my bus was late as usual. i regretted running the two and half blocks as i turned the corner to see no bus in sight. it was good and well that i didn’t miss the bus but getting me to work late was not. good thing drew, my coworker had things well under control at the group home.
‘sorry for being late,’ i explained as i walked through the door. ‘i think my bus driver was on sunday afternoon driving mode.’
‘it’s all good. jack and rebecca (not their real names) are out with family for dinner. tony is still napping.’
tonight i’m on dinner duty since drew is taking tony through his pre-dinner routine. homemade burgers and fries are on the menu. this can either go really well or really, really bad.
pessimistic or just keenly aware of my cooking deficiencies?
lets just say that i don’t think the cooking channel is going to be calling asking me to show the world a thing or two anytime soon. unless it’s to show my famous french toast, and if that’s the case i’m saying ‘no!’
ain’t nobody getting that secret. i’m taking it to the grave with me.
well, the burgers turn out pretty darn good, i must say. when jack and rebecca get home they gobble it down and give me the thumbs up. tony has some too, though a bit differently than the rest of us.
thirty years ago tony was a 35-year-old husband and father to a beautiful wife and daughter with another baby on the way. goofing around with some buddies on a long weekend, tony accepted a dare to climb a telephone pole. he hit the wires and fell onto his head. they saved his life but he would never be the same man again.
after tony came out of a long coma, he had to learn how to walk and communicate again. he had to have all his food blended up so he could eat. he had to be helped with going to the bathroom and showering. his wife couldn’t take care of two children and a husband who needed constant help learning to live with a different rhythm. he was placed in a large group home before coming to our small options group home.
i take one of the cooked burger patties along with some cheese, fries and ketchup and place them in a food processor. tony is going to have burgers and fries with us too, a la pureed.
he gives his sign of approval too – a crooked thumbs up and big smile.
maybe that call from the cooking channel will coming afterall.
drew takes rebecca out to grab a coffee while tony and i watch duck dynasty in the living room. we both laugh and enjoy the silly antics of hillbillies blowing things up and shooting ducks. if only life were that simple.
the big hockey game comes on. tony loves hockey so we turn on the game in his room where he can relax and watch it. equipped with a boost milkshake and a delicious pudding snack, tony watches and cheers as his team kicks butt.
tony wants to get up to go to the bathroom. i was told to let him get himself up out of his chair. the more he does it himself the stronger his legs will be. the whole ‘if you don’t use it you lose it’ line of thinking. it makes sense, only problem is that he doesn’t want to get himself up at times and holds his hand out for help.
‘help up?’ he asks, his words slurred together.
i’ll admit i’m a sucker most of the time. he probably knows it by now and that’s why he wears that huge grin as he asks me. maybe he sees ‘sucker’ tattooed on my forehead.
drew leaves early to get to the other group home he works at. jack and tony are in bed early while rebecca and i watch tv in the living room. rebecca is a 65 yr old woman with schizophrenia who loves doing crafts, drinking coffee and watching gilmore girls.
apparently i love watching gilmore girls now too. go figure.
rebecca tells me about the new shoes she got and how much walking she is going to do in them. two hours a day. she goes and gets them to show me. she puts them on and show how she will walk in them. good form. i get another compliment on the burgers i made for dinner.
i’m going to milk this accomplishment for a while longer.
11pm comes quickly and my replacement arrives ready to take on the overnight shift. i say goodnight and run to catch my bus home. i walk through my front door, drop my keys on the small, white ledge i’ve haphazardly screwed to my old plaster wall, kick my shoes on to the mat in my hallway, and collapse onto my chair in the living room.
i’m tired but happy.
an old quote by john bunyan runs through my mind.
‘you have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.’
i’m not sure i necessarily agree with bunyan on this but i’m willing to accept it for tonight.
i lived today 🙂