A Year in Review

December 29, 2010

2010 has been a year of successes, failures, relief, and frustrations. Here is a bit of the year in review:

All three shifts of Lauren’s caregivers are now filled with wonderful people that support and enrich her life. We have not been successful in hiring a substitute caregiver, and that is first on my to do list for the new year. I need to get this figured out before Lauren moves into her own home in order to ensure stability for her adult life.

We survived a hospital stay. Handicapped parking has not become any easier. And, we still do not have a provider for repairs, or a new, wheelchair. We now have Medicaid supplied diapers which are working out even better than the Depends we used for years.

Facebook has not been the link to friends and family for Lauren that I hoped it would be. I had started Lauren’s page right after I had hired a young, tech-savvy caregiver who I thought would be helping Lauren interact on Facebook. Unfortunately, she was not with us very long, so the task has fallen to me, and I just don’t have room in my schedule for one more task. Also, seriously, Lauren’s life is routine, without a lot of ups and downs, and I’d have a hard time coming up with something appropriate to share. In theory, it sounded like a good idea - in practice, not so much.

What has worked out are the audiobooks we introduced Lauren to. She continues to enjoy listening to books, and rather quickly, let us know her preference for adult fiction rather than children’s or teen books. The problem now is finding ones that are appropriate – no gruesome murders, scintillating and provocative scenes, or sci-fi.

The hands-down biggest development in this year is, of course, the plans for Lauren to move into her own home. We have hopes that careful planning and the support of caring people and sufficient funding will result in Lauren being able to begin an adult life that can be sustained indefinitely.  Unfortunately, we are entering the New Year under a cloud of uncertainty about Lauren’s new home. It will be constructed in a mobile home park, which we own, in a neighboring town. Any new unit being placed in the park needs a building permit. There are over 190 units in this park. We’ve gone through this process many, many times. Now,  there is a new zoning official who has denied our request for the permit. Even though our architect and engineer say that there are no grounds for the denial, we are at a standstill. We have to waste precious time appealing her decision – for no good reason.

We’re just exiting a season filled with Lifetime and Hallmark movies about towns pulling together to make a better life for their residents, about neighbor helping neighbor. I don’t understand why someone would try to make life even more difficult for a young woman like Lauren (not to mention the parents who have cared for her for twenty-five years) - for no good reason.  Isn't the new year ahead of us all filled with enough uncertainties and worries?  It is so unnecessary for people to deal with the frustrations in their own lives by making problems for someone else.

My most fervent wish for the new year is that people will simply be kind to each other.  We could all use a kinder, gentler world in which to live.  I hope your New Year is a happy and healthy one.

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