Saturday, August 16, 2008

What's Normal??

I just wanted to give you guys a little taste of what a normal Saturday is for me. When I first started working at Friend To Friend, I thought a normal Saturday was a quiet Saturday. WRONG!! As I've been here now for three months (wow, time flies), I am realizing that the normal days are the ones when the twelve hours goes by in a snap. And this is what I do for those twelve hours:

6:45am - arrive at the shelter, meet with the woman I am relieving to find out how many women (6) and children (5) are here. I find out that one woman was dismissed for multiple violations. One is gone to the beach for the day.

7:05am - I settle in with my coffee and hang out with the clients who are early risers. After our chat, they take off to the store and to walk around town.

7:52am - I call my manager, Anne, to talk about a new client we are supposed to be getting today. She has a 4-year old and is 8 months pregnant, so we have to move some people around to get her the best room for her situation.

9:18am - I take a call from a lady wanting to donate baby clothes and a crib. YES!!

10:22am - One of the clients (JR) calls to see if the new client has arrived yet. She is with a new girl friend and I think a bit anxious about it. We talk for a few minutes and I tell her to spend her day off relaxing.

11:57am - One of the clients, SS comes into my office drunk as a skunk. Unfortunately for her, our shelter has a zero tolerance policy for alcohol abuse. In other words, she should be immediately dismissed. I tell her I will have to alert the manager. She says she is going upstairs to take a nap, but instead sneaks out the door.

12:24pm - JR calls back. She wants to know if men and women can just be friends. We have a drawn-out discussion about that.

12:38pm - JR calls back. She has come across a grocery store where a local church is handing out free CDs and free books. I ask her what good it does me because I can't drive out there!? She snatches a couple for me.

1:03pm - Another staff member calls to tell me that SS was seen hitch-hiking but wouldn't get in her car. She turns around after a couple of minutes but SS is gone - must have been picked up by someone.

1:07pm - Anne (shelter manager) calls me back. We both agree that SS will be asked to leave immediately as soon as she returns.

1:24pm - The staff member that saw SS hitch-hiking earlier has spotted her again. She is headed back in the general direction of the shelter, but is obviously drunk and running through lanes of traffic. Awesome.

1:39pm - JR calls back. She wants to know if the new girl has arrived yet. She doesn't want the new girl to come because the new girl is moving into her room.

2:25pm - After talking with Anne, a decision was made that the police need to be called so they can transport SS elsewhere - jail or another shelter. SS was given the option earlier to find shelter somewhere else and she told me she'd rather walk the streets. The police talked to SS and gave her a breathalyzer, where she blew a .24. Yeah. We spend a long time in her room talking to her, giving her options, listening to her cry, and then finally the oldest officer tells her she just needs to lay down, be quiet, and sleep it off. And for pete's sake, quit smoking in the room. I learn that because our county doesn't have a halfway house, we have nowhere for this lady to go. She is too intoxicated for jail.

2:45pm - I conference with Anne and other staff about what police say our options are (zero.)

3:13pm - I sneak up to SS's room to get her cigarettes and lighter so she will PLEASE quit smoking in the room in a drunken stupor.

3:53pm - Anne calls me to let me know that the police think we should call 911 for SS. They may be able to take her to the hospital if something is medically wrong with her.

3:54pm - I call 911, for the second weekend in a row. They, and my now favorite officer come out to take a look at SS. She doesn't remember anything from earlier, of course, and acts extremely bored and pissed off the entire time they're talking to her. Fortunately for her, unfortunately for us, she medically checks out. In other words, she refuses medical treatment and she's ours again.

4:31pm - JR calls yet again to check in. She is babysitting and wants me to know she's having a good time.

4:37pm - Anne calls to conference about SS. A decision is made that she will be able to sleep until 8pm tonight, at which point we will move her closer to the bathroom so she has easy access to toilets. Her roommate has a 20-month old, so it's not fair to her for SS to stay in their room. We decide that SS will have until 12pm tomorrow to get her things and find a new place to stay.

6:00pm - I do inspections, and begin to clean up for the next shift.

6:53pm - Next shift, Sharon, arrives.

7:38pm - I finish telling Sharon what happened and how to handle the situation from here.

7:39pm - She looks at me with begging eyes and I offer to stay a little longer.

8:03pm - We go wake up SS and tell her that per Anne, she needs to move out of her bedroom, closer to the bathroom. She immediately begins screaming and thrashing around, mainly repeating the fact that we are stupid, have mental issues, and need counseling. I explain to her that if she gets sick, she'll want to be near a trashcan or the toilet. She screams at me that she only had one beer and she's not going to get sick. She then proceeds to tell me that I'm lying about police and paramedics seeing her throughout the day. Finally, I tell her to do whatever she wants, and I go downstairs to call Anne.

8:16pm - Sharon is on the phone with Anne when SS comes bursting into the office screaming for her cigarettes. She claims that I stole them from her. I explain to her that Anne wanted me to get them because she kept smoking in her room while she was drinking. Of course, all that came out of her mouth were cuss words and "liar". She then proclaimed that she was going to sleep in the woods.

8:32pm - Sharon and I are searching the woods for SS. The dark woods. Filled with ticks and spider webs that you can't see.

8:53pm - We are instructed to call the police and let them know that a woman who is still slightly intoxicated is wandering around in the woods with no shoes and just a carton of cigarettes.

The next hour was spent talking to the clients who were just coming in from their various day trips and explaining what happened so that if they see SS they have instructions on what to do.

Okay, so it wasn't the most normal day ever. It was an experience, I'll say that!!

1 comment:

jennifer said...

That has got to be the most fascinating blog post I've ever read. I cannot wait to discuss this in person. You are amazing. I love you!