Unique New York

Just like a regular woman, only crankier.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A general update

So, my kittycats, I have begun a new school year. And how are my ulcers doing, you ask? Just fine, thanks.

I am rotating in this new wing of the hospital, and without disclosing too much, it's not my favorite. The trouble with this wing is that it is everyone else's favorite, so I often find myself with nothing to do....it's very staffed. I twiddle, and invent things to do, but I miss feeling useful. It is only a mere three months long of a rotation, but as such, I am not my happiest.

School is much lighter this semester. Only three classes. The big focus this semester is a thing called the CCE, which is a formal case presentation. It's a writeup and a presentation, and fairly intensive. Also this year is the proposal of my dissertation. The fun never really ends, people.

If you pray, pray for my little brother, Josh. He is in the hospital again with pneumonia. He is a trooper, but I really believe in the power of prayer. Josh has lived through cardiac arrest, multiple infectious diseases, comas, and failing kidneys. He apparently isn't through here yet.

Adding to my general sense of sadness this week is a bit of news I heard yesterday. If you were fine with my post up until now and in a reasonably good mood, don't read further. My bro, Josh, who as most of you know is multiply handicapped, lives in a residential facility. He has been there for about 9 months. It's a great place out in Del City, where the staff treats him like a real human being. The setup is like a college dormitory, and the residents have varying levels of functioning, from those who are just physically handicapped but have intact intellects, to those who are severely impaired in multiple domains. In many senses, the vibe of the place is live and let live. It could use more staff and more training, but its heart is in the right place.

Anyways, my brother has this roommate named Eugene. He is this elderly fellow, small in stature, with white hair. There are four boys to a room, and Eugene has his twin bed next to Josh's. Eugene's only disability is that he is completely deaf. Born in Oklahoma, his parents didn't know what to do with him or how to raise him, and so he was dropped off at a very young age and raised in an institution all of his life. Since his intelligence and physical abilities are really on par with everyone else's, he lived his entire life having the full awareness that he was only deaf, and knowing that he didn't really belong. Even in this residence, few of the staff even knew sign language enough to communicate with Eugene on a rudimentary level. I can only imagine how isolated he felt.

Eugene proved to be an asset for Joshua. Whenever Josh would get sick in the middle of the night, Eugene would go and find a staff member to make sure he was okay. Over the summer, Josh had a birthday party, and Eugene danced the two step with me. He was always very sweet, and would try to help my mom to the car with Josh's wheelchair or anything she needed help carrying.

Over Christmas, my mom bought gifts for all of the residents at the home. ALL of them. Seventy-five individual gifts. For most of them, she bought stocking stuffer-type gifts. For Eugene, she didn't buy anything...my dad did. That's right, my dad bought the present for Eugene. He went out and bought Eugene a costly OU necktie. My mom was flabberghasted that my dad had spent so much money, but it was his idea, and she didn't stop him. When Eugene got the gift, he cried, and hugged my mom and dad. The staff was in tears too.

Eugene died last week of heart failure. Russ put it best when he said, "It just seems unneccessary." His death seems unecessary and seems mean. It makes me sad that such a sweet man is gone. Logically, I know that his life was limited for so many reasons in too many ways, but it makes me sad that more couldn't have been done to make the end of his life more pleasurable and at the very least, more independent. I know he's probably better off now, and more at peace, but the whole thing just seems mean.


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