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  • What's sylas been up to?

    I'm sure some folks will find this interesting...

    Haven't said a great deal about my personal life here at tweb... and that will continue. But here's a bit more than usual.

    Life for me has been ... rough ... in some ways, for many years. Folks will probably mostly remember me as something of a science junkie... I have a bit of background, got a lot of interest, hold my own reasonably well in technical discussions. That will also continue, I hope.

    I used to be an academic, though I did not really shine to be honest. I took a voluntary redundancy many years ago, at a time when student numbers crashed and the Uni faculty where I worked shed most of their staff. After that, I floundered. It was not a great time to find a new comparable position. For many years I did a range of things in a kind of scrappy casual way, enough to keep my head above water (just). I made an attempt to take up secondary teaching (which I did mention at the old theologyweb some years ago) but that didn't work out. I love tutoring; but managing a classroom was totally different from managing a lecture hall, and I didn't do it well or feel good about it.

    The ultimate resolution for me has been a radically new direction. I completed my training last year, and for this year I have been working at my new career. I am a nursing aid, or "personal care assistant", working at an aged care facility.

    Here are some aspects many friends here at theologyweb are likely to find of interest.

    First I really do think at last I've broken out of the career doldrums and found a new direction that matches my interests and personality. This is the first time for years that I have been in a steady job and am feeling good about it. It isn't particularly science related or technical, but on the other hand an interest in science and the natural world is a general way of seeing things all over; it applies *everywhere* and for everything. I was never a science researcher (except in "computer science" which is IMO more properly a branch of mathematics).

    Second it seems that even after thirty years as an atheist, my Christian origins continue to haunt me. I'm working for "Baptist Care". I actually had a choice between two employers; one Christian and one secular. That made pretty much no difference to my decision. My own faith (or lack thereof) wasn't an issue to my prospective employers; and my employer's faith wasn't an issue to me. It was all about the workplace and how it worked, and it just so happened that the one which tipped out the scales for me was the Baptists. Whadayaknow. A couple of people at work know I am an atheist and I'm not remotely shy about saying so if it comes up... but it doesn't come up. We talk about our clients and our practice more than anything else. So it's a big non-issue.

    Third my main work is in dementia care. This is a really really interesting and challenging place to be. It could be heart breaking if you took it all too personally. But if you continue to see people as people, it's really important to help and hold people who find themselves in a frightening and confusing place; and humanity is still there. So it is also very rewarding.

    Forth I turn out to be lazy. It's very nice to be in a job where I am working shifts, and when I get home... the work is finished! As an academic I didn't have clear set hours; but rather a lot of work to get done; papers, marking, course preparation, and so on and on and on. It had to get done; regardless of how long it took. Now, I come home and am tired... but I am also *finished*. The job is done until next shift. I'm finding that style of work refreshing.

    Fifth this is a career that develops. For all that I finish work at the end of a shift, there's still plenty of scope for development and I'm taking that up. I'll be learning more about incontinence, about managing challenging behaviours, about medications, etc. There are a number of directions to go, though for this year I just want to build a sold basis in the foundation of personal care.

    Sixth I am continuing to keep a minor involvement in other activities. Most significantly, I continue secondary tutoring... as a volunteer, working with kids from refugee backgrounds in a local high school who need a bit of extra help because English is their second language. My strong maths and science background has been very useful there. We have a really interesting group of kids to work with.. from Afghanistan, Iraq, Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia and lots more. Some of them have amazing stories, and life experience that leave me gobsmacked. Newcastle has a growing population of folks from such backgrounds, Africa in particular; and IMO it is the kids who are going to be the biggest lever in helping these families adapt to a radically new life. The kids are keen and excited, and they represent a fabulous mix of the influence from their families and from their new country; and they'll often be the bridge for their parents to get involved in all that is now available to them.

    So there you go. Sylas is now professionally in a field of menial low pay and low status work.... and loving it. I did a six month course last year to get qualified, and have been working now almost three months at this new career direction.

    Wish me luck, my friends! -- sylas
    Last edited by sylas; 04-01-2014, 10:05 AM.

  • #2
    A very noble profession, Sylas. Having just had my mother in an assisted care facility for a few weeks of rehabilitation, I got to see first hand how needed people like you are.
    That's what
    - She

    Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
    - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

    I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
    Stephen R. Donaldson

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    • #3
      Congratulations - I hope it turns out to be all you hope for.

