Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What a situation

There's a situation at work that is making me slightly ill.

We have a young man-23yrs- who has MR and brain damage due to a seizure disorder where he used to fall and hit is head all the time. His mother immigrated to the US from Jamaica when he was younger to give him a better chance at good docs and such. He ends up at our facility about 8 years ago. He had some serious behaviors like running away, hitting others, etc. He was very active--loves riding his bike, running around with the maintenance department, etc.

He also had very bad scoliosis that was affecting his breathing. The social worker got his home state to allow him to stay at our place post 21 until he had the surgery to fix his back since when he went back to his home state for adult programming he wouldn't have the insurance to pay for the surgery. TONS of hours of advocating for him lead him to the surgery. He has the surgery and the next day the cage that was holding his spine together popped and he is now a paraplegic. No feeling from the waist down. A year later he still asked when we will allow him to walk again . . .

So in the midst of this he is non-compliant with personal care--once being totally toilet trained he is now in diapers and doesn't like people to see him naked. He pulls out his catheter which has causes lesions that have become infected. He has injured a number of staff during his aggressive outbursts . . it goes on. He is a huge liability the agency says and they charge me with the tasks of making his home state take him back--citing that we said we'd keep him until the surgery was done and they could place him in home state.

They have nothing to meet his needs--mom isn't a good advocate . . and we send a discharge letter for the end of this month. They have nothing for him and as a result he will go to a state center. This makes me so sad on many levels. People here are burnt out because of him, and we are not an appropriate placement for him. But it makes me so sad when I tell them my concerns about where he is going and they say they don't care. I know they are frustrated, but this kid is bound for a life of being drugged up to assure compliance and I am saddened by the fact that people are just congratulating me for getting him moved.

He will go on Monday, and his mother told me the other day that she know I didn't care if he dies, as long as he got out of our place. This hurt--because I know in part that this is not right for him. I feel angry and upset about this . . .though I know I am fighting a losing battle . . .

These are the days that being a social worker and seeing the ills of the world suck big time. In reading Cheryl's blog about her experiences with school social work I know I am not alone in feeling like life is hitting us over the head faster than we can dole out resources--

GRRRRRR.And there are no other social workers where I work . .I work with all clinical behavior folks and today I tried to explain to my supervisor how I was feeling and she told me I was becoming too involved and that I needed to separate and know that this was not what was best for him. I told her I knew that but I still had feelings about it . . .

In other news things are shaking up a bit here at home and I am excited to see what is in store for us.

Hope you are all well in your corners of the world.


Lynilu said...

First, your client's mom .... remember that we all have to have someone to blame to relieve our own emotional angst. She has likely become used to blaming someone in the system and you happen to be right there.

Second, your emotional involvement .... Your sup is off base as a SW, but behavioral folks have different training and remain more distant in these situations. It's pretty hard to not take it personally when anyone is blaming you, even when you know it is not your fault. I'd do my best to ignore her, but remember this is one reason we need outside supervision when our on-the-job sup is not a SW. You need, need, need validation by another SW, period, end of discussion, no further comments. Just do it!

And third, SW is not an easy profession. Who knows why we pick it, but we do and we do it to ourselves! All of us go through this from time to time, and I know you'll come out of this and have other good experiences to mute all of this. And yes, dear, there will me more in the future! Enjoy what you can and breathe deeply during the others! Love ya!

Daisy said...

This is such a very sad story. HUGS!!!

Anonymous said...

What's shaking up at home, DP and Rebecky ask? Anything we should be preparing for?????

kristi said...

Hi, found you through Cheryl. This does make me sad as my son is special needs but I am very involved in his life, he is 7.

kristi said...

Hi, found you through Cheryl. This does make me sad as my son is special needs but I am very involved in his life, he is 7.

Jenster said...

Oh Beans. I can't even imagine how hard this must be on you. It all seems so unfair. But I have to tell you, you and people like you (Lynilu, Cheryl, etc.) are some of the most special and wonderful people on the face of this earth. Truly, truly you are!

I miss seeing you!

CailinMarie said...

oh that is rotten.
I'm sorry.
I'm sorry for you - sure you have feelings about it!!!
I'm sorry for the staff that has been pushed beyond their limits.
I'm sorry for the mom who doesn't know what to do.
I'm sorry for him.
Hang in there. We need you.