Monday, August 18, 2008

Human Services Or Dehumanizing Services?

I spent one of the most disgusting mornings I've had in a long time.

As you may know I recently moved to a new state. The move was not job related so therefore you can correctly assume that I am unemployed. The unemployment is not the issue because I have been looking around at possible jobs. Not looking to hard mind you, but just looking around to see what is out there! I even have a few possible leads that I may explore at a later time. I am still actually still trying to learn my way around this new environment and have been very busy trying to get my gets successfully enrolled in High school and two different colleges, so I haven't had the time actually concentrate on job searching. I will actually start my job hunt in earnest after the kids all get settled and started in school... (maybe).

Even though I am not employed as of yet I do need medical coverage for my family and I. So I decided to go down to the Texas Department of Human Services. Yeah... that was quite the experience. Disgusting and Dehumanizing and Degrading are the words that come to my mind when I think about this experience. I have worked for most of my adult life, actually since the age of 16 I have been a worker, so I have paid plenty in taxes, so I feel that if I need assistance, I should be able to get some! For goodness sake! I am not asking for a free ride... you know, pay my rent, give me food, give me cash, give me, give me, give me!! No, all I want is some freaking medical coverage!!

So I get in the building and look around at the sea of faces and I can already feel my attitude changing... Oh God why am I even here? There is NOT ONE person in this place who has a smile, my whole demeanor is changing and I just got in the door! I wade through the bodies and get to the desk where a sign says take a number. Ok I pull a number and it says... 982!! WTH!! Did I just hear them call 930!! Oh man, Oh man, Oh man, I can't do this, I can't sit here and wait for them to call 982! I am starting to hyperventilate (on the inside), I am kicking and screaming (on the inside), but on the outside my body slowly walks back through the sea of people to find an empty chair, all the while staring down at the number 982 in my hand. It is 8:30am and I feel like Carrie, like I am standing on a stage covered in pigs blood while everyone points and laughs at me... Oh God, I can't do this... I can't sit in here... I feel so degraded, and so dehumanized. This is so...beneath me! Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I am better than anyone here, this is beneath all of us! There has to be a better way to get help. I feel like I am on display, I feel corralled, this sucks.

As I sat there for hours, waiting to hear them call 982, I looked around at the faces, and the different types of people in this hell hole and I thought to myself what if hell is one big fiery, social service waiting area! Aaaahhhhhh!! Inside I screamed some more! As I sat there and watched the screaming babies and bad behind kids running around, people try to not look at one another again I felt disgusted, not at the people but at a system which would degrade people all in the name of federal aid. People walked in looking bummy and homeless, others walked in looking like they were going to a day at the fortune 500 office, some looked scared, some looked pissed off, some looked clueless but after a few hours we all looked the same... DISGUSTED!

I finally heard the magic number...982! 982! When I got to the window, which was literally 2 feet away from the bank of chairs in which was seated hundreds of disgusted looking faces, the woman (who's english wasn't the best, and I had to ask her to repeat everything!) looked at my papers, signed something handed them back to me and said go to the next window for an appointment!! WTH!! It is 12:15 lady, what do you mean go to the next window for an APPOINTMENT?!? I sat here for more than 4 hours to spend 5 minutes at a window to get an APPOINTMENT? Seriously?? WTH!! Of course I screamed this on the inside as I slowly walked to the next window. The lady at the next window looked at my papers, and then gave me an appointment for next week monday. Thank you.

I sighed and shook my head and made my way back through the sea of people and made my way out the door...


21 People Saying Something!

Faux Maya Angelou f.k.a. Big MaMa 18 August, 2008 22:27

Beloved...I feel your pain, literally. Dehumanizing is the perfect adjective too. Ur story brought up my own memory...that was obviously repressed. i still remember my # v2538947a-it is burned into my brain.

I think the wore part is the intake worker lacked compassion. which could make the experience so different.

Just keep yet holdin' on, beloved.

I pray that God gives you the peace, and patience, and long-suffering fruit. u've done great so far.

be blessed sister

Atasha 19 August, 2008 02:32

Ugh that sounded horrible but we do what we must. Medical coverage is important so just keep that in mind when you have to go back next week. Hopefully it won't be like this experience.

jjbrock 19 August, 2008 07:29

Regina I pray that God empower you will what you need for next week. Be bless sister.

bluedreamer27 19 August, 2008 08:22

good luck regina and btw just want to say that i love your answers in my interview i know many of my readers will be inspired by it
have a great day
by the you might want to see who are those solo performers that gain much popularity as they leave their group of where they came from at my blog
hope to see you there
more power and God bless

R.L.Scovens 19 August, 2008 09:13

Honey, I have Been There Done That! I also have my son's medical through DHS. I know just what you mean. When I had to sit there, I just look at the people and shake my head. It's a mess! And like you said, you ARE there forever!! It's're so mad by the time you leave, you wonder should you have bothered in the first place!

