Saturday morning they woke up to rain and wind. Usually on Saturdays Jesse would work but this Saturday he had taken off because the prospective Personal Assistant was going to come by for an interview and to meet with Jesse and Shawn. Jesse always got up early and on this rainy Saturday at 7:30 he already sat at the kitchen table drinking his coffee and looking at his phone reading the news, checking his emails and his Facebook.
Shawn was still in bed but waking up slowly and hearing the rain outside he decided to stay in bed a little longer. Usually he didn’t move around too much in his bed, his disability not allowing him to change positions very much or very quickly. Whichever position he decided to sleep in was usually the position he stayed in all night. When he slept on his side he would hold on to a pillow in front of him and also have a pillow propped behind him and sometimes a pillow in between his legs. Sometimes he slept on his belly and sometimes on his back. Even though he couldn’t feel if he was comfortable he still had to be positioned somewhat right to avoid spams or stiffness. He laid there dozing off again to the sound of the rain drumming on the roof.
Jesse finished his coffee and started cleaning up around the house. He wanted the place to look its best. It was somewhat challenging to make the house look attractive and inviting. The furniture was old and worn and living in a wet state with lots of rain it always smelled a little musty in the house. Despite the age of the house Jesse always tried to keep it tidy and clean and on his off day on Sundays he would usually clean the bathrooms, vacuum, clean the kitchen and wash clothes. Lots of times he would have to change the sheets of Shawn’s bed during the week and wash them and then put everything away on his off day. By living only with their dad for a long time and being on their own a lot, they did learn how to take care of themselves and also keep their place clean at an early age.
The spare room which was going to be the PA’s bedroom looked its best. Jesse had cleaned it from top to bottom, had washed the sheets, bought new pillows, dusted, even had wiped down the mini blinds, cleaned the window and put a scented candle and air freshener in the room.
He finished up in the kitchen and went outside on to the porch. Their rambler sat on about two acres of land in the woods. The next neighbor lived about 10 minutes down the gravel road. They were surrounded by Evergreen trees, brush and forest ferns. A small barn stood off to the side and Jesse’s pick-up truck parked on the side of the house.
After the accident and when they knew Shawn wouldn’t be walking anymore, Jesse had built a small ramp over the four steps leading up on the porch and it was finished when Shawn came home from the hospital in his wheelchair. The ramp was not being used too much though, because Shawn hardly left the house.
Jesse sat down in one of the two rocking chairs on the covered porch and watched the rain come down. He was nervous about meeting the woman. He had talked to the Social Security Office and Medicaid about the situation and the possibility to get some financial assistance on the issue. After lots of paperwork and discussion Jesse had been given permission to hire a live-in Personal Assistant for Shawn but only for the time Jesse was away on the job. Jesse and Shawn would only have to pay 50 % of the cost. The Medicaid office had given Jesse a list of approved caretakers with various experience and backgrounds. He had started calling all of them a few weeks back. Out of 15 people only 9 did not already have a job and then it all narrowed down to 3 of them, who were possibly willing to be a live-in PA for the time needed. Out of those one never called back and one fell ill. The only woman left was going to come by at 2:30 p.m. that afternoon and she was really their only hope. If it wouldn’t work out with her Jesse would have to let the job go, because there was no way Shawn would be able to stay by himself for five weeks. Jesse could not work away from home for that long knowing Shawn would be by himself.
Jesse watched the rain forming large puddles in their front yard and leaving bubbles on the surfaces. He was playing with his cell phone when after a while the door opened and Shawn appeared only in sweat pants in his chair in the door, “Hey!”His hair looked ruffled from the night.
Jesse greeted him, “Morning!”
Shawn attempted to wheel through the door awkwardly trying to hold the door open with one hand when Jesse got up and rushed to hold it open for him; then sat back down.
Shawn looked out in the yard, “What a mess!”“Yeah, it’s really coming down…supposed to be like that all weekend.”
Jesse looked over at Shawn, “Seems like you actually had a good night.”
