Mais revenons-nous a nos moutons. When The Boy said he'd signed up with CIL, I said he was daft, that he wasn't a bleeding heart and so was completely unsuited to such work. I was completely wrong. It was partly because he wasn't a bleeding heart that TB was an asset. The core idea of CIL was to liberate differently-abled people from institutions and set them up in their own households in their own community. It was partly driven by economics - keeping people in institutions with 24/7 care is budget-sappingly expensive whereas a rota of even 4 or 5 people on close to minimum wage is cheaper - but it also had a strong drive for social inclusion. You can't just park the difficult cases out of sight round the corner and forget about them. Well you can and we did for decades. Before we set up an institution-based infrastructure, people with deficits as well as people with extra bits were held, and to a certain extent cherished, by the community. CIL found places for their "trainers" to rent and a group of 4 or 5 young "trainees" to provide the 24/7 care that was needed. A nice conceit! Each disabled person was the boss, telling the trainees what they required and ensuring that was achieved with care and attention and suitable manual-handling training. TB was assigned to the roster of a young chap with Duchenne muscular dystrophy DMD who, like Stephen Sutton, wasn't long for this world. DMD was sharing a small house in Clontarf with a chap who had cerebral palsy who was also training a team of youngsters in care-and-attention. The joke in their home was that one of them moved too much and the other not enough.
TB and DMD decided that sitting at home waiting for the end was toooo boring, so let's go down the disco. Loading up the wheel-chair at night; pushing it to the bus-stop; man-handling the kit onto the bus and getting in everyone's way; getting off the bus and more pushing . . . that was the investment but the deep pulse of the sub-woofers and the jangling lights and the booze and the women was the pay-off. Can you dance in a wheel-chair? Haway te fuck wi' ye - of course you can dance in a wheelchair: that trainee can turn it so you almost puke your dinner.
TB did that for six months and then hitched off to Germany for the Summer. When he came back he was assigned to a different trainer who was a bit older and not so much into wild parties. Early the next year, DMD died. He was 24. It was not unexpected. CIL forgot to tell TB so he missed the funeral.