No more rationing how many nights Robert can sleep over;
No more arranging doctor appointments not only around my schedule, work and when Robert is sleeping over but New Home schedule;
No more worry if he is wearing clean pants every day (and a dry brief) or if I have to change him before bringing him home;
No more calls from Robert asking if he can come over a day early and having to explain why he can’t (a real problem when we’re hitting our limit of overnight visits);
No more communication problems with New Home (although, to be fair, this had shown improvement in recent months);
Robert is home!
The actual move didn’t take long but the timing turned out to be perfect. I was supposed to meet the regional director at 10:00 a.m. I soon found out she was not meeting me but having the new house manager handle the exit. (Wonderful New House Manager was moved to a different house and a new House Manager was hired – someone promoted from the floor staff and who is very caring of the clients so I wasn’t too wary of the change).
When I arrived, Robert’s things were being logged and packed because they didn’t know when Robert was moving out (the director hadn’t told them and Robert had told them it was going to be that afternoon – he’s not very reliable for that sort of information).
Robert was waiting, as he always does, in a recliner working on his Word Search puzzle. I asked him if he remembered he was moving in with me and Richard and all I got was a, “Yes, I remember.”
I know better than to expect fanfare and excitement with Robert. Partly because of the medications he takes and partly due to his brain surgeries, he doesn’t get overly excited about anything (unless he happens to tell a joke he thinks is particularly funny).
The new House Manager did say he’d noticed a little more skip in Robert’s step.
Ah, I had my suspicions Robert may be excited after all!
Fortunately, Robert’s roommate was going home for the weekend and leaving at the time I arrived, so I was able to talk to his mom and give her my contact information so the guys can get together for lunch at some point. Robert will definitely miss his roommate and the feeling appears to be mutual so I’d like them to maintain that friendship.
If I needed validation this was the right decision, I got it in spades.
I shouldn’t have been surprised there were communication issues about the move out time. Not a huge deal but typical of my experience there the last two years.
Validation . . .
Robert’s roommate’s mom also told me a story about when she had moved her son in to New Home and how he had a broken foot for a week before it was noticed. For someone who is supposed to get daily shower assistance, it really makes me wonder how this could have happened.
Validation . . .
Granted, they’ve had numerous staffing changes since then but have yet to stabilize their staff. They might have wonderful people there now but they haven’t been doing the job for any length of time. I hope for the sake of the clients, the staffing will stay stable.
What I felt most during the move was relief. It is such a relief not to have to worry about Robert getting good care and whether any changes in his health are noticed. I’ve cut out the middle man so it’s on me now.
And that’s okay.
I’m fortunate Robert is high-functioning and fairly healthy and can do many things on his own (although at a very, very slow speed). I’m interested how the move to our house will affect his behavior and if he will become more independent or will stay about the same. Since Robert was the most high-functioning at New Home, I always wondered if he deteriorated a bit because of his environment. We’ll see and it is something I will keep in mind down the road if he ever needs placement again.
My experience with New Home also gave me a clear idea of what I would like in a future placement, whenever that may be necessary.
The medications were transferred seamlessly (although I did somehow end up with a couple of expired over-the-counter medications).
The briefs and bed pads along with clothes and personal care items were loaded into our cars. Fortunately for me, Hubby knows how to pack a car to maximum capacity. I underestimated the number of boxes of briefs coming with us but Hubby made it work and we were able to move in just one trip.
Robert said his goodbyes to everyone at New Home and shook hands with his roommate. He didn’t jump for joy when we walked out of New Home but kept to his weekend routine and asked if he could have a chocolate shake. (There’s a lot to be said about routine).
Once we arrived home, Robert walked over to his place on the couch, took off his jacket and settled in to watch Jeopardy and do his Word Search. Chocolate shake by his side, Robert looked pretty content.
The best validation of all . . .
I know we’ll have our share of problems and frustrations as well as new worries. We might even get sick of each other.
For now, I’ll take content.
Welcome home, Robert.