Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Old MacGroceryStore Had a Farm

Today our supervisor stopped by the grocery store where our guy works. She checked in with him and with human resources and his supervisor just to make sure everything was going okay. She called me later to report.

This is what she said, "They all said he is doing a fine job. He is nice to the customers and does a great job sacking and bringing in the carts. There is only one problem and I'd appreciate if you could talk to him about this. Apparently, he won't stop quacking."

"Quacking?" I respond, "as in, like a duck?"

I wish I could say this surprised me, but after living with him for over a year, it really didn't. We've all heard it. And honestly, of all the noises he makes, this might just be the most appropriate one to use in the grocery store. (And I do recognize that there really isn't an "appropriate" noise to make at people when you are bagging their groceries.) Apparently it's his way to make the little kids smile. It's not really working. And all of the other employees are getting really irritated that he quacks every single time they walk by.

Honestly, we are a little afraid to have a "no quacking" talk with him. He might just start barking.

Another Crazy Thing We Do

The guy who works at the skills workshop gets a paycheck once a month. The check is deposited directly into his bank account and he gets the stub. You can probably guess that he does not understand that this is not an actual check. However, he gets an allowance of $2 a day (one dollar after he takes his meds, another after he showers.) And he gets a whopping $5 on Friday. So although he wanted to go to the bank to cash his check, he could usually be redirected about it until he forgot.

And I should have just left well enough alone. But no. I had to go make a teaching opportunity out of this. So I decided that he should continue to get his daily allowances, but that once a month, when he got his paycheck, he could actually go to the bank and cash a check for an additional five dollars. I was thinking that doing this would help him to correlate working with earning money.

I was wrong. All this did was give him something else to bug us about. And not just when he has a paycheck in his hand. It's anytime we drive by a bank. "Go cash my chessh," he says. "Sorry you don't have a check," we reply. Then he gets upset and slaps his leg and closes his eyes like he's thinking about things he could do to get his way. So now, we not only can't drive by Sonics or McDonalds, we also have to do our best to avoid any banks. Not an easy task people.

So all this to say that when we tried to do a switcheroo at the bank and let him give his direct deposit slip to the bank tellers while I slid them an actual check from his account, I lost a lot of confidence in the brain capacity of the tellers. They totally did NOT understand that they were simply to throw away the paper he had given them and cash the check. Even he was catching on that something was going on. So we had to come up with a plan B. This is where crazy comes in.

So now what we do is this. I go cash a five dollar check when he is not with me. Then when he is, we drive up to the ATM (the nice thing about this is that we can use any bank, not just one he has an account with). We stop in front of the machine and I say, to nobody of course - it's a machine - "Good afternoon, we'd like to cash this check." Then he hands me his paystub, I drop it in the side pocket of the door and we wait. A couple minutes later, I reach out to the machine, say, "Thank you. You have a good afternoon too," hand him five dollars and we drive away.

I know there is a camera built into those things and I really hope they don't have someone who watches them randomly. But if they do, it may just be the highlight of their day when they see us coming.

Monday, February 15, 2010

It Might Be Better Just to Go Ahead and Die

We recently discovered that the CPR certification of all the staff in our home was either expired or about to, so we immediately signed up for training. Lowell and our day staff got in a class and are now current, but our weekend guy and I couldn't make that class (clearly, somebody has to stay at the house and work.) However, the good news about missing the class is that we later found out that we could test out without having to go to the four-hour class. All we had to do was take the open-book test and then go demonstrate on the CPR dummy that we know how to do the process.

So I give the book and the test to Weekend Guy and explain what he needs to do. I also take the test myself over the weekend. When I picked up his test this morning and was heading to turn them in, I realized we had several different answers. So Lowell and I rechecked mine (remember, he's recently taken the class and passed this same test). I had all the answers right. So of the twenty questions in this open-book test, he had missed NINE. Yep, nine. Out of twenty. In an open-book test. Is there even any excuse for that??

We laughed all morning about some of the questions he missed. Many were common sense, some had to be found in the book. Probably though, our favorite question that he missed was this:

If a person is suffering from pain or discomfort in the chest that lasts more than 3 to 5 minutes or that goes away and comes back, this person is most likely having:

A - A heat-related emergency
B - A cold-related emergency
C - A heart attack
D - A seizure

Okay, ready for this??? He answered B - A cold-related emergency. Oh yes, he did.

We are just really hoping that we don't happen to have any "cold-related emergency" when he is around. He might just start CPR. It wouldn't matter if we didn't give consent. He states he would help even if the person was able to say "no". And apparently this CPR would consist of rescue breaths that are four seconds long (go ahead and stop right now and try to breathe out for four seconds, I'll wait). Then he would repeat this breath quickly 3 times. And then the 15 compressions would start. And we are thinking they would be pretty dang hard, because he does think he is restarting the heart by doing this (not just helping the oxygen to circulate). The one positive about this is that he probably wouldn't be performing CPR long. He understands when it's time to stop. He knows that it's not when the Emergency Personel or someone with a AED arrives. It's when the person's condition worsens. And I think we all know there is only one step down from unconscious and not breathing to dead. The good news is that when someone is beating on your chest and breathing into your mouth for 12 solid seconds, it probably wouldn't take too terribly long to for the person to die.

