Back in the Day

Back in the day before Eraser Eater ate erasers and only drank formula and the Oldest only said gibberish and the daughter did not exist yet (even a hint), I worked in a house filled with mentally disabled adults. I worked two days a week and believe me, not to be mean, but the house was mad. It was rather frightening. I don't even know why I worked there or allowed myself to. It was just sheer craziness.

At the interview I was hired on the spot and told to take a course in human restraint. Well, some sort of politically correct/non hurtful human restraint. I was taught to restrain someone from behind, knock them on the ground, and hold them down (many little ladies my size could do it just fine without a thought to it). In fact, I did it just fine but I have gotten a little rusty. Dear Sir is never up for a little practice session. I have never tried it on him before (well, I almost did but feared for my life if I went one step further---ha ha.) Men don't like it when their women can take them down. Gotta respect that.

Anyway, once in awhile I remember I can do this little maneuver and use it on my Oldest. You know, a mentally retarded person is not going to expect it, but a ten year old boy will if you are messing around with him anyway. They are all struggles. And they sweat so much. Tonight I put the smack down on the boy and he was saying to me, "How do you DO that?!"

I remember one day while in the handicap van (we were taking a drive with the clients) one of the unfortunate fellows sat next to me. In fact, I had to sit between two of them because lots of times they would pull each other's hair or bite each other---the idea is for them to bite me instead. Great, huh. Why the heck did I work there, I don't know. Anyway, This one client in particular would snuggle up against me and I would rub his head (he was a sixty something year old man and he was the most horrific looking person imaginable. I would not have liked to see him in an alley way. He looked scary.) and he seemed to like that. He would rub my arm as well and smile and drool all over me. I thought the drive was going well for the most part and then about half way through it he jolted up on a sudden and punched me as hard as he could on my forearm. His face was set in complete anger and his teeth looked menacing. He kept blowing me but the punches lessened in force and eventually he stopped. While that was going on my particular unfavorite client who had the habit and utter love of pulling hair at all times was trying to get his sneaky little hand at mine. I had the luxury of coming in in the mornings and having to dress him from time to time. All he wanted to do was bite and pull. Finally one day this snotty lady I worked with told me to deal with him for some reason and he was not cooperating with me and I just called her to me and told her I was done with him, she can do it. He gets dressed somehow every morning.

I had to deal with the ladies a lot too. There were a few in wheelchairs and they were interesting. I worked with one in particular quite often and she was not abusive at all. She was just a lot of work. Changing clothes, wiping butts, flushing toilets, giving showers, wiping mouths, feeding, EVERYTHING. She was really sweet natured and I felt so bad for her having to live with some of these harmful ones.

Another lady talked incessantly about nothing. Well, she said stuff but she would repeat it over and over again. I remember one time I was brushing her hair and getting her dressed and she looked at me in the mirror and said, "Who cares about you! Who cares about you! Who cares about you! Who cares about you!......." over and over again. She would get in these moods where she would call you names over and over and pretty soon you would be like, "yeah, who the heck cares about me, anyway?" Dear Sir and I often quote this when we are in a jolly good mood.

I eventually had to quit because one of the clients who had the mentality of maybe a six year old but the body and drive of a twenty year old man (he was around my age at the time) seemed to take a liking to me and started to harass me. I mean, grab me and pretty much would have gone further if I had not watched myself and gotten out of his way. He was a big guy and the most frightening of all of them. I had heard that he had about seven or so full grown strong men on him when he went through a tantrum of sorts and he put most of them in the emergency room. I knew that if I were to tell him no with the grabbings and things and didn't put it as lightly as possible, he would literally snap me in half. It was rather frightening. The last straw was when he got a little too liberal when I was changing his bed (he followed me everywhere) and I had to bow out and he was getting angry and someone had to calm him down. I just called them and told them that I could not return to work. Insane.

It is so sad that people live like this. There is a whole world of them living in little independent homes like this because their parents can not care for them and it is just utterly depressing. It is literally like a whole different world from ours---we are all obsessed with ourselves and looking beautiful and young. These people hardly talk, walk around aimlessly, hurt others because they don't know any better, and do the most vile things. I have seen a lot of body parts I wish I hadn't, that is for sure!


truth said...

This was a very sad post indeed. Probably because my darling 4 year old grandson is special needs. When he has a complete meltdown, it is difficult to control him, but at 4 we manage. But we also know that one day he is going to be a man. We don't know what that means or what it will look like, whether he will be able to care for himself or whether he will be able to talk. Will he still pull hair when unexpectedly and hold on with a death grip? Will he ever be toilet trained? We will be there to care for him if he needs it, but what happens if he outlives us (and most likely will?)

R said...

Truth--This breaks my heart. When I worked at this place for the first few weeks I had a really hard time. I felt so awful for these adults, crammed with others so different from themselves (and potentially harmful) that I would be full of grief. I would look through the books about their backgrounds and almost cry because some of them were so rough. Many of them led "normal" lives but had car accidents or had some one abuse them so much that they could not cope any longer and were left as they are now. One word could jolt them into blind fury. Some were born this way and usually these were the ones not so violent (but many were---just not threatening) and this one woman in particular became attached to me.

You must hear all the time that you are a strong woman! I have wondered from the parent's perspective what it must be like to think of the future of your special needs child. I have an oldest child with special needs (he has Aspergers)---when he was little we did not know if he would grow up to be "normal" or not. I do understand the fright or concern a little. He was pretty bad off when he was a little guy and for some reason God brought him through it. It was a time for us full of great anxiety.

You are doing a tremendous job.

Mama Heffalump said...

You have put into words every special parents greatest fear. What happens if or when we are no longer able to care for them... And if they outlive us... No one wants their child to pass first surely... Who will see that they are taken care of? *Sigh*

Thank you for the care you showed to these special people.