Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Whew, What a Wacky Monday!

Good morning, everyone.  It's still pretty cold outdoors, but nothing like yesterday.  Yesterday was brutal...and what a time for the trains to be late.  I sat for almost 30 minutes on the elevated platform with the wind whipping about, stinging my face and hands.  I saw many people with hats, gloves, and skarves...and wished I had been so smart.

What was it with yesterday, anyway?  It was one of those days that 'whatever could go wrong, went wrong'.  First it was the train, and then when I arrived at that job, there was a a big mess downstairs in the waiting area.  Now, let me explain...there are two programs in my building-- the substance abuse and mental health component on the 2nd floor which I work for and  the mental health component for those without substance abuse  which is on the third floor.  Both are a part of the organization I work for.  So, when I get in yesterday, there was argument going on between two of the third floor clients--an older man and a woman.  Whatever the cause, it had started before I got there.  The woman was sitting on the sofa attempting to mind her own business, but he just kept walking up to her and calling her some of the nastiest names.  I give her credit; she did her best to keep her cool, but he wasn't going to let this go, and I could just see it escalating...so, even though they weren't clients in my program,I was staff and expected to intercede so I asked him to please step away...which at first he did, but then, before I knew it, he was back; he walked over to her and kicked her real hard in the leg; now, she hopped up with her fists pumping, and the two started taking shots at each other.

"Oh, no, just what I need," I thought.  What do I do?  I'm the only staff member there, and this is working its way into a full-fledged battle where someone is going to get hurt.  The other third floor clients are just standing around watching, no one is helping. I can't put my hands on either one of them, or I could get fired...(remember hubby?)  I don't have a cell phone to call 911, and I can't leave there with those two 'duking it out' to go upstairs to use the phone.  I'm 63 years old and not about to get in the middle of this.  So, I just muscled up my loudest, most assertive voice and said "That's enough.  Stop it."  I must have sounded pretty darned scary because, to my surprise, the man immediately stopped and walked outdoors.

Fight over, I stood there and breathed a sigh of relief, but it also left me thinking.   What would I have done if this escalated even further? Now, I fully realized the predicament hubby had been in, only the client was attacking HIM.   It was a wakeup call for me. It made me realize just how quickly things can get out hand when you are working with mental illness...and I am not gonna lie; it scared me.  I used to work with the parole program and nothing about those clients scared me; they were puppy dogs compared to what I work with now.  Was it enough to make me quit?  No, but it was enough to make me aware that I can 'never' let my guard down.

Then, I go upstairs and we're short-staffed...yet again...and I have to combine groups...yet again.  And then, there is one client after another to see, an intake...By the end of the day, my head was spinning...but that is the nature of the beast.  I am telling you this, though, going home, stripping off my clothes, and parking my butt in front of the television to lose myself never felt so good.

And with that, may you all have a wonderful day...and here's to hoping that Tuesday is a better day.


  1. It might be wise to have a cellphone with you at all times, from the sound of it. Jeez! I hope today's better!

  2. Wow, I give you a lot of credit for putting yourself on the line this way. Lucky your voice carried the necessary force to make him stop. Just be careful out there! Hope the rest of the week glides smoothly xx

  3. What a day!! you brave lady i would have retreated under the nearest desk. Hope you have a safer and enjoyable week x x

  4. Wow, I had no idea you worked with mentally ill people. What a completely draining job. But, I am thankful for you and everyone else who does it, because what a necessary job it is. Thank you.

  5. Hope you had a better day today. You need a cell phone especailly with your job. X.

  6. Get a cell phone Mary. I don't care for them either, but you can believe that every time I leave the house, I have it on me. It's like buying insurance, you buy it and hope you never have to use it. Sending you some warmer weather, supposed to be 90 here today. Wishing you a better days!


  7. Please! Get a cell phone! For just such a situation as this.

    Yes, you defussed it with your voice. But please, take this lesson away from such... To get a cell phone, as well as to never let your guard down.

    What-a-job! You deserve a golden crown.

  8. Oh Mary - I wish a pile of money would drop into your lap, because this job is the pits! You really need to get out of there. In the meantime, I agree with everyone here - please have a cellphone on you.

    I would stop if you yelled at me too though!