Friday, October 4, 2013

My Personal Assistant

This may seem like an odd subject to address, however, it has been on my mind for quite sometime, so I thought I would write about it. For about the last year or so I have been having a lot of problems with my personal assistant.

I have had this particular assistant, whom I will call Fred, for the past three years. Granted I may not be the easiest person to work for, in that, despite all of the physical constraints that have been placed upon me due my limb losses, I still maintain high standards with respect to how my household is run. I realize, and have previously written about, the frustration that occurs when you are no longer able to physically perform tasks that prior to your loss, in whatever capacity, were simple.

It is often difficult to verbalize how or what you would like to have done by your assistant in a way that is easily understood. That difficulty is exacerbated if your assistant either is slow to absorb information or simply has trouble paying attention to what you are saying. Either way, it leads to a miscommunication, you are frustrated by his inability to get done what it is you have asked of him and he is frustrated because he does not understand what it is you want him to do.

Occasionally my PA has voiced his opinion about me personally, which caused me to wonder what he thought of me as a person. Case in point, about a year and half ago we had one of our many heated discussions and in the course of that discussion, he stated, "well at least I have never had to take money from the state." Needless to say I was shocked and offended by his comment that I was in some way,  sponging off of the state by collecting disability. Although I did not make a big deal out of his comment, I did tell him in no uncertain terms that I had worked tirelessly for 35 years and what I was receiving was not a hand out, and that I would much prefer to be working.

There have been so many instances of Fred's incompetence, forgetting things, breaking things and general disinterest that it would bore my readers to list them all, but I want you to understand how tolerate I have been throughout the last three years.

Last week another episode occurred that may be the proverbial straw. I had asked Fred to change one of the light bulbs in my shower and suffice it to say he dropped it in the shower and broke it. That in and of itself is understandable, but when told me about it, he said the fixture broke. I corrected him and said no it did not break it was broken. Once again Fred refused to accept responsibility for his actions and chose to blame the object and not his action.

He went on  to say that, "things do break, like your legs or your HIV." Anyone who knows me already knows when those insensitive  and uncompassionate words came out of his mouth,  I was livid. He sensed how enraged his comments had made me feel and quickly added that he didn't mean it that way.

All of this may seem to you to be petty bs but multiply it by three times a week times 52 weeks a year and perhaps you get some idea the frustration I feel. I had hoped that a day or two later he would realize how offensive his words were, and would apologize. Thus far no apology and no acknowledgement of his harsh words.

I ask you, am I being too sensitive or is what he said cold and cruel? This last episode has further solidified my conviction that this assistant has no understanding or compassion for my situation and I have to wonder whether  I want someone who has so little regard for my situation, working for me.

Please let me know if you feel I am jumping to conclusions or whether his words and subsequent non action are reason enough to look for another assistant.

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