Petula 19 August, 2008 15:50

You expressed every single one of my feelings. I have said the same thing plus adding, "I've served my country!" Yup, military services, employed since I was 14 and none of it means anything in regards to respect for those who need a little help. It does seem like the "system" makes an effort to degrade and de-humanize us. Very sad. I have had the same experience of waiting for four hours then saw someone for five minutes and they gave me an appointment to come back. The process of this system is extremely lacking. If anyone is trying to make anything of themselves how can they try when they're treated like that and how do they have the time!

Sorry for the long rant/comment, but I so do understand exactly what you're saying/experiencing. Hang in there!

mohamed shaban 19 August, 2008 16:03

Hi Regina.. i feel the hard time you passing the new state .. but as i know and feel you are so strong enough to face it pray to the god to give you a hand ..and hope to you the best health and all happiness .. god bless you .. my regards

Blog Queen 19 August, 2008 22:32

If anything ever could be described as dehumanizing, that was it. The social workers (that's not a good name...there's nothing social about them) make matters so much worse. What does it cost to smile? Be helpful? Be concerned?...the entire system needs revamping...

Kateedyd 20 August, 2008 01:17

I guess I'm lucky that where I live in Ca, it's a much smaller office...not that it's any better. Yes, to them, we are all just numbers, it doesn't matter whether they tell us what we really need to know (they figure we will eventually find out), and they need to be bilingual but not great in english(so we can't understand them). No matter how good or bad, we will feel this feeling the government forces us to feel...numbered sheep. I pray that it will get better and we won't be the world leading, third world country.

Stay up...I have found that once I've "learned the system" and made it work for me, it didn't become so awuful. I'm on the phone with WIC tomorrow.

Luv & Hugs!

One Man’s Opinion 20 August, 2008 07:04

Welcome to Texas. Hope you enjoy the experience. LOL. Don't sound like you are so far.

Your Grandbaby is a cutie, but you knew that. LOL

Alicia Michele Benjamin 20 August, 2008 08:29
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alicia Michele Benjamin 20 August, 2008 08:31

I pray that your next appointment with the Department of Human Services is more pleasant and swift. I know that God will give you what you need.
I had no idea that you had moved to Texas! Wow. I know what it's like to move to a new city and not know what's going on. I did the same thing last year. Charlotte, NC has been very good to me and my daughter. My experience at the Department of Social Services in Charlotte has not been bad. I actually have talked to and sat with workers who are very compassionate and helpful. I've been greatful for the help. I guess all cities are different.
God be with you on your new journey.
Peace and blessings,

Leeann 20 August, 2008 12:55

What a joke! I cannot believe that things need to be run like that. Something needs to change.

Randall 20 August, 2008 13:02

I have been through the mill with our local health care system myself recently, so I can fully relate. I thank God for the two or three people I met in the system who truly care.

I bought some old classic movies starring Will Rogers recently. In one of them he remarks about how Americans are always anxious to help those in need, as long as they live in other countries. That movie was made in the 1930s.


Do you mean that the most powerful country in the world does not have a national health care program?

Will Rogers said it in 1930(randall); so maybe we will have national health care by 2030. After all what's a hundred years or so?

melanie 21 August, 2008 09:50

Since Rich started working from home we have gone through this too. Except we make too much to qualify for the state programs and we make too little to pay all sorts of money to buy our own insurance. It's pretty frustrtating after you spend all those years working and paying to help others, but when you actually need some help you can't get it. I won't hijack your comments though because I could really go on and on about this.

sHaE-sHaE 21 August, 2008 11:10

OMG I feel for you girl! I had to do that when I moved to GA and I got a job three days later. I was determined not to mess with the state. I called & was happy to tell them I had a job and they could stop the benefits. You'll be calling them soon too. :-)

HEALTH NUT WANNABEE MOM 21 August, 2008 23:58

I understand how you feel. My brother is diabetic and was trying to get some health assistance through the state. We had to go to some office to apply and it was awful and depressing and I will never forget it. I am sorry for you and all the others that have to feel that. It should not have to be that way to get some help.

Tikno 22 August, 2008 01:27

i feel your hard time. They should add the service's official so that the process is faster.
love ely

aoc gold 26 August, 2008 20:56

What does the bee do?

Bring home honey.

And what does Father do?

Bring home money.

And what does Mother do?

Lay out the money.

And what does baby do?

Eat up the honey.

--------- by Age Of Conan gold

Believer 1964 28 August, 2008 02:26

Sorry about your experience. Better days are ahead. So network and get that resume handy!

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