Archive for December 7th, 2007

Wash, wash, wash

Friday, December 7th, 2007

shower head with waterTonight I get a telephone call from CA, the owner of the personal care home where my son, DS lives. She tells me that DS has been taking two 30-minute showers a day. She says she timed it. I tell her I believe her. She wants to do his laundry once a week, but he changes he clothes twice a day, so she must do laundry twice a week. He is also washing his hands three or four times a day. (Only three or four?) I tell her to look on the bright side. He is clean.

At first I think she is distressed about this strangeness, but then I realize she is concerned about the money. She wants to be reimbursed for the increase in her water bill.

She tried to justify her concerns by mentioning the horrible drought we are having here in Georgia, but that to me is irrelevant. His reality is that his environment is contaminated so he MUST wash. It would be cruel to anyone to be denied cleanliness. Yes, it’s very annoying though. It’s time-wasting and water-wasting, but I don’t know what can be done to help him.

I am going to call the caseworker on Monday to see if any funds to supplement the water bill will be forthcoming, but I doubt it. I understand CA’s concern. One month last summer when DS was still at home he caused our water bill to go up an extra $20. At that time he was washing his sheets every day and all his clothes, so he was doing three or four loads a day.  Fortunately we have a water-efficient washing machine. This is not to mention all the handwashing and showers. One day last summer, DS literally stood by the washing machine all day and washed the same load over and over. I explained to CA that this is part of DS’s illness, and it has been gradually improving. I am not sure if it has increased since the move to CA’s home because I do not know what DS was doing in this department at the previous personal care home.

I told her I would talk to DS and ask him whether cleaning the carpets with the rug machine will make him feel better. I doubt it, but I think it will make me feel better.

CA also told me she knew another young man (in her home?) that did the same thing and his mother told her that he is now in an institution. I said, that is interesting, but I was under the impression that institutions for the mentally ill no longer exist: there are only hospitals for short-term stays and jails for long-term stays.

I will give CA some credit to try to soften the impact of what she was trying to say to me by praising some of DS’s finer traits. He is very intelligent, articulate, etc.

I know. They have been telling me that all his life.