The words I now hate to hear most: “you need to call __________.” Telephone! Oh, no! Do NOT ask me to talk on the phone. My speech is slow and I often have to pause for words to express more complicated concepts. There is a delay. Writing is easier for some reason. Perhaps because I don’t have to “think” as much; the keyboard is more body memory? Or maybe it has to do with what part of the brain got injured? I don’t know.
Today, I had to make a few phone calls. The call to the physical therapy office wasn’t too hard. The person on the other end was nice and allowed for the slow speech. Right now, I can’t schedule any more appointments until L&I approves them; which involves the claim being reviewed by an outside agency and approved. Seems stupid to me. For me, that was a complicated conversation. The thought of calling my L&I case manager is terrifying. People asking me questions over the phone; a lot of my language comprehesion in social settings is reading body language. Complex conversations are marginally easier in person. Although, to be honest, I prefer to have someone else with me if it’s a medical appointment or something I really need to understand.
The other call I didn’t make. I didn’t know what types of questions the person would ask… and am a bit confused over what I need. My parents and coworker suggested I speak to a lawyer, in order to make sure I’m protected in the complex L&I system. On the job injuries are complicated. It makes sense to me. I’m not out to “get” anyone. I could not get past even figuring out what type of lawyer to call or how to express what I needed. Carol made the call for me.
There are phone calls that I need to make but haven’t. I got a billing statement from a hospital in regards to my injury and several statements from my insurance company that was billed for accident treatments. That needs resolved. I also need to talk to my Commanding Officer about my medical issues and figure out what I need to do with the Army. I just can’t call either. It’s so hard to communicate verbally.
I had an insight today. As a social worker, I often assisted clients in calling various service providers. Depending on the client, I tried to make the call on speaker phone during sessions. This allowed the client to communicate as well and I could provide coaching. Other times, I’d “script” the call with the client. Some calls I’d make for the client, if the situation indicated it. I understood that communication is difficult at times. People I work with often have problems that make communication harder. There was a part of me who didn’t truly understand why someone couldn’t/wouldn’t make a phone call to resolve a problem. Now, I understand. Truly, there are barriers to communication that are extremely difficult to overcome. It is frustrating to not be able to make a phone call for myself or be my own advocate to the degree I used to.
I will be a better social worker after I heal with this insight. But, getting the insight is a bitch!