I was always amazed that my older brother knew he wanted to be a dentist at the age of ten in 1952. I was eight and normally clueless about those things, thinking someday when I got older the knowledge of my future profession would somehow manifest itself magically and I’d just have to follow the path.
I went to college, hoping to outlast the Vietnam war. I didn’t and because I had a degree in sociology I got lucky and ended up in a large army hospital with an outpatient psychiatric clinic. There I was with seven psychiatrists, a psychologist, three clinical social workers and twenty social work/psychology techs. My future profession had now manifested itself.
Out of the military and into graduate school, out of graduate school and off to Utah for a ski season, a well deserved vacation I thought. Then it was back to reality and Los Angeles for my first straight social work job, doing family therapy in juvenile hall. The irony of becoming a probation officer didn’t go unnoticed in my family and in my social group. Five years later I was off skiing in Utah again, a respite from that jail time, another winter of poverty then back to my LA roots for my second social work job. I was offered the evening shift in a busy emergency room. A good fit for me, I spent the next thirty years there.
The stories I offer up are my own, slightly modified to keep confidentiality and not bring unwanted attention to my colleagues and patients. They are all true.
Although written from a social work perspective by a professional social worker, anyone who ever worked in a hospital might benefit some way from them. Doctors, nurses, techs, paramedics, cops or anyone else curious about what really goes on in the ER will find something of interest. Hopefully they can say, “Hey, that worked. Next time I might try that.” To me, that is the ultimate compliment. If you want to know anything more about me, read the stories….