Saturday, May 7, 2011

On Call, On Edge

Last night was my first 12-hour shift of being on call as a sexual assault response advocate. It started at 6 p.m. and lasted until 6 a.m. Thankfully, I'm not expected to stay awake that whole time (just keep my phone by my side). I didn't get called out (whew!) but it wasn't the most restful of sleeps.

I woke up every couple hours, checking the clock. 1:12 a.m. 3:37 a.m. 5:15 a.m. Finally I looked up and saw it was 6:50. No calls! Now was my time to relax, but I was already awake, so I figured I'd get up and start my day. Being on call sure made my heart race - I had a heightened awareness and was going over every scenario in my head.

It reminded me of when we had to take home the electronic "Baby Think It Over" in 9th grade. My friend Christina and I thought it was kind of cool because we got first pick of which babies we wanted (she opted for the white girl. Me? The Asian. I promptly named her Buttercup). Clearly this was not supposed to be fun - we were supposed to learn a valuable lesson about having a baby as a teenager. The little creepy dolls would cry randomly and you were supposed to tend to their needs - diaper change, feeding, rocking, etc. It had a chip in it to keep track if you neglected it or even abused it. So - my point - I barely slept that night because I was so worried about Buttercup going off. She did, just once. Not very realistic if you ask me, but that heightened sense of worry is a good lesson in itself. I'm sure once you're a parent, that never fully goes away.

Anyhoo, I'm rambling. Back to being on call. This is a volunteer endeavor for me, and I'm really excited about it. Basically, if you get called out, you meet the victim/survivor at the hospital and help him/her through the police questioning and evidentiary exam. It's a 4-6 hour process, and it's our job as advocates to make sure the client is being treated fairly, is as comfortable as possible, knows about counseling and victim witness services offered, and see to it that they aren't more traumatized than they already are. It's a pretty daunting task, but from what other volunteers have told me, it's also incredibly rewarding. I'm on call the next couple Fridays, so we'll see if I get called out.

In other news, this weekend is Mother's Day! We're having a big get-together at my grandma's, so I'm looking forward to that. I've already gotten a lot done this weekend, and it's not even noon. I went to the gym this morning to a class that kicks my ass every time. But it's my way of making up for all of the eating I'll be doing this weekend! My parents and sister are coming to town tonight - whoop whoop! Always a good time with those fools.

Other than that, not much is going on. I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend with the people I love - it doesn't get much better than that.

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