Friday, December 12, 2008

when bennie won't bathe



I’m getting sick of smelly people, and especially sick of the smell of urine soaked people after they’ve been drinking mouthwash (but that’s just a personal thing). In the spirit of change however, I’ve decided that instead of just whining about it, I need to do something about it. Whether or not my approach has been empowering however is up for debate.

In example one is the story of Adam who we met last entry. We gave him a wash cloth to sponge off and some clean clothes. While his clothes were no longer smelly, he really hadn’t got all that clean.

The next example is Ben. Ben also left the drunk tank covered in urine. In his case, I decided to point this out to him. We have a good relationship, so a gentle, "Ben, you're starting to smell, if I find you some clean clothes will you have a shower"? seemed like a good approach. And it was... in some ways. Ben and I spent time talking about how his life had gone down hill with is recent episodes of binge drinking and how he used to be so well dressed all the time. I consulted with him about the clothes I was picking and even found him a nice new winter jacket. Ben promised me that when he came inside for coffee he would collect his stuff and have a shower. The problem is, Ben never followed through, and he's out their somewhere, likely in the same dirty clothes.

And then, there's Chris. Chris is my one "success" story. With Chris, I was simply very directive. We again have a good relationship built and it's okay for me to do this. Besides that, I would listen if the client said absolutely not. Basically, when I opened his drunk tank cell I had already gathered all the shower stuff needed and simply walked him upstairs and into the shower. "Chris, it's time for a shower, I've got some clean clothes for you, just follow me upstairs and I'll open it for you". Once at the shower, I gave instructions to wash hair and body, brush teeth and comb hair, as well as to throw out the old clothes as they smelled. Chris, had a shower (Chris also invited me to come have a shower with him).

See the thing is though, I'm not usually so directive, but sometimes it gets to a point... Further, there's the fact that enforcer was totally on board with my plan which makes me wonder, just cause we don't normally agree... I guess it's not something I would do often, but I think almost all of us at work have done it. Sometimes people just really need a bath... or do they?

3 comments:

antiSWer said...

Yeah, actually leading someone and not asking them doesn't sound so empowering. And while it would probably be good for them, if they don't want to do it, should we be leading or making them do it? I dunno.

As for the smell, I can understand. I got sick of group home smells. It got to the point where I'd carry around tiger balm and put that under my nose when it got to be too much. You might want to try it.

Reas Kroicowl said...

On the other hand, direction and escorting to the shower appears to be the approach when you're in need of a date....

Still Dreaming said...

that's very true Reas, and I haven't had a date in ages...