Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's A Field For The Altruistic, Not For The Pay

Do you ever have days where everything just "erks" you? That would be today. Maybe because it's my *ahem*, favorite, time of the month, maybe that's just a coincidence. All I know is a girls gotta vent and this is the best place I got. I'll make it short and sweet and then get on to the good stuff, today's daily question. Deal? Done, did.

So I woke up and drove the 30 minutes to training today. I got there on time. The rest of my orientation group? Not so much. 3 of us sat there with the instructor for two hours, TWO HOURS!, waiting for the rest to show up!! And guess what? You have to have 4 people for the class to continue. So now orientation is cancelled for the rest of this week because these three classes have to run back to back with no weekend in between. Which means we have to go back next week. Oh goodie. Yeah, we got paid for those two hours, but seriously? Thanks, class. Glad to know you are taking this job seriously enough to make it through orientation.
Then I learned that even though I'm doing the same job that I was doing in Iowa...I'm taking a 3.00/hour pay cut. Ummm...hi Florida, you cost more to live in. So now I'm going to go through all this orientation and am already job searching for a 2nd, or better yet, an actually good paying job. Which sucks because as most of you well know I'm in love with this field of work. But I need that money you know, I have all those student loans to pay off.
Speaking of student bills. Glad I'm paying for such an expensive private school, whose credits transfer so well I get the joy of taking, AND PAYING FOR, a general psych class at the community college when I start nursing classes. Yep, forget the fact I have a Bachelors Degree in Psych that I paid a fortune for..
But mostly I hate when you have to be patient because somebody else can't get their stuff in gear. I'm sorry, but I'm not going to put my life on hold so you can lolly-gag around and maaaaybe think about letting me go on with mine. Get over yourself.

Ok, deep breath, annnnnnnnd done with the stress. Moving on.

Today's Question: Which disease known to humankind do you hate the most? Explain why.

Here I am complaining about my day, which lead me to choose this question. Really, I shouldn't let those minor things get me down. I have so much to be thankful for. Now, on to the question.

I'm not going to list any disease, but rather an example that I've learned from working my job with individuals with profound mental retardation. I know they say to not get too attached to your individuals, but how can you not when you take care of them everyday? You become their family, their voice, their life. When you work with them you learn different ways in which to have very basic communication with them. Yes, no, I want this, I don't like that, that's funny, and you are really annoying me right now (that's them saying that to me, not me to them).
But what I hate the most is that they are living their whole lives without having ways to really communicate with people. They'll never get to laugh with someone over a shared inside joke. When something is bothering them, how do they tell you? When they want their nails painted 10 different colors (real life example here, folks) instead of solid red? They can't. They have no way to have conversations with others.
Then, what kills me even more is how many families just throw them in a living center...then forget about them. What happened to supporting your children? What happened to being their biggest advocate? I'm not saying I don't understand why people put their children in these homes, because trust me I's a full time job helping them with every aspect of their life. It's the ones whose families have legitimately disowned them just because they're different, or they are embarrassed by them.
Let me tell you something, and please don't take this the wrong way, I think of them as babies. Now hear me out. They say you learn your babies cries. I always was scared, thinking, how in the hell am I going to tell a baby's cries apart? Well, after being super close with Molly (maybe that's a stretch, but it goes with this situation), and working with people with mental retardation, I can assure you you will. You learn to read eyes, read their body language, understand different screams, and pick up on every.little.thing. No, they can't talk to you. Yes you feed them, bathe them, and change their soiled clothes, and yes sometimes it's gross. But they are people, (and eventually you build up a stomach of steel and nothing grosses you out). And "these people" are being held back by themselves and their own family, and still are in better moods than most of the "normal people" I know. Inspiring? I think so.
They have personalities. Some of them with personalities so big they brighten your day as much as you do to theirs. They have things that they love, they have foods that they hate, they have days where all they want to do is vent...
Yet, who is going to listen to them? How are they going to write it out? How are they going to tell you to please, just leave them alone today? They can't.
And on days like today, that's a reminder to me how good I really have it, and it's also why it's the "disease" I hate most.

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