Thursday, May 29, 2008

Looking for the next available exit... (this post is LONG and gets UGLY but is worth it in my mind.)

I have to say, if I weren't already looking to get out of my current job, I would most definitely be looking elsewhere after my experiences today.

"What could possibly have so soured you on the job you already clearly hate?" you ask, unsure if you really want to know more.

An excellent question my friend.

After having spent 9 months making daily visits to "the poop house" you'd figure I'd have already dealt with the worst of the worst... And in a way, that's correct. That house was most assuredly the earthly portal to hell. But the bright spot in that festering craphole of humanity was that I never had to touch anything... I mean yes, I did have to wear special "poop shoes" to go into that house, but the poop shoes were only for my own personal comfort, so that I could be sure that those shoes were relegated to the fate of NEVER re-entering my home after taking but a single step into that heap of unfathomable foulness. Those poor shoes, (an old, loyal, well-worn pair of New Balances, previously reserved for lawn mowing duties) took their first steps into the "poop house" and from that moment on they were solidly banished to a secured garbage bag in the floorboard of my back seat, and were ceremonially destroyed/disposed of when the case closed. But all of this is beside the point... The poop house stories are being stored in a deep dark cellar where distance and time will age them like the rare vintage they are... Believe me, if you hang out long enough, you will be allowed to partake in that exceptional selection. On to more pressing matters...

So despite my history of tolerating all the foulness that the poop house dished out, today was a topper.

To give you a little background, this is yet another dirty house. And in my line of work, to get a call on a dirty house, it's a particularly special brand of funk-nasty. I mean, do you have any idea how disgusting a house has to be before the state will take your children away as a result? Well, I'll tell you that whatever you're imagining, triple the level of foulness, rub some dog shit on it, sprinkle on a healthy smattering of human fecal matter, and then don't take the trash out of the equation, EVER... For at least a year... YEAH, just HEAP that garbage on there! Now we're in the neighborhood containing the ballpark... And even if you're not in the neighborhood containing the ballpark, you're at least probably playing the right sport.

There is nothing worse in my office than a dirty house case. Well... strike that... I think that the dirty houses might actually compete with the molestation/incest cases for first place in the "best of the worst" category. (We're getting into the whole "incident vs. lifestyle" argument, and that's a rabbit hole we're not ready to delve into fully... We're talking "The Matrix" level of other worldly comprehension, so really it's just better if you take my word for it and we move on, because I don't have the a $350,000,000 budget to produce the movies to convince you...) Either way, you're getting the idea that this is not a place I want to be even on a good day... And today was BAAAAAAAAAD. REALLY REALLY BAAAAAAAAD.

So yesterday I go into this dirty house thinking I'm going to point out the things that they need to clean, and the order in which tasks need to be accomplished, starting with the most egregious. The father in the home informs me that the mom has head lice. This alone would be plenty foul. But when we compound this with another fact that I learned on Tuesday, both parents were in fact INFESTED with scabies, we again enter that whole other rabbit hole realm of disgusting-funk-tastic. (I'd like to point out that I took a break just before this point to drink off my daily events, and am currently pretty intoxicated, but we've got work to do... Back to the story.)

So... This disgusting dirty house is populated by two adults. There is constantly garbage on every conceivable surface, which I inexplicably have to point out and instruct them to throw away. The laundry hasn't been done in god only knows how long, there are no sheets on the bed because they are content to sleep on a plain ol' grubby beat down mattress, and now they have lice... And SCABIES!!! (...Oh, and I am in hell.)

I call and report all of this to the state case worker, and call the person responsible for providing the visitation, and everyone else I can conceivably drag into this debacle with me. The office supervisor states that he doesn't think we can suspend visitation over lice and scabies, and I essentially told him to fuck off, went over his head, and suspended visitation on my own because it was the right thing to do. They could fire me if they wanted to, (in which case I'd have been extremely grateful, and then they could pay my severance and unemployment while I sit on my ass all day like my clients, because once you know how to work the system, you can live pretty well on very very little.) Either way, I'm right in this instance.

At this point in time, I become a seething, burning, multi-layered anger parfait.

