A PCA, or several, is vital to the running of my household. A PCA, for those who do not have one, is a Personal Care Assistant. Ravi has had one or more PCAs since the age of four. Some have stayed with us for years and become part of the family. Some are students that come, provide amazing help, and then go one to other things when they graduate. I am very careful who I hire to help Boo Bear, I pay well, feed my employees, have been known to help with transportation on occasion, and usually go out of my way to show them that I really appreciate their help. Usually, everything works out well except for the occasional glitch.
I must add, that without PCAs , I would not be able to work full time. If is easier to work outside the home now that Boo and Mouse are in school full time. They get home around 4:30, and I am usually done with work by then. However, I still need someone to either pick Boo up from school, or to meet his bus at our house.
Two weeks ago one of our newer PCA’s was having car problems. I was expecting her to work on a Monday, but Jill, her coworker at school, brought Ravi home instead. I was fine with this, they often switch off days. As long as one or the other of them has Boo in their care, I am not concerned. Last Sunday night, I texted the newer PCA to ask about her car situation. As she had had a week to have the car fixed, I assumed she would have the matter well in hand. She texted back that the car was not working. I told her to please either figure out alternative transportation or get another PCA to cover her shift. She did neither and Robert ended up coming home from work early to meet the bus, as I cannot leave work (I look after two babies) until at least 4:30. She was supposed to work last Tuesday as well, but did not answer any of the my texts. Luckily, Jill was able to stay with Ravi until just before 5:00 when I returned home. Throughout the week I continued to try and call or text this employee. She ignored all of my calls. I offered her the use of our truck for as long as she needed until she got her car fixed. Still, radio silence. On Thursday I was becoming increasingly worried about her. I asked Jill, who would see her at school, to please have her call me so we could discuss things and work out a solution. Jill said that she would. Late Friday afternoon I received a long, rambling text from my missing employee. She said she had too much going on in her personal life to continue working for me. She never asked to say goodbye to my son, she never said thank you for the offer of the truck. Basically, she just said that she was overwhelmed with life and she was done. I was both annoyed and disappointed in her. I also am really starting to hate texts. I feel like someone has broken up with me via cell phone. I much rather work things out face to face. There is so much from a text that I can’t tell. I can’t read a person’s face, or tell what they are really feeling and emojis don’t help much. So, this threw me into something of a tizzy.
I sent out a group text to my other PCAs explaining that this lady would no longer be working with us and did anyone want to pick up a 4 or 8 hour shift on Monday and Tuesday? To my immense relief, two other PCAs rose the occasion and offered to cover the shifts. This is great because it means I do not have to hire and train someone new, which takes time. It also means that Boo does not have to get used to someone new. So, for now, all is good. I have 3 competent PCAs on board. Two of them take care of Boo during the week, one takes care of the weekend shifts. Life as Boo Bears knows it goes forward. I don’t know if he will miss the other PCA or not. He was not as close to her and had not worked with her for nearly as long as my other employees. If her asks for her I will explain that she needed more time to take care of her son. As of yet, Boo has not asked about her.
PCAs can be a godsend. They allow me to work outside the home and they are great for taking Ravi out on adventures and introducing him to the outside world. At times, texting is great. They can tell me that they are running 5 minutes late and they can send me pictures of Boo so I can share in the adventures. Texting also has its drawbacks. Some people think it is okay to text that they cannot cover a shift and then leave me and my spouse scrambling. Some people think it is okay to quit a job via text. Whatever happened to giving two weeks notice and telling your employee that you can not longer work for them face to face? Maybe I am old fashioned, but I still think one should show up for a shift when one is scheduled to work and to give two weeks notice, face to face, when one is about to leave a job. This is my rant for the weekend, and I am very grateful for my other employees. Their help allows me to work outside the home and they give Boo Bear a fuller life.