Message in quarantine

1. I finished my 3 days of work yesterday. I worked 25h on the weekend and 6h on Monday morning, so it was quite a lot, but I coped ok. Nursing homes are always busy, although to be quite honest I need to admit that by being an agency staff I am often given easier tasks as it is more practical. The permanent staff is better suited to deal with unusual issues that may arise during the shift so they’re doing the running around while I’m told to stay with residents. Still, most of the shift is spent on my feet, yet, despite my recent exhaustion, I coped ok so it does make me think the supplements must be in fact beneficial and I must have had deficiencies.

Which then makes me think how easy it is to explain everything by autism. Google ‘autism and fatigue’ to get the idea.

We are probably getting tired easier than non autistic people, but how easy it is to then use that fact to explain everything, while reasons for exhaustion can be complex.

It’s Tuesday morning now and I feel ok, even though I didn’t have my coffee yet. So it’s either the supplements or possibly I’m born for hard work and not for staying at home and thinking. Although obviously the last sentence was meant to be a joke, I do feel like I have an emergency responder in me – if I see that something needs doing I want to run and deal with it immediately, and that is probably what is helping me cope in busy environments.

2. I keep reading the book ‘People skills’ by Neil Thompson, it has a chapter about bullying, where Mr Thompson briefly discussed managers who are bullying their subordinates into doing their job, instead of motivating them. He doesn’t give any examples of what motivaton looks like, neither what bullying looks like. That’s a bit disappointing, isn’t it?

I presume bullying someone into doing their job would be threatening them with negative consequences if something isn’t done, but what about motivating? Not only I don’t really know what motivating an adult requires, I’m also confused about the whole idea that employees need motivating. It does seem to me that setting clear objectives should be enough for vast majority of people and that putting too much emphasis on motivating employees infantilizes them.

3. I did tell you that my agency is opening a branch in Swindon, didn’t you? I’m now getting emails from Swindon branch and phone calls from Bristol branch from the same person. I find it mildy amusing but try not to get too involved in thinking what’s behind that.

4. I noticed, once again during the weekend, how easy it is for other people to exchange social niceties while also focusing on task that requires dealing with information. I cannot do those two simultaneously at all.

However, I can simultanously focus on two tasks that require information exchange – like for example filling in a form about one resident’s diet while discussing another resident’s skin condition. What happens as a result is that I assume other people can do that too so I interrupt their work in an attempt to be more efficient. When I see that this is not being appreciated I stop myself but they don’t stop themselves from attempts of being social with me when I ask for information and I then feel like my needs are less important than other people needs.

But at least I know now what the problem is. I only realised that shortly after my self diagnosis. I don’t quite know how I coped working in care for so many years without knowing about the above.

5. I had an unusual exchange with another female staff during the weekend. It was breakfast time and I was allocated a couple of residents. I found out from dietary requirements sheet that one of them uses sweetner for her tea but I didn’t see any sweetner around.

– Sorry, where’s the sweetner? – I said to that female staff.

She looked at me and laughed briefly.

– Oh, sorry! I thought you’re Sue because you’re wearing blue! – I think she even touched my arm briefly. She was around my age and I presume she was trying to be friendly.

It is said that autistic people don’t pick up on other people intensions; since I found out about it I am trying to pay more attention to the fact that other people may in fact have intentions and I believe I get them correctly most of the time and that is exactly what exposed the real problem: even though I think I’m getting other people intensions correctly, I hardy ever know how to react.

– Ok – I answered. – I’m trying to find sweetener.

– Are you in tomorrow? – she responded. I only realised then, from the label on her uniform, she was a team leader, so possibly she saw being friendly as an important part of being professional. I felt like I could see the situation from her perspective very well.

– Yes – I said. – Where’s the sweetener? I can’t see it anywhere.

– Long day? – she asked.

– Yes, I’m on a long day today and tomorrow – I confirmed. – I really need sweetener for the lady from room number 4.

So as you can see from the above, understanding other people intentions won’t make me automatically react appropriately. And anyway, what would an appropriate reaction be? The staff I was speaking with was trying to be professional by being friendly to someone who could feel alienated, I was trying to find sweetener. Is that what we call win-win situation?

6. This is an email I received during the weekend:

I have a message in quarantine, that means I have to go into quarantine to get it. The subject of the message is a random string of letters, which suggests that the message is going to be nonsense. So it’s not about what is in the message, it’s about the fact that it was sent. The sender is called Mateusz Stelmach which sounds very Polish to me. You may not realise but if you live in a foreign country and meet someone of your own nationality you sometimes find out stuff you wouldn’t otherwise, even if you’re autistic. The phenomenon is called ‘just between me and you’.

Therefore the above email means: Just between me and you, you have to fake Covid infection.

Just to clarify, I am perfectly aware that wasn’t what Mr Stelmach meant (did he actually mean anything if he couldn’t make an effort to come up with a sensible subject?). The explanation is just an example of what my constant focus on looking for hidden meanings did to me.

As you can see at the bottom of the email I am requsted not to share it. Is that request legit? I always thought, if I get an official correspondence, I can share it with whoever I want because it’s mine, unless it contains sensitive information. I can’t see anything like that in the above, so I’m sharing it, lol.

7. I do hope to speak with you tomorrow. I boody love blogging.

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