Saturday, November 22, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I work late every other Monday in order to provide support to a patient's mother and 2 children. This is a family that is facing a myriad of difficulties, one of which being the teenage son has just been diagnosed with severe OCD. This is a family that definitely benefits from my visits and I'm glad that I can support them. This past Monday I met with the daughter first and then had a lengthy visit with her grandmother "Marge." Marge talked about having to be strong for everyone else and reaching her breaking point that day. She finally cried for the first time that she can remember in a long time. It was such a privilege to be there for her in that moment, letting her know that it is normal to feel the way she feels and to affirm that she is strong in spite of what she views as weakness. As I was leaving, Marge thanked me for visiting, saying she was glad that she had someone that could be strong for her. Then she said, "You have such a hard job being there for everyone else. Do you have people who are there for you?" This is not the first time a patient or family member has asked me or the other social workers this question but for some reason it really resonated with me this time. I reassured her that I did have people there for me but as I left the house I wondered if that was true. My stock answer when people ask me how I can do my job is that I pray a lot...and that's true. My coworkers and I also lean heavily on each other, especially since we don't get much support from our administration. If not for my amazing coworkers, I'm not sure any of us could do our jobs! It helps that we have some pretty special patients and families too but knowing that my coworkers are with me in the trenches goes a long way. I know I have their support but I realized as I left Marge's house that I don't share my work burdens with many people in my personal life. Yes, sometimes I grumble about my administration but rarely do I talk about my professional struggles, the moments where I question my calling or wrestle with the loss of a favorite patient. My perception must be that my friends and family wouldn't understand, possibly because most of them claim they could never work in hospice. This doesn't mean they don't care about what I do but I must believe that they could never understand. That's not fair to them or to me. Work occupies the biggest chunk of my week. It's time that I started to share my work struggles and triumphs, beyond this blog, with the people who love me. I will never tell Marge that her innocent question made me think but I hope that I can look back on this moment and realize that this was when I started to be more open and vulnerable regarding my work struggles with my inner circle.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
It feels surreal to type President in front of Barack's name. The long election is finally over. America overwhelmingly chose Obama to lead us. There's the historical significance of this choice but there's also a feeling of hope, possibility, and promise. People were more excited to vote in this election than any other I can remember, whether they were voting for Obama or McCain. It was amazing to watch the crowd at Grant Park and listen to Obama's acceptance speech. It's not going to be an easy road for him. There is a lot to be done before he will be able to move on to his own initiatives. I pray that the American people will be patient and I pray that Barack will surround himself with wise, humble leaders who can help him redirect our nation. These are exciting times and I am happy to say that I am a Barack Obama supporter.
"This is our moment. This is our time- to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids;
to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace;
to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth-
that out of many, we are one;
that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't,
we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:
Yes we can."
-President-elect Barack Obama in his victory speech, November 4, 2008
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
I didn't have any grand revelation about my life's calling while I was on vacation. I was hoping to somehow get a sign from God that it is time for me to move on from hospice. No such luck, I guess. Even though I fell in to hospice and at times have felt clearly led to this field, I've never envisioned myself staying a hospice social worker. Yet, here I am. It was good for me to get away. A one week vacation cannot possibly fully erradicate my burned-out self but it was a start. Now I just need to get over this cold and it'll be back to business as usual. They saved up 7 new patients for me while I was away, plus 2 they admitted the Friday before I left. And that doesn't even consider all the "fires" I had to put out yesterday and what's probably going on today while I am home sick. (Nothing like waking up with a fever and chills!) It's exhausting to think about but somehow I have a skill set that rises to these particular challenges. For now, I'm staying put. The future can remain a question mark.
Monday, November 03, 2008
I came back from vacation with a cold but had a delightful time nonetheless. Here are a few highlights!
Massachusetts Democratic Donkey
Holocaust Memorial on the Freedom Trail
Kennebunk Beach, ME- a very cold but beautiful day