Wed, Oct. 15, 2014
As usual, I hit the snooze button a few times. It’s so hard for me to wake up, and hard to start the day. Once I’m going; it’s fine. It takes me a minute to remember what day it is and what I have scheduled for the day.
“Ah, yes,” I remembered. “This is Wednesday.” That is the longest and hardest of my days. I am on the road all day doing in-home visits.
I need to have everything organized before I leave: any paperwork for clients, my phone, any phone calls I needed to make. My dogs. I have two little “therapy” dogs I use in my work [not officially licensed]. They love to come and I love their company – as do many of the clients. But it looked to be a hot day, and they would have to spend to some time in the car. They got left home.
I would be starting the day with my own therapist. She had been away the previous week, so I had a lot to talk about. I jotted down a few notes before getting out of bed of what I wanted to talk about. I planned to talk about my recent Saturday with the Aspie support network in my state. I’m in the process of being prepared to be a peer group facilitator. It had gone well, and I was told that I’m now an official group leader. I’m so glad. The groups are so important to my own recovery, and I want to help other Aspies. From my years of social work, I’m comfortable leading groups. But being a peer leader is a different role, and I’ve needed to adjust to it. I’m also glad since there were no women leaders of the regular groups. There was a woman for the woman’s group, but it only meets a few times a year.
I looked in the closet to find something to wear. I really identified when Rudy Simone [Aspergirls] said that Aspie women are often most comfortable in jeans and a tee shirt with a simple haircut. That is certainly true of me. I hate wearing dress-up clothes. I’m usually uncomfortable in dresses. I can’t stand stockings. Can’t walk in heels. I hate to fuss with my hair.
I can dress casually seeing clients, but I’ve upgraded from tattered jeans and tee shirts. I have a number of comfortable slacks; some jeans; and a lot of simple tee shirts. I’ve had to remind myself to get some tops with a pattern or design. Otherwise, I only have plain-colored slacks and plain colored tops. I have some long sleeve for winter, with some sweaters.
I picked jeans and a white top with sweater. But as I put the top on, I saw a stain. I cursed. I’m ALWAYS spilling or dripping things on my white blouses. Well, on all my blouses; but they show most on white. How do others keep white clothes? Usually, I can’t wear a white blouse more than a few times before relegating it to the “casual” drawer; or always having a vest or something over it.
So I switched to a light pastel and sweater.
I was running late. [as usual]. Didn’t have time to fix tea or pack a lunch. I’d get something along the way.
I drove the 20 minutes to the next town and popped into Dunkin Donuts for an iced tea to take with me to therapy. I pulled into her parking lot, and started to organize materials I was taking in. Then I noticed a call on my cell phone. I checked, and was the office of my therapist saying she was home sick. Bummer! The call had come in about 45 minutes ago. How did I not hear the phone at home? How did I not check my phone before leaving the house? I was disappointed not to see her – esp. since she was away last week – but, even more, I wish I had had that extra time at home.
Ok …. An hour before next appointment. Maybe I’ll go back to Dunkin’ Donuts and drink my tea in there while using their Wi-Fi and read my Kindle. Was it OK to drink a beverage that you had purchased earlier? I figured if my drink were from somewhere else I shouldn’t walk in there to sit down and drink it. But it was their drink!
I sat along the counter. I tried to connect to the Wi-Fi they advertised having. Oops – I’d need to get a card from them to use it. Did it cost something? How would I get it? How use it? It was too much to bother with.
I continued reading the most recent book on my Kindle: Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Kim. I loved her blog and books about her adult diagnosis with Asperger’s/Autism.
I was deeply engrossed in the book when I noticed that a woman next to me was sweeping the floor and moving chairs back and forth. She pointed to the chair next to me and asked, “Is anyone sitting there?”
“Uh, no; I’m alone.” Geez, was that a subtle cue that they wanted me to leave? Because I didn’t have a companion? [Others sat alone at the counter.] Or that they noticed that I walked in with an already-purchased beverage? Or that I had been there long enough and my beverage was almost gone? Or, maybe, there was no hidden meaning in the question; just trying to figure out which chairs to sweep under. I couldn’t till. So, I figured I’d better leave.
I could move on along to my next appointment; meeting a hospitalized client, and then attending a meeting with the hospital social worker.
My client was glad to see me, and we talked about what the hospital stay was like for her. She had recently had a fall, and broken some bones. She was headed to a rehab facility.
She was nervous about going and we talked through all the things she was worried about. I took down a list of questions to take into the meeting with the hospital social worker and case manager.
