This, his sister has told me, is Allen's biggest worry: that I will become as incapacitated as his disabled dad. I want him to know that after some recovery time I will be right as rain. No need to worry.
But worry he does. "What will help you feel better?" he asks me.
I talk about taking care of the cats and making sure I get hot tea when I need it, but he needs something much more solid. Like many on the autism spectrum, Allen is very concrete in his thinking. The fact that he is considering my feelings shows how far he has come in the last few years.
I think carefully. It needs to be something easily attained, but also related directly to my successful recovery.
"Slippers," I tell him. "Nice comfy slippers I can wear while I'm laying around and my eye heals."
"Fine,"he says. "I will get you slippers. Then you'll be okay."
I forget about it for a few days. There is much to be done to provide for Ron's needs as I am on the injured list for a while. Thursday night, Allen heads out the door. "Going to Walmart," he tells me. "I need to get you slippers." It has become a mission for him. Alas, when he returns an hour later he sadly reports that he couldn't find any. "Not nice ones," he says.
I want to tell him to forget it, but I know that the slippers are now tied up with his confidence that I will recover, so I simply say, "There are other stores." And on Friday, Allen heads out again in search of something I thought would be easy for him to find. But he still comes back empty-handed. Who knew slippers were such a commodity?
Saturday morning dawns. We are supposed to attend Wendy's Cancer Free Party and I awaken Allen at 10 am to remind him. I hear him get up and shower, then zoom down the steps and out the door. "We're leaving at 11:30!" I shout, but he is already racing towards his car. By the time my daughter Bonnie arrives to chauffeur us to Roxborough, Allen has not returned. Bonnie texts him but gets no response.
"He knew we were leaving, " I say. I write a note and attach it to the door. I am not really worried about him but I ask him to call us when he gets home. I'm just a little annoyed that he has forgotten about the party.
It is an hour later and we are helping Wendy set things up when Bonnie's phone dings with a text. She smiles and reads it to me.
FOUND MOM'S SLIPPERS. SHE'LL BE FINE NOW.
Any annoyance I had at my adult autistic son flies away. The slippers have become such an objective to him that nothing else matters.
Bonnie gives me a hug. "You have to get better now," she says. "Allen found you slippers!"
My magic slippers are packed and ready.