Monday, October 8, 2012
Work, a strange header. I do believe work is something I have not mentioned in a while, even though I began this blog ostensibly to write about my work. The fact is that because of the constant cuts and changes, it is becoming increasingly difficult for kids to be found eligible for services. Up to two years ago I had many referrals and new ones kept coming in. There were occasions that I was unable to take on a new referral. What has happened more recently is that referrals have really decreased, and the nature of referrals has changed. For instance, last week I received a referral to a little girl who is to be turning three on November 5th. That means I will see her for all of three visits! This is a little girl who at almost three has no words, and appears severely delayed in her social and self help skills. I spoke to mom over the phone to arrange a visit. Mom works every day and so cannot be present. She said she will tell the girl's babysitter that I will be there on Wednesday at 2.00. Needless to say, when I got to the house, no-one answered my knocking. Suddenly a man drove up in a car, looked at me, and asked what I want (in spanish.) I told him the number of the house and who I was looking for. "Mi nieta" - "my granddaughter" he said and gestured to me to follow him to another door. He went in and then came out and said to me that she is being showered and told me to go inside. In a bedroom I saw a young woman toweling off a little girl. I sat in the living room and pretty soon the young girl came in, hopping on her tiptoes. She hopped around in circles. Neither of these things are a good sign. The young woman told me the mother had not told her I would be there. The grandfather, who appeared young enough to be the father, said to me "she doesn't speak, you must help!" The following morning I went to another new referral. This one to a baby boy of 5 months. On my way to the apartments I passed the 98cent store on San Pablo and Rumrill. About three police cars with flashing lights stood in the parking lot. Two blocks later I arrived at the building, which I remembered from when I had worked in home health. I had seen a man with a dreadful degenerative disease who lived in this low-income housing building. He died. I had to call mom as there was no board with names or a keypad. Her sister came downstairs and I followed her into the building which looks like a jail. Iron bars, and badly lit concrete steps and passageways. Three women live in a crowded one-room apartment. The little boy was sleeping so mom and I filled in forms. There is no dad, whatever he was in her life, he is no longer present. He is on a marine base in San Diego. The boy was born with his cord around his neck. He presented blue and floppy and was in hospital for a week. Mom returns to work next week - she works at a gas station in San Francisco, but we have found a day for me to come, when she is not working. At least he has come to services at a very young age, so hopefully he will benefit from intervention. I have more than just three weeks! When I left an ambulance blocked the one street I was going to exit on - someone on a stretcher was being loaded in. I turned down another street and on the pavement was a body - either dead or passed out, I have no idea. A man with a shopping cart stood next to it. I was not sure what to do, but just then someone came out of a house with a phone in her hand. She was calling an ambulance. Goodness, all in the space of an hour! This is why I have not written much about work - it is rather depressing. Also, I am working on what I hope will be a book, so much of my spare time is spent writing.