On being case managed


Case manager visits consist of me entertaining the case manager. She really IS a nice woman but there isn’t much in her hour long visit that I can (or will) disclose to someone who is studying psychology. However I do manage to quite vastly entertain her.

“I learn so much about activism and up to the minute climate change science!” she enthuses reaching for her case notes and scribbling delightedly. “Now when did you say your performance poetry evening was? And the title of the climate change adult pantomime you wrote? It was performed at Trades hall and Federation Square, is that right? And do tell me about the Community leaders Town Hall meetings you chaired.”

How much is she paid I wonder unworthily and could my gardening and home maintenance problem be resolved if she didn’t have to visit?

Whew! So glad that phone call’s over. I am such a difficult old woman. My case manager will call the home maintenance guys and mend bridges with them.

She has explained to me in a slightly loud voice that garden maintenance is only a SAFETY issue, meant for the elderly to not trip over long grass or hoses out of alignment; the workers are not gardeners; they do not do weeding but lawn mowing.

Okay so I being an environmental type person don’t actually have a lawn to mow and yes the ground covers growing chockers means that normally there is little work with African Daisies not grass on the nature strip and yes, in the lawnless garden, few weeds actually poke their heads up most times – EXCEPT IN SPRING; and yes she understands that the reason that the weeds got rampant is that the home maintenance woman missed doing my garden last time because the time before that the home maintenance man didn’t call to fix the door bell, so the home maintenance woman - who I was looking out for - and for whom I had left the side gate unlocked - had no way to let me know she had arrived (two hours late) and hence, lacking the pulling of the weeds they sprang and flourished ; then when I requested nicely that I miss out on two weeks’ house cleaning and shopping so that the flourishing weeds could be brought to heel and the silent (for nine weeks by now) door bell be restored to glorious sound, the case manager thankfully agreed.

Half an hour’s door bell fixing somehow was counted as an hour’s work by a politely contemptuous home maintenance man who said the garden work would be done the following week (it was done TWO weeks later so that meant three weeks without house cleaning.) To add to the disaster, when the gardening woman came the soil had warmed up and why oh why, I ask myself, didn’t I go out and check up as I KNOW they are NOT gardeners? The soil was hard and she dug up the weeds but got very little done. If I had checked I would have given them a stack of Saturday’s Age and got them to lay down the paper on TOP of the weeds. Definitely MY FAULT as I admitted to the case manager woman.

“I am hoping to not have house cleaning next week either.” I ventured in what I hope was a firm but neutral voice, “so that the weeds which weren’t dealt with last week can be managed.

No. Not digging. Now that the soil is hard I will get them to lay down newspaper – easier than digging or mowing lawns and they can put mulch on top. No, if it waits the weeds at this time of year will set seeds and I will have rampant weeds NEXT year as well and yes I know it’s unorthodox but I CAN manage without house cleaning for one more week.”

Before she finishes the case manager reiterates that gardening is for safety only and can we (here it comes!) organise a time for the next case manager visit?

September 2008

© Estate of Cate Kyne