ARTICLES / General / The
By Trish Hughes Kreis
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
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.