Since it's been nearly a month, I think enough time has elapsed to talk about Rachel's adaptation in her home. While I spend my nights tossing and turning since we did this, Rachel is absolutely blossoming. I'm sure my other kids would tell you I'm a good mom, but the truth of the matter, where Rachel was concerned, is that I was a better enabler than a mom. After years of being with someone who does not speak a lick, I did everything for her-it was easier than being her full time PT, OT, speech therapist and teacher all rolled into one. Now, she has to do a lot for herself and in less than one month, it's showing. I'm talking the basics here-not the complicated.
When I called on Saturday to make arrangements to spend the day with her on Sunday, the staff was telling me how well she is doing. She seems content and has stopped perseverating over watching her Disney videos. Miracle of miracles, she is starting to seek out the company of her roommates and prefers to watch what they're watching on television-even if the shows happen to be more adult in nature than cartoons. I'm a little flabbergasted at the whole notion. For 19 years, she had fits if the humans around her weren't watching what she wanted. The only exception seemed to be Wheel of Fortune. She loves that show. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I've seen Winnie the Pooh, Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast. Probably thousands. I can't believe these videos are no longer her priority.
After a lengthy stay in the hospital to get her medications right, Rachel's third roommate finally moved in last week. I saw her yesterday for the first time since January and hope and pray she was a good choice. I'm not so certain her meds are right though. For as silent as my daughter is, this roommate makes up for it tenfold. She. Never. Stops. Talking. Never. Oy. I was at Rachel's for less than 10 minutes and heard conversation on about 15 different topics-I think this is what you'd call flight of thought. Whew. To say the least, I was completely overwhelmed, but Rachel wasn't. There she was, sitting by this woman's side, looking like the world's wisest therapist and listening to everything she had to say. Of course, Rachel can't give feedback, but perhaps what this roommate needs is someone to just let her talk. If that's the case, I think my daughter has found a full time job.
All of us have stopped by Rachel's at different hours of the day to see how things are going. She is safe, bathed, fed and happy. Her teacher tells me she's content at school and she hasn't noticed a change in behaviors. Still, I was feeling a bit guilty that I hadn't been spending more time with her. The last time I did was Easter Sunday and I spent most of that in the kitchen or trying to dodge Mr. Larger Than Life.
Last night, all of the kids were here and I cooked a feast. By the end of the afternoon, I was ready for Rachel to go home. Long before we actually considered assisted living as an option, I'd run out of the energy required to be her caretaker. I reached my limit yesterday at 5 hours. To be fair to myself, it's taken a staff of 3 women to replace what I did for her in addition to raising two others, tending my marriage, maintaining my home and working a full time job.
Note to self: I think it's OK to relax now and live a little.
Image-courtesy of Slave Boy who has gotten rather good with his Nikon.