l Arrived in January of 2002 to a little bit of confusion. The staff was nice enough, the place pleasant enough. But Tony had been used to his independence in Florida: when to wake up, when to dress, when to go out, when to eat, when to sleep. Here, he seemed to be losing all that -- and it was a difficult start.
l By mid-March, a certain routine was established. That is to say, Tony found his place in the routine and settled into it. Most of the residents at Epsom Manor are ladies, and they had -- long before Tony's arrival -- established a kind of "pecking order." At first Tony bristled at the notion that the ladies could decide where a person was to sit in the diningroom, or whether a window would be opened or closed. But before long, when his family came to visit him, Tony could recite which chair was whose, and when the windows would slide open, and who would say what. His family would usually find him at his own table in the diningroom.
l Another transformation took place around April and May. Before this, although Tony was settling into his new place, he remained frustrated and cranky. He was always cheerful when family visited, and pleasant when members of the staff spoke with him. But he refused questions from mental health workers, who were assigned to evaluate Tony regarding his mental stability. Apparently, while in Florida, Tony had been prescribed a federally-controlled anti-psychotic drug, and Epsom Manor was not permitted to remove him from this chemical restraint until an evaluation proved it was advisable. Tony's inability to abide the questions, and his tendency to complain about things he couldn't change, didn't help his case. Finally, though, it was agreed that Tony should make a trial of going off the drug. This was when a major transformation occurred. The menu -- which Tony had previously described as bland, repetitive and awful -- now became not only tolerable, but wonderful. The activities arranged for residents (such as Bingo and other games and crafts) now had some appeal. Tony would even laugh at the quirks of some of the residents -- such as window-opening and closing. He often made mention that he knew he had to be in a place that could care for him, and he knew it was best to be near family. Although he longed for the hot climate in Florida, he was content enough to be at Epsom Manor.
l The summer of 2002 proved to be a hot one in the Epsom region. Tony enjoyed this, and would be brought outside to one of three patios to sit in the sun. On several occasions he joined his family at their home for a cook-out, and just recently (end of September) went for a ride to an apple orchard, bringing back two large bags of juicy apples -- one for himself, and one for the staff at Epsom Manor. Tony has enjoyed sharing these apples with the other residents, and has been found having nice conversations with these people who are now his neighbors. He gets along well with his new roommate, too, though this wasn't the case when Tony moved in and met his first roommate.
l Tony had a computer set up in his room back in February or March, and he was all set to be on America Online. He also had several computer games, including poker, golf, solitaire and flight programs. Before long, though, Tony expressed regret at his inability to remember how to use the games, or even how to sign on to AOL to retrieve his mail. Family would sign on for him, and get his mail and read it to him. When the monitor on his computer failed and family members tried to repair it, Tony didn't miss having it on his desk. Instead, he began using the desk space to color patterns and drawings with colored pencils. This is an activity that a staff member discovered Tony enjoys, and he says he finds it relaxing. It also helps with concentration and hand-eye coordination. (Now, since Tony is no longer on AOL, he can receive mail at Tony@Peacan.net, where it would be printed out and brought to him, or else letters through the post office.)
l As of October 1, 2002, Tony is listed as being unstable for standing or balancing on his own. He spends his days in his wheelchair, and recently has been tucked into his bed for an afternoon nap, rather than being permitted to doze off in his chair. This gives him a break from sitting so much. Tony thought it would ruin his sleep at night, but it doesn't. He reports that he goes to bed early -- about 7 or 7:30pm -- and sleeps soundly until 6 am.
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