Thursday, February 15, 2007

At Long Last

Real lives are messy.

Years ago when I became a consultant the job, though challenging wasn't particularly interesting. I'll swap you one aggressive guy for three non-compliants and a bedwetter. Really. Important stuff but not 'gripping'.

Now, I've just finished a day of consultation north of Toronto and a day of consultation in Rhode Island and man the questions get harder and harder. People talk about situations, people, personalities, ethics ... all at once. Suddenly the stories I hear about people with disabilities are incredibly convoluted. Their relationships have become complex with confused motivations. Just like real people. I can only follow along because I have a mind that remembers the twists and turns of a soap opera plot line. The Young and the Restless is the perfect tool for keeping your memory sharp.

But the discussion are not so much about stopping someone but helping someone - many agencies have truly begun the growth process. They've started supporting these people who have real lives, messy relationships, confusing loyalties, mixed up priorities. At no point in province or state did anyone want to overstep their bounds, they wanted to keep safe without jailing in the prision of protection. They asked really hard questions.

What happened to people with disabilities who just did what they were told?

What happened to the days when non-compliance was met with compliance training?

What happened to 'can I have an extra chocolate bar and when did it metomorph into 'give me money from petty cash for a hooker.'

Was I off the day that someone decided that people with disabilities ... if they wanted messy real lives they were welcome to them?

At the end of each day I was exhausted. Really tired. I'd thunk and thunk until I could thunk no more. We all talked and thought and cared and worried and planned and hoped and did everything we could to ensure that what we did helped, that what we did we did for the right reasons, that what we did would be good care not just good service.

Ain't it awesome that the job is finally the right kind of difficult ... difficult to figure rather than the wrong kind of difficult ... dificult to control.


1 comment:

Manuela said...

thanks Dave for sharing. I think we are part of the "at long last" movement. It is a new inspiration to listen and see the difference in the people we support and the staff stuggles and dedication to change. The committment to challenges inspires me. I now have a name for it..."at long last"