Tuesday, May 18, 2010

This was a gloves-on emergency

Another great part of my job is going on outings every day. This week, for instance, my calendar consists of playing on the playground and feeding the ducks at the park, checking out the new canopy walk at the Botanical Gardens, seeing a car exhibit at the museum, and going horseback riding.

Pretty great life, right?

Thing is, there is a TON of work that goes into making the outings happen and hopefully happen smoothly. With autism, you don't just say, "Hey kids! Let's go to the park!" and expect them to pile in the car with, "Sure Ms. Liz! I wanna play on the swings and slide and I'm gonna walk and hold your hand and not jump in the water or yell at babies or poo on the bench at all!"

Today's outing was the lovely canopy walk. Quite nice, actually! I'd really been looking forward to this one but was taking a very challenging combination of patients and was on high-alert for any problems. Problems? On an outing? Never! (insert sarcasm here) It was doomed from the beginning. . .

#1 Leaving over half an hour late. We never leave on time, that's to be expected. But half an hour? That's just too much. Nothing I can do about it now, onwards.

#2 Realizing I had no money. As I get the ticket in the parking deck, it occurs to me that I have no way to pay for parking. We get free tickets to the garden so that's not an issue, but how are we going to pay to get out? Nothing I can do about it now, push that one aside.
Ok, we're rolling along pretty nicely now. The canopy is nice and shaded, it's beautiful and even has me thinking about going back sometime soon to fully enjoy it when I'm not busy trying to wrangle giant autistic teenage boys.

#3 Emergency! Ok, whose brilliant idea was it to put an emergency call button at the end of the awesome echo tunnel at the exact same level as the really fun texture tiles that the 18-year old loves to run his fingers on? Button gets pressed. Twice. In a panic I attempt to explain that there is no emergency and thankfully (?) no one shows up.

#4 Poo. Ohhhh, the fun part. There was an accident, there was running on my part, paper towels, gloves magically found by another staff, unhappy kid, a bathroom, not too thrilled me, an apology to garden employee, and finally leaving 30 minutes later with much MUCH handwashing and sanitizer upon our return to campus.*

#5 As if the poo wasn't enough, as we're leaving one of the other kids who doesn't like people to wear sunglasses tries to swipe a pair off of a strange lady's face. Awesome.

I manage to sweet-talk the parking lady into letting me come back later to pay (thank you, God, that I live so close now!) and we all ride back in relative silence trying not to breathe too deeply. And so ends what was one of the most memorable outings ever. On a more positive note, yesterday's trip to the park was pretty great and I'll write about that tomorrow.

*I originally wrote a much more detailed explanation of this incident but decided to spare you the details. It was not fun and I have a new-found respect for the unit staff that have to deal with that kind of thing on a daily basis.

1 comment:

  1. So you must have told the poo part of the story when I went in to get water. Either that or you left out the most "interesting" part of your story last night...