“Yeah, I slept well.”
Shawn then added with his eyes down, “Hey…I ‘m sorry about yesterday…I know I was a pain in the ass.”
Jesse looked out in the yard, “No big deal…I get it.”
“Why do you put up with me?”
Jesse moved his eyes toward the sky, “Why not?” He looked over at Shawn with a smile, “You won’t get rid of me Shawn. My ass is going to be on you always…you have no choice in the matter.”
Shawn realized how Jesse with some sarcasm in his voice had turned it around on him but he kept his eyes down and added lowly, “You don’t deserve to be treated like that. Everything you do for me and around here…I deserve to get my ass kicked.”Jesse smiled, ”Believe me, there have been many times I've been very close to kicking your ass but if they lock me up for beating the crap out of a disabled person, what would happen to you then? I need to stay around to keep your ass in line.”
Shawn couldn’t help but smile then and looked up at Jesse, “When is that person coming?”
“I guess I should get in the shower and clean up…”
Jesse smiled, “Yeah, and put on a shirt...you don’t want to scare her away with your war paint.“
Jesse referred to Shawn’s multiple tattoos on his shoulders and arms. Various tribal symbols extended from his shoulders over to his pectorals. All Jesse had to show for were some tribal tattoos on his upper arms and on his calves.
Shawn put his hands on his rims and spun his chair around to wheel back in. Jesse got up and in front of Shawn to hold the door open for him again, “You need help?”“Nah, I got it.”
“Well, call me if you need me.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Shawn sounded somewhat annoyed. Sometimes Jesse was just a little too overbearing.
While Shawn disappeared in his bathroom Jesse turned on the TV and stretched out on the couch.
Shawn usually needed about an hour in the bathroom. He had a shower chair and all his shower things, a toothbrush and toothpaste and even his shaving stuff and a mirror in the tub. That way he could get everything done while in the shower. Before he showered he got out another catheter to drain his bladder. As much as he tried to ignore the issues of catherization and bowel management he was faced with them daily and it didn’t seem to get easier.
After Shawn’s accident Jesse had taken out the shower door and added a shower curtain. That way Shawn could wheel up to the shower tub and just transfer over onto the shower chair.
Shawn finished in the bathroom looking into the mirror brushing through his dark hair. He had never had problems finding girls before his accident, he wasn’t bad looking and he had always had a way with the female population and wasn’t really without a girl by his side on many occasions. Everything had changed with the accident. The guy he used to be was gone and he had shied away from the world outside his door. He couldn’t imagine any decent woman being interested in him anymore, a guy who didn’t even know when he had to urinate or defecate and who couldn’t get an erection anymore.
He didn’t have a car, even though Jesse had been trying to get him to look at his options of having a car modified using all hand controls. Shawn wasn’t interested in driving anymore. The accident had stripped him of his carefree rebel personality. He hated everything about his disability, felt incomplete and insecure, angry and deep inside hurt.He threw himself a disapproving look in the mirror and then rolled out of the bathroom.
Jesse had left coffee on and Shawn pulled out a mug from the cabinet, set it on the table and bringing the coffee pot over he poured himself some coffee and fixed his cereal. He had to wheel back and forward to get all the things done but he always managed. He was able to take care of all essential duties for himself and around the house; everything just took longer and encompassed more work.
He usually needed assistance with little things or when incidents happen like falling out of his chair, forgetting things or when his body was battling him in the form of spasms or illness. Since he had been home after the accident, he had to be admitted back into the hospital three times due to bladder and urinary tract infection and another time a cold turned into the onset of pneumonia. He got sick easy and on some days he would just stay in his bed because he just didn’t feel good. His psyche had been on an emotional roller coaster, the anti-depressant keeping his moods in check but he still had good and bad days.
Shawn sat at the table eating his cereal while Jesse watched TV. Jesse glanced over to make sure Shawn was o.k. and had everything he needed. It was still raining outside and Jesse dozed off momentarily lounging on the couch.
