01/19/2015–Meeting the Treatment Team: The Fantastic Four–Part I

 

The big day is finally here: we get to meet the Treatment Team. It worked out well that Caeley and I both had the day off. She received her new camera in the mail on Saturday and is eager to document the goings on of today’s meet and greet. I’m just eager to make sure the house doesn’t look like a pigsty. For some reason, I keep likening this visit to a DYFS/child protective services visit, as if I’m Jamey’s foster mom and they’re coming out to inspect the house. I have this odd feeling that if my house isn’t to their liking, they’ll remove Jamey and place him in an orphanage run by Miss Hannigan. (I’m sure at times, he feels that Ms. Hannigan and I were taught at the same school of caregiving.) I also become obsessed with making the house look as if we don’t have 3 cats and 2 dogs that shed incessantly. I wrap my couch cushions in duct tape to pull up all the excess fur in case the workers want to do paper work on the couch. I then realize that if they want to do paperwork on the couch, their eyes will likely wander to the area rug, which is also fur-layered, so I put my snow boots on and drag them across the rug to let the rubber tractioned-soles grip up the hair. I then sniff the air and think I detect a mixture of musky dog and residual cat pee(damn dust broom!) so I light a candle. Then I take the four boxes of assorted junk I’ve collected, cram them in Caeley’s room and lock her door. No sooner do I do this than the first person pulls in the driveway. She’s early, and I realize I haven’t cleaned the bathroom yet. I dash upstairs, pour bleach in the toilet, dab some on toilet paper and do a quick sink scrub. If nothing else, the bathroom will smell clean. I skid down the stairs, tempt the dogs into their crates with biscuits and open the door with my bleachy hands. The first person I meet is Tracy, the social worker. It’s kind of awkward since I rarely have visitors and never have normal social skills. It’s also deafeningly loud in my house since the biscuits have been consumed and the dogs are loudly sharing their protests to not being formally introduced to our new houseguest. I reassure Tracy that the dogs will settle down (eventually) and I show her to the dining room table. I ask Caeley to get Jamey since he’s been in bed most of the day. The dogs eventually settle and Jamey makes it down. Even though I’d prepped him several times for this visit, he is very confused. He also seems anxious. Tracy asks some basic questions about his current health, etc, and he picks nervously at the table runner, pulling tiny yellow threads out and collecting them in a pile. He rarely answers a question independently; he looks to me to answer for him. This always makes me feel so uncomfortable. There are still times(rare as they may be) when Jamey is cognizant of the present and aware of the past. I never want to assume that he won’t be able to answer a question, so I don’t answer for him. I also don’t want others to think that I’m his mouthpiece who has taken away all independence. It’s a tough, tough line I walk. I usually say, “You can answer that–it’s not my body” or something to that effect. The unfortunate part is, he often can’t answer. Either it’s a question that requires short or long-term memory skills or  it’s a question that requires awareness of motivational drives(hunger, pain, energy levels, etc). As Tracy asks Jamey-me questions, our second team member, Mary Ann the nurse arrives……..to be continued…

 

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