“I am the one in many people’s lives who provides them with their basic human needs. What others may take for granted – washing, dressing, bathing, eating some people are unable to perform these tasks and they depend on me. I am the one who goes to great lengths to maintain their privacy and dignity while helping them do things that many others are able to do on their own.
I am the one they rage at, venting their frustration, anger, confusion and fear. I am the one who performs care, even though doing so will often put me in the position of being physically and verbally abused at the hands of those I care for. I am the one who rides out the storms of my resident’s emotions right alongside of them.
I am the one who searches high and low throughout the building for a misplaced item that one of my residents is desperately looking for. I am the one who hears “I want to leave” from the lips of my residents sometimes several times a night, and comforts them the best way I know how. I am the one offering hugs and smiles in a dark and lonely world, where many times, the staff becomes the only family a resident has. I become their source of love, acceptance and friendship.
I am the one who tries to quell loneliness and depression in the people I care for, sometimes resorting to singing, sometimes just acting silly to coax a smile. I am the one who makes them know that someone still cares about them. I am the one who listens when no one else listens. I listen as my residents repeat stories from their past over and over again, and offer my words of amazement or encouragement over their accomplishments and memories. I am the one who validates them as a person, who ensures they know they still have great worth as a human being, even though they are ill and their lives have changed, I always try to offer hope where it is needed. I am the one who sits there day after day, fostering communication between the non-speaking and their peers.
I am the one who sits there pushing them to try a little harder, do just a little bit more because I am the one who knows that they can . I am the one they take frustration out on because they know that no matter what they do, I’ll still be there for them. This is why I do what I do. Does your job offer that satisfaction?”
–I wrote this a year or so ago, whilst working two jobs, 7 days a week. During the week-days I was a one on one aide for a non-verbal autistic teenage boy who was often physically violent, and then on the weekends I was a rehabilitation specialist for adults and teenagers who had been the recipients of a traumatic brain injury (be it from physical violence at the hands of a loved one, birth defect, overdose, or falling and hitting the ground just right) and several teenage boys who were so severely affected by Autism that they were no longer safe in their own homes and their families just couldn’t continue the struggle. Now I am a residential adviser for a company in North Conway, NH that provides residential and community based rehabilitation services for individuals with traumatic brain injury, autism spectrum disorder, developmental disability. I love my job and the clients that I get to work with. They make me a better person.
– I tell you all this because I recently got a comment on a post that made me chuckle. In the comment, this lovely person suggested that I “Do something for someone who has less …-push a kid in a wheelchair at a school for a day, and feed him because he can’t feed himself. Go to dinner with a lonely old man who just lost his wife. Help out with a neighbor who has a husband with ALS and isn’t going to be around much longer “ . Bless your heart, Sweetie. Sometimes, you just don’t know who you’re talking to.
— I’m off to have a nice cup of coffee 🙂