Sunday, October 14, 2007

Stupid staff, the smarts of the cognitvely disabled


I got a check for a $170. I forgot…that I get paid when I work! It is something that has become alien to me in the grad school…work your ass off and pay for the opportunity.

I worked at a new house yesterday, an actual new house for the agency. They bought a beautiful ranch (which is saying a lot because I hate ranch houses) across from my first elementary school. The residents have just moved in a month ago, and the staff are all new. I hate walking into a new house. I get so anxious, you never know what to expect. I was dreading it all day.

The new supervisor (just started two weeks ago) gave me the 10 minute synopsis of the house. She said …I’ll assign you D. D was a consumer with a recent history of elopement, calling 911, disruptive behavior, and most recently …taking knives from the kitchen and threatening violent acts. D was currently on line of sight supervision, and because of his recent behavior, the house had been staffing an extra person.

At this point…..I asked….um…..”Why is there a block of knives sitting on the counter?”
I was told to remove them would be a “restriction of rights” that needed approval. I used the word “fuck” a lot when I explained that …the last time I knew…the possession of a knife was not a human rights concern.

So the supervisor asked “all worried” is she minded if I supervise D for the day. I just giggled as I thought of the psy wards I have been on; and the shifts at the nonverbal autistic and psychotic teenagers. I told her I would be happy to take him on.

He began the shift…..by leaving the house. In which I followed him. He doesn’t have the cognitive ability to understand that cars may not always drive around him, while walking in the street at night. I followed. “Why are you following me?”…..annoyed. I smiled and told him it was just my job.

During the shift he yelled at me, shoved me, threatened to call 911, resisted taking his meds, and after a stroll in the kitchen…..pointed a knife at me. By this time, I knew that this individual (by his little smirks, that I had called him on), have decided that he liked me, and was just seeking attention. I smiled at him, and asked him what he was going to do with the knife. He said he had a knot in his shoelace, in which I bent down and un tied it. “Oh really now?” He set the knife down, I took it, and walked into the kitchen and took the knife block into the staff office and locked the door.

Now…..at this point, I knew he would not have hurt me. But…..his interaction with other staff on my arrival would make me think that he could hurt someone. So, perhaps I am better at this job, than I think.

I had a long conversation with the new supervisor about not having regulations, management, and other considerations; not cloud or confuse common sense. The new supervisor was not at fault here. A manager actually gave a clear and direct “order” to the staff, not to lock the knives up, previous to my shift. I wonder if I am that much of a leader, or just smart enough, to stand my ground.

Pic: Andy Warhol

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