First thing in the morning, I headed to the library to research Robert’s conditions. Curious, I Googled his name. His full story came up; he was featured in the news. Nine years ago, he was a star soccer player for his high school. At a championship game, he collapsed on the field. He was 15. He had a stroke. There were fund raisers for care expenses.
When I arrived at the hospital, Carolyn was again excited to see me, but not surprised. I didn’t need to be told to be with Robert. One of the nurses that day showed me how to feed the various patients. When we were a good ways away from Robert, I asked about his history.
“His father comes once a year to visit. His sister used to come. His mother doesn’t come anymore. It is too painful for her. Even though his father is a lawyer, they are poor. They live in a town two hours away. They moved here to be closer, but after three years with no improvement they moved back. His mother hasn’t been here since, that was six years ago. The state took over his care.
There was a small commotion happening from Carolyn’s desk. An elderly man was arguing over his wife’s care. He wanted to bring her home. He claimed she was almost fully recovered and she was bored here, she missed her friends. It was Alice, the most talkative of the patients. She scooted around on her own. She was absentminded, but no more than Carolyn. But Carolyn would hear none of it. She was quite patronizing in a bubbly way.
Who was I to get involved? I went back to Robert and read him Treasure Island.
That night I wondered if he had a Myspace.