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An Average Day At Work

   I work at the Denton State Supportive Living Center (formerly: State School); with individuals who have Mental and Physical disabilities (formerly: Retarded). The men I work at assisting with their personal life skills are profoundly disabled mentally. Imagine if you will grown men in every facet physically yet the mental comprehension of an eight month old infant. Yes, sad indeed. But giving [yes I get paid], back to those who are totally incapable of making any recompense to my efforts is rewarding in that servitude unto lesser men has its own reward beyond pay.
  There is a structured plan in everything throughout the day; less so on the weekend so I will just share with you what an "average" day is like on my shift. I work from 2:oo P.M. in the afternoon till 10:oo P.M. in the evening; yes sometimes having to stayover as required for coverage, and yes sometime because I could use the extra pay - let's face it it is a "job" as well.

   After arriving and signing in we, (my "Home" must be covered by three staff, including myself); go to "workshop". It is Nothing akin to a Sweatshop. Just another building where the "individuals" {clients} do various activities, and learning skills "to hopefully allow them the goal of reaching community placement" are 'taught'.  After a few hours there, broken up be a snack time break, we assist those for whom we care back to their residential Homes.  Then we assist the men (I have eight I work for), with meals, various activities of learning and distractions on the patio, excursions on van rides into community settings, and later with readying them with night time duties: laundry, and personal hygiene care and then to their beds.
   What ever you do in great mundane detail to accomplish each one of these topic is exactly what I do at work and my fellow co-workers strive to assist those who can't do for themselves. The actual work is not difficult: Check and changing soiled or wet clothes, using an adaptive built-up handle spoon, pushing a wheel chair to and from, making beds, washing dishes or bathing. Their inability to verbalize their needs, hopes and fears or truly express adult thoughts is extremely difficult and near impossible for these men which usually results in "behavioral episodes": licking windows, screaming and yelling out of the blue for no obvious reason at all, biting and a whole range of things that seem odd and bizarre in " " normal " " accepted society at large. Yet all of this is manageable with respect and patience from the staff to the "individuals served".  Among the staff a dab of humor smooths over our own frustration in trying to figure out and decipher the needs of such lesser men, humor that holds back the profound seriousness of our duties at hand and humor that staves off the deeply sobering sadness of such a state of existence. For the most part I have witness humanity at its best in my fellow co-workers stepping up and being examples to myself.
   Out of nearly fourteen years with the State of Texas the hardest aspect of my job is working with the bureaucratic system we have created, which crushes and micro-manages moment to moment actions of both "individuals" and staff alike. 
Do not get me wrong. I love my job, care deeply for those whom I sever, and yes even enjoy my co-workers, (I appreciate you so much for allowing me to work along side you).  But I'm tired of The System's soul crushing nature and that feeling of hopelessness to create effectual change.

An average day at work: Because I get off at 10 PM I'm not crazy about getting up "too early" in the event I have to stayover on the third shift [10/6].

An Average Day at home...

An average day on my day off - who knows, they're always different.  Today? A lazy Saturday of just being on Face Book all day, occasionally taking my poodle, Micah outside to do his business. LOL still needing to get on top of the collecting mounds of laundry, pet cages needing to be cleaned, all the house work that's gotten neglected during the work week.  Still need to assist wifey with evening bathing needs and meal.