Monday, May 16, 2005

At loose ends, and hating it ...

Life with Dorian is filled with problems that beg denial. If I think too much about them, paralysis sets in and I become immobilized. It is so at the moment.

I've still not come to terms with moving her out on her own. The past year has allowed me to see just how vulnerable she is in the world, and made it almost impossible to do those things that must be done to re-establish her interrupted independence.

Yesterday we spent the greater part of the day at the Special Olympics swim competition at Laney College. That world is such an interesting one. It is a culture all its own. Parents, volunteers (young and old), members of the Fire Department, specially-trained sports teachers and trainers who work with the disabled year round come together at these sports events in ways that are so heartening. Each athlete is trying so terribly hard to make damaged minds and bodies come together in the valiant effort to compete without envy or false pride. To watch those faces reciting the Special Olympics oath at the start of the games is to experience innocence at its most poignant. "Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." Each believes this with every breath. It's expressed throughout the day in every way.

Dorian won 2 golds and 1 silver for the 100 in the backstroke, a second in the 50 yd freestyle, and another 1st for 50 ft. backstroke. She was jubilant! But she was equally content in the two other events where she did not place at all. She is now qualified for the state games to be held at the University of the Pacific in Stockton in early June.

Meanwhile, I really do need to deal with our housing needs.

Yesterday after returning from the games I went into the livingroom closet to find something I needed and discovered another brand new sewing machine. Not sure when it was purchased, but I do know that there is an expensive one in storage -- one with parts missing (mostly cords). She cannot sew. She cannot read. She cannot possibly use a sewing machine in any way. Her bank account is again overdrawn. She's now clever enough to toss the packaging and manuals so that it's impossible for me to return the items that she picks up impulsively. The rebellious teenager reigns at such times and I'm helpless to manage events with any wisdom.

In a way I fully understand her purchases, foolish though they may be. In her distorted mind, she has some notion that sewing machines "make things." She has no idea just how that happens, but when she popped into the hobby store to pick up more yarn, there it was -- promising so much. I'm sure that she's been watching one of the sewing shows on television and that the idea was planted there. It's like the cell phone commercials that are so hard to resist always with their promises of "more".

I also found a receipt for $89 for the purchase of more minutes for her cellular phone. The one she bought most recently (and that I didn't return) is one that has no contract attached and for which she buys minutes each month. She has only one (also retarded) friend with whom she spends endless hours in conversation every night. It's an important friendship for them both. I'm guessing that she also speaks with him during the day from her cell. I insist upon her using our Lan phone when she's at home. This means that she may be spending $200-300 a month for those minutes. She is totally out of control and the Regional Center will not give her home assistance unless she's living on her own. That means no budget counseling or restraints.

So now I will log off and make those phone calls to the Regional Center and set things in motion (again) for locating a new living arrangement that will bring with it the essential independent living services that she must have and that are beyond my power to give her with the kind of objectivity that is needed.

It is at such times as these that I seriously consider a tour of duty in the Peace Corps!

More later.

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