I've tried real hard not to make a habit of writing my blog posts at midnight.
I mean, although Kaylee knows how to sleep through the night, she hasn't exactly made a habit out of it, so I like to get to bed at a decent hour so I'm all ready to fight the battle of poopy diapers or old ladies with walkers (working at home, or working at the hospital), depending on the day.
But today - today I'm writing my post at midnight. Because tonight is different.
In case you're new around here, I work part-time as a hospital social worker. This week just so happens to be my week on call.
It's 5:30 p.m. and I've got a pot of spaghetti noodles and a skillet with meat sauce bubbling away on the stove. I'm in my comfy pajamas, and that dag blasted friggin' pager goes off. Two more minutes and I'd have been on the couch enjoying some Italiano and watching Sunday's episode of Celebrity Apprentice.
From time to time, I whine and complain about my struggle with balancing work and home. I've even been known to complain about having to go in to work at all (or, God forbid, having to work a whopping four days in a row *gasp*).
But, the truth is, in such a time as this, I should keep my yapper shut. I'm very thankful to have a job when there are so many out there looking and looking, but not finding.
My job gives me the flexibility to stay home part of the time and be with my baby while she's still a baby. But, my job also means there are a lot of messed up people out there, and it's my job to try and help them.
Tonight I saw a lady who tried to end her own life. Thankfully, she didn't, and she ended up agreeing to go and get some help. So, tonight I can't just come home and go to sleep. I'm wide awake, and I need to do something to get my mind off of her problems.
Sometimes I wonder why I chose the job I did.
I see some really terrible things. Moms who smoke crack while they drive to the hospital to deliver their babies (no joke), people who commit such despicable crimes that they are cuffed to the bed rails, people who come in over and over again after being beat up by their boyfriends, babies who are covered in bruises, people who ruin their own lives (and the lives of everyone who loves them) with alcohol and drugs. It just goes on and on and on.
Why, oh WHY would I choose a job where I'm surrounded by these things?
Fairly regularly, I ask myself this very question, but I don't contemplate it for long, because from the moment I chose to be a social worker, I knew I was right where I needed to be. Even if, some days, I feel like I'm learning to ride a bike for the first time.
To be completely honest with you, on my way into the hospital tonight, I was afraid I might get the doodies. I was so nervous. I've been trained, I've dealt with really complicated patients before, I know what I'm doing, but I still get scared. I just never know what to expect.
Well, I didn't crap my pants (I always try to find the positive side of things...). I did just fine, but I think it's been a while since I've said so many prayers in one day.
So, about 6 hours later, a lady who was ready to end it all is probably still ready to end it all, but at least she's safe for the time being. She's getting help. And I'm praying that she will accept it and that she'll realize she needs to help herself.
This week, my tribute is to my patients - everyone from the 87-year-olds who trip over rugs in the bathroom, fracture their hips and need rehab, to the 16-year-olds who are high on meth and need a whole different kind of rehab.
You are the reason I have a job. Believe it or not, you're the reason I have a job that I LOVE. Many of you piss me off to no end, and I have no patience for you.
Then, there are others of you that I can only have compassion for, that I can only hope the very best for you, those of you who I truly, truly hope will someday be okay...