Yesterday's post was, I suppose, a case of the jitters. The fact is, I irritate the snot out of many people, and am not sure how I manage to do that. I know that people who consider themselves in charge are very often offended by me because I don't recognize their 'in charge-ness'. The teacher and the letter, for example. She felt her position to be unassailable, that she directed, we did. When I didn't, it plainly made her mad. For my part, it never occurred to me that she would see things that way. Our profession is all about the 'soft skills', accepting the differences in each other, etc. I didn't expect her to tap dance at my decision. I did expect her to use her active listening skills. I expected that we'd agree to disagree.
This has happened regularly to me along the way. My family, for instance, always believed that there is one way to think. I was always thinking off in a whole 'nother direction, and it made people mad. A lot. So much so that I simply stopped going around them because I was sick and tired of people trying to fix my thinking.
Working at the Kwik Fill, when a customer wanted flavored coffee and I made a pot, thereby bringing the wrath of the coworker from hell upon my head. I never saw that coming because, number 1, she was not called upon to do a thing, and number 2, it was good customer service, and number 3, a pot of coffee costs maybe 50c to make, one cup of coffee costs $1.19, for the small cup, and so no money was lost, the customer was happy, and my coworker was not involved. Except that she made herself involved, and she stayed mad for the rest of my time there, and tried to engage me in battle every chance she could.
The team leader at my clinicals said, a few weeks back, that she didn't know what to do with me. She'd never seen such a terrible student. I cried over that one. The COTA working with me had tried to have a discussion with me about another employee in the supply closet, not more than 10 feet away from a patient on a mat table. I was uncomfortable, trying to end that conversation quickly. It wasn't private, it wasn't professional. I did not want the other employee to think that we were talking about her. It was taken that I was challenging my advisor, and the team leader and the department head were quite unhappy with me and let me know it. In front of the rest of the OTs. Furthermore, they didn't want to hear my take.
You see how it is. I see things very differently from other people, and to me, my thinking makes perfect sense. It pisses others off. This is not a small problem to me. My 'no-brainers' are the bane of everyone else's existence. I really am wondering if I might not have Asperger's or something. My social skills seem to be...um...lacking.
In any case, today is a big day. This man is going home today. I'm glad. He's such a nice person, and such a gentle soul. He waits patiently for his family to come and get him. Sometimes 'the unit' gets wound up. One resident will get combative and loud, and the others will begin to react to that. Those employees work with a tough population, and I've never seen a one of them get impatient or frustrated. But what I did see, walking over to bring a patient back for therapy, was my gentle friend, waiting there with his hands on his knees, watching the aides try to reason with an angry and irrational (and loud) man. His eyes were wide, his mouth open. I recognized the look and it made me sick to think that he was afraid.
Long story short, his daughter witnessed something like this. She loves her daddy dearly. When he looked at her and said, confusedly, "I don't know why I'm here. I want to go home. I want my own bed," she made up her mind.
So when I went over to retrieve my good friend, his wife clutched my arm. "We're taking him home," she said. I thought they meant for a visit, but they assured me that it was for good. "We'll manage," they said. "We'll figure something out." With tears in my eyes, I said, "I can help. I can't guarantee that I'll be able to help all the time, but I would love to help out as much as I can," and they thanked me for that. I figured that was that, but before they left, they came to me. "Are you in the book?" they asked. I told them that I had recently moved, and our new number was not in the book. I wrote it down, and they carefully put it away. It makes me very happy to think that I will be a part of this love story.
Another thing? I got a letter from a neighbor of the waltzing widower, to thank me. I called her, and long story short, they've promised to come have supper one night. We recognized each other as kindred souls. I'm very happy to be a part of his story as well.
And so it goes.
I can't explain me. I just can't. I am not a perfect person. I am beloved. I know that. I am also a pain in the butt. Sometimes people just fit wherever they are, wherever they go. I'm not one of those people.
I have had a powerful realization of how what a powerful tool familiarity can be in working with Alzheimer's patients. I have also come across the European concept of snoezelen rooms. Last night, I couldn't sleep for thinking about it. What if a 'quiet place' could be set up at our facility? A soothing place, with soothing smells, sounds, colors, tactile experiences, where a patient could sit when he was combative and irrational, to feel a gentle breeze which caused chimes to ring, as he listened to birds chirp, surrounded by the smell of pine, or lilacs, maybe. Would it help? It was exciting to me to realize that I had much of the stuff on hand to experiment with the concept. There is a clever woman who works with the patients in the locked ward, and I cannot wait to speak with her today and see what she thinks of it.
Of course, this could just be me, pissing off yet another person in a position of authority.
It's hard to know.
But you can bet the ranch that I won't figure it out until the fecal material hits the rotary oscillator.