I missed this so much.

Monday morning I got to my new work bright and early to sign paperwork. The facility I’m working at is a residential facility, and it honestly just looks like an apartment complex, with a bunch of small multi-apartment buildings surrounding a parking lot. There’s a gazebo and a basketball court, and maybe other things that are still buried in the snow. The different buildings are called ‘cottages’ and a handful of clients live in each. There are clients from all over Michigan there, and part of the reason my job exists now is because a couple of counties that contract with the facility want case management services provided there, versus their case managers having to come do that. Honestly, when I was working as a case manager, the clients that we sent to a live-in facility were often closed if all of their needs were being met, such as if they went to a nursing home. Unfortunately we had to keep the ones we sent to the group home in the boondocks on our caseloads, and thus had to drive an hour and a half one way to bring them to see the doctor every couple months. Having to schlep out there periodically to see them, when I had a whole caseload of folks within throwing distance who ALSO needed my time, got old really fast, especially with productivity requirements. There are clients here who are from three hours away. It makes more sense to hand off case management responsibilities to someone who’s actually there, especially as the client still has things they will need from a case manager, be it assistance going to the store, getting paperwork completed for SSI, Medicaid, or food stamps, or just daily monitoring and redirection for behavioral issues.

The agency just created the case management position, and are genuinely looking to me to help them figure out what all a case manager does. I’m curious to see what I can bill for in Michigan, and honestly, given how much of a handful the couple of clients that I encountered today look to be? I think I could create a 40-hour work week out of redirection alone, which would help the other clinicians focus on what they need to be doing. At my other agencies, the lobby had locked doors leading to the clinician’s offices that had to be either buzzed in via the front desk, or ID badges. Here, there are no such doors, and thus they’ve taken to locking the main door and having to answer it. One client with serious boundary issues simply followed me in and barged into someone else’s office, as I didn’t realize she didn’t need to come in. Evidently this is a newer phenomenon, and they’ve only been having to lock it for a couple months, but it’s something I wonder if I can help with somehow.

I filled out paperwork, and then got sent to get fingerprinted, and then to get a physical and drug screen. I also got a TB test, which means I have to drive a half-hour on Wednesday to have someone look at my arm and say “yup, no TB” and sign a form. I then returned and filled out MORE paperwork, and talked with the woman who hired me, who honestly might be more excited about me starting, than I am. I start next Wednesday and evidently we’re doing to start the day by auditing charts. XD I love chart auditing, as I love having everything in order, and it also helps me really get a feel for the client. She was particularly excited that I enjoy doing that and was in charge of monthly chart audits at my first agency, and I think she’d probably be happy to pawn that particular job off on me entirely. I’ll be working on Wednesdays and Thursdays for now, though there’s a monthly staff meeting on a Friday, so I already asked for that off. I think my days might change once I don’t need to overlap with the other case manager, as right now we’re overlapping so I can get a feel for the position here.

It just felt so NORMAL, to be there and setting boundaries with random individuals in the parking lot. It feels amazing to get to wear my professional clothes, and I’m even excited about makeup, which I generally don’t wear at all, but right now just being able to mentally distance myself from Wendy’s in every way possible is helping.

And I’m driving my car again! I’m still sorting out insurance on it (I tried to go see the guy twice, but he was out of his office both times) but I’ll get it sorted Tuesday first thing. Hopefully I can actually *afford* it, as I checked at State Farm but now it’d be even higher than it was when I moved to Michigan, because now I’m considered ‘high risk’ because I haven’t been driving in six months. (?) Hopefully my parent’s agent at Farmers Insurance won’t have the same problem. Otherwise I have no idea what to do.

There’s nothing quite like feeling like you’re in charge of your own life again. I feel like I’ve found equilibrium again and it’s marvelous. Now to just hold on to it…

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