You are a visiting in-home volunteer with a program
called "Checking In." You are scheduled to visit with Luz, a 75 year
old Cuban widow living in a large retirement community with a mostly
Jewish/Caucasian population. You notice that her hair is nicely styled, her
makeup is done well, and she is dressed in a tasteful blouse and matching
slacks. She is seated in a rented wheelchair she uses to get around in her home
because she is unable to walk more than a few feet at a time. Luz's nails are
shaped and painted and you notice that as she speaks, she gestures grandly from
time to time, as if for emphasis.
After you greet her and the two of you are
comfortable, you ask how she is today. Luz begins crying, blotting a tissue to
her eyes and nose and tells you she is "so lonely." The agency file
shows she has family living in the area but when you ask her about them she
quickly tells you, "I don't speak to my brother anymore. We had a fight
several years ago and I want nothing to do with him. I don't talk to my son
because he married that harlot. I won't have low class people in my life."
As she says this last phrase, Luz makes a spitting gesture to the side.
When you ask her about friends, Luz tells you, "I
have no one. I feel so sad and so alone." Luz again begins to cry. "I
am afraid I will die alone. I don't want to be so alone." You notice an
open address book beside her phone with names of several residents in the
retirement community. When you ask her about it, she is silent for a few
minutes, clasping her hands together, not meeting your gaze, and finally
whispers, "They're all liars and thieves. I don't speak to any of
them." Luz again falls silent. You match her silence to give her a moment
to compose herself.
Luz suddenly starts to wipe the table near her clean
with a clean tissue and gestures around the room as if in disgust. She begins
to complain loudly about the various aides that come to clean and cook and
assist her with her bathing and daily care. "They never do things the way
I like them, and they cook all their 'ethnic' food. Why can't they send me a
nice Cuban girl instead of all these Haitians and Jamaicans?"
parts of Luz's story do you find most significant? Why do these parts
stand out for you?
does Luz's nonverbal communication agree or disagree with her verbal communication?
Does her affect match the emotion she is conveying? Why or why not?
“We listen for the behaviors, feelings, thoughts,
context, and meanings that constitute the client’s story.” (Murphy &
Dillon, 2010, pg. 112) The part of Luz’s story that I found most shocking is
the fact that she does not speak to any of her family, especially her son. The
reason I found this most shocking is that, that is her son! She should not, not
speak to him because of the woman he married, but instead be happy he found his
special someone. I also find it interesting that she does not speak to her
brother because of a fight several years before. All of the older peoples that
I know have always put the past behind them and “move on with their lives,” but
Luz does not seem to be able/want to do that.
Another thing I found interesting was her discontent with the services the
aides are giving her. I do not understand how someone can be so
picky/ungrateful. Don’t get me wrong I understand that they are from different
ethnic groups/cultures, but at least someone is there, willing to help since
she wants nothing to do with her relatives that live nearby.
With what Luz is saying about being lonely to her nonverbal cues (body
language, gestures, and emotions), they do not match up. She is complaining
about being lonely and crying about it, but then goes on to saying she does not
get along with any of her close relatives nor does she like any of the other
residents in the retirement community. She says all these things about the way
the community is, but says she is lonely. There are so many things she could do
to rid herself of the loneliness, but does seem to want to do anything about
Murphy, B. C., & Dillon, C. (2010). Interviewing
in Action in a Multicultural World, 4e, 4th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf
version]. Retrieved from http://online.vitalsource.com/books/1111792550
Luz story is very significant. The part that stood out
to me the most is she takes very good care of herself on the outside, but
that's just her appearance. On the inside she is lonely. It is almost like all
the makeup and the nice hair style and the perfect nails is a cover up so she
feels a little better about herself. It also is crazy that she has friends in
the community, but doesn't want anything to do with them. She had a fight with
her brother years ago and they still don't speak. I would really like to dig
deeper and figure out what occurred between them. She also has high standards
because she doesn't speak to her due to whom he married. She is a very complex
woman with many different levels. She even has me questioning if the reason she
acts this way has anything to do with her cultural beliefs. She seems very
stuck in her ethnic ways.
Her nonverbal communication agrees with her verbal communication. She talks
with gestures to emphasize what she is saying. She spits off to the side to
show her disgust for her sons girlfriend. She looks around the room to show you
that she isn't happy with the services she is being provided. She also gets silent
when talking about something that bothers her, almost like she needs a minute
to compose herself. She matches her emotion because during the interview she
cries multiple times.