What. A. Day.
What a week, actually. And it’s only Tuesday! *sobs*
As I mentioned in a previous blog, I started a new job about two months back. I’ve been working as an Activities Aide in a local nursing facility, and I absolutely love my job. However, as you can imagine, working in a nursing facility comes with certain challenges. Loss, for example, is a pretty big one. On Friday, we lost one of our residents, who I had worked closely with since my very first day. It was inevitable, and we all knew it was coming, but that didn’t help to soften the blow much. On Saturday, we lost another. Her family all came to the facility to say their goodbyes, and I had to avoid the hall because I knew I would break down. On Monday, I went into work and found out that another resident, who was fairly new, but who I had worked with a few times, had also passed away very suddenly the day before, and that another was in the hospital, and likely wouldn’t be coming back.
It broke my heart.
They tell you not to get too close to people when you work in a healthcare facility, but it’s so hard not to. Especially when you spend so many hours with them. I’m not a nurse. I don’t handle medications, or bathing, or things like that. I play trivia, sing karaoke, yell out Bingo numbers, sit and color, tell jokes, and do room visits where we talk about past lives, lost friends and family members, and share pictures of grandbabies. That’s what I do. I get close to people. Even typing this I am getting choked up thinking about what will inevitably happen to a few of my “favorite” residents.
I only work twelve days this month, and yesterday was my last day before a string of three days off, and overall, it was a good day. We had great activities planned, great participation from the residents, and one of my co-workers brought in her two, beautiful huskies, which put everyone in a great mood. Babies and dogs. And cats. And candy. Those are all things that can help turn any day around. However, even after a visit from those beauties, we were all feeling the weight of all of the recent losses, and there was a cloud of sadness looming over everything. Even today, on my day off, I can feel it.
I had to go to the hospital today for some yearly lab work before my doctor’s appointment on April 1st, and that was a bit of a pain. I don’t mind getting labs done, and the folks at the hospital are always super pleasant and lovely, but last time I went in, the young man who was drawing blood from my arm did something when he was pulling the needle out, and it caused a lot of blood to pool under my skin. My arm swelled up and turned into a giant bruise, and I had to walk down to the ER and have a compression bandage put on my arm, which made it hurt for days. Not fun. So, that memory was weighing on my mind, and then they couldn’t find my labs in the system, so we had to call my doctor’s office, which took forever because no one wanted to answer the phones. I was hungry from fasting and decided to get the labs done a different day, so we left. About a mile away, I get a call that the labs were released, and I could go back. Luckily, I was in and out in less than 15 minutes and my arm survived.
Feeling like I needed some perking up, after this weekend and my hospital trip, I asked if they needed any extra help in kiddo’s preschool class today when we dropped him off. Apparently, one of the teachers, we well as the kitchen person/bus aide, were sick today, so they had to bring in a substitute teacher from another location. Still one person down, they were more than grateful for the help.
My son attends an all-day Head Start program five days a week. It’s a great program that helps low-income, at-risk families get help with school readiness, healthy eating, finding jobs, and a whole slew of other things. He absolutely loves school, but I have noticed recently that he has been picking up a few words and behaviors that are, shall we say, rude. This program also helps children with behavioral and learning issues, and all the kids are in one class… which isn’t always a good thing (i.e. picking up violent behaviors, bad words, and mean names). They’ve been one teacher short since the start of the school year because the head teacher gave birth to her 7th child and decided to quit, so they’ve been having a hard time dealing with some of the more challenging kiddos.
Which brings me to today’s… events.
The day started off fine. When I went into the classroom, I was greeted by excited kiddos, who always seem to enjoy when I visit the class. A few of my favorite little ladies wanted me to make glitter paintings with them, so I did. While we did our pictures, I took some pictures for one of my co-workers, whose daughter is in the class, because she heard I was going to be there and wanted some more pictures of her in school. I was more than happy to oblige, and we had a fun little photo shoot with our pictures.
Then, during clean up, one of the boys in the class, who has some pretty major behavioral issues, started wiping glitter and glue all over me and trying to pull my shirt off and grab at my chest. Now, these are 3 to 5-year-olds, not middle schoolers or older kids, so that type of behavior isn’t particularly alarming, but he was saying some strange things, so I alerted the teachers, who tried to talk to him, but it only resulted in him screaming and calling them some unsavory names, which several of the other kids started repeating loudly.
And that’s when I learned who had been teaching my kid these things.
Then, since the weather has been a bit warmer, we went outside to play on the playground, which was where everything completely fell apart. There is a slide on the playground, which is one of the more popular attractions for the little ones. Normally, they all know to line up and take turns going down one at a time, but one little girl (another one with known behavioral issues), decided she wanted to climb up the slide, block the other kids, and even tried to throw another little girl off of the top. After I managed to pry her off of the little girl and signal the teachers, one of them came over to talk to her, but she started screaming and thrashing around, hitting and kicking the teacher and a few of the other kids. I got the other kids back away from her so the teacher could get her over to the corner of the playground, but she continued to scream profanities and rude names, pulled at the teacher’s hair, and clawed at her. She then tried to get her inside to call her mother, but she wouldn’t cooperate and had to be carried inside, despite being the biggest kid in the class, weighing at least 50 pounds.
The other teacher and I tried to keep the peace on the playground once they were back inside, but the spectacle got everyone riled up, and there were woodchips being thrown, kids screaming and crying, and a whole lot of fighting. After a few minutes, the red-faced, teary-eyed teacher came back outside, with her inhaler in her hand, and choked out that she was having an asthma attack, and that her inhaler wasn’t working, and that she had to get to the hospital. We quickly lined the kids up to go inside, which didn’t go very smoothly at all.
As we got the kids settled down for lunch, we were informed that the other teacher wouldn’t be coming back and that since we no longer had enough certified teachers, we would have to close for the day, over three hours early. I helped keep everything calm while they made phone calls to the less than thrilled parents, and our local caseworker liason came in to help.
I called Kyle to come and get Liam and me, and we quickly got out of there. I then started getting texts from other parents asking me if I knew what had happened, and I had to tell them the basics. It was a mess.
When we got home, I wrestled my very tired, angsty child into his bed for a nap, and took one of my own on the couch, which did wonders for our moods. Then, I got some editing and freelance work done, painted pictures with my kiddo, met with a very nice woman and sold her kiddo’s old toddler bed, cleaned the house a bit and did some laundry, bought some pizzas, and now I’m getting ready to watch Aquaman.
It’s been a helluva day. If I wasn’t sober as a fish, I’d be nursing a glass of wine right now, that’s for damn sure. Kiddo’s teacher even found me on Facebook and messaged me to thank me again and to apologize profusely about what happened. I told her not to worry about it, and reassured her that if they needed me, I would absolutely be back in to help them again. She then told me she thought I would make a great teacher, and it made me smile because I hear that at work all the time, only about me making a great nurse. It makes me feel like less of a failure in life, I guess. Both are things I would love to do… but, good lord, they are hard jobs! Overworked and underpaid.
Some good stuff happened this week, too, but it’s all boring, adult stuff. My birthday is next month, and I’ll be turning the ripe, old age of 29. My mom surprised me by buying me a new printer, a cute mousepad, and a bunch of paper and ink, which made me a very happy girl! We also finally replaced our old, wobbly, water damaged coffee table, and bought a bigger, cooler one, which I absolutely love. Oh, and some wood/stone coasters for said table. Ya know, adult stuff.
I guess that’s all, folks! Thanks for reading. Hope you’re having a great Tuesday!