Friday, September 03, 2010

There is beauty in chaos

It was exactly a year ago when I told you about Picasso, and how we had to ask him to leave the park. That was a hard day. Yet, I was also glad that he would be closer to the things he wanted.

What he truly needed was round-the-clock care, but he would fight you to the death on that one. We tried. We tried to work with him. We tried to override him. So, we got him settled, and have continued to see him at least once a month. He can't afford a P.O. box, so we still collect his mail for him - including his SS check.

Yesterday was the 2nd. We had not yet remembered to take his check into town. When that happens, he always pays someone to drive him out. Yet, it had been almost two full days, and no Picasso. That was not cool. Something was going on.

Right after dinner, I headed into town. I didn't know what I would find. He has never been in good shape. Yet, things have worsened over the last few months.

I knocked on his window ... his window to the world. No answer. He is always home. He has no car, and cannot walk very far. I knocked some more and called his name. So, slowly, I pressed my face against the glass of the window, hoping beyond hope that he would not be lying there on his bed in front of me, lifeless.

He was not there.

Still no relief. What if he had died, and no one had moved the trailer yet?

I knocked on some more doors. One woman, who I had met several times, answered (she would help him out quite a bit, or give him rides occasionally). She explained that he had, indeed, become so ill that they picked him up and took him to a nursing home on doctor's orders.

I knew this would have pissed him off. He never wanted to be in that type of situation. He didn't want people too close. Yet, I was so very glad. I didn't want him dying in that trailer. He deserves better, whether he believes it or not.

This is when my entire night turned upside down. I have had so many tears and move instantaneously from sadness to utter joy. It was a bizarro world. You see, I left his trailer ...

And I found him at the NICEST retirement center in our town. Luxurious and pristine. Excellent care.

I spent a half hour with him. My emotions weren't sure where to land. It was so good to see him doing better. He still can barely walk, and relies on a wheelchair. However, his arms looked pink. Not white from the horrible flaking skin. But actually pink. His eyes were moist and clear. His hair was thicker than it had been. He did not have the air on at all, so it was a complete sauna in there. Yet, even with that, it was the longest I had ever spent with him in an enclosed space. It just wasn't possible before.

His room was really, really nice. He had a TV with cable (had not had a TV in years ... or a phone ... or a refrigerator ... or an air conditioner ... or a bathroom, for that matter).

Yet, if they would let him leave, he would happily go straight back to his trailer this second. He complained about the people (the staff) ... all the many, different people that would come in and out to check on him. He hates that. He doesn't hate people, per say, but he doesn't want to be told to bathe or made to bathe. He doesn't want to feel weak and helpless. He was okay with how things were.

Even though they were so very, very bad and his conditions were going to literally kill him.

I asked if the kids and I could come back, and he was thrilled. I caught him up on all the people out here in our little "neighborhood." Told him that the park is full, and he was excited to hear it. We talked about Willie, and how much we miss him ... reminisced about how those two would sit on a picnic table between their trailers and gripe at each other like brothers.

They brought him there with just the clothes on his back, which I'm sure were quickly incinerated. So, all he has are some sweats and socks from their laundry room. I'll be finding him some Wranglers and a nice button down shirt or two. I didn't see his cowboy hat, so we'll have to fix that, as well. Will try to locate some boots that he can get onto his feet, enough to dress for dinner. At this point he has yet to leave his room most days.

I was leaving, and he said, "Thank you for caring. You are the only person who has come to see me."

My emotions still don't know where to land. I just know I have a lot of them.


Sha Zam- said...

This is very touching. So glad he is feeling better and hopefully he'll soon be back to feeling his old self! said...

I am glad that he is in a safe place even if he hates it there. You are being the hands and feet.

T and T Livesay said...

you are love christine deadman moers

Heather of the EO said...

I love this.
And I love what T said.
It's true.

Amy said...


Mommy Words said...

It is so wonderful to read what a trememndous friend you are to him. This is my first time on your blog and I am so happy to find such a genuinely caring woman who is doing something to be a friend to those who need one. I am happy that he is looking and feeling better and also that he still has that independent spirit. Thanks for this post - it reminds me of som nay things that are important in my life - and what I sometimes get all crzy about that is not that imprtant at all.

Jolene said...

Oh I love that you adopted him too! That's awesome! Will he be staying there for awhile?

Tudu said...

Do you mind posting the sizes you are looking for? I'd be happy to send a few things in the coming weeks.

hopefuloffive said...

That's the way to show love, what a great example to your kiddos and the staff and...nice job being Jesus' hands and feet. Reminds me a little of the book "Same kind of different as me" read it if you have a chance.

Molly said...

I am glad he is getting the physical care he needs, and it sounds like you lifted his spirits and gave him hope!

Integrity Singer said...

yep, that makes me cry.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Will you take the children next time? I only ask because I remember visiting someone who sounds very similar to your Picasso when I was about ten and eleven years old (then we moved - military). Those visits had a profound effect on me.

jendoop said...

Your experience with Picasso reminds me of experiences I've had with people at church. The interesting thing is to see how those serving respond when the receiver doesn't want a white picket fence and bingo on Tuesdays. (A few women from the church tried to clean up the home of a woman with a hoarding problem and then got very offended when she told them to stop.) It is truly Christ-like to love and serve a person in the way they want to be served and loved.

I'm glad Picasso is safe and getting help. You dealt with the situation well, setting necessary boundaries while still loving him. Job well done, again!

Mama said...

We have a western belt and a black cowboy hat, both in excellent condition, that have been outgrown in our house. Email me if you want them (and tell me the size range you need) and they're yours.

I do believe, after looking at the pics, that my 90-year old grandmother may be living in a sister facility in another part of Texas. Her place looks like a twin to yours. Nice digs!

Erin said...

Your story is so encouragingly beautiful; it's amazing how your journeys collided and you've helped change the course of his just by choosing to walk with him in spite of everything that came along with him!

Hannah_Rae said...

I just love how God puts people in our lives. All kinds of people. For reasons we will never expect or fully understand.




Michelle said...

I'm glad that he is being looked after, and that you visited. But saddened that no-one else had been.

I have an old neighbour I still see (I moved, not her) who has been widowed for 5 years now, and is a hoarder. But I spent 45 mins with her last night at her home (I usually see her at my work - an op shop) and I came away less stressed and knowing that the fact that I went to her meant a lot to her.

Georgia said...

I am a volunteer ombudsman ( nursing home resident advocate) through the State of Texas in the Metroplex. Please know that if he (or you) has ANY ISSUES OR CONCERNS (complaints about the food, ANYTHING), the ombudsmen are there to facilitate solutions. Nursing home residents in the state of Texas have a huge list of rights and refusing treatment, etc., is one of them.

I have so much to say about this...his best course of action to have a say in his treatment is to attend his Care Plan meetings. The ombudsman can attend as his advocate at Picasso's invitation.

This is my passion...