Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Story of Joseph - Doctors, Social Workers and Other Idiots

"Jennifer, Angela has found some bruising on Daniel and she wants to have him go checked out by a doctor."

I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. All I could do was sputter out a response. "Bruises? Wha... Where? How did she...? I don't know what.... How did ...? What? Bruises?"

What I was thinking was that I knew that Daniel didn't have a single bruise anywhere on his body. I had given him a bath that morning and I knew that the only "injuries" he had were a tiny, tiny scratch near his ear and then the area of discoloration on his bottom from the severe diaper rash. "Oh my god" I thought to myself "She's not saying that's a bruise is she?"

Before the question could make it's way down to my mouth Carol said "She thinks there's some bruising on his bottom. She wants to take him to his regular doctor to have him checked out. Dippy is on her way to escort you all over there right now."

I almost laughed with relief. It was Daniel's regular doctor who only days before had reassured me that the marks on Daniel's bottom were discoloration from the diaper rash and that they would go away on their own. Certainly she would clear things up.

Dippy arrived moments later to take us all to the crack house clinic. She actually suggested that we all take one car (mine) to get to the clinic. Ha! I said absolutely not and it was decided that I would drive with Daniel in my car (because I was the only person with a car seat) and Dippy would follow with Angela in her car. Every time I would look in the rear view mirror during the drive over I would see Angela gesturing angrily. She didn't let up for the entire 30 minute drive.

When we got to the clinic we were called back pretty much right away. I stood up to walk back to the office but Dippy held her hand out and said "No Jennifer, you're not allowed to come back there." Excuse me? I was around Daniel 24 hours a day. Might I not be able to offer some kind of insight into how those marks might have gotten there? But you know what? I was cool with it. I totally expected them to come back out having been told that the "bruises" were just left over discoloration from the diaper rash.

That's not what happened though. When Dippy and Angela came out of the doctor's office Dippy had a dark look on her face and Angela looked triumphant. For the second time that day I felt like I had been punched. What could that doctor have said? Dippy gestured for me to follow them out to the lobby. All the way out to the lobby Daniel was reaching for me despite Angela's best attempts to keep him still.

When we got to the lobby Dippy turned to me and in a low voice said "The doctor feels that the marks on Daniel's bottom are bruises consistent with intentional injury. We need to decide what we're going to do about this."

"I think we need to go back and talk to that doctor again" I said. "Just a couple of days ago I talked to her about those marks. She obviously doesn't remember that she told me exactly what those marks were and that they were NOT bruises."

Dippy, the absolute fucking moron that she was responded "No, we're not going to do that. This isn't an investigation, we're just gathering information right now so that we can decide what to do."

The blood was pounding in my ears. "But you're getting the wrong information! Those aren't bruises!" I guess I thought if I kept repeating it that they would somehow realize how insane it was to suggest that I had taken this six month old and bruised him all along his butt crack. I honestly couldn't even think how you would give an injury like that to a child.

The Dippy admitted that she didn't really know what to do next. She rather sheepishly said that Daniel was her very first case ever and that she didn't know what steps to take in a situation like this. Then she said we should all just go home and wait for her to figure it out over the weekend.

I was confused. Now I knew that I had never hurt Daniel but the doctor had just said he had bruises consistent with intentional injury. I wasn't sure why she was letting Daniel go back home with me. If she really thought I hurt Daniel then why was she letting me take him back home with me? If she didn't think I hurt him then why didn't she let me talk to the doctor?

I wouldn't learn until later that this wishy washy non-decision-making way of doing things was pretty much Dippy's entire approach to her role as a social worker. As we were getting ready to leave the clinic I overheard her telling Angela not to worry, that she would take care of everything. Then she came over tome and said pretty much the same thing. To say I was confused was an understatement.

I would be even more confused by the phone call I got when I got home from the doctor's office.


Laggin said...

Ok. I caught up and now I have to wait for more? Sigh. You tease.

Sam said...

AHHHHHH! For the good of the blogosphere you should post more. We need it.

nell said...

You and your cliffhangers! Now that I'm all caught up it's just not fair! I need more! You're going to make me keep! using! exclamation! marks!

Seriously, this story is amazing.

Sarah said...

This is such an interesting story. I have thought about taking foster kids but it will be after my kids get much older or even out of the house. I told my husband and looked at me like I was crazy. but keep up on the story. Thanks

Jen said...

laggin - More is coming soon!

sam - Soon! Today maybe.

nell - That means a lot to me. I really admire your writing "voice" so thank you for saying that.

sarah - Thanks for stopping by! Foster care is so demanding but it can bring wonderful things into your life.

Frank said...

Augh...I hate social workers. They can all die in a hot hot fire.