Thursday, July 10, 2014


Behind the front door a pile of turquoise, tan, pink and white striped towels start to mildew underneath two shiny, black Hefy cinch sacks. The washer and dryer are broken as they have been for some time. Each visit we try to problem solve. What can you do I ask them. How can you take care of it? How can you turn soggy, smelly dirty laundry into linen scented cleanness is what I want to shout at them. Instead we talk about going to the laundromat. They keep telling me that is what they plan on doing. I think we both know they are lying.

A fifty pound bag of Ol' Roy Complete Nutrition is opened and propped up against the sticky fridge. I envision thousands of hungry ants climbing inside it in search of dinner.The white paint is chipped on the child's tiny bike with training wheels and a falling apart basket that is parked in the middle of the kitchen.

Every space is littered with something. A yellow McDonald's wrapper is crumpled up in the corner of the dark living room. Granola bar crumbs cover the floor by the couch. The silver wrappers are strung out nearly twelve inches.

The wooden table is home to a half filled, partially crushed Monster can. Six orange plastic cereal bowls are piled up -some still full of soggy cereal and stinky, warm milk.

His father stays in bed during the two hour visit. He is just so tired she explains. He has sleep apnea and so he must stay up until six a.m. playing Grand Theft Auto. It's the only thing that helps him sleep she tells me. People just don't understand.

Blue-eyed and chubby cheeked, the baby coos and squeals in his crib. He stretches as far as he can, grabbing his soft foot and sucking on his toes.

They get six hours a week with their six month old son.

He starts to fuss and she says "we just have to let him cry it out. Aunt Kelly said."

It doesn't matter what I think, what I would do. I do not get to scoop him up to comfort him. Dad stumbles out of bed, rubbing his eyes and mumbling about needing a cigarette. They walk back into the bedroom and turn on Netflix as they ignore his babbles and squeals.

I sit in the corner feeling powerless in this job of mine.


Lillian Connelly said...

This really brought back some memories for me. I used to do home visits as part of my job. Sometimes those visits kept me up at night.

Robbie K said...

Ahh yes! Someone who can relate! I was supervising a visitation and am suppose to be non-intrusive...which is so freaking hard. Also how did I not know you use to do this? We need to talk more!

Jan Hempstead said...

Oh Robbie! I could never do your job! Bless you!! When I worked in the hospital, I once contemplated doing homecare until another RN told me horror stories. But your job sounds so much more difficult.
Sending you positive energy...