What would Lainey-Paney do?
Or...rather, what does LP do?
What's your job?
Well....I'm a social worker. I work in a hospital. More specifically, I'm a social worker in the Emergency Department of a hospital.
So, all the time, people say, "Well, what do you dooooooooooo?"
Today, I feel like I do a lot of holding my tongue. There are just days....when...man, if I could just SAY what I want to say. And certainly there are times when I say quite a bit to people...and then my ever-present documentation reflects things like... "SW encouraged patient to seek employment" = "You NEED to get a job. If you had a job, you'd have insurance; you'd be able to pay not only your hospital bill, but for your medicine, and your insulin, and your dressing change supplies, and you wouldn't expect me to call in favors all over the county for YOU to get everything for free."
Seriously....some things just really burn me up...
Oh....how about this example; brought to you by a jaded hospital worker:
Oh, you got shot in the back b/c you & a "friend" were arguing over crack? Well, yes, he is now in jail for shooting you. But guess what---maybe you should go to jail for stealing his stuff. Oh, he can't really press charges for you stealing his crack...maybe you should go to jail for possession... but wait, now that you're paralyzed, you would be too much of a burden in jail...so they'll just let you remain free. Except...now you can get disability & medicaid; I mean, afterall, you can't walk again. And, you may even qualify for Crime Victim's Compensation b/c shooting someone is a CRIME & therefore you ARE A VICTIM. and, until those financial programs kick in, I should bust my A$$ to find you a FREE wheelchair, and FREE healthcare, and FREE in home assistance, or maybe even FREE housing/rehab/nursing home care.
Yeah....you should get a FREE Ride.
As a taxpayer, i would just love to financially support you & your habit for the rest of your life.
[raising my glass] Here's to you, man!
So, there are routinely days where I feel like I've made no difference whatsoever in the world or in the world of that person. There are cases where I walk away arming an individual with information, and then knowing that they have the choice to change their own situation or not.
And then....then there are days when I know I've made a difference.
I can't say who or when....and it doesn't really matter, b/c it's happened more than once... but there are days that I may rock a baby until it's tiny heart beats for the very last time. Why? Not because it's in my job description. But....for a variety of reasons: because the mother could not do it; because the father was not there yet; because it was so tiny that it could not live, but it did not immediately die, and I could not stand the thought of that baby dying alone in a metal bowl on a cabinet. Why? Not because somebody has to, but because I feel like somebody should. That's a moment where I know I've made a difference. Even if the parents don't remember...I know that tiny little life was warm, wrapped in blankets, and felt a mothers heartbeat as it passed away; even if it was not the heartbeat it had known for weeks...that baby didn't die alone.
There are days when wives lose their husbands, of say, 60 years. People don't always think about it, but the dr tells them that their spouse...their partner for just about every day they've known, that person has died. The doctor leaves, and you have these broken, incomplete people there asking, "Now What?"
In those situations, other family members usually arrive, the details get addressed, & life will be different forever...but it goes on. After that moment, does that little old lady remember my name or my face? No. And, that's okay. That's not what it is about. I know that I helped her through a moment. I don't need her to come back here & thank me. I know that sadly, she will relive those moments daily for a while, & less often as time goes on. I know that bits & pieces of me are ingrained in some of their most horrid, sad & difficult moments, and hopefully I was a bright spot; not an escape from the reality but some sort of help through it.
So, what do I do?
Every day is different.
I never know what is going to come through those ER doors.
I never know what I'm going to see or what I will be called to do that day.
I never know how busy I will be.
I just never know.
And, boy...if I had to make a list of all the random different things I see over the course of a week....or a month....it would be very long....very interesting...but very long.