Sunday, July 27, 2008

Working Saturdays

I don't like working Saturdays. I only have to do it about every 6 weeks and I try to get rid of it by giving my day to someone who needs the comp time, but it was my turn yesterday. It would be a fun day if it weren't on a Saturday -- there are no meetings, things are quiet, you get to see therapists that had babies years ago who don't work regularly, etc. It's quick -- as soon as you see the patients on your schedule you go home. There are a lot of pros to working Saturdays, and most of the time I get over myself and enjoy it once I get there, but I just wasn't having it this week.

The morning went smoothly -- an evaluation with a 80-something guy who looked 60 and definitely didn't need treatment, another eval with a guy who was 60 something but looked 80 and definitely did need treatment, 2 treatment sessions with very sweet patients, and a 3rd eval with a lovely young woman who had a very nasty thing happen to her brain but is improving tremendously. Then it was lunch time, and I got a report written from Friday. That was good.

I only had 2 things to do in the afternoon before I could go home -- transport patients to the 3 speech groups that were running at 1:30 and then run one of the groups for an hour. Then I could go home.

Patient transport is like herding cats -- no one wants to leave their room early so it's a lot of checking in on people to make sure they're up or getting up in their wheelchairs, or tagging the therapist who is working with the patient to bring them to the group when they are done, etc. It tends to be 20 minutes of running around with no results and then 10 minutes of chaos. Yesterday was no exception.

My group was one that used to be called "reality orientation group" -- it is essentially for people who need to spend an hour figuring out where they are and what happened to them, usually by accessing a notebook or some other external aid. The therapist who runs the group during the week left me a note and a package of pencils that said "Try having them interview each other and write down their answers -- this group is fun!". Okay, I like fun.

I should have realized that this plan might not work when I went to pick up the 4th of 4 patients in their room and he said "Oh great, you're here." I got very excited thinking he was following his schedule and looking forward to group -- I explained who I was and where we were going and he tried to "opt out" of the session but that he still needed my services. He took the paper that had all of the patient names for transport and my pen from me, and said he had been waiting for me to show up so he could get "this damn thing notarized". Uh-oh.

Group proceeded as best it could, with two patients interviewing each other while the other two did the same. The only glitches were:

--they didn't know the answers to their own questions past their names, so if one person gave an answer and everyone else heard it, it became their answer as well. As an example, I knew that one person was in the hospital from a fall from a horse, one had a construction accident, one had an anoxic event, and one had a stroke. By the time that question had been answered out loud by everyone, they had all fallen from horses.

--one guy couldn't write very quickly so when he tried to abbreviate he couldn't remember what the abbreviation meant. He wrote "retired acc" for his partner who was a retired accountant but when he was telling the group what he learned, he looked back at his notes and said "He's retired, on his ass".

--no one was willing to believe it was a Saturday. The notary man kept asking why he hadn't heard church music "from this compound" this morning. When I said, "Today is Saturday" in my best calm therapist voice for the 10th time as I pointed to both a calendar and a newspaper, he said "Do you mean to tell me the entire Episcopalian church doesn't know that today is Sunday? You're crazy."

-- and my favorite moment, when everyone in the room realized the wheels had come off, after one gentleman had said "this is fun, but I have no idea what we're doing", the notary guy said "You know, it's like we've all been hit in the head or something".

Yes, or something. I haven't laughed that hard while doing my job so miserably in a long time (particularly after Wednesday's debacle). I was pretty glad to be working this Saturday.

This picture, called Time Sensitive, is by Martina Nehrling, was on display at a U Chicago art history conference called "Confusion: Disorientation and Synthesis".

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