Difficult Transitions, Happy Returning

By Ben Chu, Brother of Kyung, FCSN South Bay W.I.L.L. Client

My loving, social, and amazing younger brother, Kyung, loves to go to FCSN South Bay WILL Program. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, Kyung got sick and had some GI issues that required him to go to the hospital several times. His health worsened, and in the midst of it, he felt quite depressed, lonely and isolated. He missed going to FCSN a lot, and oftentimes he would ask our parents to take him to see FCSN South Bay Center on the weekends.

Staying at home longer than expected, made Kyung feel separated from his friends and families. Slowly depression set in and Kyung lost his interest in attending virtual classes. As the days went by, it was getting harder for my parents to encourage him to even get up in the morning to sign in to the online classes. My parents used different strategies to motivate him, including going to the office with our Dad to have a different environment. At the beginning it enticed Kyung but after a couple of outings, Kyung preferred to stay in bed. Running out of tactics, my parents reached out to FCSN to help encourage my brother to participate in the classes. The SB team did not waste any time and did their share in convincing Kyung to sign in every day. It worked for a while, Kyung signed in while still in bed. It was better compared to just lying down. We thought we had seen the worst in Kyung, but his condition further deteriorated and he lost his appetite to eat. There were days that he went by without any food and water. He started to walk slowly, always stooping down and rubbing his tummy. This alarmed our parents and since my brother has limited speech and not able to express his feelings, additional doctor appointments were scheduled to the existing calendar to find more support to improve my brother’s condition. Kyung shied away from everyone, including during celebrations with family and relatives that he would usually look forward to. Even dinning out with me, my wife and our parents was not interesting enough. The doctor visits did not show any medical issues that we should be alarmed of.

When FCSN Independent Living Services (ILS) and in-person services were slowly reinstated, daily one-hour visits gradually cheered Kyung to wear his walking shoes to visit our neighborhood. Although at the beginning, it took ILS staff Ms. Casie thirty minutes to make Kyung wear his shoes, it was worth the effort. There were even a couple of times when my mom brought Kyung to South Bay Center when there were staff, so he can get a glimpse of his “school” and he would feel better. When he was at the Center, he appeared reluctant to go inside even though he was very familiar with the people. Perhaps he was surprised to see familiar faces, or curious why the center was boarded up and yet he did not see any of his peers.

Kyung looking into the South Bay Center

Our parents breathed a sigh of relief when FCSN called for an All Parent/Client meeting for the Phase 1 planned re-opening on July 19, 2021. We waited in anticipation that it would push through because we truly believe this would help my brother very much. And it did. Kyung looked forward to his first day back at FCSN. When he saw the staff and his peers coming one at a time, his face lit up. He was energized, he participated in group activities, and quickly responded to help in the office shredding old files. Kyung attended every Monday and Tuesday, however, in the beginning he could not understand why he was only limited to two days a week. On the days he should attend virtual classes, he insisted that he goes to FCSN. One weekend, Kyung asked our parents to take him to FCSN but my parents told him that it was a weekend and there is no school. But my brother was smarter than we thought, he told them that he wanted a drink at Friend’s Coffee Shop. Having no excuse, my parents drove Kyung to FCSN, but to everyone’s disappointment the coffee shop was also closed on weekends.

With the re-opening, Kyung’s mood and health significantly improved, we as a family are very happy to see my brother coming back to his normal self. We want to thank everyone at FCSN, and we hope FCSN is able to fully reopen all the in person programs again soon. Thank you everyone!

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