I think I'm gonna get through it, though. Just possibly in the plan B version, the slow old lady's version of things - doing my classes first, and then doing my placement after that. Taking the long way round. Which makes me the perfect person to look after old people in their homes, does it not? As long as of course I maintain attention and alterness along with the patience that comes from intimacy with the slow walk.
My first unit for the class is OH&S. Which is about as dry as a nun's, as my auntie's ex-boyfriend would charmingly say. That's not to say that I don't care about the safety of people - I do. I don't want to see anyone needlessly suffering anywhere because of carelessness on their own part or on the part of someone else.
But that doesn't means it's not as boring as batshit.
And it also doesn't mean that we don't lose a great deal in an emphasis on safety. I went up in a hoist as part of my prac work this afternoon. Hoists are used to lift some people from their beds into chairs, or to help lift people who have fallen. They fit in with the no-lift policy that occurs in aged care, where machinery of this type will be used in almost all of those sorts of situations, and which means that far fewer workers are left with back issues, some debilitating. Which is great.
But the price of the safety is a sort of alienation. Going up in that hoist was a little unnerving. I can't begin to imagine how it must feel for an elderly person to be strapped into something and lifted. I didn't really feel like I was going to fall, but then I'm not frail and aged and in a place that is not my home with a bunch of people that I may know to various degrees and probably care about, but who are not my family.
There is a part of me that lives purely in the realms of freedom. It would probably die of tuberculosis or accidentally get itself run over by a truck, but I don't care what anybody says - I think I love that part of me more than any other part. That part of me would hate living in a nursing home, would rather die first.
Freedom reminds me of the birds I saw on the way home, driving through the completely uninspiring streets of Dandenong and Endeavour Hills with all the other unthinking slavelike plebs. They sat right above it all, in a big flock, doing lazy figure eights.
There's probably a whole lot of reasons for why they do that (circling to land to feed maybe), but sometimes I don't want to know the reasons for things. I wish to simply watch those things and enjoy the poetica of it, the wastefulness of life that is more beautiful in its function than the rather tedious version we have going on here. We have a lot to learn from nature.
After all, flamingoes could have evolved to duck off behind the flamingoan shelter sheds for a quickie to continue their species. But they don't. They dance their mating rituals. And I know OH&S practices are there for a reason, but I'm going to try and remember at every turn to keep in balance a watchfulness for my clients' safety on the one hand, while trying wherever possible to foster their freedom on the other.
|Running with the Seagulls by Ed Shipul (CC attribution/sharealike)|