I was hoping to sit by the bank of windows, their light murky and scattered by years of grime. Ceiling tiles overhead have been removed to reveal years of dry, and maybe, wet rot. A spare classroom. Used for students who need extra testing time, the afterschool program’s space to complete homework, or on Wednesdays where I unglamorously provide mental health services to kids. Here I sit across the room next to the electrical outlet to charge the phone.
The sound of students reaches me: running in the halls, shoving each other in the cafeteria line, the dull thud of soccer balls. I try not to think about who sits alone at lunch or who is bullying to the point of being sent to the principle’s office.
I want to sit against the window pane. Instead, I stare at the little table at which I do all my work covered by my lunch bag and coffee mug, the EBP model booklet, coloring pencils, collage materials &c. The vestiges of last cling to me: dry eyes and a headache, perhaps a resurgence of a pinched nerve; more likely holiday dread. My own, but also the kids whose heads swim with financial dreams their parents can’t meet; dreams of hover boards, happiness, fully attentive parents, family trips.
I’ll hold them, but Jesus, are you holding them too?
I spent all day in pain, 4/5 of 10, which isn’t terrible. But it was all.day.long. No breaks, nothing helped. I was at the point of tears around 2pm, and at 3pm thought of canceling a client at 4pm. Aspirin, Meloxicam, and something else didn’t work. I popped a vicodin when I got home at 5:30pm. It’s 7pm, and I’m still in pain. Maybe my personal judgement of pain scales is skewed: I go to work/hiking/Mass/etc with a migraine. I don’t bother to chart them any more anyhow. Maybe what I think is a 4 or 5 would be someone else’s 7 or 8? I can’t tell. I’m only wondering since the vicodin isn’t working, and barely worked yesterday. I’m scheduled for physical therapy on Wednesday, and f/u appointment with the GP/PCP on Thursday. I’m bummed since the course of pill-based steroids only relieved my sx for about 1.5 weeks, and my other arm is starting to get strained from picking up the slack caused by my left side. The numbness & tingling is returning, and my shoulder joint is shooting pain, I feel like a neural ping-pong arcade game. Ding, ping, poing, grimace, curse, pop pill, ping, ding, aw hell.
I was so upset last night. My sister’s boyfriend’s sister (i.e. possible future sister-in-law) is leaving for India and needed someone to watch her two classroom pet mice. The girls have their own large tank with wire mesh top. I offered to take them for the summer because after Samuel the Hamster died in May, I brought two little mice home: Rita & Rachel.
I was told to not worry about one of the girlies because she “just has this scratching thing”. I took 10 minutes out of my evening after Bible Study to research causes of rashes, scratching and fur loss in mice. In ten minutes I was able to discover this mouse had a painful allergy to aspen shavings for bedding.
I decided she could not continue living in this condition any longer, and especially felt upset about this. I cleaned out the shavings, found moldy fruit snacks (remember, a classroom pet), unwashed tank. I scrubbed their running wheel, cubby/hut, waterbottle and food bowl with lavender soap. Cleaned cage with vinegar, and gave fresh water with some vitamin mix from Petsmart. Cage is now lined with CareFresh Ultra and timothy hay, tissue paper.
She’s calmer. A bit of Neosporin on her sores and scabs seems to have helped as well.
What has upset me a lot is not only the animal cruelty of letting an animal remain in pain. I’m not PETA and I like a hamburger or bison burger just as much as the next carnivore. Additionally these are classroom pets where children are supposed to be learning caring for each other and other creatures on God’s green earth. They are supposed to be learning empathy and self-less caring and how to do what needs to be done to alleviate the pain of others. Yet, these little mice were not shown any of this!
Some weeks I drag my feet toward my late afternoon/early evening clients for several reasons (i.e. diagnosis, family negating course of treatment, complexity), and yesterday I was actually looking forward to my afternoon cases for these same reasons. I can understand trauma, depression and anxiety. I’ve got cool things to do with kids in session to help them express fears and emotions; provide information that they aren’t alone. Something sticks with each session and they slowly grow, slowly improve.
I entered a school campus today, signed in at the front desk, and the principal addressed me about “our little friend” who has gotten into trouble yet again (at least 3x/week) for disrupting other classes by playing “ding-dong ditch”. If this little guy isn’t pranking, he’s tripping, pushing, or shoving others; he’s got some fire-setting incidents under his belt, too; violating physical boundaries (examples omitted) of classmates, legal guardians, and family members. This morning was the whipped cream and cherry. It was only 10:20am.
Let’s back up to yesterday (Monday) afternoon I listen as the child’s legal guardians recount how the kid grabbed one of them by their wrists and shoved into him/her; tore at his/her clothes. All because they were out in the community and the child would have to wait until they returned home to have access to a new toy. He would have to wait at least 30 minutes, and that is what makes him angry, and dangerous.
Thank goodness we have upcoming auxiliary services being implemented because impulsivity on this level makes for more shadows and worry than I’d like. And the sprinkles on top of it all was a comment from a higher-up in management told me to consider why the child does this, when I need to address the emergent issues of caregiver safety.