Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Robert has moved!

Robert moved in to his new place today. I was very worried about the move (did I pick the right place for him? Will he like it? How will he adjust to having a roommate?). Robert was excited. He told everyone at his Old Home that he was moving, when he was moving and that there would be people his “own age there.”

My husband and I arrived at breakfast to get Robert all packed up. Robert enjoyed a leisurely breakfast grinning from ear to ear each time Richard and I walked past him in the dining room with his boxes, a recliner, bags of pillows, clothes and more boxes.

Robert was excited. I was worried. Will all this stuff fit at the New Home? Will the aides treat Robert nicely or will they be annoyed by his repeated jokes about moving to New York City? Will they help him adjust to new routines and let him hang on to old ones (the boy has to watch Jeopardy & Wheel of Fortune!)?

We arrived at the New Home and were warmly greeted by the House Manager. Four of the residents were at a Day Program, one left at the house (our next search is for a Day Program for Robert). There were four employees at the New Home to these two residents. That alone was a huge change considering it took an hour for me to track down a nurse this morning at the Old Home. Robert greeted everyone, found a comfortable chair and sat to watch television in the living room with the other resident. My husband and I hauled in boxes, unpacked, filled drawers, organized shelves and hung clothes and pictures.

I worried that Robert wouldn’t be able to find his pajamas tonight; I walked out of his room to find him sound asleep in the recliner in the living room without a care in the world.

Admission paperwork had to be signed (and read, of course – you work for attorneys all your life, you read the paperwork!). The New Home can take Robert to his regular doctor visits; I politely declined that assistance. I need to know what happens at the neurologist and won’t have some stranger take him. They provide toothpaste and shaving cream but I know which ones he likes so I’ll provide those too. Thanks for the offer, though.

I requested they don’t call an ambulance for every seizure (he’d live in the ER if they did that). The New Home is not afraid of seizures – they’ve seen them, other clients have them, it’s a fact of life. The Old Home was not familiar with seizures and called 911 every time Robert had one (until I convinced them it was unnecessary). Robert has had seizures for so many years that I forget how frightening they can be to those not familiar with them. My other brother and I always keep an eye on Robert in case he shows signs of “going down.” It’s best to catch him on the way down so it breaks his fall a bit (and saves the walls, tables and children) but sometimes he falls. It happens. He wears a helmet now (although he didn’t for a long time so has a permanent bald spot in the area that usually needed stitching up).

I woke up Robert so he could also sign the paperwork and I continued to worry. Once the excitement of the New Home wears off, will he actually still like it here? Will he feel like this is his “home?” Will he be happy, challenged and able to maintain as much independence as possible?

I gave Robert a tour of his new room. Your socks are in the top drawer. Your pajamas are in the second drawer. Your toothpaste is in this bucket. Your television will be hooked up to cable in a couple of days. Your Bible is on top of the dresser. Any questions?

Is it lunchtime?

Yes, yes it is. I took Robert to lunch and returned him after he ate his 2nd most favorite meal (cheeseburger). He told me he was excited about teaching his roommate and “that lady” how to play the card game, Kings Corner. I worried that they wouldn’t want to play with him.

I finally left and he went back to “his” spot in the living room. I see another nap in his future.

Tonight, I called to check on him. He had taught one of the Aides how to play his favorite card game. I asked if he liked the New Home more than the Old Home.

“It’s nice,” he says. “There’s two people in the bedrooms, though.”

Well, yes, you have to share a room. We talked about that, remember? You said that would be okay, right? Will that be okay?

Some silence. Rob?

“It’ll be okay.”

Okay, good. You call me with any problems.

“Okay. Good night and God bless you.” Ahh, the brush off! Wheel of Fortune must be calling.

Goodnight, hon.

He seems fine. Settled. Adjusting pretty well for the first day.

Still, I worry.

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