      "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


      "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

      My Personal Blog

      My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

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      • #4
        Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

        Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
        sigpic
        I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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        • #5
          My dad is in Convelescent care and has some form of dementia. I visit him most days and I get to see some...er...interesting...people. One of which is quite a determined escape artist, lol. This home is one of the better ones from what I've heard about such places. I suspect it's also a touch understaffed. More people like you with your passion is needed for sure.
          Watch your links! http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/fa...corumetiquette

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          • #6
            You keep visiting, DesertBerean! That's really important, but it's hard. It's a huge commitment for you, and unlike me, you don't get paid for it. You have my admiration and respect!

            Dementia is a progressive condition; which is really hard on family, though paradoxically it can makes things easier for the patient as time goes by.

            Having a sense of humour is crucial; but of course that has to come second to a sense of empathy and respect.

            Oh yeah! You gotta love and respect the escape artists. They make for a lot of extra work and worry, but hey! That's where the sense of humour comes in. Last night we were having a chat together at the nurses station, after everyone had been settled in for the evening, and discussion turned to which room we'd like when it's our turn to move in. One of the night workers had picked out for himself the room near the entrance, so he'd find it easier to slip out from time to time with an unsuspecting visitor.

            A good escape artist is often more settled and happy in their position than many of the other residents. They get a nice warm welcome on their return, and we don't try to make a big fuss with them in particular -- there's really no point in trying to persuade them not to try again, or to get angry. I haven't had an actual escape out from the facility to deal with myself as yet, but I know who to watch. What's much harder for me are the ones who get worried and upset because they think they've got to get home and come to me directly because they don't know which way to go or what is going on.

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            • #7
              It comes and goes. Like he remembered I had said I'd visit him this morning...but I had to take the cat to the vet so I forgot. Yet last week sometime he was calling me and other family saying he was at the mall and please come get him. I finally went in to calm him down. Somehow he had got it into his head that he was located at the old mall not at the street the hospital was on.

              It's what they call the sundown syndrome.
              Watch your links! http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/fa...corumetiquette

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              • #8
                sylas continues to evolve!
                Actually YOU put Trump in the White House. He wouldn't have gotten 1% of the vote if it wasn't for the widespread spiritual and cultural devastation caused by progressive policies. There's no "this country" left with your immigration policies, your "allies" are worthless and even more suicidal than you are and democracy is a sick joke that I hope nobody ever thinks about repeating when the current order collapses. - Darth_Executor striking a conciliatory note in Civics 101

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                • #9
                  Well, at least he doesn't seem to be that creepy leaf-like thing anymore...

                  "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                  "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                  My Personal Blog

                  My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MehGerbil View Post
                    sylas continues to evolve!
                    evo.gif

                    I'm always still in trouble again

                    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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                    • #11
                      Sylas: please be a good nurse's aid and never grow cynical. If you do leave the profession. I was a technician. Cynicism ruined my best assistants
                      A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
                      George Bernard Shaw

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                      • #12
                        Good advice, Catholicity!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Back again for one of my occasional visits; and this time I'll just add on to the existing ancient thread.

                          Updates.

                          I am still working in the aged care area, and still loving it. There have been changes.

                          I changed work places. This was quite stressful. I basically lost the job at Baptist care, went cap in hand to my other workplace which I had dropped; and said I still wanted a job if they would take me back. They did. I was enormously grateful to them, and am glad to be back with them... I am with them still.

                          Some time after that I moved from casual to permanent, and I was getting plenty of work with regular shifts. I also got on very well with co-workers. I received a lot of valuable help as I was starting out in this career, and in time was able to do a bit of giving the same back to other new people coming into the profession.

                          Next change came a few months ago. The workplace called for personal care attendants/nursing aides (which was my role) who might be interested in filling in sometimes in the lifestyle and activities group. I applied, and had a really excellent interview, and was given some shifts in this capacity. Then I was given a whole month working as an activities officer, while one of the real activities officers was on leave.

                          After that something wonderful happened. A substantial number of people -- my manager, some team leaders, some activities staff, some of the registered nurses, and so on -- all passed on word that they would love to see me continue in that role. So a bit over a month ago, I was offered a full time position with the activities group. Which I accepted.

                          As 2016 starts, I am working as an activities officer, rather than a nursing aide. I'll also be doing some formal training, supported by the workplace, to get a directly relevant qualification in lifestyle and leisure. (It's a desired but not necessary qualification for them to give me the job.) I'm the only man working in this group, which has been interesting.

