Al seemed bored through the days. I could understand. His routine had been broken so what was left. I didn’t work through the week so I started asking him if he wanted to go out to eat for lunch or supper. He never turned that invite down.
It took Al no time at all to walk up to the front counter and place his order. He was proud. Sometimes he would pay and others I paid. He would get the biggest grin on his face while he pulled out his wallet and paid for his own meal. He would sit the wallet on the counter and pull out the exact number of bills. He carried a sandwich baggie in his pocket and he would take that out and get the exact change. Al always had to be exact with whatever he did.
When we were home Al stayed in his bedroom. Every day I would encourage him to come out and watch TV with me or spend time out of his room but he refused. His room was his refuge, his hide-a-way. He went there whenever dad was home. After mom passed away I think Al spent most of his time there.
When it was meal time Al wanted to eat in his room but I insisted he and I were family and we needed to eat together. He did come out then. We ate pretty much in silence. He would then rinse his dishes and put them in the dishwasher and return to his room.
This felt so awkward to me. I wasn’t used to eating alone when there was another person in the house. Eating like this continued for many months. I just had to get used to it. In fact, it got so stressful with no talking that I would eat in the living room and he ate at the kitchen table.
He seemed to like that better. He started speaking out more and we would talk from room to room. It was a long, long process but eventually we each adjusted to our strange way of sharing a meal.
On Friday nights I went to my job. Al went to either a ball game in town or he would go to an auction if there was one near by. I felt a little uneasy knowing he was driving and I was at work. I had to trust that he would be alright. He had been forced independence years ago and I had to continue to let him do things on his own.
Saturday nights he went to an auction that was out-of-town. Because of his routine the weather never came in his mind. He just knew it was Saturday and it was auction night. I used to worry while I was at work. I knew he was driving in the snow and I hoped he would be alright. Sunday mornings he went to church.
In my eyes Al was never the perfect driver. He had a few accidents which thankfully what got damaged was non-living. It was the mentality that he and I challenged many times.
He drove the same speed always, slow. He took the same route no matter what the weather. He and I lived out in the country so there were many times the roads were bad. I would pray to get to my job safe and Al just knew his routine.
I am glad I let him do his thing when I look back. We don’t know our future and sometimes as we sit and look back at what we have done we can be thankful for some of our decisions.
Al and I were at home. I was in my bedroom and he in his. I was surprised when he entered my room. I was thinking wow, this is great. He and I are going to spend some time together apart from meals.
He smiled at me and continued to stand there. I started chatting with him and then suddenly he started shaking. I immediately stood up and asked him what was wrong. He didn’t talk and the smile was gone.
I reached out to him and he partially collapsed in my arms. It turned out Al was having a seizure. I dealt with this and once I knew what was happening to him my training kicked in and I was able to keep him safe.
His seizure didn’t last long and I helped him back to his room and helped him lay down on his bed. We made it through that night but first thing in the morning I called his doctor. An appointment was set right away and I drove Al to the office. Al didn’t even argue about me being the driver.
With some testing and conversation Al had a big piece of information given to him and he was not happy about it. His driver’s license was being revoked. Al could no longer drive.
I felt sick about it. Al had been independent for some time. This was not a choice. It was thrust upon him. Dad had a belief I didn’t agree with. It was out of sight out of mind. Even when we were kids dad believed we should be seen but not heard.
So not being able to drive was another stab in his life. He had a rough life at times.He was the child that wasn’t normal, but then again, what is normal? He had his heart attack. He was let go of his job and now his driving privileges had been taken away. I knew this was going to be a challenge to get through.