Monday, July 5, 2010

A Day in the Life Of Jackie at the IRC...

There have been at least two days so far this summer that I have gotten in my car after a stressful day of work and had a combination of feelings: anger, misunderstanding, fulfillment, frustration, sadness, contentment, etc that are almost unbearable. The rest of the days, the same feelings arise but I can cope. Teresa suggested that I write out a "Day In the Life Of..." in order to get some of those feelings out. I think that is a wonderful idea. Do keep in mind that at the current moment I have had a long weekend and many of these feelings have subsided.

8:30 am: Leave to pick up Mother and Daughter for Eye Appt scheduled at 10am (It took me at least six calls to the doctors office to make this appt bc of insurance and not-being-the client-confusion, three calls to the client via Language Link, and two visits to the clients apartment to arrange this appt).

8:45 am: Receive a call from Ashley (my case manager) saying her car is dead and I will need to pick up our new clients by 10am. After working through how to be in two places at once, we decided I could drop the Eye appt clients off, pick up the new clients, and then go back to drive the appt clients home while making the other ones wait on me.

9:15 am: Driving with deaf mother trying to explain that I would not be staying for the appt. While this is getting frustrating, I am completely lost on the John Hopkins Campus. I have only been here once before and it is a web of side roads with few signs. I have now missed at least three calls from Ashley and two other client calls.

9:35 am: Arrive and park at doctors office.

9:45 am: Go to check-in for the appt. Mother still confused about what I am saying. Told that I am at the wrong location. This is increasingly frustrating because I have had soooo many problems scheduling appts with this office and am constantly lost in a phone tree, yelled at for not having the right information (even though I am not the patient, as explained, and I am the one that speaks English), and not told directions as to where to go. I ask them to call the other office. The JH receptionist is put on hold!!! She asks me to call, even though at this point I am running late to pick up our new clients that should be waiting eagerly for me. I am trying to call Ashley, reschedule the appt and now have to get an interpreter to explain why we will not be seeing a doctor today to the clients I have with me. The mother is deaf so I can not do this over the phone by interpreter. We head to the car.

9:55 am: Connected to receptionist at JH Downtown Campus while driving. Find a spot to pull over bc I will need the client information to reschedule.

10:00 am: Drop off confused clients. Head to new clients apartment.

10:05 am: Knock on new clients door. Knock again. And again. And again. No answer. No movement. Call Ashley. What to do?

10:20 am: After several different attempts at getting clients attention (knocking on windows, pounding on the door, screaming names), it is decided that they are asleep after two days of travel. I am told to wait and then to head to the Management office to get a key.

10:30 am: Get a Key. Pick up various things for other IRC employees.

10:40 am: Let myself into new client apartment. No one is there. Call Ashley. Decide to pick up another client early for appointment.

10:50 am: Call other client via Language Link. No answer. Call myself. Answer but no understanding. Call again via Language Link. Still no understanding of why I would come so early to pick him up. Eventually explain that I am outside.

11:00 am: Client meets me at car. Ashley calls. Need to wait to exchange car seat for later appt.

11:15 am: Arrive at doctors office. Client still confused and frustrated that I came early. When we walk in we are met by a gathering of nurses chatting. Their power went out and we would need to come back!!!

11:30 am: Back at clients apartment, via Language Link, I explain the situation and reschedule. He is upset because he does not sleep much because he works nights and now lost a day of sleep.

11:40 am: Arrive at another clients house to discuss bills.

11:50 am: Via Language Link begin two hour conversation about how the family is doing LITERALLY everything right and everything they are expected to do above and beyond and are still not making ends meet. I had to insist they find some way to pay their bills. Went over budget. Discussed fathers military involvement.

2:00 pm: Left feeling broken down and angry. Took mother to enroll son in Disability program bc he is paralyzed waist down.

2:45 pm: Head back to office.

3:00 pm: Arrive at office with a world of emotions to several clients waiting to be seen. I am unsure of how to answer their questions and am having a hard time getting a hold of Language Link. Tell them to come back. Remember: Transportation is expensive and time consuming. It is a HUGE burden for clients.

4:00 pm: Work on expense sheets in order to calm down. Ashley informs me her father is sick and in the hospital.

4:35 pm: Tell everyone goodbye for the day!

This is an example of a short day. There really is no way to explain a day in the life of a case manager. Even the smallest things in our daily lives become a burden in a refugees life. Every minute is precious. I wish everyone could shadow this type of work for one day. I think people would be surprised at the level of talent and patience a job of this sort takes.

I can't wait to be a social worker. I feel satisfied knowing there are people that want to give their lives to this kind of work and I am proud to be one of them. I am frustrated that there will never be enough of us, therefore leaving much of societies needs unmet and worsening. I am only one person but hope to make a world of change someday.

1 comment:

  1. Woot! I remember this day. It was a good one. You rock!