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The Decision

By Trish Hughes Kreis

(Page 2 of 4)

Rob showed up with a black eye (which Dad failed to notice).  Neither Judy nor Rob have very good memories or communication skills so it was difficult to piece together the story surrounding the events leading up to the black eye but we did the best we could.

Apparently, Rob and Judy walked to the store.  A homeless woman befriended them on their way home.  Judy invited her to live with them.  Homeless Woman readily agreed and took it upon herself to become ďcaretakerĒ for Rob and Judy in exchange for room and board.  One day, Judy had a seizure and was convulsing on the kitchen floor.  Rob was caring for her as he had for years (kneeling beside her and keeping her from harm).   Homeless Woman didnít think Rob should do this and tried to move Rob; he resisted; Homeless Woman punched Rob in the face. 

My other brother and I huddled and formulated a plan to remove Homeless Woman from their home.  We contacted the police, Adult Protective Services and an attorney.  We staked out Robís home in order to talk to Homeless Woman and convince her to leave.  In the end, my other brother paid Homeless Woman to leave their house. 

My involvement in Robís care was now essential and no longer deniable.  Once this immediate crisis was resolved, I contacted social services to see about getting in-home care for Rob and Judy.  Obviously, they were past the point of being able to make good decisions for their care and well-being.  I stressed that they were both mentally challenged and that I should be at any meeting a social worker had with them.  Soon thereafter, a Social Services representative came to visit Rob and Judy without my knowledge and left when Rob and Judy told her they were able to take care of themselves.  She had no choice but to believe them. 

During this time, Rob was also battling a severe infection that had resulted from a recent surgery.  He was participating in a medical study for an electrical stimulus device intended to stop seizures before they occur and Robís infection spread to the area of the device which was implanted just under the skin in his chest.  Rob called the medical study nurse to say the device was coming out of his skin.  He had not noticed an infection in that area until it had eaten away so much skin, the device was physically coming out of his body.  He landed in the emergency room immediately. 

The infection spread through the device, up the electrical leads to his brain.  More surgery ensued as did a long-term hospital stay during which he received a course of round-the-clock intravenous antibiotics. 

My intervention may have come too late. Eventually, I had Rob transferred to a Skilled Nursing Facility near me.  I was able to visit him every day (probably trying to assuage my guilt for not realizing he needed help long before I finally recognized it).  Rob stayed there for a couple of months while receiving even stronger antibiotics, battling his severe infection.

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