Plugged In. Switched Off
I know this post is going to make me sound like I’m auditioning for Grumpy Old Men. But if anyone dares accuse me of being a middle aged bore, I’ll hit you around the head with my long playing gramophone record of Suzi Quatro.
I had to let one of the support workers go this week. It’s a shame really because he does some very good stuff with Steven. But he’s also maddeningly inconsistent. This is the guy who I found fast asleep on Steven’s bed mid-shift. The same guy who the other week whilst doing a night shift seem to completely disappear. I had over an hour of Steven coming backwards and forwards into my room whilst the support worker should have been stopping this. Eventually, I went downstairs because I was worried something had happened to him and found him on the sofa, plugged into his I Phone. He hadn’t heard a word of the previous hour’s meltdown.
He did another night shift this week. The arrangement is that whoever has done the night shift does Steven’s bath the following morning, lets the daytime support worker in to get on with doing Steven’s breakfast and then the night shift worker can clock off. The whole point of the night shift, once a fortnight, is to give me a break from those jobs, and hopefully get a lie-in. Tuesday morning Steven came into my room at 4am – again, no sign of the worker. he appeared about ten minutes later but by that time we were all wide awake (except him). I laid in bed whilst he did Steven’s bath and could hear Steven getting quite worked up. Steven likes to run through what he’s going to be doing that day whilst having his bath. He was telling the support worker but getting no response at all. This gets Steven very worked up – he doesn’t understand talking to someone and not being replied to. The the doorbell rang – the morning worker arrived. Five minutes later, he rang again. I could hear Steven saying: “Open the door for Chris”. It rang a third time and I got up to answer it. The bottom line is that the guy did the whole bath with his earphones in – he didn’t hear a word that Steven said – he didn’t hear the other worker’s arrival. For him, listening to whatever it was on his I Phone was more important than interacting with Steven. More important than doing his job. Again.
I was feeling a little guilty this morning as I set off for Uxbridge. Should I give him yet another chance? At the bus stop was a young woman on a hands free. She was talking very loudly with big, expansive hand gestures and kept getting in people’s way. At one point she stood in the doorway of the newsagents. A woman with a buggy tried to leave the shop. She said “excuse me” four times but wasn’t heard. In the end she had to wait for the woman to move off.
I then went to HMV. Steven has been asking me to get “Stop In The Name of Love” by The Supremes. I was in the queue (or rather, I was the queue). There was one cashier serving a young woman who was buying several DVDS. She was also talking on her phone, describing in graphic detail to the person on the other hand, her trip to have her feet manicured. Three times, the sales assistant asked her to enter her PIN but she was so engrossed in her narrative of her feet, she didn’t hear him.
Blow me down. I was waiting for the bus to bring me home in the bus station. An A10 pulled up. About 30 people moved forward to get on it. The man next to me was tapping away on his tablet. After at least five minutes, the bus started to pull away and the bloke suddenly realised it was the bus he wanted to catch. he went legging after it, banging on the windows but it sped away. He came back to the queue, effing and blinding about the “ignorant” bus driver.
In each of these stories, I did consider for a nanosecond putting the person straight. But it would have been pointless. They were switched off. Possibly permanently. The guy who missed the A10, we completely oblivious to the bus trying to pull up behind him as he stepped into the road to continue his rant. For the woman with the toenails, her story was the most important thing in the world to her – it was the world.
And that’s why the support worker had to go. I’ve tried to talk to him about it before but what I was saying just didn’t register. His need to listen to 50 Cent was the only thing that mattered. The rest of the world has to accommodate that need. But when a support worker is on shift, I want them to be plugged into Steven. Switched on to his world. If not, I see no choice but to pull the plug.
From → Social Care