Bob isn’t your average 40-year-old, until 3 years ago he still lived with his parents. Bob has Cerebral Palsy. But like all of us, he has things that he likes and dislikes. He loves trains, and has 3 train tracks, he loves spaghetti and can eat it any time of day, and he doesn’t like when people don’t try to communicate with him at all.
Moving out on his own was a big move, because he needs 24-hour care and can’t speak. It’s very difficult for him to make his needs known, especially if people don’t care enough to try to understand. Because communicating with Bob takes effort, previous caregivers disregarded Bob’s likes and dislikes and made all the daily decisions on their own.
Bob started getting unexplained injuries, a black eye, bruises, even a fractured leg. He would be left alone in the mall, or at home for hours. One time he was even left on his back patio with the door closed while everyone else was inside. Bob started sulking, lost his sense of humor, and dropped to 87 pounds. Bob’s parents knew they needed to make a change, but were afraid.
Then they called ViaQuest. When we learned about Bob, we knew it was time to give Bob his life back. And it was time for Bob’s parents to hear his laugh again and have a bit of time they could call their own. So we looked beyond determining the care we needed to provide to find once again the Bob beyond his disability. It didn’t take much to help Bob get his self-esteem back, just a bit of love and respect. It didn’t take much to help Bob find some independence, just a little encouragement and getting him to believe he could. It didn’t take much to hear Bob laugh again, just a girlfriend named Robyn and making it possible for them to spend four days on Lake Erie.
That was the first time that Bob had ever had a vacation without his parents. Sometimes the best care is looking beyond a patient’s disability or illness to see the person inside.