|So this is how Oliver Sachs felt.
||[Jun. 15th, 2004|11:01 pm]
I had my first real interaction with the residents where I'm working. It's an "intermediate care facility;" in other words, it houses people who can kind-of sort-of communicate even if they can't really talk. I presume the worse cases (beyond the 3% cutoff of the retarded that we have here) are shipped downstate for some sort of state or federally-funded program, but I could be wrong. I can't really see the county having the resources to take care of anything more than what we have - oxygen tanks, catheters, and lifts for the two rather, um, large people seem to be the extent of our budget.
Two of the people I worked with last time, E. and L., are gone to camp for this week, which was sort of disappointing - L., at least, I thought liked me - or at least, she certainly liked the Slinky I was playing with when I was hanging out with her. E. is rather less outwardly communicative, so I'm not too sure what her story is. I'd be curious to know. She seems to have similar issues to L., so I wonder what makes L. far more outgoing than E., if it's just personality or something else.
J.T. (and I apologize for all the initials, but confidentiality must be maintained, and such, and folks being fired over a weblog isn't exactly without precedent) was hysterical, though: She was throwing a ball around with the new girl, A., and caught it; everyone was kidding around with her. Somehow, she wound up with it on her head, and one of my coworkers ran to get a camera, taking a picture of her. However, when he took the picture, she struck a pose not unlike Madonna's 'In Vogue'; it made everyone crack up.
Volunteering at the Special Olympics aside (and those people were far more functioning), this is my first experience with the mr/dd (mentally retarded/developmentally disabled) set, so the fact that she got the joke that much - because she was laughing when she struck the pose - just startled me and made me gain a healthy dose of respect for these folks, along with S., another resident (care-speak for "patient") joining me in applause the first time J.T. caught the ball. With social skills like that... I don't know if these people are really as retarded as the system makes them out to be.
So she instantly became one of my favorites for that. The one person I'm not too sure about is J. (male, whose last initial I forget), who isn't communicative at all - even E. will make eye contact and such. He just sits there and drools, or seems to anyway. I don't really know how to reach him. It's only my first day of solid interaction on-shift, though, so perhaps I'll find a way.
And I'm a bit worried about the blind guy who, I've been warned, likes to grab girls who are on the rag and make disparaging remarks. That should be fun, when that time of the month rolls around. I wonder if asking not to be placed on duty with him during those few days would be inappropriate, but I don't think so - considering the staffer I was "shadowing" doesn't deal with one of the most communicative people there because he just doesn't like her (in his own words), it probably wouldn't be.
Still, yick. We shall see, I guess. Other than that, nobody skeeved me, and I'm perfectly cool with the large majority of folks - including the fellow with dwarfism who initially freaked me out the most. I remember mentioning to moof and mohavedatura that I thought he was a thalidomide baby, but I don't think he is now. Perhaps it's just achondroplasia.
So a good first day. Score of "A". Would have received an A-plus if not for that remark about the guy grabbing girls, since I'm gonna be walking on eggshells around him, probably needlessly, until I forget about the warning or see that it's not as necessary as it seemed.