Dawn wheeled Kelsey into the TV area. There were a few of the residents watching TV, and a couple others playing cards at the table.
“This is Kelsey guys,” Dawn spoke up. Everyone looked her way to introduce themselves.
The card players stood up and walked over, “Hey I am Ashley and this is Tyler.”
One guy over on the couch raised his hand, “I’m Scott.” He said and looked back at the TV.
Dawn pointed to the other guy watching TV, “And that is Kyle, he doesn’t talk much so don’t take it personally.”
Kelsey smiled, “How many people are actually in this place?”
Dawn raised her hands addressing the room, “This is it. We are a 6 bed facility, 2 crisis.”
“Ok guys, it’s almost 4:30, who’s day is it to wash the table? Dinner will be here shortly.” Dawn asked as she headed to the table to help clear it’s remnants from the day.
Scott stood up and grabbed a washcloth and cleaner.
Just then there was a buzz at the door. Dawn walked over and opened the door to Kelsey’s parents. They were holding a bag and a few bags. They had her pillow and of course, Skittle, her beat up stuffed dog. Something she still has not let go despite her age.
Kris came out, “Hi there, you must be Jackie and Steve?”
They nodded, and smiled as they handed her Kelsey’s things. Kris set them on the floor in front of the office. “We’ll move this to your room after supper.”
Kelsey’s parents came over and sat down next to Kelsey. “How are you feeling honey?” Jackie asked as she swept Kelsey’s bangs to the side and checked her cut.
“Im ok, just sore and tired.” Kelsey answered.
“Sweetie, I am very proud of you for agreeing to come here and get help. I know that it’s not what you want or feel you need. And I hope that you will accomplish what you feel you need to do at least.” Jackie said quietly.
“Kels, is there anything you need us get for you before we drive back home? We won’t be back until next weekend.” Steve asked.
“I think I am ok, just as long as I have some clothes, thanks.” Kelsey answered.
“Honey, I didn’t know really what you would have wanted me to pack, so I grabbed a few sweatshirts and some loose comfy pants. I also put in a few of your sundresses, I know that it is winter, but they might be comfortable with your cast. You can cover up with a sweater and blanket in your wheelchair anyways.” Jackie said.
“Thanks mom, thanks dad.” Kelsey said graciously.
Kelsey’s parents then stood up and said their goodbye’s as dinner arrived. Dawn and Kris began setting the meal containers in each place along with a few smaller containers. They passed out the milks and the other residents made their way to their seats. Kris pulled a chair away from the table so Dawn could push Kelsey up to the table.
Dinner was nothing special, some seasoned chicken and wax beans, along with a bread roll. In the containers there was applesauce and cookies for dessert. Kelsey picked at it, not really hungry. She drank her milk and listened to the residents joke with each other and talk about their weekends. Some went out on passes and some stuck around here.
“Kelsey, after dinner here we will go through your belongings and finish up intake. Then I can help you get settled in your room.” Dawn said.
“Kelsey where are you from?” Ashley asked.
“I live a couple hours from here in Mankato. You?” Kelsey asked.
“Oh I live here in Anoka. All my life!” Ashley chirped.
Scott added in, “I am from here too.” Kelsey nodded and smiled.
Kyle stood up and cleaned his place up, “I live about 30 minutes away, in St. Paul. Kris, may I be excused?”
Kris nodded, “That’s fine.”
Kyle reached into his pocket and pulled out his flattened pack of Marlboros. He proceeded to the door.
“Are we allowed to smoke here?” Kelsey asked.
“Yes, outside of course, and at the picnic table down in the yard. Of course, being new, you are on a 2 week probation period. You can’t leave and you can’t have passes. But if you ask a staff member, they can escort you outside for a break. Don’t hesitate to ask, there will always be someone willing to sit outside this small office, trust me.” Kris chuckled.
Kelsey liked that idea, although she was not sure if she even had her purse here and whether or not her cigarettes were in it anyways.
“Did I have any other stuff with me when I came earlier? Was my purse there?” Dawn shook her head, no you had nothing with you.
“Then the hospital still has my purse and clothes!” Kelsey said nervously.
“No, they would have sent that with you, are you sure your parents didn’t take it with them? Were they at the hospital?” Kris asked.
Kelsey nodded, “Yeah, they were. Is there a phone?”
“Yeah there is a resident phone at the end of the hallway, would you like me to push you down there?” Kris asked.
“Yes, please.” She answered.
The others were cleaning up their places as Kris pulled the wheelchair back and spun around to the hallway.
Kris grabbed the phone from it’s stand and handed it to Kelsey, she sat down and waited as Kelsey dialed her parents phone collect. There was no answer, they abviously had not made it home yet. “I guess I’ll try a little later then.” Kelsey said as she handed Kris the phone.
Kris wheeled her back down the hallway and Dawn stepped out from the office, “Hey Kels, can I call you Kels? Or do you prefer Kelsey?”
“Kels is fine. I get that a lot anyways.” Kelsey answered.
“Well, are you ready to finish up here and get settled? There are only a few things we have to do and then you are free to roam.” Dawn said cheerfully.
“Ok, that’s fine,” Kelsey answered, “I need to use the bathroom first though. I f that is ok?”
“Of course!” Dawn chirped. She wheeled Kelsey down to the bathroom and helped her to the bigger stall.
Kelsey, ashamed and defeated, knew that she was going to need help pulling her shorts down. She would have been ok if it weren’t for her damn rib. “Do you think you could help me?”
Dawn smiled and nodded, she pulled her shorts down and grabbed her hand and helped Kelsey lower herself to the seat. Dawn then turned away and shut the stall door.
Kelsey sat there and could feel the tears wanting to rip through, but she composed herself. She was trying to tell herself it was ok. Everybody needs help sometimes and as embarrassing as it was to need help even getting dressed and undressed, it could be worse. Besides, Dawn was a woman too, it’s not like she hadn’t seen a body before. It was her job to help, and she couldn’t judge. Kelsey kept reminding herself to play cool as she finished. “Dawn?”
Dawn came back around and opened the stall door, and without hesitation she grabbed Kelsey’s hands and helped her pull her shorts up. She assisted Kelsey back to the wheelchair and pushed her to the sinks.