Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thanks. I needed that.

Today at work I very possibly saved somebody's life. Maybe even two people. It was a good day.

I received a referral... a man with terminal cancer, needs hospice placement, having trouble with his insurance and wife very overwhelmed with his care. Pretty standard. I was busy, so figured I'd call on it later.

I get a message from the physical therapist assigned to the case: "the woman very overwhelmed, threatens suicide." I call the Visiting nurse - she confirms. Horrible situation. I call the daughter. It seems that the mother is also becoming very sick, she is overwhelmed with the care of the husband AND the daughter is not only worried for the mother, but that the mother might do something to the father as well!"

Ooooh, getting good, huh?

So I call the wife. On her cell phone. She is waiting to visit a Dr. "Yeah, I hate him. Should have left him years ago." When I ask her about the suicide she says yes, she's mentioned it. When I asked about a plan - she was like "yup, I have pills." (Now, part of the suicide assessment is asking about a plan. Nine times out of ten the client says "Nah, I don't have a plan... I'm just talkin'." So imagine my surprise when she said that!) I asked her again, a bit later "No, I won't do it - I wouldn't give him the satisfaction!"

But still.

I call his doctor and we decide to have him admitted to the hospital. Keep everybody safe, and possibly expedite his admission to a hospice.

Of course, nobody told the client. I called him & he was like "no, I'm fine - I don't want to go to the hospital." But, I managed to convince him.

Called everybody. Told everybody. Tied it all up in a nice little package. (Assuming he got admitted. At this point I'm going to assume he was... )

And you know... it made me feel so good. I was good. I really was. I was Super Social Worker. I said the right things at the right time, I comforted, I listened, I advocated.... and I finished feeling really good about myself. Realized how much I like my job, how it's important, how I make a real, concrete difference & how that's a great thing to model to my kids.

I so needed that. I feel like I barely have control of life here... that my apartment is a shambles, that stuff just keeps happening, that I'm feeling so alone. So needy. So overwhelmed. Just not the strong, capable, independent woman I'd like to be.

And ok, I'm not going to go out on my balcony and belt "I Am Woman Hear Me Roar." (And yeah, you can smile picturing that - if you'd like.) But it just felt good.


Kate said...

thats so cool, congratulations. My grandmother said she stuck by my grandad until he died just to make sure it was done properly. But fortunately I think she was joking.

niobe said...

It must be wonderful to face a problem that you know you can solve and to work to put all the pieces of that solution in place. You are are Super Social Worker. All you need is a brightly colored skin-tight outfit and a cape.

Gwen said...

Good for you!

Tracy said...

Nicely done... and I'm sure that's a great feeling for you... good for you :-)

my minivan is faster than yours said...

Awesome! SOOO enjoyed reading this!

Tracy said...

PS: If you do decide to head out to your balcony and start singing, can you please let me know.... I'll "stroll" by :-)

Lisa said...

I'm pleased both for the clients and for you.

Julie Pippert said...

I love this story because it's another one of those compassionate witness moments.

So often, geez especially in medical care, it seems like even though they hear the need, they just don't pause to ponder it's individual importance.

You did that. You helped, but you also set an example and standard.

Thanks...we all needed that.

Using My Words

Catherine said...

Wow...what a day!

I love reading everyone's take on the same topic. And its nice to "meet" you!