The other adults I interact with most on a daily basis cannot acknowledge me or anyone in my family in public. If we see them, we can certainly acknowledge them and then they can talk to us. I know it’s a medical privacy, professional/client thing. I’ve realized this all along, but heard it again when one of the ladies who works with Sarah mentioned that she thought she saw Jamie at the mall but wasn’t sure, “and I can’t approach you guys if I see you out in public.”
Currently, I’m a stay-at-home mom and student taking classes online, and I don’t get a whole lot of adult interaction. Since it often looks like we have company, the neighbors must think we’re pretty popular. In actuality, our visitors are CNA’s, nurse manager, case manager, soon respite workers and in the past BHP’s. These people come into our home on a daily basis to work with my daughter, Sarah.
Yes, these are professionals who come to our house to work. But while they are here, we chat. As they get to know us – because it’s their job – we also get to know them over the course of months and years, even if just a little bit. Even if what they share with us in the course of normal conversation are just snippets of their lives.
These professionals we see every day become our friends to a certain extent – except that they’re not, really. Not the kind you “friend” on Facebook. You don’t have a Bitchfest over coffee with these friends. One in particular will say on her way out the door, “See you next month, my friend!” But clients are shuffled and there’s a different person knocking on the door next month.
Sometimes we get attached to someone who eventually moves on for one reason or another and we never see them again. We don’t keep in touch. It’s hard to swallow sometimes when it hits me. I come to care about many of the workers who come to help with Sarah and she builds attachments to these people, too. Sometimes I wonder, when she hasn’t seen one of her workers for a while, if she wonders why they don’t come to visit anymore. I wonder sometimes if she misses her friends.
In a way, I don’t think she remembers and misses people the way we do. I don’t know that she has the mental capacity for it at this point. That may develop more down the road. As many people as she has had come in and out of her life in her 11 years, that’s probably a good thing right now.