So because of the health risks involved, and because of the fact I am the only one willing to do a damn thing about it, I had to be the one to tell the parents that their visitation was suspended until further notice. It's roughly at this point when I had to get mean. They got all defensive saying, "Well that's not fair!" To which I had no choice but to respond in that hateful, seething tone previously reserved for D-bags at bars who couldn't take a hint, "Actually, NO... You want to know what's unfair? Unfair would be allowing visits with you despite the fact that you have NOT ONE, BUT TWO ailments which are BOTH easily transmittable by any close contact. Let's say you hug your kid, give her either one, or both of your problems, and then not only does she get to suffer from those ailments, she also goes back to foster care, and gives it to every adult and child she comes into contact with, and then 10 people are infected with these problems rather than just you two... Just because you think it's unfair. So... You continue having visits with your kid, despite knowing about the problems which are easily transferable to other people. Your kid gets scabies and lice, the foster parents get scabies and lice, all the other kids at the foster placement get scabies and lice. All the other kids we transport in our cars and car seats get scabies and lice... All because you say that it's unfair? WRONG-O! So, no... Those other people at risk of getting infected because you can't manage some shampoo and a little washcloth time? THAT'S UNFAIR! So whether you like it or not, or whether you think it's fair or not, it's not up to you."

I might have felt like I'd overstepped the mark with tone and manner of delivery, but what came next was the icing on the cake, or in my case, the mustard on the turd sandwich.

"Well we don't know what to do..."

Since I'd called the case worker three days prior, and not heard back, this was something I was forced to deal with.

"What do you want me to do about it?"


"Help with what exactly?"

"Help us with the treatment."

"I'll get back to you on that... The scabies you've got to see a doctor for... I can't do anything for that. We'll talk about the lice later."

So I eventually got a call back from the case worker. She determined that I was right in suspending the visitation. (A little vindication which didn't at all make up for what she was about to dump on me.) She determined that since the parents weren't the brightest crayolas in the box that I needed to assist them with the treatment of the lice... And by assist them with treatment, she meant that I would need to go in, spend three hours IN THE SCABIES AND LICE HOUSE, AND TREAT THEM MY GODDAMNED SELF.


SOOOOOO.... I blocked off a LARGE portion of my work day. I put on shorts and a t-shirt. I then put on a pair of adidas track pants with the tight elastic at the bottom cuff, which I had every intention of throwing away anyway, and another shirt which I decided would need to be discarded after this debacle. I then popped on a full length lab coat from my mom's office, (which she told me I could burn after use,) rubber gloves, and a super sexy shower cap... Short of being hermetically sealed in saran wrap, I was covered from head to toe in gear specifically designed for this purpose... (I only wished a haz-mat suit was something I had access to.) And I had every intention of disposing of my garb ASAP upon completion of my mission.

I then spent the next few hours using a fine toothed comb and lice treatment gel on both of them.

Somehow through the whole process I managed to control my gag reflex.

I then told them that they had better have paid attention to how the process was done, because neither I, nor anyone at my office would EVER do it for them EVER again, and informed them about how to go about treating the rest of the home. And then I exited the home.

Prior to re-entering my car, I took off the gloves, the shower cap, the lab coat, the pants, the shirt, and every other conceivable aspect of external garb, and deposited into a plastic bag which was then promptly deposited into a dumpster which happened to be readily available.

I then drove home and proceeded to take the most scalding hot, super exfoliating, uber-scrubbing shower you can possibly imagine. (And, not that you need to know this, but short of removing the hair on the top of my head, and my eyebrows, I shaved pretty much every bodily surface within reach.)

And I still had the psychosomatic itchies all day... as I used to get even post-shower on days when I had to go to the poop house where I never touched a thing. (Never underestimate the brain's retention of latent suggestion, even after you know you've taken every conceivable step to prevent any issues.)

So... If you want to complain about your job, go for it... I'm all ears!

Good luck competing. I hardly think that the abnormally loud talker in the next cubicle compares... But really, go ahead! I can't wait to hear what you've got to complain about!

(Yes, I know I need to get another goddamned job... I'm working on it, as is everyone else I know well enough to call in a hiring-related favor.)

Don't ever wonder why my job makes me hate life EVER AGAIN... And if you know a social worker, go thank them! And if they have had to go into a scabies/lice/poop house lately, after making sure they've showered like any rational human being, HUG THEM!

No comments: