June 18, 2011

New Chapter

I could hear Hart screaming and swearing in the background when I answered the phone. He had been at his new residence less than 24 hours and now a third "incident report." I wonder if that's a record.

After a career in special education and residential settings, Hart speaks the specific dialect of therapy, as do I. "The staff is abusive!" Hart shouted into the phone. "Use your strategies," I urged. "Advocate for yourself. Say 'I'm new' or 'I need some alone time.'" But, as ever, my words to Hart are like whispering into a hurricane.

Hart has been "high-anxiety" for months, anticipating his move. It has been no picnic for me either, alternately calming him and visiting potential new residences. When we determined that Hart would move to a nearby suburb, I entertained all sorts of fantasies of frequent visits, dinner dates, outings to movies and theater; essentially resuming the enjoyable field trips we were able to undertake when Hart lived at home with me. As with most of my good intentions, this seems absolutely ludicrous now. I have had to arrange for special permission to take Hart off-campus for an upcoming orthodontist appointment. "Will you need a staff person to accompany you?" Oh, no no no. But after a moment, I agreed that if Hart was an elopement risk or aggressive, I would re-schedule the appointment.

It must be a hellish curse to consistently act against your own self-interests. "What possible benefit is it to you to antagonize your new roommate?" I asked Hart as evenly as I could. "These are the people who will care for you here. You just met them, and you are swearing at them?"

Note to self: reasoning with an unreasonable person will never work. Get additional cell phone minutes for frequent "incident" calls.

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