Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Writing Assignment

He said I had to write in my blog. He said I needed to get it out on "paper." And because I so want to please him and because he never lies (and tells me this will help), I am compliant.

Since my last entry in March, things went from a little better to absolutely horrible. And I thought I was depressed before. Ha ha ha ha! Once I went to my doctor and doubled my dose of anti-depressants with the occasional lorazepam included, life at that crappy job got a little better. I stopped being so nervous that my horrible supervisors who wanted to see me fired were looking over my shoulder every day and started not caring if no one at work talked to me. I even interviewed for a dream job, and although I didn't get it, I felt uplifted that there might be a future.

And then June 2nd happened. I got fired. I have never been fired from a job in my life. The actual date of events happened June 1st, but my supervisors fired me the next day, 4 weeks ago tomorrow. They said I violated a HIPAA code. As most doctors, nurses, and lawyers will tell you, they hate HIPAA. A concerned professor called The Counseling Center for a 2nd time concerned about a student. He said he had been concerned for 3 semesters, and because the student was an international student (foreign), the professor did not feel the student grasped the seriousness of this behavior. At that point, I reiterated our procedure that involved having the student call and have his name put on a referral list. The referral counselor would return the student's call and take 1 of 3 courses of actions: 1) refer the student to an outside counselor (for the summer); 2) put his name down on a waiting list to be called for a future appointment; or 3) encourage the student to come in as a walk-in (crisis). I could not tell the professor if the student had called us or not or which course of action had been taken, and the professor understood but was still concerned. The professor had told me his name at the beginning of the phone call which I wrote down as a habit.

A few hours later the counselor in charge of referrals came down with the waiting list of student for us to call for appointments. I glanced at the list and noticed no foreign name on it and wondered what happened to this young man. Did he fall through the cracks? She said she had made calls, and these were the students she got ahold of or who called her back when she left a message to do so. When I saw that this student's name was not on the list, in my mind he was not a client of our Center, and, therefore, I could alert the professor that the student was not getting help. Since I had written down the professor's name at the beginning of the earlier conversation, I decided to drop him an e-mail to that effect. Ironically, I couldn't remember the student's name nor can I now so I didn't even use his name in the e-mail (which would have violated FERPA). To make a long story short (Oh my God, I'm making this long story excruciatingly longer.), my supervisors got wind of the e-mail. The next day they called me into their office as I was getting ready to leave and read me my termination letter. They didn't ask for my motivation (which was to help the student) or my intention (which was to help the student) or my side of the story (which was to help the student). I started to cry and said, "All I was thinking was getting that student some help." I went to my office, and they followed as I packed a box of my things and sobbed the whole time. Damn, how I wish I had the guts to have said, dry-eyed, "I'd rather be fired for helping a student than keep my job while doing nothing." They needed to hear that. Can I have a do-over?

To say I am devastated is an understatement. I am a single woman barely making ends meet from paycheck to paycheck who needs benefits and has nothing right now. Nothing except my health. Each day and each night, I thank God for my health. I have been thinking that I need to make a grateful list every day so I can snap out of this depression. All I have been thinking lately is what a failure I am. The word keeps resonating in my brain every day. Failure failure failure. I majored in English which was stupid. I married the wrong man. I failed at teaching (or at least quit before I could make it a career). I failed at publishing when I couldn't stay on with the publishing company after being laid off. I failed at finding a job after my lay-off. I failed at falling in love when I managed to fall in love with a drunk. I failed at my first job on campus. Fail fail fail is all I could hear in my head. And now I have failed at helping some student and lost my job over trying. As much as I don't want to wake up some mornings, I know not to try anything permanent because I would probably fail at that, too. Will anything ever go right for me? When will this cycle of failure end? When will this dark cloud leave me?

I would not be coping today if it weren't for my friends who check in on me almost daily. My dearest bloggy friend who "demanded" I write in my blog, who called me during a panic attack last week and talked me back down to earth while hugging me through the airwaves, who texts me that I matter, who wags his finger at me lovingly for not calling when I need him. Where would I be without him? My friend who is moving and "demanded" I come help her pack and forced me out of my dark room and made me feel better by getting out of the house. What a better day I had because of her. My bloggy "sister" who sent me her family tree to retype to keep my hands (and mind) busy. I'm actually enjoying learning about her Irish family. She calls from time to time to make sure I'm okay. She's been where I am. My one friend at work who calls every once in a while to make sure I am okay and offers prayers for me and is convincing me I need to file a grievance against these incompetent supervisors. She makes me feel stronger than I think I am. My old high school buddy, who I barely knew in high school but have become reacquainted with on facebook, and his girlfriend send me messages of love from Florida. What did I do to deserve this kindness? My best friend who I've known since 1st grade calls to check in on me and has me come to her house for comfort and lets me hold her grandson to remind me what a future would be like with a grandbaby in my arms. I love her like a sister. And my sisters who call or e-mail to check up on me.

The high school friend's girlfriend reminded me today from Al-Anon, "When I got busy, I got better." Today was an example of that. Helping someone pack. Tomorrow I am going for a walk with a choir friend. And I am going to grow a set of balls and follow through on filing a grievance against the university for not putting me on administrative leave first while reviewing the situation. I have to get mad. No one asked me my side or care what m intentions were and that is reprehensible in my opinion. And the question remains whether I violated a HIPAA code to begin with since it's fraught with gray areas. On good days I remember the friends who care so deeply for me. Not everyone is so blessed to be surrounded by so many angels.

So is my assignment done, dear friend? I think I feel better just getting this down on "paper." Keep after me. I love you for loving me.



At 12:17 AM, Blogger Sailor said...

Seems to me, that if you truly do "...Feel better just getting this down...", then you've answered your own question, no?

Hugs, hang in there, you're a strong woman and you WILL be okay, I know it, I can see it.

(Hmmmm... word verification is "bookinc".. coincidence or foreshadowing? hmmmm)


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