A few of us at work took our vacations within days of each other, most went on a cruise, one went back to her hometown for a bit, while others took staycations at the nearby beaches.
My choice for vacation, seeing my friend Bill in his supportive living apartment in Rhode Island.
Of all places I could of went to, this was what I chose.
Me and Bill haven’t seen each other in seven years, and up until a few months ago, I couldn’t afford to travel to see him. Now that I am full time with all the benefits that came with it, this was a great opprotunity to pull this off.
Bill lives in his own studio apartment with staff that take care of his basic needs he wouldn’t otherwise be able to do in his own. His staff are all “hired” by him and are able to assist him for a certain amount of hours a week. This includes his outings, meals, personal care, and rides to his job. Like a family, they are there for him whenever he needs the help the most.
Due to my own disability being legally blind, and with Bill not allowed to take buses for personal reasons, I essentially became a temporary client. I was able to sit down with Bill and his staff and come up with a schedule for the week. And boy, did we make the most of it.
We made many trips out with the help from his staff, from the Lego Store, bowling, the movies, and more, the highlight being an out of state road trip to an outlet mall so I could treat him to the Disney Store and ice cream at Friendly’s. His staff also took my own concerns in cooking for him due to new food allergies, and not only made him his dinner, but also some for myself. Totally unexpected, and a nice touch. For that, I was extremely grateful. They taught me some basic care things and refreshed me on his needs. Being out of the Paraprofessional world for three years has made my personal care skills a little rusty. Anything I felt off dealing with, they took over. They always asked if I was doing OK, if I needed to do any sort of store runs, if there was anything they could do to make this trip a great one. Needless to say, they put any 5 star hotel to shame. They showed compassion not only for Bill, but for myself as well
Unlike the staff he normally had when I lost contact with him, they went above and beyond to make his life as normal as possible for that week, as if his life is limitless. For a week, he was a normal guy just picking up his best friend from the airport and hosting her in his place.
His staff are indeed a blessing and I couldn’t thank them enough for taking care of him when I’m thousands of miles away. His supportive living apartment building became my second home. I always worried about him and whether or not he was getting the best care possible, but now I know he is happy and living a great life.
Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for giving us the best week ever.