It’s late, and I’ve been up catching up with stuff related to the campaign, and I wanted to vent and get some things out.
You know how some people take sacks of unwanted kittens and just throw them by the side of the road? That’s how I feel about what has been done to my sister. At 20 years old, she should be close to graduating college, traveling the world, pursuing a career. Instead she rots aimlessly in a nursing home because nobody cares enough to help her on the path to recovery. Of course, we as her family care more than anybody could, but a backwards and lackadaisical (at best) system keeps our influence to a minimum. A simple familial situation was grossly mishandled while she was temporarily with her dad in Oklahoma, Robin taken by child protective services under distorted and ill-conceived circumstances, and when they couldn’t find a family that could accomodate her special needs, they dumped her on the side of the road, so to speak, where nobody even attempts to help her.
In the nursing home, they refuse to do anything useful. The whole reason I’m doing this fundraiser is because the state is too disinterested to even equip her with a proper wheelchair. For those who have seen the videos, you’ve seen how useless it is. The foot supports are broken, and it’s manual. My sister doesn’t have full use of her hands! Why would you provide her a means of transport that requires full use of them?! A while back, we found out that she was no longer attending college due to the insurmountable difficulty she had getting to class. The state thought they could just throw her scholarship money and she’d be fine. Not the case. Everybody realized what was going on with her classes, and they stood by and did nothing while her future slipped away from her.
The nursing home tried to put Robin in a vocational rehab program, meant to give her basic job skills. She is 20 years old, mind you. This is a case of too little, too late. Only THEN did they seem to realize she didn’t have the basic physical faculties to support herself, and therefore needed to learn how to do that before she could hold down a regular job. The vocational school was like throwing a bucket of water on a housefire and saying “see? i did something!” Only recently has anybody bothered to even make a token gesture. We’ve heard from her most recent case worker (they change them about as often as they changed Robin in foster placements) investigating and offering what help she could, and through her we realized she didn’t even have a physical therapist. Oh, yes, there was an assistant who helped her with a few exercises sometimes, but this person was not a licensed physical therapist. As her legal guardian they should be providing her with the means to improve her situation. We originally had trouble just finding what kind of chair was needed for Robin because we couldn’t find anybody qualified to give a medical opinion on it. The one doctor we DID find just recommended a “power wheelchair”. That’s like telling a person with a cold they need medicine. I tried to get in touch with a lawyer who might be able to help us improve her quality of life, but not only could I not get in touch with the man, the several promises made to “call me back” were not upheld. Any newspapers I tried to contact wholly ignored me. Why the hell does nobody give a damn about my sister?! I’m tired of nobody listening when we ask for help. Just because she is not the only person in the world with cerebral palsy doesn’t mean she’s any less important!
Just recently my mother called Robin to see how she was doing because she hadn’t heard from her in a couple weeks. The receptionist said that Robin was still in bed-at 1:30 in the afternoon. When asked why she hadn’t been assisted from bed, the lady replied “well, it is a nursing home.” My sister is not some aging retiree who has already paid their dues to society and needs to rest for the benefit of their health. She is a growing young lady and needs both mental and physical stimulation if she is to get anywhere. It’s amazing how her constitution has held up given the complete lack of interest and motivation from her peers and the adults around her. Everyone has just given her up to the ravages of life without even a whimper. I cannot handle watching her potential just slowly die out like a flickering candle like it is right now. I’d love to see her accomplish everything that she’s talked about doing. Right now the piece of garbage she’s been given is obviously holding her back, but if we can give her the standing wheelchair she really needs, then she could finally get up the confidence to maybe do some of the singing she says she loves so much. Not to mention she’s a huge animal lover, so she’d be more able to be an animal trainer and volunteer at her local shelter. She could even learn how to ride a horse. She absolutely could go back to school and be well on her way towards a degree in Criminal Justice. Right now she’s just so restricted, and I want to see her live the life that I see others living so happily. I can see her going out with a group of friends to the latest Justin Bieber concert, or the movies to see the latest Ashton Kutcher movie. Not to mention the traveling! In my family, traveling is the purest form of living. She could finally see all the places she’s talked about…the Big Apple, the dream lands of Europe, and of course-her family here in South Florida. Better yet, she could get her Criminal Justice degree abroad. By getting this wheelchair for her we could broaden her horizons so much farther than the dusty lands of Oklahoma.
I’m angry, and I’m angry for her. But she still gives me hope. Every time I talk to her, she’s still smiling. I don’t know how she does it, but despite everything, she’s always bubbly, and giggling, and cheerful, and smiling. And that … that hope, is what inspires me to keep trying for her. And hoping. And not giving up like so many others have. I still believe in you, Robin.