My Brother’s Life Journey Chapter 7

Money cash

After Al graduated I was out of the picture off and on. I had been married and lived in Germany for a year. I was expecting my first child. So thoughts drifted in and out of my family life and my new family to be.

When I came home to the States Al had a number of jobs. This is when a new set of problems started. Al had money of his own. A real paycheck that he wished to spend how ever he wanted.

But life doesn’t work this way. We have bills and most of us can not take our money and spend it entirely in one week. Al didn’t understand this. His thoughts were, he made the money, therefore he could spend it as he wished.

He had a car payment and auto insurance. I admit life was much easier when Mom was around. She felt bad for Al because he didn’t make too much money for his hard labor. She often helped hm and swore him to secrecy.

Even with Al’s mental issues he understood that this secret was to his benefit so he was always quiet about it. Al went to several jobs for quite a few years. He worked in a factory but he got fired. He was too friendly with the ladies and he would smile big at them. Often he would tell them they were pretty. These women did not like this and thought he was weird so they reported him and he would be fired.

This went on at a few jobs like this. He worked in egg manufacturing where he had the dirtiest job of all. He had to clean up at the end of the day the mess of cracked and spilled eggs from the machines and the floors.

I always felt bad for him. He worked very hard but because he was mentally challenged his pay was much less, right at the minimum wage. I thought it was unfair but the companies always said the same thing. We can’t get the same production out of him as we can the others.

Some of the other jobs he had he just plain talked to much. He has always been a social butterfly and will speak to anyone who looks his way. He is still like this today if he is having a good day.

I think Mom got tired of all the jobs so she talked to our Aunt and Uncle. They owned a meat market. Meat was brought in and butchered and packaged up. Once again, in my opinion, Al got the crap job.

I won’t say it killed him but gosh darn, it was a  hard job they gave him. He was responsible for taking those half beefs off the racks in the coolers and bringing them out for butchering.  Do you have any idea how much one of those weigh? My Dad told me once that one half weighed 1000 pounds. That is a lot of weight for one person. Many times I watched him do this.

For high season work when deer were bring processed I would work there helping to wrap the finished product. My job was much easier than Al’s and I made more money than he did. I could go on and on about how it isn’t fair to under pay a mentally challenged or disabled adult, but I won’t. It would take me another chapter.

One day the small family business closed and Al was out of a job. Mom got Al involved with a company that helped to hire and house disabled adults. The first thing the company did, and I will call them C.C. for short was to do a month-long load of paperwork.

After this was completed they moved him into an apartment living situation. It was run through C.C. and Al was given the title of Client from then on out. He lived in his hometown with three other gentleman.

They found him a job a half an hour a way. It was a veal farm. I am not sure what he actually did, but I imagine anything that he was asked to in the barns. He got very homesick.

He was too far a way from home. He missed his own bedroom but Mom urged him to keep trying it. She was sure he would adjust and learn to love the freedom he was allowed. Al never learned to cook. He is deathly afraid of fire and so never wanted to learn to use the stove.

I believe the way it was set up is that each of the four guys had special knowledge of one thing or another. When you put this all together, you had a house that was clean and the clients were fed.

One time Mom paid a visit to Al and she went into shock when she was let in by one of the guys. There was Al and a female client from another C.C.  apartment sitting on the couch together. They were holding hands and watching a pornographic movie on the VCR machine.

Mom didn’t believe in this at all. Even at home when I lived there I saw Mom one time in her slip. Walking around half-dressed was not allowed nor proper in our home. Cussing was not allowed either. Mom was a God-fearing woman and very strict in this area with us kids. I remember one time Mom was so mad at Dad that she said shit.

I thought I would die laughing when I heard her. What a naughty word that was. Mom’s excuse was, he just makes me so darn mad. I shouldn’t have said it and make sure you don’t say it either.

At this age, I had definitely already said it before but I wasn’t going to tell her. Well, she told Al to get up and get in the car. She took what she could take on that trip and took him home. She went back and got the rest of his things and then when she got home she made the phone call.

I saw my son in a position that may lead to sexual encounters and he was watching that sex stuff on his VCR. I’m sorry, he can’t live there anymore. You don’t watch him good enough. I have him home now. I will call tomorrow and make an appointment to see what other options we have.

He Is Too Young

Respite Care Day Camp

Respite Care Day Camp (Photo credit: The Neenan Company)

Do you have any idea what it is like hearing the words, you aren’t old enough? Alright, I admit, we are seniors, my brother and I, but yet we aren’t. We can get discounts at restaurants, but if you try to get help from an organization, then you are definitely NOT a senior. I decided this morning, that I was going to spend my free time finding me someone in this city to help give me the break I so need. I am thinking at the least, two hours a week. This isn’t asking too much, do you think? When you count the hours in a week, this isn’t even worth mentioning. I started off by calling the Parkinson’s Foundation, first thing. They had no help, they don’t offer any type of respite care. They actually do, but Al doesn’t fit the criteria, because he isn’t old enough. For heaven’s sake! What other rules are out there that we have to abide by? They told me when he was sixty-five, they could set him up with some help. The advised me to call Real Services, and ask for the aging department. I hung up and dialed the number I was given. When I got to the right department, I was informed, this had nothing to do with his age. Wonderful! They would love to be of help to us. Great! The program they once had for volunteers was over. Darn it! They told me that they have reached out and no one will volunteer anymore. Everyone wants paid, and there is no funding any longer due to the changes from the President. Programs are being cut left and right for the people who actually need them. Now I don’t know if I fall in to the category of actually needing them. Need? That is a powerful word. Will I die if I don’t get some relief? Most likely not. Could this affect my health by being run down constantly? Probably. If anything should happen to me, then my medicare would gladly help me out in a hospitalization situation, but who will care for Al while I would be in the hospital? Well, I need not go further in to this discussion, because I know in my heart that God will keep me safe for Al’s sake. I am just frustrated right now, so I am venting. This is what WordPress is for, right? To vent, to get emotional support? Real services told me to contact a church. There is a church that we have attended, and Al has attended many more years than I have, so I decided to give them a call. I spoke to Kathy, who is so very nice, and knows Al well enough. She took down some information, and is going to try her best to help, but said there was no promises. I can appreciate this. I am just happy that she is making an effort to help us. I wish mom and dad were still here.