Thursday, June 21, 2007

Is it THAT Hard to Be Nice? (Or: Somewhat of a Rant)



I mentioned that I ended the school year very ill. The weekend before the last week of school, I basically threw up until I was completely dehydrated, and had to go to the ER to get fluids and anti-nausea medication. (6 hours, I think?) My roommate and boyfriend came with me, and brought a big bucket for me to throw up in (too much information?) We had 3 doctors and 2 nurses so no one was communicating. We finally let Warren go home at 1:30 am because he had to work - we took a cab home at 3 am.

When I stopped throwing up, I started shaking/shivering. The nurse said it was probably just because the IV fluids were cold. Well, I got home, went to sleep, and woke up shaking like I never have before. My teeth were chattering, and I wasn't so much shivering as convulsing or almost seizing. We called the advice nurse twice; she didn't seem worried. I sweated through about 6 changes of sheets and several changes of clothing and never really stopped shaking. I tried to drink Gatorade, but all the fluid I was ingesting was lost in sweating. Finally, Warren came over and said it was time to go back to the ER, no matter what the advice nurse said.

So, back to the ER we went (I saw one of my kids' step-moms in there; she thought she was miscarrying her baby, which was very sad) for another 6 hours. This time we had 2 nurses and only one doctor, who was very thorough and did every test possible, as well as hooking me up to more IVs. He never found out what was wrong and ended up just giving me sedatives. (although now I've been told I may have had a sodium deficiency from being dehydrated. Apparently a sodium deficiency can cause one to convulse, have seizures, and eventually go into a coma. Yuck.)

So, now it's early Tuesday morning and I'm on sedatives. I don't remember Tuesday and I barely remember Wednesday. Warren went into my classroom on Tuesday to get the gecko and tell the kids that I was really sorry I wasn't there. Wednesday was the last day of school and my friend Amanda drove me to school just to say goodbye to kids (I couldn't get out of the car; they had to come to the car window). Meanwhile, my roommate was in contact with one of my administrators via phone to tell this administrator how sick I was and how sorry I was that I was missing the last week of school (very sad for me). She/He told her that it was fine, that I needed to do whatever I had to in order to recover, and that he hoped I got well soon. She/He also wrote me a nice email.

What does this have to do with not being nice? I'm getting to that.

The previous week, the kids and I had started getting the room ready, taking stuff down, switching books because next year a first grade will be in that room, etc. I had already taken a lot of my stuff home. On Thursday, Coleen drove me to school to get the rest of my stuff and turn in my keys. I had to go then because there was someone to drive me and I wasn't sure when I would be able to drive myself (I hadn't eaten in 4 or 5 days and was still feeling really woozy). We went to school, packed up all my personal stuff, threw away as much trash as we could, and stopped when I apparently started turning green. It took me most of the next two days to recover from that trip. I saw the administrator on that trip and she/he said to go home and rest. It was obvious, I think, how ill I was. And in case it wasn't, I had nice big bruises on my hands from the IVs. She/He said don't worry about anything, just get well.

I thought I was done.

Yesterday, I got an email from this administrator, cc'd to the two other administrators, the executive director, and (for some unknown reason) the woman in charge of tracking our test data. She/He said, very formally, probably for everyone else's benefit, that my room was not signed off, that I needed to have the room cleaned by Friday, that I needed to trade the books for first grade books, dump all the trash in the dumpster, and turn in my doctor's notes. She/He emphasized that this all needed to be done by Friday (I got the email on Wednesday night) and that if I wasn't well enough to do it, I needed to have someone else come in and do it.

Well, first of all, I don't have someone else who will come clean my classroom, as there is currently a shortage of manservants at my house. Also, I did trade the books, which she/he very well knows, and I got all my stuff out of the room. I threw away as much as I could and almost passed out because I was doing that. (and since when is taking trash to the dumpsters in my job description?) The room, although it has a lot of trash to take out and the floor needs cleaning, neither of which are my job, is in much better shape than when I got it. When I got it two years ago, there was moldy food, old clothes, and years of files. All I left were office supplies, and art supplies, which will be used by the next teacher.

In addition, my stomach still does not feel right, even right now, and I have been frantically working on my editing job this week, trying to catch up from a week of being really ill. I'm not coming back to school after the year is over to clean the room. Neither I nor the people with me in the ER thought about doctors' notes as we were too worried about the convulsing, so I have to go back and get those from Kaiser, which could take a while. However, I am not required to have a doctors' note for the period of time that I was out, according to my contract.

So, this is my question. Why can't people just be nice? Why can't I just get a "Wow, you were here longer than anyone, you had to move rooms three times [each time there was moldy food], it really stinks that your time here is ending with you being so ill. Do what you can." Or even a nice, "If you're well, could you please stop in and see if there is anything else you need to take care of?" The whole email was so pissy and snippy, probably for the benefit of her/his boss (the administrator has turned out to be quite a politician) that now I am determined to not walk in there, even for anything legitimate.

It reminds me of the co-worker who had to deal with my evaluator when she had $100 stolen. Basic human decency, people. It's not that hard. Treat people the way you want to be treated, and all that junk. Have some concern about their well-being, and their feelings. Quit using people just as tools to further your career. This crap is what makes people leave my district. Who can blame them for wanting to go to another district where they actually get treated like people? The ones who don't leave internalize all this junk and take it out on the kids. They don't mean to, but what do you do with it all?

I choose to not get treated like crap any more.

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