Reliable

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    She was a young mother, younger than I am. At this point, some of the grandmothers on my caseload are younger than me, but that's a different story. Her case found it's way to my desk because she tested positive for marijuana after giving birth. The baby was fine, the only way anyone thought to test her was because she admitted to it.

    It was about 9:30 in the morning.I called her up and told her that the first thing that I would need her to do was a urine screen. I told her I'd pick her up at 2 and take her to the Health Department. It would most likely be inconvenient for her, but by giving her only a few hours, she would likely be unable to flush it out of her system.

    "I'll be ready at 10", she countered. "You can pick me up then."

    She lived in a row house in a bad part of the projects. While the outside was garbage, gangbangers, and graffiti, the inside was a home. Paint was chipping and there was a purple stain on the carpet (my son loves grape Faygo, she explained), but it was clean and prepared for a newborn. She had a crib, formula in the fridge, and a car seat ready for my car.

    She tested negative. She's done everything I've asked her to do. Tomorrow, I need to tie up a few more loose ends, and she can be the first case I close this year.

    JacLou, Vina the Great, sharwest, and 13 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. Jilly in Philly 71 months ago | reply

      at some point, this whole "younger than me" schtickk is going to sound ridiculous.

      (heh)

    2. Nix Sidhe 71 months ago | reply

      It is a relief isn't it, when someone actually seems coherent and prepared to take on what comes into their lives? I'm glad you were able to close this one.

    3. .btezra [deleted] 71 months ago | reply

      you know u r gonna make Kim and her friends cry again with a post like this

      --
      Seen in Pittsburgh (?)

    4. Douglas Roesch 71 months ago | reply

      Nice looking minimalist shot.

    5. decom 71 months ago | reply

      glad everything went well with this one. hope it keeps on going well

    6. Thwip! (Formerly Macwagen) 71 months ago | reply

      Good to hear a somewhat happy ending to this one.

    7. rula 71 months ago | reply

      nice way to close things off.
      i really like this photo, too.

      p.s. see you on friday for bowlaoke, probably?

    8. charlyeric 71 months ago | reply

      That is fabulous - nicely told.

    9. Sohailsk™ 71 months ago | reply

      a happy ending. All's well with the world in this one instant.

    10. kchbrown 71 months ago | reply

      Cool! Nice photo too!

    11. akabilk 71 months ago | reply

      a cheering tale and a cool photo

    12. marshmallowfreya 71 months ago | reply

      Glad to see you have a happy ending for this one.

      Just out of curiosity, if you admit to drinking occasionally, do they make sure you're not an alcoholic? And are you telling me that any mother who admits to smoking pot to their doctor is given a drug test, and if they fail, are required to work with a social worker?
      (I'm trying not to sound biased and angry there, really, I'm just curious.)

    13. Hryck. 71 months ago | reply

      I'm kind of glad you picked up on that.

      The system is incredibly biased. If she were a white, middle class mother in the same situation, nothing would've happened. Wrong color, wrong income bracket, and from the wrong part of town and she landed on my desk. There are a couple doctors at Sewickley Hospital that are well known for writing up cases of obvious child abuse as falls from trees and stuff like that. If that doesn't work, a mildly competent attorney (but one out of the price range of someone living paycheck to paycheck) usually punches holes through whatever fight our lawyers put up.

    14. marshmallowfreya 71 months ago | reply

      Awesome! I knew there had to be at least one governmental system that worked well.

      Sarcasm aside, what is the benefit to the doctors who cover it up? I'm guessing not all of these parents are personal friends of theirs if they are doing this enough to gain a reputation for it. Is it just the threat of the family's importance in the community? Because, wow. That's the saddest thing ever.

    15. Hryck. 71 months ago | reply

      In my opinion, it's worse. It's the mindset that I'm a doctor of of a certain "class", and you're a lawyer, architect, trust fund baby and therefore of the same "class", so therefore we couldn't be guilty of child abuse/neglect/addiction/whatever.

      Just my personal gut feeling on this, based on a few interactions. All the same, I'd love to be wrong.

    16. saludevil 58 months ago | reply

      We need to talk! My innocent son had his kids taken by child services and it SUCKS!

    17. P_Diamond 46 months ago | reply

      I liked this photo but was moved even more by the story accompanying it.

      I used it on my blog today and hope people will come take a look.

      The link is worklifefusion.blogspot.com/2010/07/tying-up-loose-ends.html

      Thanks for sharing,

      Paul

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