Our days were filled with trying to do things that Al loved, but Al’s illness was doing something else. He began to fall. The first time he fell was in the hallway. There were tiled floors and the furnace was right there.
When he fell he broke one of the tiles and knocked the front door of the furnace off. I was so scared he had injured himself but the only injury to him was fear. I helped him up and then with assistance we made it to the couch.
I offered him a coke after checking him all over. No blood and no lumps. While he was drinking his pop I started talking to him about the fall and how he should begin to hang on to things as he walked.
I had our grandma’s old cane here and offered it to him but with his stubborn pride he refused it. We didn’t experience any falls for about another month and then they became more frequent.
The big fall came near Christmas Time. He was walking to his bedroom and suddenly, with no warning he fell straight into the Christmas tree. This time I was scared. His head was turned side ways against the wall. I could see his legs but our tree was big so he was buried underneath all the leaves.
I told him, ” Don’t be afraid bud, I am going to call 911 and have them help me get you out from under there. I am afraid I will hurt you if I try to move you alone.” He seemed alright with that.
I called 911 and they came and three EMT’s recovered him from the branches. They took his vitals. His blood pressure was up a little but they thought that was from the accident. They talked to them and filled out paper work and then left. I helped Al to lay down on his bed. I knew that he had enough for one day.
There was one other time that he had fallen. It was in his room and he was squeezed in between his bed and lift chair. I couldn’t get him up and I saw blood on his forehead. I called 911 again and they responded immediately.
Al was alright. They placed a small bandage on his forehead and filled out another report. All of us put him in bed so he could rest. I walked the EMT’s to the door and they stopped and told me something that scared the crap out of me.
They said that if they were called one more time they would have to by state law report this to the Adult Protective Services. I asked them why and they said, ” Your brother is mentally challenged, right?” I nodded yes. ” Anytime there are falls from someone like him we have to report it on the third fall.” I thanked them for their service and information and let them out.
Shutting the door after them I walked to the couch and sat and thought about how cool this was not. With the bad relationship between him and his dad, and now both parents were deceased, I was all Al had left. I was his guardian and sister. I couldn’t let anything happen that may take him away from me, but what could I do?
I mulled over this for days. Idea after idea came and went and then I knew that I needed more help with Al than what I could do myself. I also knew that I needed to protect him from being placed out of our home.
I began to call nursing homes. After finding one that seemed nice I set an appointment for them to come meet Al. I dreaded so badly telling Al, but when I did at supper that night, he shocked me.
You have to remember his mentality. At that time his intelligence was about 10 years old. He was very excited. He said, ” This is great. Look at all the new friends I will make and I can play Bingo.”
I almost wept inside at his innocence but smiled. If he had to end up going I wanted him to go with this attitude. No more falls happened within the next two days and when the door bell rang early Monday morning, I answered it and let in the staff from the Nursing Home.
They wanted to meet Al and then after their little chat Al returned to his room to watch his favorite TV programs. Considering the time of day he was probably going to watch the Price is Right show.
Many questions and answers is what I did for the next hour. By the time they stood up to leave an appointment was set to bring Al into the nursing home for a tour. Al seemed very excited. I, on the other hand, was getting nervous. Al not here with me? I don’t know if I can deal with this. I am his sister and no one will ever love him, understand him and care for him as well as I could, but I kept thinking about how he could be taken out of this house and I had to do what I had to do to protect my brother.
The day came and we were getting ready to go in the front doors of the nursing home. Staff was there to show us around. I stayed in the background while they showered Al with attention and showed him the highlights of the place.
After the tour was over they asked Al, ” Do you want to come live here with us?” Al nodded yes. My heart broke but the fear inside me was bigger. I signed all the paper work and two days later Al was living in his semi-private room at a local nursing home.