Sunday, February 6, 2011

Anthony's visit. Arthur sees his son.

Did I say Arthur has a son, Anthony, who has Downs Syndrome? Arthur often called him 'Ant'. Anthony lives in a community residence with 24 hours care, one of five people with intellectual disabilities who live in the house.

We had Anthony over for a couple of hour's visit today. It is the first in a number of weeks due to the hot weather. I gave him his presents which were still here from Christmas and cup of tea and lollies. He sat in Arthur's bedroom but did not seem to recognise him or even the dogs. I took him for a wander around the house and yard and he wanted to go out of the side gate. I assume he wanted to leave. He was sitting in a dining chair because there are no comfy chairs (no room) except the big lounge chair now, and l told Arthur I thought it might be a bit uncomfortable for him to be sitting for so long.

Arthur agreed and seem pleased to see him with his presents and drinking his tea and watching TV with him.  I talked about the things I remembered, Anthony going to Barkuma's Coventry Road workshop, with us to the soccer matches at Elizabeth City Soccer Club and the dinner dances there. I talked about the way the house was, Anthony's big brown chair and then the green vinyl one I got him, the blue carpet and the venetian blind I always hated cleaning, Arthur's fitted shelves I took down to fit in a bigger TV when I painted the walls that time. I talked of bringing Chelsea home as a pup, and how we worried about how Anthony would react and then how they got on together so well.

When Anthony's worker came the really wanted to go and we couldn't get him to go to Arthur, who was in his bed, for a hug or handshake or wave goodbye. She said he must be tired and wanting to go back. I said to Arthur that Anthony must really like his home to want to get back to it and Arthur gave happy smile and said 'Yes'.

I said maybe he should have a shorter visit next time and that I still wanted to get Arthur into the wheelchair to go to visit Anthony's home.

I do not think Anthony knows his Father, this house, me or even the dogs anymore.  I think Arthur did not notice as we covered it with excuses, and Arthur is more concerned with his son's welfare. Someone at the house told me Anthony has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease but I do not know they managed that, seeing 'he cannot talk, read or write' as Arthur has always put it.

I remember Arthur saying he could never explain to Anthony that his mother had died, when she passed away from heart disease in 1980, and that Anthony never again went into that bedroom. So maybe Anthony does remember, we can never know. 

Arthur is relaxed about Anthony now he knows he is well cared for and happy. For years all his worry was when he died was what would happen to his son, Anthony? He hated him being in Strathmont Centre and wanted him in a house with 24 hour care. It was a blessing all round when the State government funded 10 of those houses to be built in the community and Anthony finally moved in to his new house in Salisbury. 

I will have Anthony over again but for a shorter time and I will have his worker stay during the visit. Then Arthur can ask questions and Anthony will have someone familiar with him. When Athony was leaving the worker was nice, she must have seen I was fighting back tears. I said it was good to see Anthony even though I felt like saying "I have looked after these two for 29 years and I am seeing us all get old."

Arthur has seen his son and appears happy. He is getting on with watching the Perth One Day Cricket International between England and Australia.

I hope England win.