Thursday, March 15, 2007


Last night was a big night for me.

Ever since being hit by the catastrophic illness that resulted in my disability I have been very careful with my health and my hours. The doctor had told me that I could expect my energy to return in 6 or 7 months, but it did not. I went to bed, now, earlier than my parents sent me as a child. So I have always ended my work days while I felt strong and took care never to really exhaust myself. No more hospital beds for me.

Then when I got the schedule for my work here at Hope House there were several evening events - primarily so that I could get the message to part time staff (last night) and people with disabilities, tonight and tomorrow night. I decided that I wanted to try. See if I could still do it. I recognized that I was feeling stronger. That over the last few months I wasn't as burdened by life as I had been.

So, I gave it a shot.

Hope House has managed to get themselves staff that have energy and passion. Don't know what questions they ask in interviews but they are obviously the right ones.

As I sat waiting to start pressing down my usual nerves and quieting my 'will I make it' concerns. I listened to them chat, laugh and eat the pizza that had been brought in.

The lecture was on something I really care about 'supporting people with disabilities who are being teased or bullied' and once I got started I got into it. Only once, about midway, did I feel my energy flag and there was momentary panic that I wouldn't make it. But they, the audience, were so into the lecture that they almost injected me with the energy I needed. If they could be there, be alert and be passionate about my words - then so should I.

It was over.

I did it.

I had given up to disability something that it had not claimed.

There is new territory under my command.

It feels good.

I said all this to Joe on the way back to hotel.

"So, I can book you to do evening work again?"

I thought, "No, but because I don't want to, not because I can't."

There is a really big difference.


Belinda said...

Welcome "back" Dave--and well done in still saying "no" but for the right reason!

"Don't know what questions they ask in interviews but they are obviously the right ones."

If anyone from Hope House--or anywhere else, has any of those questions to share, I would love to get a copy! We do have some awesome staff--that's not why I'm asking--I just often think that there's something more that we could ask about and don't--something more revealing--I just haven't had a moment of epiphany that tells me what.

Perhaps there are parents out there who know what they'd like to be asked of those who will work with their children. It might be different to what we as an agency might ask.

Anonymous said...

It's not just about what questions to ask, but knowing what to listen for as well...

Belinda said...

Very true Andrea. I agree. It's just that I have this feeling, like an itch that needs to be scratched, that there's something more that I could be asking. Our questions do the job--they address skills and approach--but deep down what matters is the "heart" of the person (attitude too)--and that is what I'd like to pinpoint more readily.