Happy first year of independence, Lily!Posted: March 1, 2010
A year ago today, Lily became the official occupant of an apartment unit. She started out with short visits there, while furniture and staffing were finalized, and now spends almost all of her time there and very few overnights with my parents.
It’s incredible, really. Six months before she got the apartment, Lily was sedated in a ICU bed, fighting to recover from an extremely bad infection of Salmonella. (That story will be the subject of another post.) Now, she’s much more independent than I think I had ever dared to hope she might be.
When Lily lost her vision, she used to sit in the middle of a room and not move. She had a hard time with learning how to navigate without sight – she even gave up, in some ways, helping us to help her do things like get to the bathroom. My family moved to a new house while I was away at college, and Lily never quite seemed to learn her way around the place, depending on us to help her. Mom said that the first time Lily was in her new apartment, she actually crawled all over the place, exploring. More recently, Mom accompanied Lily and one of her assistants to the apartment from home after a shared meal, and Lily, immediately after being helped out of her wheelchair, bade farewell to her, saying she was tired, and headed off to her room…alone. It may seem like a small thing that she knows how to move around a relatively small space, but it means so much more than that.
I am deeply grateful to the three women who are her companions. I know that it’s a job, and they get paid for being there, and that they were carefully chosen as people who could be friends. But Lily is a rambunctious handful at best, and it takes a lot of talent and investment to be around her around the clock for people who haven’t known her all of her life.
Here’s to a first year of success for Lily! May there be many more to come!