Monday, May 4, 2015

Settling In

Wow - what a couple weeks it's been.

Looking back to the day we left for our new home, just 14 days ago, it's hard to believe all that we've accomplished in that short time.

Of course we didn't do this alone - it was a full-on family affair.

Here we are as we are pulling out of our driveway in CA headed for Vegas.

I was pretty much already exhausted from loading up the van. We had to cram about 50 items in and around Jeff. Somehow we made it all fit.

After two stops and about six hours of travel, we made it safely to our destination. I didn't get a picture of our arrival, but it went something like this:

Jeff's parents met us in our driveway (they walked, as they live only three doors down!). His mother was bawling as we pulled in, and his dad was quick to help us start unloading. We had to get everything out of the van before I could back Jeff out, so we made quick work of it.

Jeff was grumpy and tired from being bobbled around in the back of the van. It was the longest vehicle ride he's undergone since before his injury. His neck was sore for days.

Evie had to pee so bad she high-tailed it into the house and was spinning around on the new rug in her room by the time everyone else got inside. 

My mom was blown away by the size of our new house, and particularly the size of her room!

I was running entirely on adrenaline and frayed nerves at this point. (Honestly, I kind of still am.)

But we finally made it inside our new house and were so pleased with what we saw.

The next few days were hectic. Jeff's parents unpacked all of our kitchen and living room boxes. Jeff's mom set up our kitchen while his dad assembled furniture. They did this for days on end. There's no way we could have gotten up and running as quickly as we did without their help.

Slowly our house went from looking like a pack of wild hyenas had moved in to the dwelling of a more civilized species.

I registered Evie at her new school, and she began a few days after we arrived. She's done a great job so far. She likes her teacher and is starting to get to know some of the kids in her class. Only about a month of Kindergarten left then she'll get her first real taste of summer vacation. Oh to be a kid again.

I also made an appointment with Jeff's new physician and met with him last week. We didn't really get to pick one - we just had to go with a first available appointment for a doctor in our new insurance plan. Nothing like springing a high-level quad with complex medical needs on an unsuspecting physician! But we were organized in our approach, and the new physician seems willing to work with us. So much of Jeff's care is stuff we just have to figure out on our own. Yes, there's companies to help with medical supplies, equipment, and the like, but it's up to me to contact these companies and get things moving. And yes, I also know that there's supposed to be magical people in the medical world whose job it is to handle all of these things on a patient's behalf. We had one of those while Jeff was in the hospital. But once he transitioned home - poof - she disappeared back into the mythical land of in-patient care. 

Orchestrating Jeff's care is my job now. And it's taken up a LOT of my time over the past month. (Remind me to write sometime about how on the drive out here, while speeding down the 15 freeway, I had to get nasty on the phone with a representative from a medical equipment company who was informing me that my husband's hospital bed wouldn't be delivered until the next day - the day AFTER we arrived. I'm not usually one to toot my own horn, but ... well, the bed was in our house when we arrived a few hours after that lovely phone call.)

Anyhoo ...

All in all, we - as a family unit - have transitioned pretty smoothly. We love our new home, and our new surroundings, and we feel this was the right move for our family. 

But if I'm being honest, the last couple weeks have been a roller coaster ride for me. I am absolutely thrilled with our new home. But I am also reminded of how hard transition is for a quadriplegic family.

The first few days I was trying to do it all - all at once. I was frantically unpacking all of our necessities, organizing Jeff's medical supplies, spending time with Evie setting up her new room, paying bills - old ones from CA and new ones from NV - learning essentials about the house like the location of the water shut off valve, the electrical breakers, and the smoke detectors, oh, and taking care of every need of my paralyzed husband. I might be having a pity party for myself right now, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that the first few days were ... exhausting.

Thankfully things have calmed down a bit.

Jeff has done a great job of decorating our home. (In case you don't know, Jeff is a closet Martha Steward. He has an eye for decor and making a home come together. He gets it from his mom.) Our living space is coming together so nicely.

And Evie loves her new house. She zips around, inside, on her little pink scooter I ordered for her before we got here. She and Jeff race on the tiled-floor of our living room, and sometimes he gives her rides on his chair. It looks as if they are dancing.

The smile on her face is why we did this.

That's what it all comes down to, right? We want our children to be happy. And we knew we had to make some big changes in order to give our child a nice home in a nice neighborhood where we could live this life we never planned.

We love our new home. We just don't necessarily love the path we had to take to get here.

Two years ago, I would never have believed that we would be where we are today. We would have never moved if Jeff hadn't been injured. Before that we were living a nice little life in a nice little SoCal community. We had good jobs: Jeff had been an insurance broker for nearly a decade. And I had just started a great job with a large company I was sure I would retire from.

Then everything changed. In an instant.

And more change followed. Decisions were made we thought we'd never be faced with.

And somehow here we are today. In our new home, on our new journey, via a path less traveled by.

A path we certainly didn't choose - but one that has made us stronger, more resilient, and more in tune with life.

One that, indeed, has made all the difference. 

... Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 
-Robert Frost