1991-1993 What a Time That Was:
My Social Work classes began the first regular week of January. The Gulf War “Operation Desert Storm” also started that week. The next week my father died of a stroke in the care center. I began to wonder what else was going to go wrong that year.
When my father died, I was notified by my sister. Dr. Hess, my boss sent me to the nursing home because he said I needed to go. When I arrived at the home, my dad wasn’t there. The staff said the funeral home had already taken his body.
I called the mortuary and being my dumb self, told them I was looking for a body. Total silence on the other end of the line. When I got serious and asked about dad by his name, they said yes they had his body and I could come see him.
We had his body cremated, but wanted to wait until spring to decide where to place his ashes. A friend of my mother who was visiting our house asked mom where she had placed his ashes. Mom pointed to a shelf above the visitor’s head and said, “He’s up there.” The guest shrieked and quickly left.
The social work classes helped keep me going, so did my work. Everyone was so supportive which was really helpful. There were times when I almost lost it from the stress.
My friends, Janice and Hal were married in 1991 because Janice was in the Army National Guard and she was being deployed to Germany as an LPN nurse. They had a small reception that my friend, Sam and I attended.
Jan’s grandmother, Vi who I just thought the world of, gave us a good laugh when she called Hal a war bride. When Jan was settled, Hal joined her for the duration.
Myra, my sister spent time in the hospital that year with pancreatitis. She was one sick puppy. From then on she had attacks for several years running.
It was many years before we could understand what was causing the pancreatitis. It seems sometimes smoking attacks just one organ in the body and in her case it was the pancreas. She had been a heavy smoker for years.
The news on Kara, my daughter, was that she was pregnant again. This time she had a little girl she named Amanda. She and Johnny were living somewhere in West Valley City, I have no clue where.
I had washed my hands of Kara when I took her to a Women’s Shelter and she immediately called Johnny’s sister, Patsy to come bail her out. She went back to living with Johnny and I said “Enough was enough.” I could only hope so.
In the fall of 1991, I began my first practicum. I was a drug and alcohol counselor for 2 afternoons and evenings at the VA Hospital. The hospital had a 28 day program. Most patients were willing to work on their programs, but there was a significant group of veterans who were homeless and would get hospitalized so they would be in a warm environment; these guys really had no interest of changing their behaviors.
Work and school – school and work. The days and nights ran together. For the life of me, I don’t remember anything out of the ordinary for the rest of the year. I do remember New Year’s Eve, Sam and I went to dinner and a movie (a romantic comedy).
January 1992 began quietly. Because of the way the afternoon-evening Social Work Program was designed to be part time, it took 2 years to complete the first year course work. With that in mind, all my first year requirements would finally be completed in May 1992.
In the middle of May, my mother broke her shoulder due to a fall. I found her on the floor and called 911 because I didn’t know how severe the break was. She was treated and returned home a few days later.
Mom needed someone with her all the time, so I recruited Sam and Janice who was back from military duty and also members of our church. They all helped immensely, but I was glad that school was almost done for the year as I was having trouble concentrating on class work.
The rest of that summer was fairly calm. Where I worked, The Department of Family and Preventive Medicine (DFPM) had their continuing education meeting and things went smoothly. There was not much else going on that summer. Mom did get well enough by the end of June, so she didn’t need daily help any longer.
In September 1992, the last year of the Social Work program began. All the courses were designed as electives. A person could decide which track they wanted to take, either the Clinical or Administrative track.
One of the things I decided was to take a dual-track curriculum. Even though I was told it would take another year, I figured out how to get the required hours for each program and additional practicum in that final year. (Remember, I did academic advising for my undergraduate degree and used those same skills for the Master’s degree.)
My whole year Practicum was a paid opportunity at LDS Hospital’s Geriatric Ward. The job consisted of being a medical social worker and helping meet the needs for the patients and their families.
My Administrative Practicum was with an organization called Social Work Consultation Services and it was a paid position and I worked for them for the next 3 years. I worked as a supervisor for Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) persons working in the nursing homes in Utah.
The best thing that happened that year was our trip to Las Vegas to attend my nephew Steve’s wedding. I drove mom and my great-niece, Linnette, my other nephew’s daughter while Myra and Herman took the other two grandchildren, Tiffany and Michael in their car.
The wedding was scheduled for December 19th. We drove from Salt Lake to Las Vergas on the 18th in a driving snow storm. I thought we’d never get there.
Steve married Kathy Fox. They had been together for at least 3 years. She is a lovely person. We had a great time. It was a wonderful way to end the year.
Myra and Herman had a reception in Utah for Steve and Kathy. This was a year when we had something like 32 inches of snow between Christmas and New Year’s and there was still heaps of snow so the turnout wasn’t all that great. I couldn’t be there because I was working.
My mother was not doing well at home by herself. I would call long about 11:00am and she’d still be in bed. She wouldn’t get her morning pills taken until in the afternoon and this wasn’t healthy for her.
I was getting really worried and had difficulty concentrating on everything I had to do for school and work. My boss, Dr. Hess told me I couldn’t handle too much more and suggested she go to a care center where she could be sure to get the care she required.
Mom and I discussed the issue and she agreed it was necessary. De. Hess had her admitted to the care center where he was the Medical Director. It was close to the university, so I could see her when I had a few free minutes. Of course, when I graduated in May, I was no longer working close to the care center.
Thanks for reading this post. The next post will be about my next 4 years in social work.
Adoption agencies in Utah that I support:
Wasatch International Adoptions
Children’s Service Society
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