Friday, October 23, 2009

Adventures in the world of Activities

I will admit that my job is a bit more exciting and unpredictable than the normal office job. Working with the elderly, many of whom have dementia or Alzheimer's, provides an endless supply of strange scenarios and awkward moments.
Monday was movie day. Once a month we take a small group of ladies (not because the men aren't invited, but I think they're intimidated by being stuck with all females) out to lunch and to see a movie. I feel like I'm pretty ready for the unexpected at this point since I've had almost 4 years of this job. But days like this make me realize I'm never quite prepared enough. For the sake of HIPAA laws, I'm going use fake names for my ladies :) On our way from Wendy's into the movie theater, a couple of the women needed to make a brief stop at the restroom. So Amanda headed with them for the pit stop, and I got the other residents seated in the movie and then made my way back to help in the restroom. After several minutes and a few times of asking, "Are you doing OK in there?", I realized things weren't going as well as expected behind the stall door. Finally "Becky" fessed up and told me she couldn't get up off the toilet- which also meant she clearly couldn't reach the lock on the door to let me in so I could help her get up. A little important background info- Becky, a few months back, was stuck in a doctor's office bathroom for about an hour for this same problem. She had locked the door behind her, and was then unable to get back up after finishing her business. So, with this story in the back of my mind, and me thinking "Oh no, oh no, oh no", I try to calmly devise a plan that would not include me crawling army-style under the door on the nasty floor. So I stand up on the toilet seat next to her and look over the stall and attempt to coach her at how to rock back and forth to get momentum, and to grab onto the toilet paper dispenser as leverage to pull up on. I quickly realize this is not going to be successful. I then get up on the back of the toilet- the flusher part- and hoist myself up gymnast-on-the-uneven-bars style, and try to evaluate what my next move is. I kick one foot over to her side so that I'm straddling the divider (so thankful at this point that no one else is in the bathroom), and on my stomach I shimmy my way down toward the door. I had originally envisioned just reaching down and unlocking the door so that Amanda, my co-worker, could get in and help her. But then I see, once I'm there, that there's no possible way for me to reach down and unhook the lock without falling and breaking my neck- the lock is on the opposite side of the door (clearly, I should have gotten up on the opposite side. Stupid, stupid.) So I finally just decide to slowly lower myself down into her stall, but the side of me that's still a teenager finds this hilarious, and my hysterical laughter makes this very tough. I'm hanging from the stall with one leg dangling, the other still stuck over the divider, and my arms getting very weak from all my laughing. I had considered using the toilet paper dispenser as my midway stop on the way to the floor, but realize it probably won't hold me, and end up just dropping to the floor. Thankfully, and surprisingly, I did not land on Becky, did not break an ankle, did not pull the stall down with me, and did not wet my pants from laughing. Becky then proceeded to tell everyone for the rest of the day that I saved her life :)
THEN, with about 30 minutes left of the movie, one of the theater employees comes in and says, "Um, I think there's a lady out here that is with your group." Sure enough, I look around and one of our ladies is gone!!!! Seriously, how the hell did she get out without anyone noticing?? So I hurry out, completely embarassed since this worker must think I'm a total moron or on drugs. We go out the hallway- she's not there. Then we get out to the lobby- not there. She had made it all the way outside of the mall and was walking around!!! OHMYGOSH. I seriously am not usually this incompetent at my job- although reading this, I myself wouldn't blame anyone for thinking that. So I turned "Dixie" back around and escorted her back into the theater, down the hall, back to her seat. At the end of the movie, we were talking to her about the incident, and I asked why she had left, and she said "Really? I left during the movie? I don't know where the hell I was going" and then just laughed it off. Wow. Only in the land of retirement homes :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A little revision

So, I've decided to make a quick change on #20: "Do something 5 times a year to meet a need for someone." I initially planned on just counting times that I helped somone meet a financial need, but then wanted it to be more than just that. Then the more I've tried to figure out how to measure or judge what qualifies as meeting someone's need, the more I've realized how ridiculous this goal is. Not in the sense that it's hard to do this 5 times a year- but just the opposite- if I'm only helping fill a need for someone every few months, there's something majorly wrong!! I started thinking about how often God places people in my life to meet my needs and help me through this journey, and I realized it's countless how many times a week, even a day, that others meet my needs! Whether it's letting me borrow something, fixing something I can't figure out, sending a message or calling to pass along encouragement, listening to me vent, giving me a hug- or even reprimanding me when I need it! There are millions of ways that friends, family, strangers touch my life everyday, and I realized that it's impossible to figure out a system to judge what constitutes meeting someone else's need.

A sweet friend sent me a book called "I'm Running to Win" that she found very encouraging and thought it would help me during my marathon training. I will say I've learned the lesson "Don't judge a book by it's cover" from this book b/c on the outside, it appears very cheesy and is definitely from the early '80's. But the woman is incredible. Basically, she's an author and inspirational speaker, and suddenly decides that she feels like she's been called to run a marathon and qualify for Boston- even though she's never run before. It's basically written in blog style and is totally random- but totally inspiring. The book goes back and forth between her daily spiritual and physical struggles she faces during her marathon training. She's definitely very over-the-top, and does things like singing Jesus songs to cab drivers, but her faith is so pure and genuine that you can't help but love her :) Here's one thing I read the other day that really struck me. It's not exactly an incredible epiphany, but I really enjoy how simply she writes:

"it is as important that i contribute to your life as it is that i let you add to mine.
the most beautiful part is that God provides me... you... with people to help us accomplish His will in our lives.
He finds them and puts them across our paths in the most unexpected needy moments.
He knows exactly what we need...
and who can supply it.
people are part of God's end of the bargain when we are faithful."

It may not be the most profound thought, but I love that last line. And how humbly and also affirming that He allows us to be used in His plan for others. That HE has faith in US- to help carry out His will. It amazes me when I look back on the times God has perfectly placed certain people in my life, in a time I needed Him and them so desperately.

So, to wrap this up, I'm changing #20 to "Organize a 10,000 Villages festival"- which I'm super excited about!!! I went to one of these festivals last year and it's an awesome organization that sells handmade things and then pays fair wages to the artisans in 3rd world countries. The festival is already scheduled for November 21-22 at First Presby, so I've got things started at least! That's it for now :)