Sunday, January 9, 2011

Conversations with Lisa

Do you remember that song that came out when I was in HS?

"I talk to myself, cause there is no one to talk to. People ask me why, why I do what I do?"

Those are the only words I know and still 20 years latter I will sing them. My friends would laugh at me as they saw me walk down the halls of Newport mumbling to myself. I talked things out in my mind. Some people think that's crazy. Others say it's only crazy when you talk back to yourself.

I know someone who really talks with herself as if there are two of her. Her name is Lisa and she has Down Syndrome and is 22. I "work" at her house 2 to 3 days a week in the mornings for 6 hours until I take her to work at Trader Joes where she 'faces' the products.

The routine goes something like this:

-Breakfast for both of us. I read the newspaper.
-Lisa goes up stairs to her room and plays the same music every day and sings to it. She only plays the beach boys, the Beatles or Disney. She dances while she sings and sounds terrible. I go down stairs and sleep.
-Then around 10 or 10:30 Lisa and I watch a movie, do errands, or on Thursday go bowling.
Lisa bowls with her friend who has DS with the sides up, so the ball will not go in the gutter. Even though Lisa specifically has no skills he gets a strike and spares at least once during the 2 or 3 games they play. The 2 girls don't really talk to each other, in fact I have to remind Lisa to say goodbye to her friend.
-Lisa is a schedule and rule keeper. She has to be home by 11:30, so she can get her purse together. her purse has a total of 3 things in it- keys, a cell phone and her wallet. Lisa will say something to me about my seat belt or the like. She is always looking at her watch and it's quite annoying.
- Lisa makes her own lunch unless it involves the stove. She eats, goes up stairs and gets ready with her t-shirt on and waits to leave while I drive her to school.

Pretty easy job huh. Yes, Getting paid to sleep, read, do my errands, etc. But it's often boring too. If Lisa is not talking to someone else or singing she is having conversations with herself. It's not just once in a while. IT'S CONSTANT! She cannot be quiet. Noise, talking all the time. Here is an example:

Lisa: We have to go to Becky's.
Lisa: ya, but we'll be back on time.
Lisa: She just has to get her cell phone.
Lisa: OK,

or here's another one.

Lisa: I'm hungry
Lisa: ya me too, I'm hungry.
Lisa: tuna for lunch.
Lisa: O, good, I love tuna.

Or this one:

Lisa: My stomach hurt.
Lisa: ya, but you'll be OK.
Lisa: ya, it will get better, you can still go to work.
Lisa: ya, I'll be fine.
Lisa: OK.

The other thing about Lisa is her lack of own ideas. If we are at the library and I take out a book, she takes out a book, if I bend down to see better, she bends down to see better. Her friend will know how to dance or get excited at bowling for knocking all the pins down, but Lisa does not. She just walks back.

I don't have any pictures of Lisa, but she has bobbed brown hair to her shoulders and is thin and like typical DS is short. Her parents are pretty rigid, (her food intake in monitored) with most everything, so Lisa is like that too. unlike the happy smiley people you think of when you think of that extra chromosome person, Lisa is robotic instead. Lisa's friend takes the bus to get to the bowling alley and walks a short distance to it. Lisa could be capable of taking the bus or Access and ridding herself of the need for me, but nothing has been done about that. Of course it's hard to leave a DS person alone with herself for that long.

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