Tuesday, May 31, 2011

9 Things I Learned About Robert (and myself) this Weekend

Robert came to our house this weekend for a visit. He’s never stayed overnight with me before since all of our bedrooms and showers are upstairs and he has enough trouble staying upright without the challenge of climbing stairs. I briefly considered that he could try to walk up the stairs to sleep and shower but immediately envisioned him falling through the not-so-sturdy wooden railing to the turtle tank below breaking the glass cage, flooding our living room and squashing our beloved red-eared slider, T-Bone, in the process (yes, our vegetarian household has a turtle named T-Bone).

I’m all about “worst case scenario.”

Before I get to the point of this post, let me just say Robert doesn’t live with me and my family because we don’t have any living quarters downstairs and it would be a tad inconvenient to make him bathe using the kitchen sink as a wash basin. Otherwise, he would live with us. (I’m not sure why I feel the need to defend my decision to have Robert live in a care home but there is a reason that he lives at New Home and not at our home).

This weekend Robert got a change of scenery, I didn’t have to deal with New Home and I was able to observe him to really see how he was doing. I also learned a few things I didn’t know before.

1.  Robert wakes up early. I mean, really early. 4:30 in the morning early. I convinced him to sleep in until 5:30 (about the time the cats wake me anyway). He even slept in until 6:00 one morning (sadly, my cats did not).

2.  Robert loves my husband’s waffles (and so do I – thanks, hon).

3.  Robert likes animals! Our treasured Wiz (who passed away last summer) would lie next to the recliner Robert sat in when he visited. Wiz was sick himself but he always seemed to be protective of Robert when he came over. Robert never seemed to notice this gesture so I didn’t think he was much of an animal person. After two days of being around our Lab and Toy Pom and cats, Robert started talking about them and asking questions about them and laughing at their silly antics. Animals do wonders for the spirit.

4.  Robert can stay (mostly) dry at night. The plan I came up with (and have pushed New Home to implement) is wearing an adjustable brief (fitted fairly tight) with a pull up brief over that. It works (although I still padded the sofa sleeper with disposable pads – just in case).

5.  Robert beats me at cards even in my own home. Is there no hope for my card winning future?

6.  Robert’s timing can be pretty good. We were out and about, he used a public restroom (always a challenge since I feel a bit odd lurking outside the men’s room and, occasionally poking my head in to see if Robert’s okay – of course only when I’m sure no one else is in there.). We got back to the car, he climbed in and I started to load up his walker when I noticed he was having a seizure. Perfect timing. If you’re going to have a seizure, Robert, have it sitting down. Thank you!

7.  Robert likes vegetarian sausages and burgers. Pipe down, meat-loving friends of mine! I made Robert a ham and turkey sandwich one day. He even ate a “real” cheeseburger when Other Brother took us out to lunch. Happy now?

8.  Tom and Jerry never gets old. I never admit to liking cartoons (please! I’m a 50 year old professional woman! I don’t have time for such nonsense!). Okay, that is one funny cartoon. Robert said he didn’t remember ever seeing it but, although he may not remember, I can vouch for us three kids spending several hours of our childhood in front of the television set watching cartoons. Robert laughed through several episodes this weekend watching the mouse getting the best of that darn cat.

9.  Robert prays before every meal and includes whomever he is with in his prayers. He also prays that “God touches me so I won’t have seizures anymore at all.” Oh, little brother, I’m not a religious person but I wish that for you too.

One more thing I learned is that my husband is a very kind man to have helped me move furniture around, entertain Robert this weekend and oblige our waffle request.

What else do you need besides learning, laughing, kindness, a few animals and some good waffles?


Laine D said...

Trish (and Robert),

What a beautiful and touching post!

I don't think you are a worst case scenario girl at all Trish rather an optimist with occasional insight into pessimism ~ forewarned is forearmed!

To see the achievement rather than the hurdle is a special gift. Robert's achievements shine through despite his challenges as does the love and devotion of his sister (and her husband).

I'm looking forward to hearing more lessons from both you and Robert.

Laine D.

bccmee said...

Sounds like a fun slumber party as if you were kids again!

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

bccmee, It did kind of remind me of when my girls' had slumber parties since the family room was a mess of blankets, sleeper sofa, pillows and clothes! We did have a good time and I had to not worry about the mess. :-)

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Planning & checklists are my key to everything, Laine, so I am definitely forearmed!

Heidi Alberti & Atticus Uncensored said...

hmmm... my comment is lost, so I'll try again :)

Another wonderful, inspirational post Trish! Your weekend sounds lovely and fairly hassle-free --- yeah!

I'm not surprised that Robert bonded with the animals -- pets are our furry little therapists for sure! Does Robert's New Home allow pet therapy visits? Atticus is keen on getting into that line of work someday.

You & your hubby are angels & you inspire me!

Heidi & Atticus
"commentary to give you paws..."

Joan Oliver Emmer said...

Yours has become one of my favorite blogs and I can't wait to read more. And based on the love, caring and humor you demonstrate I don't doubt for a moment that, were you able to have Robert live with you, you would. :)

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Heidi, I'm sorry your original comment got lost! I hate when that happens. Tell Atticus I'll try to line up some work for him. I'll bet he'd be great at it! :-)

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Thank you for your support, Joan, I really appreciate it. I love your humor and your blog as well (I listed your blog on my page). Looking forward to more conversations!

Kathy Lowrey said...

#7 YES, Very Happy. Thank you!! ;-)
Glad you all had a wonderful time. I would even bet Husband like all the waffle praise :)

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

I thought you'd be happy about that, Kathy! (Since you think I torture him with non-meat days). :-)

Judy Stone-Goldman said...

How delightful that you had a weekend of such good nature, fun, and caring! I loved reading about it all, and really thought the sitting-down-seizure was terrific (along with the mostly dry nights and the loving animals and, and, and...)

Now I can understand where some guilt might crop up that you don't have Robert living at home (you are human, right? guilt works its way in...), but if you ever need a reminder of all the gifts you give Robert, just come to me. In fact, I think it's pretty great that Robert can have his own life, too, and still have a family to visit.

Obviously being a kind and thoughtful person is part of your norm, as your husband sounds great too!

Judy Stone-Goldman
The Reflective Writer
“My cat owns me, my clutter stymies me, my writing frees me. Word maven loves—and learns from—ordinary life.”

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Judy, It's been great to get to know you. You are so supportive and know me too well already (yes, guilt is kinda my thing). I think you hit on something about the living arrangement -- Robert might just get sick of me if he lived here! :-) It probably is good we have some distance. Thanks for another view, I appreciate that.

Franziska San Pedro said...

Hi Trish,

your writing is very beautiful and inspiring. The love for your brother is wonderful and can be seen in every word along your post.
Thank you for sharing,

Franziska San Pedro
The Abstract Impressionist Artress

Trish Hughes Kreis said...

Franziska, So happy to have you visit! I appreciate your support and kindness.