by Talky Tina
A collection of stories about when I was a caregiver
|I had a very sweet client named Elmer. He was in his early 50's and diagnosed as having severe mental retardation and functioned at a four or five-year-old's level. He was a huge man. He was 6'4 and weighed just under 400 pounds. He was heavy-handed and didn't know his own strength. Now, Elmer was raised on a farm with two of the sweetest, down to earth people you'd ever wanna meet. Elmer wanted to be just like his Daddy and that meant he always wore overalls. Every single day, no matter what, Elmer wanted overalls. The problem with overalls was his small motor skills were very limited and he could not latch and unlatch the buttons holding the straps.
This particular day, I took Elmer and his housemate to Walmart to buy the weekly groceries. The lines were long and we had just gotten to the next ones in line to the check out when Elmer announces he has got to pee. Like typical four/five-year-olds, Elmer was known to wait until the very last minute to let someone know he had to go.
I was in line, someone in front of us and about four others behind us. His housemate was not going to want to leave the line and the lady in front of us was nearly done. The bathrooms were just diagonal to us, very clearly easy to see. I helped him undo his overall straps, point him in the right direction to the bathroom and he promises to wash his hands and come straight back to me.
How bad could that be? I figured we would easily be done checked out and I could be waiting for him when he was done.
I watched him and he went into the correct bathroom. It was our turn to check out and the other resident picked that time to notice the candy bars. The very thing he wasn't supposed to have. While my attention was on him, trying to get him to put back the candy, I hear a woman shriek at like ear-splitting volume. I turn and look and see Elmer coming towards me, with his overalls in his hands...only his tidy whities and his shirt on. His underwear is not covering his major parts, it has found its way out of the hole in the front.
The woman's shriek scares him and diverts his attention away from me. By this time people are freaking out which causes him to freak out. When Elmer freaks out he goes full-blown four-year-old meltdown and throws himself on the floor and yells, kicks, and screams. I no longer care if the other client eats the entire display of candy bars, I no longer care about paying for the groceries.
The manager comes out. I'm frantically trying to calm Elmer down, trying not to get kicked or hit. Someone hands me a blanket to put over Elmer. The security is called, the police are called. I call my supervisor. My other client now realizes Elmer is causing a scene and comes over to watch. I'm trying to calm him down and trying to make everyone understand he meant NO HARM! He was not trying to do anything sexual or indecent. He just wanted help with his overall clasps! I'm not really sure why he took them off but he did.
The result? Elmer was banned from the local Walmart for the next year. I refuse to take any other clients with me anywhere IF I have Elmer with me. I insist he is a one on one assist in public. Worst trip to Walmart I ever had!
Let the Son shine in your life.
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