Ricky ([personal profile] rixkey) wrote2012-06-17 06:10 pm

When volunteering goes horribly wrong

June 2 - June 16.

Total time at home: 20 hours.
Total time at the hospital: Everything else.

This is the first time I've been conscious in my home for more than two hour stretches at a time since the end of May.

I'm in between terms right now because of reasons but I desperately need things to do or I go insane and start, like, haunting the house and getting all restless and agitated and cleaning things five times a day. My sister, one summer, seriously considered smothering me with a pillow before I could go crazy and start axe-murdering people because apparently I looked like I was going to do that. Since finding a job is like a game of slots, I went and volunteered myself to the hospital. Even better, the particular program I applied to is actually set up around the college's term schedules as that's where the bulk of their volunteering staff come from (the campus is right down the street from them). I'd be free as soon as summer term started to continue or discontinue as I felt was necessary for my personal sanity. Perfect!

No. No, not really.

The volunteers were set up in shifts and our jobs basically amounted to being nurse station minions and puke-cleaners for the janitorial staff for about five-to-seven hours at a time (nothing less than expected). You could also sign up for two hour shifts, but people on that slot had considerably different responsibilities. I only went to for the long days because I had nothing else to do and also college credit and recommendation letters. At first there were a lot of a students from the nursing program there with a few undecided's slipped in. I was the only compsci person. (I got to gut a computer once because the IT guy for the ER receptionist people was on temporary strike [read: ignoring everyone and playing minesweeper] and collared me into it so that was awesome.)

Except the program this term was headed by a new management team or something? I wasn't really sure. But it was bad. It's usually handled a lot better, I was assured, but that doesn't change the fact that it kind of fell apart within a week.

Of the twenty-four originally, only five of us on the long shifts were left by the end of the second week. People just stopped coming or got bad information or something (I just had a thought that the scheduling might have been so screwed up that they never received their own times and so had no clue when they were supposed to come in and...none of them called or something?), I don't know, which wouldn't be as big a problem except the scheduling people screwed up. And by screwed up I mean they weren't keeping track of how many extra shifts everyone was picking up, or their computers weren't registering any shifts picked up past a certain amount, and also they hadn't kept track of who was showing up and who wasn't. Which meant their computers didn't know who wasn't coming anymore because the people who were supposed to enter in that information never did. Which meant the five of us were doing the work of twenty-four people because that's the number of people the computer thought it had. I was there for over thirty hours at one point by myself because it tagged me as a replacement for everyone who would originally have been working that day if they hadn't ditched. Or something. We tried to tell the people in charge that this was messed up, but because their program was also messed up they kept telling us everything was fine, or getting solved, or it couldn't be that bad, or blah blah blah, excuses excuses. Or they were being willfully ignorant because they were terrified about what they'd do if they had to recognize and explain that over three-quarters of their volunteers had vanished. I don't know.

This continued until Friday the 15th where someone apparently got their head out of their ass. They let us all go early to take time to figure out where this had gone wrong (and fire people, which...ouch) before next term's program was supposed to pick up and also because I think they were concerned about the lawsuits if one of us actually keeled over (or they were threatened by the hospital's payroll workers, which I wouldn't put it past them because they were a scary bunch when they wanted to be and kept sending us off to sleep by the end there and shoving food at us). I spent yesterday being talked to and apologized to by Important Looking People In Suits (ha) and I got a cake from the nurses which I think was less a bribe and more them being awesome (because they are). I know they're going to be contacting the people who went AWOL, but any follow-up to that I'm probably not going to hear about right away. Or ever. Still, they're fixing it and whoever's in charge next time will actually be monitored since shit like this isn't supposed to happen.

I'm kind of pissed. But I just slept for thirteen hours and took a shower in my own bathroom with soup that doesn't smell like a hospital so I'm also feeling kind of good, especially since I don't have to go back. It's kind of confusing, but also kind of peaceful. Mostly I just don't care. I'm wearing pajama bottoms. I'm good.

I'm not really upset about all the work, I'm more upset that nobody listened to us when we pointed out that things weren't working right. They didn't even listen to their own people, since we had a few nurses, janitors, and even doctors get in on it. I just, I liked the work, but living in a hospital for nearly three weeks because the computer thinks you're six different people is kind of mentally taxing.

I could have obviously walked out at any point, especially once it got to where I was essentially living there and crashing on benches or occasionally the on-call room or those plastic chairs in the hallway all the time. By that point I was completely in my rights to leave. It wasn't my job, I wasn't getting paid, and unlike the other four I wasn't a nursing student. So. Yeah. Didn't have to stay, which makes anything I have to bitch about partly my fault entirely.

On the other hand I'm now tapped into the grapevine of several key departments of that hospital and everyone there knows the five of us (only two of us were still there all the time by the end, the other three had actual things to do and could only drop by when they could which was still ridiculously amazing of them) very well by now. They kept giving me candy. It was delicious. And the IT guy I mentioned - who is a Marine and finally off active duty after four freaking tours - showed me how to break someone with my fingers and also how to properly use a knife...or at least how not to accidentally stab myself with it if I should be trying to stab someone else. Which is always good.

Admittedly not really a bad way to spend my in-between terms time. Except also exhaustion.

 I also missed the deadline for the fandom thing I was doing by a lot. I hadn't realized how quickly things would go nuts over here, but...yeeeeeah. Now I feel like a horrible human being. I'm going to see if I can unofficially slip my supposed-to-be recipient the fic I was supposed to send in, but first I have to get up the courage to slink my way over there and ask. Because I am a social coward. But first: caffeine. And possible more sleep because I don't think I'm making much sense by now. Simple sentences would probably be better. I think this is my fifth edit to this post.

I love you guys.

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