Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Acting Rash

A while ago I wrote about getting an infection and having IV antibiotics. I haven't revisited that topic because the infection, while slow the heal, was healing. I hadn't had an infection like that for over two years so it depressed me more than anything. But I did what I needed to to, took whacks of antibiotics, rested well, you know the drill. Well, as of yesterday the infection was getting smaller every day, the pain was less - I was popping fewer T3's to get through the day.

But I noticed that my hands were drying up, skin was falling off, my lips became chapped and my tongue really sore. So, I called the Doctor. I've got a Doctor that returns calls and chats over the phone when needed. He called me back a few minutes after I explained the symptoms to the receptionist and he told me that I was having an allergic reaction to the antibiotic and that he was glad I called when I did.

So in a few hours I start the new antibiotic and expect that it will wipe up what's left of the infection. Already my body is healing itself from the allergic reaction. My hands are no longer flaking and my lips are back to being full and luscious. And I haven't been off the pills for 24 hours yet. Amazing.

Oddly, this reminded me when I was working direct care in a group home years ago. There was an amazing group of staff there serving some very cool people with disabilities. It was the one and only time I worked residential care and I couldn't believe what a great job it was. We were helping people live their lives at home. They'd all come from the institution, they'd all been recently freed. I loved it.


A new staff was hired who came in angry. I don't know what kind of questions people ask in interviews but - really - sometimes you think they just sign 'em up and put 'em in. The new staff saw 'problems' everywhere, wrote 'programmes' for everything, felt we were 'letting them get away with way too much'. Staff meetings which had been fun became difficult and left everyone feeling frustrated, put down and undervalued. A fun workplace had become a difficult one.

But it was worse for those with disabilities. They had to bear the brunt of the new programmes, the twisted expectations ... they had come 'home' to the community and now their home had become a ward. Their wasn't an aspect of our service that wasn't effected. We laughed less. We did less. We began to form cliques and work became about staff politics not client rights.

It's possible, I now realize, for whole agencies to have an allergic reaction to a toxic attitude. This is why I believe that 'attitude' tops the list of desirable traits in staff. We can train everything but attitude.

I remember the day that the 'new staff' left to take on a new job in another agency. We took a breath, waited for healing, and it came. A lightness came back into the work and everyone seemed so much happier.

I've made a new resolution, now that my body is healing both from infection and from a reaction to treatment - I'm going to ensure that what's toxic in my personality stay far from work. That I'm going to imagine an attitude check at the door to the office - with a border guard standing by checking credentials.

Because I control my attitude.

And I don't want to give my agency a rash.


Anonymous said...

Attitude is everything. It can help to make a bad situation better. It can make difficult things easier. If we could all exhibit just a little bit more of a positive attitude the world would be a much better place. Thanks for reminding us all!

Anonymous said...


I felt like you are writing my last two weeks down in words!! As you know I just returned to work after a year off and I decided that I was coming back with a new attitude! It was a fresh start for me not to get the "rash" and I am determined that I will not let the attitudes of others effect me or my work and will try my darnest to try to rub my postive "rash" onto others!