I’m always nervous meeting with other professionals. I’m more comfortable with the clients than I am with professional peers. I suppose for one thing, as the therapist, I set the general tone and parameters for the therapy. Meeting with other professionals, I’m worried that I may have picked up all of the subtleties about appropriate professional behavior and could miss something.
We talked about the transition to rehab, which might happen later that day. I brought in my list of questions. They have a number of concerns since she didn’t have a case manager. I said I was trying to get her one, but in the meantime was doing a lot of case manager tasks. They were concerned that wasn’t anyone to get her clothes from home. I said I could do it, and would check with her about it. They seemed very relieved that I would do these things. I’m always surprised when someone appreciates what I’m doing! I see the client in her home, so I’m familiar with her place. I think of myself as more than a therapist you might see in an office. I’m a bit of a community social worker as well, helping get clients hooked up with community resources – sometimes making phone calls on their behalf and giving them rides. It’s not a typically traditional model of therapy. But, I think that is one of my strengths as an Aspie social worker; thinking outside the box. I know that I really care for clients and am committed to their care.
So I talked with my client, who was pleased to have me pick up some clothes and gave me a key. I did so as quickly as I could, mindful of another appointment coming. But it felt good to help out in this way. There really wasn’t someone else in her life who could do this, and I often find myself helping out where no one else is. After I got back to the hospital, neither the social worker nor case manager were in their offices. I wanted to leave a note. Oops. No paper in my purse. I opened the office door – where we had just met a couple hours ago – and saw a memo pad on her desk. I took out a page and wrote the note that I had left the client her clothes, and she now had the key back in her purse. Then as I left, I wondered if I had just done a horrible thing. Was it rude – maybe even illegal – to walk into someone’s office when they aren’t there and to use paper on their desk to leave a note? Maybe no one cared. Maybe it was a terrible breach of professional protocol. I wasn’t sure.
I went to my next appointment, but the client wasn’t home. She didn’t have a phone; so I just left a note.
I called Jill in assisted living to see if I could come out then to see her. She’s depressed about being in assisted living, and is trying to find ways to occupy her mind. She loves to read, but her eyes are getting bad. So I’ve been getting her audio books from the library. Easy for me to do, as I pass the library regularly. But hard for her to find others to do it.
We talked about her reactions to the recent books she had heard, and ways it was helping her depression. She wondered if she could play movies; she had a VHS player. I looked at it, and asked if she had any family members or friends who could help her connect. She didn’t. I said I’d get a couple videos on my trip to the library and stop back later and would see if I could connect it. I sat in my car for a few minutes to make sure I had her library card. She had given it to me before, and I remembered seeing it in my purse with other cards. But I couldn’t find it. Bummer. I’m always losing things – or rather forgetting where I put them. I went back in to make sure she still didn’t have it. She didn’t. Bummer. Maybe the library would give me a duplicate. I told her that the library might need to call her to confirm.
On to my next client; who was home, as always. She has a great deal of depression, enhanced by some recent losses. We talked about her losses and depression, and ways to manage in the week ahead.
I was near the library then, so stopped in to get more audio books and videos for my client in the nursing home. I asked about getting a new card, and they said they did have to call her. But it finally got worked out. They gave me a card for her and a small one for me to put on my key ring. Perfect solution! Later that evening, I saw the old library card and remembered what I had put it: in the card slots with my cell phone case. I had had it all along. How many times do I search in the wrong place for something? Or actually look right at something, and don’t see it there.
I called my last client of the day that I was on my way, as I always do. She often falls asleep and doesn’t wake up to let me in. No answer on the phone. I drove over to her apartment place and buzzed her place. No answer. Well – maybe next week.
Back to Jill’s. She was thrilled with the new audio books and the tapes. It looked simple to hook it up. I tried it but it wouldn’t play. There were several different cords, so I tried another one. It also didn’t play. A nurse came in with nightly medication, and seemed a bit surprised with the carpet strewn with cord and me behind the TV set!
I was disappointed – as was she – that I couldn’t get it. I thought she might need a different cord. I noticed that she also had a DVD player, and said I’d bring a DVD next week and see if we could hook that up.
She was disappointed at still not being able to see movies, but grateful for my time. We talked a bit about her week ahead, and managing her depression.
Then, I was in my car and on the way home! Hurray! The only place in the world where I feel totally safe is at home … preferably in my bed … preferably with my two dogs [and my cat, when she’s around.]. Pure contentment!
Wednesday is a hard day, in that it is so long. After 4 or 5 hours I usually feel some anxiety reactions and long to be home. I start to think of all the things that could happen to me before I get home and prevent me from ever getting there. It helps a bit when my dogs are with me.
This night I made it back safely to the welcoming woofs of the dogs, and was safe again