Journal Notes Red Cross last note from Memphis 5/31/2010

Subject: Journal Notes Red Cross last note from Memphis 5/31/2010

Hi family & friends, Yes, I am flying home tomorrow, Mon. I miss my family, the animals, Blue Ridge Mountains, & our green Shenandoah Valley. This deployment well suited my background in psychiatric social work, EMS, & Emergency Management. I finally have many tools in my toolbox, & this gives me a true advantage when working in the field. Most of my work in the field w/ Client Case workers is just “old school social work” w/ a medical component. Now, I must renew my EMT license to continue in Red Cross Health Services. I’ve been bitten by the Health Service bug.  I became an EMT at the ripe age of 58, due to my experiences with the Katrina Red Cross deployment.  In the field/community, I spent most of my time this DR (disaster response), with the disaster mental health clinicians; again, I’ve met the most wonderful red crossers. @ Disaster HQ sites, Health Services staff are located next to the Mental Health clinicians; we share clients & constantly call on each others fields of expertise for Consults. We frequently go into the field together on request of the Client Case Workers. Client Casework is another favorite “function” of mine, so I have the best of both worlds w/ casework & mental health. In the Red Cross, EMTs are truly viewed as peers w/ the nurses, & the RNs, fully rely on our EMS prehospital skills, for a lot of the more acute issues we see.                Clients are still in the shelter, & I think it is now too comfortable; there aren’t enough incentives for them to leave. Here they have kind staff from many agencies, 3 hots & a cot. Our presence too long enables dependency, not independence & recovery. The residents have bonded w/ staff.  It’s odd; we have to wean our clients off our gracious services. It is also difficult for some staff/volunteers to say goodbye. One of my favorite psychiatrists from Western State Hospital, Peter Schofield, use to educate us on how staff, unintentionally, enabled pt resistance to discharge, & our ethical obligation, to establish boundaries, so that both we & patients not get too close. The Red Cross needs to better educate volunteers on the pitfalls of enabling & not establishing professional boundaries.   Not for me, I am so ready to say “goodbye”.  There is a fine line between service & enabling. This morning I slept in & went to Mass. Quite frankly, my batteries needed recharging. Yesterday I went out w/ Annie, a case worker, from NC; while she was completing paperwork for the 2nd client; I actually fell asleep in the car while Annie used the trunk for a desk. Whew, I was so embarrassed. Thank God I didn’t snore.  So, no going out on Sat night for me; while others went to Casinos, I went to bed @ 9 pm.                       I feel like a new person today. There are only 3 of us left in Health Services now; HQ is empty except for a small handful of volunteers; about 10 of us. I shredded documents for 2 hrs; I felt like a Watergate or Enron clandestine operative. There is no sadness in leaving. Client needs have been met, & agencies can pickup where we leave off. I am free to leave all of this behind, as I am too tired to be of much help before my batteries are recharged. I need to see my husband Jerry, the many pets, & dig with my hands in the garden’s dirt. Can’t wait to go back to the Fitness Center; I miss my regular exercise program, & the garden area which my daughter Kelley named the “Rain Forest”. I refer to it now as my ZEN garden. Buddha is calling my name. The Holiday Inn took out their exercise equipment due to renovations, & I sorely miss the strength bldg machines @ AHC.  I am rambling. The next Journal Notes will probably be hurricane related, as Tues is the official beginning of Hurricane Season. Be safe, Be prepared….. ~susan~


About tydingsfrushour

Retired social worker, EMT, Red Cross disaster responder. Disaster response, animal rescue, gardening, family, & writing, round out my life. Enjoy country life in the Shenandoah Valley & Blue Ridge mountains.
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