                          Me hard at work
                          TGTMVsanta.jpg

                          The activities group. I'm in the mauve shirt and bowtie (which I wore for the dancing).
                          ActivitiesGroup.JPG

                          Also relevant... over the last 18 months I've taken up regular dancing, mainly modern jive. Relevant because lots of the old folk here love to reminisce about dancing and really enjoy it. Mostly watching; there are a few who can get up and dance if I use a nice safe close hold. We have a music therapist; and even before I started doing anything with activities, I was inclined to take the opportunity to grab some poor unsuspecting worker who happened to be in the room, and did a quick dance show to the music. Residents really enjoyed that. At Christmas I and a friend did a simple choreographed routine at two of the end of year resident parties. So I'm bringing a bit of dance into the activities area.

                          Having the background and training in personal care has been useful; I can quickly step in and help when there's a need for transfers with lifting equipment, or when someone needs the toilet and the PCA staff are all busy.

                          Here's one more photo, taken at the end of year dance of my dancing club. Theme: gangsters and flappers. (I'm the one without a hat.)
                          GangstersAndFlappers.jpg
                          (Photo credit: Gina Stuart Photography)

                          Hi to anyone who might remember me... Cheers -- sylas

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You look rather James Bond-ish in that last photo!

                            So glad you have been doing well, sylas!



                            Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by sylas View Post
                              Back again for one of my occasional visits; and this time I'll just add on to the existing ancient thread.

                              Updates.

                              I am still working in the aged care area, and still loving it. There have been changes.

                              I changed work places. This was quite stressful. I basically lost the job at Baptist care, went cap in hand to my other workplace which I had dropped; and said I still wanted a job if they would take me back. They did. I was enormously grateful to them, and am glad to be back with them... I am with them still.

                              Some time after that I moved from casual to permanent, and I was getting plenty of work with regular shifts. I also got on very well with co-workers. I received a lot of valuable help as I was starting out in this career, and in time was able to do a bit of giving the same back to other new people coming into the profession.

                              Next change came a few months ago. The workplace called for personal care attendants/nursing aides (which was my role) who might be interested in filling in sometimes in the lifestyle and activities group. I applied, and had a really excellent interview, and was given some shifts in this capacity. Then I was given a whole month working as an activities officer, while one of the real activities officers was on leave.

                              After that something wonderful happened. A substantial number of people -- my manager, some team leaders, some activities staff, some of the registered nurses, and so on -- all passed on word that they would love to see me continue in that role. So a bit over a month ago, I was offered a full time position with the activities group. Which I accepted.

                              As 2016 starts, I am working as an activities officer, rather than a nursing aide. I'll also be doing some formal training, supported by the workplace, to get a directly relevant qualification in lifestyle and leisure. (It's a desired but not necessary qualification for them to give me the job.) I'm the only man working in this group, which has been interesting.

                              Me hard at work
                              [ATTACH=CONFIG]12145[/ATTACH]

                              The activities group. I'm in the mauve shirt and bowtie (which I wore for the dancing).
                              [ATTACH=CONFIG]12146[/ATTACH]

                              Also relevant... over the last 18 months I've taken up regular dancing, mainly modern jive. Relevant because lots of the old folk here love to reminisce about dancing and really enjoy it. Mostly watching; there are a few who can get up and dance if I use a nice safe close hold. We have a music therapist; and even before I started doing anything with activities, I was inclined to take the opportunity to grab some poor unsuspecting worker who happened to be in the room, and did a quick dance show to the music. Residents really enjoyed that. At Christmas I and a friend did a simple choreographed routine at two of the end of year resident parties. So I'm bringing a bit of dance into the activities area.

                              Having the background and training in personal care has been useful; I can quickly step in and help when there's a need for transfers with lifting equipment, or when someone needs the toilet and the PCA staff are all busy.

                              Here's one more photo, taken at the end of year dance of my dancing club. Theme: gangsters and flappers. (I'm the one without a hat.)
                              [ATTACH=CONFIG]12147[/ATTACH]
                              (Photo credit: Gina Stuart Photography)

                              Hi to anyone who might remember me... Cheers -- sylas
                              Good to see you and glad that you are doing well.

                              I'm always still in trouble again

                              "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                              "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                              Comment

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