A Hangin’ At The Home story
Today, when I got in to the group home for work, one of the clients was yelling, upset that a food item she wanted wasn’t there. She has been doing this every time I come in to this facility, partly because it’s a power and control thing, and partly because she knows that during shift change, things get very chaotic. It’s pure manipulation, and one of the staff who was working bought into it, and raised her voice as well, starting a power struggle.
I waited until they separated and I had finished my other duties and then came into the room with the client, knelt down by her wheelchair and said, “Why is it that every night when I come in, you start yelling and being angry? “
She demanded the food item again and I said, “Staff have said it’s not there. I’ll go look, but if it isn’t there, can you tell me why you are so angry every time I come in to work?”
She started yelling again, and I said, “I don’t like it when people yell at me. People have been yelling at me a lot lately and it makes me think that they don’t want me around. Is that why you yell at me?: You want me to go away?”
She stopped and said, “No, I like you. You’re nice to me.”
I replied, “You can only yell at me so many times before my feelings will be so hurt that won’t want to be here any more.”
Yep, in that moment, I was being human and honest with her. I checked the fridge, told her that the food item wasn’t there, and asked her nicely if she would apologize for yelling. She did and went to her room.
“Don’t lie to the clients” you may say…I wasn’t lying. The group home takes a toll on me, even if I am spending most of my time sleeping here. On those shifts, I have to wake up and help people to the bathroom, give them medication, deal with disputes and the like, and the sleep I get is fitful and not very good. On the weekends, when I work during the day, I have been head butted, punched, scratched, dealt with endless amounts of bodily waste and so on.
But, I live to serve.
Another client, who has been here as long as I have worked here, was verbally abusive, lashed out in anger and could be a bear of a human most of the time has moved out due to declining health. I will remember all of the time she hit me, or threw something at me or told me how horrible I was…but there were also times we talked about old movies, she helped me make a meal or sang along with music I was playing while working. I KNEW she couldn’t stop herself, that she just had those outbursts.
And because of that, I forgave her.
Oh hell, who am I kidding, I forgive everyone. It’s my thing, you know?
She would sometimes apologize, but mostly she would pretend that the outburst didn’t happen or it was all the staff’s fault.
I’ll miss her and her unique personality.
But in those moments when I was dealing with her anger and abuse, I would say, “Do you want me to leave?”
And while she would shout yes, an hour or so later, she’d come out of her room to see if I was still there.
If I DID leave because it was the end of my shift, I was told she would be upset and ask when I would be back.
I don’t know if this has much of a point. If I were a better writer, were a little less frazzled or were as smart as some people seem to think I am, I’d have a good wrap up that would make a big important point about how you can only carry so much before you have to lay the burden down and walk away.
But I am not that bright, incredibly tired, and hope that you read this and think to yourself to be a little nicer to the people who are there for you, because they are carrying burdens too, and sometimes, it may be too much for them to carry on their own.
Good night to friends old and new, and I wish nothing for you but good things tomorrow.