myself from that perspective sometimes to understanding myself and help discover new tools for coping.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
While I'm not afraid of dentists, and generally value keeping my teeth in good health, I still don't find the dentist a pleasant experience. No matter how gentle they are, it HURTS! I really don't like having my gums poked at with sharp, pointy, little objects! And today, my hygienist decided it would be a good day to measure my gums. She used something she claimed was a round ruler...I think however that basically what she did was poke my gums and then check for bleeding. Apparently this shows if I have gum disease or not. A great thing to know, but apparently painful to find out.
Then of course came the necessary does of fluoride. This time round I choose vanilla-orange. It's supposed to taste like a creamsicle. Honestly, it wasn't bad though, so I shouldn't complain. My teeth still feel all grainy from the polishing though. I hate that feeling...it makes me gag.
End whine... I'm going back to sleep.
Last night was my first time doing van patrol. I really LOVE doing Street Patrols in my volunteer work with the Salvation Army so I was super excited to get to do it for my job! While we do it on foot Friday nights, my work uses a van, this means we can go a whole lot further, carry more stuff, stay warmer (and out longer), and take two people instead of four. There's great opportunities on foot though that you don't get in the van.
Part of doing van patrol means picking up a food a local 7/11 donates to us and doing coffee runs for the staff. Going through the Tim Horton's drive through not once, but twice seems to be a common occurrence.
The important part of van patrol however is driving through the back lanes, down local streets where prostitution is common and just keeping the area as safe as possible. It was raining and cold yesterday, so thankfully we didn't see a lot of people on the street. It's hard to know where the homeless go, but they mostly, they find somewhere. Unfortunately, this often means a lot of drug use as people are able to crash at crack houses and such.
The one thing we did do was drive a young woman who was prostituting home. As we drove down the street we called out to each one just checking to make sure they were okay and didn't need anything. This way if they're being watched by someone they won't get hurt later for being interfered with. The last one we talked to said she was going home and accepted our offer of a ride. We didn't push anything on her, just asked her if she knew about local resources; she did. The person with me said she seemed very new at working the streets, and she really did. It's sad, that this is what she has to do, for whatever reason.
After that we got a call to pick up someone at the hospital. We have a relationship with a couple local hospital emergency rooms to do trips for them. It's not an official policy relationship or anything, just an agreement with the ER nurses. The nurses are able to call us when they have a patient they know has no way to get home and is marginalized and vulnerable. They don't overuse us, and so we're happy to do it. They do A LOT for our clients, it's the least we can do for them. Yesterday we drove a woman younger then me, who seemed A LOT younger, to a downtown hotel. She had been medevaced from up north for a possible spinal injury which turned out negative. She had no idea how she was getting back to where her mom was staying (the hotel), let alone back up north, so the nurses called us.
Driving people around can sometimes seem like a waste of resources, but I'm sure for the two women we helped last night, it meant a lot.
But, now I'm awake, and I'm a little confused as to what I'm supposed to be doing. Church work I guess is the answer, but is it? I do not know anymore. I'm not sure what I should be eating either; I had some garlic bread (odd choice I know, but it was there), and now I'm eating some water melon and coffee... I think I may go for a sunrise bike ride. It could be nice. We'll see...it might also be cold. I have a dentist appt at noon and then I work at the library 7-10. I think i need to nap after the dentist and stay up late tonight. I work nights again on Saturday, should I get my sleep schedule back to normal again? I'm so confused. Really, I need a call in to do either Thursday or Friday night - tonight I could do, but it would be harder... then things might work okay. I also need to do laundry. yay?
The shelter closes as 6AM, at which time we kick people out. There are other places starting to open up, and we let people back in for 7AM soup anyway. We need that hour to get everything clean and sanitary. So, naturally, there's a time where we stop letting people in for the night, especially if we're almost full (and by that I mean 58-59 people). At 5AM it's just not a great idea to let someone in to sleep, and so we have policy around that.
Yesterday a woman came to the door around 5AM soaking wet from the rain. Our closed sign was prominently displayed, but she was banging on the window. I had to talk to her and tell her that we were closed and full. She argued that she was freezing, but my hands were "tied". I turned down the microphone, and turned away, I had to leave her standing there. We don't give away blankets, so I couldn't even do that for her.
How hardened am I, that I could just turn away and continue my work with barely a second thought? How hardened am I, that I could come home, eat a bagel and sleep for 18 hours not thinking of her once? Or, have a simply learned the good and healthy boundaries that will keep me from going insane and burning out in this job.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
We had a few interesting clients. During the week most of the clients are regulars, they're the kind of people you see intoxicated downtown or on main street. On the weekends however you get a lot more people from the club scene. A lot of people who are not pleased that they're in the drunk tank with "those people". One woman kept up a steady "you don't know who my father is". We even had a law enforcement officer. They were pretty mouthy too. We had a client come straight from hospital where he'd had his head sewed up. His longer grey hair was still soaked with red blood. It looked horrible, but I guess he had a lot of something in him cause he said he didn't hurt at all.