Well, Lowell and Joshua are in the other room clutching their chests, so I'm gonna go turn up the heat!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Medication Changes?? NO DEAL!!!

One of our guys is currently going through a change in his psychotropic medications. The makers of one of the drugs decided that it wasn't making them enough money so they were stopping manufacturing. Immediately. (I sooo feel like that should be against the law, but anyway...)

He is now completely off of the medication and on what will maybe be his maintenance dosage of the new med. He is struggling. And thus, so are we.

I think he wants to be good, I really do. But the voices in his head are telling him differently. So, he wants to hit people, kick people, tear up the van and beat the wall. So far he is doing relatively well controlling himself. But you know it's there. You can see it in his eyes. So we try to redirect him as much as possible.

On Friday he was ready to go to his skills workshop about 3 hours before he was scheduled to go. That's all he wanted to do and there was going to be no changing his mind. TV? No, go to work. Puzzles? No, go to work. Baking?? No, go to work. There was nothing else he wanted to do and he was getting really upset that we weren't leaving. So we turned on the television. Soon we realized that Hogan's Heroes isn't nearly interactive enough and we needed something else. Surfing through the channels, we came across Deal or No Deal. And had you been in our house you would have seen quite a sight.

You might have even thought we were actually on the show if you didn't know better. As he sat in his chair and perseverated on going to work, I sat on the couch next to him and shouted, "No Deal!!!" and "Low number Howie!" and "Keep it on the left" and "That's okay, that's okay, big numbers still there!!"

This went on for an hour. And I was a little bit hoarse when it was all said and done. But me yelling like a crazy person for an hour and getting excited for the low number reveals and sad for the high number reveals got his attention. He even raised his own hands to the sky a couple of times and hollered out a big ol' "No Deal" every now and then.

So yes, it was crazy. But sometimes crazy is all that works.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It's Kind of Like a Chinese Fire Drill

We knew better. So really it was kind of our fault. Because we knew better.

All three guys had appointments for a wellness check yesterday morning. (They go every two months to the company clinic.) Because things have been going relatively well, we thought we could all jump in the van and ride up there together. But deep down, we knew better.

We made it maybe a mile down the road when it started. It was simple enough at first. A mere "I hate you" and a "I gonna beat you up" quickly became a "I gonna kill you." I got up and went and sat down beside the unhappy one. He acted like he was going to hit me but then smiled and said, "Want a kiss?" I replied with my standard line, "No, remember friends don't kiss, friends shake hands. Want to shake hands?" He smiled and replied, "No. Ima beat him up" referring to the guy in the front seat.

And being a man of his word, he began the hitting and kicking. I was practically on top of him trying to stop him and keep him from hitting our day staff, who happened to be driving. She pulled off on the side of the road and everybody else jumped out of the van. When he calmed a little, we rearranged our seating so that he was in the very back with staff, I was in front of them, and the other two guys were in the way front. He continued threatening but didn't try anything else.

As all this was going on, the intended victim was doing a good job of ignoring this maladaptive behavior. But the other guy insisted on egging him on a little. He sat in his seat repeating, "Psycho, he's a psycho. Needs some more of his crazy meds."

Um, yeah, hard to argue with that. Every day is a little bit psycho.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

And our Staff is Crazy Too!

I've been meaning to talk about this for a while now. We have a weekend staff guy who is a little, out there, I guess. Nice, nice guy. Just not real bright - he's actually kind of dumb - but super nice. Anyway, we have this medication log where we have to count controlled meds and sign off every day. In December when we came back from our trip to Arkansas, I was reviewing the med log and these are the signatures I saw (well, kind of what I saw, changing the names to protect the crazy!):

Dec. 12 John Doe
Dec. 13 John Doe
Dec. 14 (weekday lady)
Dec. 15 (weekday lady)
Dec. 16 (weekday lady)
Dec. 17 (weekday lady)
Dec. 18 (weekday lady)
Dec. 19 John Fernandez
Dec. 20 John Fernandez

It took me a minute to figure out what was wrong. From one weekend to the next, he changed his name! Who does that?!?! He does, I guess.

I asked him about it the next weekend. His response, "Well, you know 'Doe' is such a common name and I just wanted something different."

What do ya' even say to that?

The Crazy Things We Do

Lowell and I were talking last night about some of the things we do around here on a normal basis (maybe I should say "regular" basis, since the things themselves wouldn't be considered "normal.") I thought maybe I'd throw them out here every now and then.

Every night, and I mean EVERY night, one of our guys gets bored and wants to do his laundry. ('Cause it's such a fun activity, right?) Our day staff usually does the laundry during the day when he is at a skills workshop to ensure that it is done (properly). But once she goes home, and he gets home, he wants to do it again. So we take all of the clothes that she has washed and folded and left in the laundry basket for him to put away, and he throws those in the dryer for about half and hour, then takes them out, folds them up, and is so very proud of himself for doing his laundry.

Personally, I CANNOT imagine having the desire to take my folded laundry (that somebody else had done for me) out of the basket and do it all over again. But, that's just one of the crazy things we do around here!