Once Shawn was done he cleaned up his dishes and wheeled over to the living room, “You wanna play a round?”He nodded towards the game console and Jesse sat up, “Yeah, why not?”
During the week when Shawn was by himself he played Videogames quite a bit, sometimes too much but there was nothing else for him to do. He had some items to exercise with like dumb bells, rubber bands and he was trying to keep his upper body and arms strong, which was essential for his transfers in and out of his wheelchair, lifting himself around or sitting up. He couldn’t do much for his legs and he had watched how they had lost muscle tone over the last year, getting thinner and thinner. He felt weak and incomplete.
Jesse turned on the game console and they played video games until about two o’clock. The rain had not let off at all, it was still pouring outside when Jesse got up and looked around the living room and kitchen once again to see if the place was presentable. He was nervous about the woman coming by. He had only emailed and talked to her on the phone. He had no idea what she looked like. On the phone she sounded friendly.
For her professional experience she was in possession of a Certified Nurse Assistant license, was CPR certified, had worked for the last two years as a CNA in a senior citizen community in town, about 10 miles away. In addition she was an activity coordinator at the senior community, escorting the elderly on trips or fun outings, keeping them occupied with various activities and also instructing water Aerobics classes at the community pool.
When Jesse had asked her on the phone why she wanted to find another job she had replied that she wanted to take on a new career path to eventually become a physical therapist and felt working with a disabled person would be a great opportunity. Her plan was to still work part time at the senior community and Jesse felt they could make it work somehow and talk about it more in the personal interview.
She was also taking prerequisite college classes online. Jesse had a positive impression of her from the contact they had had on the phone and she was really his only hope for him to be able to take the job. He walked to the guest room again and straightened the sheets on the bed once again, pulled the curtain open all the way, looked around and then went back to the kitchen, moved dishes from one corner of the counter to the sink, and straightened dish towels on the oven handle as Shawn who watched him curiously said, “Jesse, chill out man…what's going on with you?”
Jesse froze leaning on the kitchen counter, shaking his head and taking a deep breath, “I just want everything to look right and somewhat okay in here. This place is so old, maybe eventually we need to sell this place and move or something.”Shawn didn’t object.
Jesse walked over to the front door and looked out, “We have a fucking lake outside…She’ll have a nice first impression of this dump.”
Jesse sounded almost angry.
It was right at 2:30 p.m. when Jesse announced, ”There’s a car coming down the road.”
Shawn wheeled toward the kitchen as Jesse stepped out onto the porch to welcome the guest. Shawn realized how nervous Jesse was and even though he did not care too much about the idea of a live-in PA and the whole situation he did not protest about it anymore and even felt somehow sorry for his brother.
In reality Shawn still didn’t want anyone to be living in their place and even coming just a foot near him but he had decided he’d let Jesse do this interview to make him happy.
He heard Jesse outside and a female voice, Jesse apologizing over and over for the rain puddles outside the house and the woman replying that it was okay.
Shawn was startled when both came hurrying in through the door to get out of the rain, the woman barefooted holding flat shoes in her hand, Jesse closing the door behind them and almost bowing down to her a little, apologizing once again for the lake outside the house.
The woman was laughing, “Wow, so much rain.”Jesse came around, “I’m so sorry…let me get a towel for you.”
He rushed toward the back and the woman looked up and met Shawn’s suspicious dark eyes.
She was a little wet but smiling and dropping her shoes, she walked up to Shawn and reached her hand out to him, “Hi, I’m Trish…I’m sorry to burst in like this.
She looked down at her wet and muddy feet and then back up and Shawn stretched his hand out, “Hi, I’m Shawn!
Shawn was stunned. He had expected someone a lot different. Her long blonde hair, slightly damp, was falling over her shoulders down to her waist. She wore a light flowery dress with a green cardigan over it. Her shoes strewn on the floor matching the color of the cardigan. He saw her painted toe nails on her muddy feet. He was speechless, she was beautiful and in his head he heard a very loud voice, “NO FUCKING WAY!”