Monday, February 25, 2008

Social Service Workers and the Walker Wars

I've been dealing with folks who work in the Social Services a lot in the past few years, what with caring for Mama. I've found that the folks that you deal with usually fall into a couple of categories.

One is the really great people who are loving, giving, and truly trying to make the world a better place. Marie, for example, used to work at Mama's daycare and was always planning special trips and activities and all sorts of out-of-the box stuff. Because of her, Mama went to Christmas parties and visited the beach. (Mama loved it and misses her dearly. Well, the activities at least).

A second is the folks who just look it as a job. Which is fine, as long as they are competent and (to some point) caring. Or at least take pride in their work. This is the type I've run into most often. There's nothing wrong with them, but don't try calling on 5:01PM and expect them to answer the phone. (Heck, don't try calling at 4:45PM and expect them to care).

A third is the type that I lovingly refer to as Burnt Out Husk of a Human. This is the one who's taken a job in Social Service to work out some personal issues of their own. They're usually smokers, and extremely angry. They went in this industry to feel loved and appreciated and since that almost never happens (or at least not to their satisfaction) they get really, REALLY bitter. My mother falls squarely into this category, so I go on AND ON about the type. Sadly, she's not the only one of this category I've known. Others include an administrator at Mama's old day care and a nurse at Mama's old doctor. Sad, pathetic angry women, all.

The fourth (and final) type is the "do-gooder." These are the ones who will lecture, who will make choices against the wishes of the patient and family, BECAUSE THEY KNOW BEST. Mama's old social worker was one of these; she lectured to me repeatedly that it was "selfish" of me to have a full-time job rather than dedicate myself 24/7 to my mother-in-law. Mama's current physical therapist is like this; it's immaterial to her that Mama's new walker isn't not only causing Mama pain to operate it, but also causing her to stumble and trip. The PT knows that this one is best and that's all she cares about.

This is what I've been dealing with lately; the Walker Wars, as H dubbed them. Trying to get the PT to switch Mama back from to a 4-wheeled walker from a 2-wheeled walker. (It may not sound like much, but it's WAY different for Mama). The PT feels Mama is too "impulsive" and that a 4-wheeled walker gives her "too much flexibility." So she's switched Mama to a 2-wheeled walker to slow Mama down and make it hard for her to around.

What the heck? Mama is NOT D.anica P.atrick, for crying out loud. Even with a 4-wheeled walker she was slow. With a 2-wheeled walker she's slower and FRUSTRATED, because she remembers being able to move better, faster.


Thanks for listening. I know have to go fight round 12 of the Walker Wars.

And how are you?


Kathleen said...

Sounds very frustrating. Good luck with WW12! You know what is best for Mama and that is all that matters.
I've been lurking for a while and thought I'd actually send a note today.
Good luck!

Cathy said...

Can YOU just get her a 4-wheeled walker? Did they take her old one away? Can you get a new PT? Doctor up her 2-wheeled one to make it easier on her?

Or, you know, just scream at the PT until she caves? That could be fun.

JAMs Wife said...

Keep up the fight. It is so important to advicate for what Mama needs, since she can't. But I know it is hard. Good luck.

Bea said...

Use the force, Nica...

I can see all those "types" in my mind's eye. Unfortunately it's not a small matter like choosing cardboard dividers for the home office, so it's bound to get *right* on your nerves when you can't relate to the person.


Nica said...

Yes they threw the old walker away. (Accidentally). And walker's cost $150, which I don't have. And they say they'll make "restitution," they're just making sure IT HURTS.