Stepping into the world of Social Work

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A little in advance of the holiday in case someone can take a hint!


To the realtors that leave flags on our lawn every Independence Day:

Thank you very much for your kind gift of an American flag stuck into our lawn this weekend (just like every year at this time). But with all due respect – CUT IT OUT!

I love my country as much as any American, but consider your “gifts” to be in extremely bad taste. Here’s why;

1. First and foremost, I do not consider it acceptable in the least to use the American flag for advertising purposes. Since your name and phone number are attached to the flag, along with the fact you are a realtor, so there is no escaping that this is advertising.

According to the US flag code:

Any person who, within the District of Columbia, in any manner, for exhibition or display, shall place or cause to be placed any word, figure, mark, picture…

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Even more evidence!

I just came across this from the Family Research Council.

Logo of the Family Research Council.

Logo of the Family Research Council. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the information on the event:

On March 22nd, 1972, the Supreme Court undermined the boundaries and benefits of marriage. In the decision Eisenstadt v. Baird, the Court struck down a Massachusetts law prohibiting the distribution of contraceptives to unmarried people, and implicitly sanctioned unmarried non-procreative sexual intimacy.

Does this really sound like freedom?

A free society, in my opinion, permits individuals and doctors to make medical decisions based on science and the individual’s moral, ethical, and religious beliefs, not that of the state. I’ll even give the doctor an out from prescribing what he doesn’t approve of, so long as s/he is willing to provide a referral to another doctor, though I would be personally very uncomfortable with the idea of an OB/GYN who refused to prescribe birth control medication.

The “logic” appears to be that the availability of birth control somehow discourages marriage. While I consider marriage a great choice. I don’t see how people are going to decide to get married simply because they can’t get birth control without a marriage license.

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About Dad…

I haven’t blogged about it yet, but most people who know me are aware that my father was hospitalized at the beginning of February with a serious illness. Dad is 77, and enjoyed very good health until a shoulder injury some time back and a heart valve replacement a few years ago.

He first reported a number of non-specific symptoms and was hospitalized. I wasn’t notified until almost a week later.  I arrived at the hospital to find Dad looking pretty scary. He was able to talk, however, and was particularly concerned about giving me the passwords to their online services to help my mom with the bills. I believe he felt at the time he had suffered a stroke.

A few days later, I get a call from my mom that Dad had been taken to ICU and placed on a ventilator to “give his lungs a rest.” I was notified a week or so later that they were choosing to do a tracheotomy for the ventilator. What I heard indirectly, and from those discussions I’ve been able to have directly with the doctors, is that he has lymphoma or something in the non-Hodgkins lymphoma, leukemia, or bone marrow cancer family. The most confusing thing is that the most troubling symptoms are not cancer symptoms, rather the neurological symptoms (such as not being able to breathe!). It was another couple of weeks before I really fully understood the true nature of the situation.

After a week or two in ICU, he was moved to another ward, and improvement was very limited. My last visit to him at Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital was rather troubling, as he couldn’t use his voice, but was clearly trying to talk to me. My aunt, who had been able to visit during times where he could cap his ventilator and use his voice, was telling me that he was increasingly less rational in what he did say, for example demanding that she take him home immediately. The nurses confirmed that they were noticing this, too.

Having a professor who is a medical social worker in this situation was amazingly comforting. Dr. Joosten, my Social Welfare instructor, helped me understand that many senior patients exhibit some loss of rationality simply due to the length of stay and the nature of such intense care. Medications, sleep deprivation, lighting and many other factors may have something to do with this, and even has the name of ICU psychosis or ICU syndrome.

In addition, I was finally given a diagnosis beyond the cancer which helped me understand the neurological symptoms. Apparently, whichever cancer he has, or a number of trivial viral conditions he could have caught over the winter,, triggered Guillain-Barre syndrome. GBS is a serious autoimmune condition, in which the body starts attacking parts of the nervous system.

The bad news, of course, is how serious these conditions are. The good news is that neither is an automatic death sentenc

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A Bit of Background

A bit of background about me first.

I’m a 40 something married woman in Los Angeles, with more than my share of ups and downs in my career. Mostly, I’ve worked with developmentally disabled adults in their jobs or in what is called a “community based day program.” I’ve also worked as a substitute and regular teacher and with a couple of Internet companies during the first dotcom bubble.

I have been toying with going back to graduate school for some time. I looked into School Psychology a couple of years back, but due to deadlines I was only able to apply to one program. Unfortunately, I was not admitted. The rejection hurt, so I postponed trying again for a while.

As I recovered from losing my job in November of ’10, I realized that this was the time for me to make one last effort at grad school. The school psychology program didn’t seem like an option before – perhaps they were telling me it wasn’t the right direction for me? – so after looking at a number of options I decided on the MSW, Master of Social Work. It connected well with my personal background as well as a strong connection with what I had been doing for 10 years.

I applied to three schools – USC, UCLA, and CSUN (Cal State Northridge). All of them have good programs, the first two being nationally ranked and the third being very very local and the least expensive. It was a lot of work, but I got the applications in!

So follow me…. 🙂