b3ta.com user ollclay24
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» Screwing up at work

Ha I worked in care in the UK, every day was a screw up.
Although there are plenty enough times I've screwed up at work, I prefer the moments when everyone screws up, at once, and in a particularly spectacular fashion. Briefly working in the care sector gave me plenty enough opportunities to see this phenomenon first hand. (Obviously no names will be mentioned.)
About 5 years ago and fresh out of college I was working for a nameless care-for-profit organisation in a residential site for adults with severe developmental disabilities. People with ASD were the main service users but the company was quite nasty overall, a real scam on tax cash. That being said there were a lot of on the ground workers were genuinely invested in the residents and cared for them a great deal, me included.

A lot of our residents were there for difficult behaviours, we called them crises, but they could be anything from biting or vomiting at you, to getting butt nekked and running straight into oncoming traffic. These behaviours were usually the result of some big ass temper tantrum caused by something that had happened or changed, that they couldn't process.
Ok, so, there was this one lass that I worked very closely with. Her issues stemmed from changes to her routine, changes to her room, and females younger than her (she saw herself as a child despite being about 30.) She could talk but it was limited, and she was cute as a button most of the time, like saying hi to everyone that walked within a 500 meter radius of her and reciting her routines peppering them with ancient ad jingles and nursery rhymes. However when something changed... well. It was like an army drill went off, half the bloody workforce would mobilise, padding, arm guards, 600 wet wipes. I always wondered 'why this mass panic over, frankly quite a short very sweet lass?' because 99% of the time she handled it well. We would try to prepare her for this stuff every day for months in advance; "Your room's being painted in 36 sleeps. Now put the sticker on your chart." Kinda thing.) I thought I had an idea of why after working with some of the more intense residents, but nowt could have prepared me for this one.
_ Now her room was largely empty besides a sofa, a dinnertable and her kitchen... she liked it this way. She had a cupboard with gifts from her (really very lovely) parents and that was all that she would allow. She briefly had a pink flowery radio but one day she came out, smashed it to pieces on the floor and said "Radio finished!" and that was that... radio was finished.

Anyway we had been away on a short trip to some park or something that she went to every week and when we got back she went in to her room as usual. 2 minutes of silence, I was mentaly ticking off her getting home routine in my head from outside (it was that repetitive you could get it down to the second.) first her coat, then a drink of water, a murmur whilst she recited her afternoon routine, then in for her 12th daily bath and... The fire alarm!? What!? No. She'd kind of started the mid scream/ wail continuous noise she made when she'd begun to cry, then something I'd never heard before, a kind of intense wet cracking sound, like a leg being pulled off or something. I radiod for assistance because fuck doing whatever it is I was gonna have to do by myself, and I went in cause that sound sounded like a get in and help sound. I was greeted by the site of a thirty odd year old woman squatted over a steaming pile of shite with a huge grin on her face, her fingers in her ears and her pants round her ankles... She, with reflexes like a legged ferret, scooped this up, screamed "poo poo!" at the top of her lungs and hurled the stinking brown gob straight at me. I attempted to dodge but she splattered it pretty much everywhere, she then covered with shite up to her elbow barrelled towards me. Needless to say I got the hell outta there in time for my three colleagues on the unit to arrive take one look at me and say "Get the babywipes."

They radiod for more backup because by that point she was bollock naked and moving her sofa towards her garden fence so she could hop over and make a break for it. My manager explained that the noise I heard was the noise she makes when she legitimately 'crisised' and that it was understandable that I shoulda gone in to check on her cause it does sound like a horrific injury. The one thing we couldn't work out was why? What the hell had made her do this. At that place there was always an answer, one resident would do his thing exactly 3 days after his parents visited, everytime. He had this delayed processing disorder, it took them a year to figure it out. We figured it must have been something at the park, there was a dog that walked close to her, but she liked dogs mostly cause she'd grown up with them. We later discovered that the maintenance guy's, at the managers insistance, had fitted new soap dispensers into every resident's toilet. Including hers, without warning, whilst she was on her park trip, despite all of her very well documented issues with that shit. She'd gone into the bathroom, taken one look and immediately flipped. But of course we had no idea, the manager in question hadn't thought to tell poor old us and maintenance ain't the first guys you radio when a resident's in meltdown.
It took four hours to calm her to the point where she might accept her settlng routine. She raged, swore, slapped, bit, shat, kicked, spat and scratched, she tried to break down the garden door, she seemed to settle, a couple of people would have to go, cause they had their own residents to deal with, then it would kick off again and she'd strip down, hop the fence and charge towards the main road naked and covered in shit. We were allowed to escort and restrain her when she was being violent or escaping au naturale into the public but not to keep or lock her in her room (and for good bloody reason too, entrapment is wrong, I was very careful to make sure I worked within guidelines at all times, but duty of care came first.) she could come out and eventually would as part of her calming process. Eventually she began to listen and calm.

Now here's where I fucked up... her calming routine entailed her to take a bath, she was calm, talking again, still covered in shit and then we told her to go take a bath before we could have dinner. She went back into her bathroom took one look at that fucking soap dispensor and "POO POO!"
Bare in mind at this point we still thought she was upset about the park dog.
Eventually my shift ended, she was still raging but it was the night guy's problem now and to be sure they were fairly pissed about it. Next day we came back... still raging, hadn't bothered sleeping. It took the whole next shift... best part of 9 hours to calm her down, by that point we'd found out about the fuck up and sent a heavily padded man in to rip out the dispensor so the next time we did her routine it worked, but trying to explain to a partially verbal screaming autistic lady that her soap dispensors gone now is a lot harder than it sounds, and it probably sounds hard.

It was the one time I saw her go for it. The other 99% of the time she was catagorically lovely and I genuinely looked forward to working with her there were one or two other incidents but I worked with her still for a while after that and of course I would never dream of holding it against her, the entire reason she was there was cause her condition meant she wasn't given a choice in her behaviours from birth. I don't regret working there, it taught me a lot of skills for dealing with difficult behaviour that I've put to use in the job I've had since, hell it wasn't even my worst job in my opinion. It's just another example of poor communication from management completely fucking up several peoples day at once, mainly hers.

Apologies for length but it needed exposition.
(Title of George R.R. Martin's sextape.)

TL:DR, Differently Abled person flips out for 2 solid days over a switched soap dispensor. Man fucks up and extends madness. Lots and lots of tangents.
(Fri 20th May 2016, 19:09, More)