Monday, November 14, 2011

Low Maintenance

     Kevin requires help.  He needs someone to buckle his belt because he can't find the hole to put the little metal thing through (what is that little metal thing called anyway?)  He can pour milk unless the carton is too full, in which case a river of dairy results.  He cannot tie his shoes, so I buy shoes with velcro straps.  If he walks across uneven ground, he loses his balance easily and panics. Someone needs to hold his hand.  He doesn't know how to count and can't read, so a staff person in his group home must mete out his pills for him.
     Yet compared to me and most people, Kevin is low maintenance.  He requires three things to make him happy - conversation, reassurance and hugs.  Four things if you count cheeseburgers.  I look at so many normal adults who are miserable and spend thousands of dollars to try to get happy.  It is a shame that we can't ask for what we want as readily as Kevin does.
     Kevin has acted out lately at his group home.  We think it is because of changes in personnel there, but I can never know for sure.  Asking Kevin what is wrong is futile - "nut-in" is his response.  I do know that some improvements over the last week seem to be connected to one staff member in particular.
     After I took Kevin out to breakfast on Saturday, I brought him back to his house.  Theresa was there to greet him.  He gave Theresa a hug and she shouted, "Hello O'Connor-boy," Kevin's favorite nickname.  She asked about our outing, told him she loved him and accepted another hug.  My brother voice was squeaking he was so happy.
     So as much as he may seem to require a lot of work at times, Kevin's needs are pretty simple.  It is another life lesson from him to me.

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