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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Things Are Looking Up


This is Parrish on July 11.

The quiet is disconcerting. It’s 3:30 on Sunday afternoon, and Parrish and I have said our good-byes. He was actually eager to go back “home.” We took a cab to Starbucks, lounged around for a while drinking coffee and eating pastries, then we called another cab to take him home and deliver me here to the hotel.

The very fact that he wanted to go home, missed his routine and his roommate, gives me great hope. He is coping well with his illnesses, both physical and mental, and I am now certain that he sees Family Rest as his home, however crude it may be. It is his safety zone, in spite of his complaints. As happy as he was to see me and for us to spend time together, two days was just about long enough, especially in light of his lengthy absence when he was in hospital.

He has a routine that he follows each weekday, and it is on Sunday afternoon that he washes clothes and gets ready for the week. I mistakenly thought that his “program,” as he calls it, starts at 8 AM, but it starts even earilier, at 7. He is busy with computer lab, group therapy, and 12 step programs until 1 PM. He eats both breakfast and lunch there, which means he only has to eat dinner at Family Rest.

I am relieved and pleased that he sees the value of that time, and that he is motivated to return. He admitted to me that he doesn’t really want to sue Danny; he just wants him to do what is right. As rustic as his surroundings are, I believe sincerely that a move would be traumatic and that he would have to adjust all over again. His program is within walking distance from where he is now. Who knows how far he would have to if we moved him? Questions, questions. The only decision I have made is to not make a decision right nowl.

Without knowing it, P has found something of a niche for himself. The only educated resident, he is helping Freddy study for his GED. His roommate frequently has seizures, and Parrish has learned how to care for him when one comes. I’m not sure he is fully aware of his ability to care for others. Remember me saying Freddy, 22, looks up to him as a role model?

Now that Danny, the owner of Family Rest, knows that I will come down here, unlike 99% of the families of his other residents, I believe that things will run more smoothly for Parrish. It’s almost nauseating to know that leverage is what it takes to get people to do the right thing, but it is a fact of life.

On the trip home I will compose a snail mail to Danny, outlining just what I am pleased about and also areas where I see the need for improvement. For example, the “administrator” rarely answers the phone. P and I are in a routine of him calling me, because days can pass when I can’t get anyone on the phone. Calling the residents phone is always iffy, too. Frequently it is broken, and when it’s working, the residents rarely answer.

I want Parrish to have access to his money if he needs it. I see no reason that I shouldn’t be able to call Doris, the administrator, and give her permission to give him money for extras or something special - if only she would answer her phone. As it stands now, while Doris is in the office all day, if I want to give permission for P to have extra money, and sometimes even his allowance, depends on when Danny decides to stroll in. One several occasions I have called him to remind him that Monday is allowance day.

I would be out of here on an afternoon flight if there were a seat, but I can’t complain. I’m using the time to collect my thoughts and remember to be grateful.

Things will get better. I have faith.

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