Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The W word

I've entered into the wonderful world of waiting. I think God is getting me back. I work in agencies with waiting lists, I know how to smile sadly when someone is in desperate need but there is nothing I can do. I'll never smile that smile again. I really need an evaluation regarding my wheelchair and to get the ball rolling for a scooter. Further, there are some environmental things I'd like to learn to adapt, some skills I'd like to reclaim. All this is possible, only after an assessment.

Months ago my Doctor made the referral and it took a couple of weeks to talk to someone about getting on the wait list. They have the weirdest answering machine I've ever spoken to ... after saying the agency name it begins with a list of things they don't want you to leave a message about, it's a long list. But we finally made contact about making contact. Now I get a call every week to say that I'm still on the waiting list and, um, sorry, (I can hear her smiling that sad smile) it's going to be awhile longer.

I broke on Sunday and left a long message, the kind they don't want you to leave, saying that I'm getting frustrated with the wait and I would like to actually speak to someone, rather than talking to a machine with an attitude. They called first thing Monday morning and I was sitting in one of the most boring conference presentations that I've ever had to endure. It made paint drying seem like porn in comparison.

Joe took the call and the woman explained that my call, unwanted and unwarrented, indicated that I didn't seem to understand that when you are on a waiting list, you WAIT.

Um, OK, thanks for clarifying that.

At the end of the conference a woman asked me, "Do you have a better chair than that at home?" I told her that this was it. She said, "I'm an OT and I notice wheelchairs, this one really isn't the type that would be best for you ..."

I leveled my gaze at her and said, "I'm on a waiting list for an OT assessment, but maybe we can bypass that right now ..."

"Um, sorry, (insert sad smile) ...

10 comments:

FAB said...

It is amazing how much we make people wait for basic things they need. Unfortunately, there isn't enough to go around, although there might be more if we cut down on some of hierarchy within (at least in the U.S.) the social service system!

Susan said...

Ever notice how we "train" people to be incredibly skilful at waiting for everyday ordinary things? We ask them to sit there quietly, be patient and not make a fuss while they "wait for staff" - and then they end up getting stucke with labels like "unmotivated" or "lacks initiative"...

Janet C. said...

Interesting notion. We've been working on 'waiting patiently' as a skill... like waiting until the car passes before crossing the the street, and waiting until Mom/sibling/teacher is able to get task xyz completed before she can sit down and play game abc. Maybe I need to include some non-violent revolution skills...hadn't thought of that.

This does remind me of my first paid job out of college. I was working at an emergency shelter for people who were homeless. It was the late 80's and the place was literally an old warehouse that they had filled with beds, and office cubicles in old closets and such. The group i worked with were sleeping in tents in the very large, fenced in park adjacent to the warehouse. Absolutely inhumane. Young and inexperienced, I'd often go sit in the waiting area with those folks waiting for appointments, bus passes, referrals, medications, and just chat. Those conversations were way better (and much more memorable) than those when a desk was between 'case manager' and 'client'. I loved getting to know the residents, each of whom had a fascinating story of the circumstances that brought them there, but my 'older and wiser 'co-workers always cautioned me, and suggested that I needed to stop getting to know the tenants.

Thanks for bringing up those memories, Dave. It was a horrible place to work, but there sure were some wonderful people there.

FridaWrites said...

I've been there. The wait is very difficult. I understand the OT speaking up since a bad fit can cause all kinds of problems.

Shan said...

Aw, she wouldn't do it for you??? Dang!

Shan said...

Dave, I thought you'd be interested in this article on the Paralympic Games.

Cynthia said...

I was wondering if you had your new chair, and now I find you haven't had the evaluation yet. Wow!
Too bad the OT backed off!
We are waiting to get a communication device for our son. We have been talking about it with therapists for over a year and a half. I hate waiting.

Caroline said...

Oh Lord do I sympathise - we regularly end up caring for people in bed because we cant get a hoist to move them - nobody seems to understand that needs just...happen - they don't give you three months notice that they are going to happen.OT request just disappear into a black hole it seems - it drives me mad - and I am not the one lying in bed developing broken skin. Hope they get to you soon x

rickismom said...

I never go to ANY doctor/ city hall appointment without something fun to do (like a walkman, good novel). Saves my sanity.

-Hate your polls.LOL Since they let you only pick one answer, it is frustrating. I could have clicked all but the last.....

Anonymous said...

THE WAITING OMG the waiting! I feel as though I am often providing that sad smile to people and wonder what they are thinking while they politely smile back..."ya ya the waiting list, yet another one".

Perhaps when people can choose their service, and we learn that we need to provide better options to sustain business, the waiting lists will stop.

A girl can dream...

Ann