My evening consisted of paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork. The cops were coming in so fast at times though that I did 3 intakes in 12 minutes according to my records. It seemed like longer at the time. About 3/4s of the way through I switched with my trainer and did cleaning. I mopped out 6 cells, cleaned their mats and mopped the whole IPDA floor. Joy.
All in all, my first night went well, although I'm convinced I had a couple visual hallucinations near the end from being so tired. More coffee though and all was well. Went to church after and stayed awake just fine. I'm in bed now, almost ready to have a nice long SLEEP! I work over night again tonight and tomorrow, so at least I'm on a somewhat normal schedule, even if it is the reverse of the rest of the world.
As we were talking, I started thinking to myself, how can I help him work through this challenge. And then it occurred to me. He didn't ask me for help! It's pretty hard to help someone who's not on board with the process. I can use all the skills in the world, but unless we're on the same page, it's not going to work.
This actually taught me a lot about the way I work, it sort of reminded me about free will, client self determination and a bunch of other things I *know*. I told the client he can come back and talk to me next week, and he seemed to like that idea. In fact, he was really happy. He wanted to make sure I would actually be there and not out on the streets or something. It was hard to tell him that I couldn't promise but that I would do my best. Street Ministry isn't set up for therapy, it's set up as a drop in, and while it's nice to have skills I can use, I have to set limits. It's SO exciting to finally be done school, I just want to use all the stuff I've learned right away, these things take time though, and I have plenty of that, so I'm going to try and slow down, and work with people where they're at, to the best of my abilities, as I can.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Despite the corny picture, the second day of my workshop went really well. I actually enjoyed the role playing we did, which is surprising in some ways because really, it's role playing. Worse then just role playing, it's "fish bowl" which is role playing in front of the entire group and then getting feedback. I've never really been a huge fan of it, however it is a really good learning and teaching tool. ASIST gives a really great framework for suicide intervention with "handy dandy" steps and diagrams to follow which makes it a lot easier and a less daunting task then one might think. On the whole, it was a good workshop, and I would recommend it.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
There are definitely good things about staying here though. For example, tonight I borrowed the car!!! My best friend and I went shopping and picked her up an apartment dishwasher; this way she didn't have to waste money on bringing it home in a taxi. We also got her a large fan and a mega pack of toilet paper. I bought a watch with a 24 clock so I can write down the times when I'm doing detox intakes. I'm happy.
Today was the first day of my two day Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) class. Basically, it's a $250 course so I can get the five letters that will let me get the job I eventually want (working in Mobile Crisis). I had a hard time sitting still long enough today. The course is 9-4 and even though there are lots of breaks, I found it hard. By the end I was swinging my legs and rocking back and forth. I did apologize to the facilitator because by the end I was feeling pretty rude. Bah. sitting.
Anyway, the course itself isn't as bad as I thought it would be, and I tried to go into it with an open mind. It's a little too personal for me though, and a friend of my father's is in it which is just really awkward. I don't quite feel like I can talk about my experiences or the experiences of my family as freely when he's in the room. But that's okay.
There really hasn't been a lot of new information, although I really like the way they write the model out. Tomorrow we get deeper into it as well, and so hopefully there will be some new content. It basically follows the six step crisis intervention model I use, with a couple variations which make it specific to suicide.
Something I really liked about the last suicide prevention workshop I did was their emphasis on how normal suicidal thoughts are, and how so many people have suicidal thoughts over the life time. This course really seems to focus on suicidal thoughts as a bad thing, when I do believe they can be a coping mechanism to get people through hard times. Sometimes knowing there's that way out is enough to keep someone going. Further, this course refuses to acknowledge the fact that there are some people who are going to die by suicide no matter what we do to intervene. And by we, I mean "systems" in general, not just "me" as a person. The other workshop was really good about that and I think it takes SO much of the pressure of the helper; whoever they may be.
I'm finishing up my job at the library this week and next, and today all I did was take labels off books and then put them in order so someone can shelve them. My friend was joking with my supervisor about how they needed to hire someone with a university degree to do that. Oh well, I said I'd finish my job there, and really, it's nice to have some peace and quiet for a while.
In other news, I went car shopping... it was very, very, very scary. Thankfully one of my bestest buddies came with me. We went to see the "guy she deals with". I test drove a Toyota Yaris Sedan, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. I have an Echo I'm going to test drive next week, but upon further research I've discovered it's a bad deal. I'm really interested in the Chevrolet Aveos I saw at the other dealership. They were a really cute colour, and besides that they were little, cute, fuel efficient, and seemingly affordable. There's just soooooooo many things to consider! I'm really quite worked up about the entire thing, and I think I need to take a few more deep breaths and calm down just a little more before I decide anything. Thank goodness for bestest buddy, because I was in WAY over my head.
I also had a meeting with my pastor about my summer job, and it looks like things are going to be okay. I can do this. It's going to be a busy summer, and I'm going to be doing a lot of work, but I can do this! Yay for not having homework!