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I'm most recently a writer.  In the six plus decades of my life, I've been a wife, mother, grandmother, Jill of all trades though mistress of but a few, and most of the time pretty content with my lot.  As a much younger person, I believed I was called to write, but life and living distracted me for most of those decades.  An unwilling transplant from the South,  twenty years ago I unintentionally landed in the geographical center of the US.  Writing came about in part due to the unwillingness, I expect.  When caring for family, gardening, and renovating a century-old house failed to provide sufficient creative outlets, I turned to the one thing I always intended to do.  Eight titles later, I'm grateful I found myself while Lost in the Plains!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Where to Now?

It's been a week since my last post. I wish I could tell you how things progressed day by day, but all I've retained is the sum of our progress. The details are lost in sleepless nights and drowsy days, somewhere between visits from doctors and therapists, ultrasounds and X-rays, trips to the cafeteria and at least a thousand games of Spider Solitaire. But the final tally confirms that a week after surgery, John is recovering. He's learned to transfer from bed to chair and back without putting any weight on his right leg. He's able to rest comfortably. He's starting to think about what comes next on this unexpected journey and eager to take on the next phase.

At this point in time, life beyond the confines of this hospital room looms before us as a Great Unknown. Each of us has endless questions, some I suspect we're unwilling to put into words. Will he be able to walk again? How many more surgeries? Will he be able to tolerate the therapy necessary to get him back on his feet? Where can we get the best therapy? What can we do to our old house to make it accessible and comfortable for him when he finally comes home? How will we ever pay for everything we need to move forward?

I spent one sleepless night moving furniture, measuring rooms, re-evaluating needs vs. wants, a completely fruitless endeavor. We've talked about what he'd like to have access to from his collection of books and music on the second floor, concluding that he wouldn't know what he wanted until he wanted it. Other than agreeing we need our queen-sized bed moved downstairs--after weeks fighting for space on a full-size, we have no doubt of this--we're still too overwhelmed by the number of obstacles to make any other decisions about the interior arrangement.

Outside the house, I'm worried our compact car is going to pose a problem. I'm pretty sure we'll have to have a ramp built, but I can't envision where best to put that kind of addition. How will ever I manage to get him in and out of the house on my own, even with a ramp?

Each question seems to have a dollar sign attached. Nothing is free. Our budget is always tight at best, and now our income has been reduced further, since I will no longer work at the hotel. The ends seem to be farther and farther apart with more needs arising every day. I don't believe in worrying about money. Life has taught me that needs are somehow met or revised. Still, I'm aware of the need for responsible stewardship. Whatever we have, no matter how limited, will have to go far enough. We don't need the stress of collection calls and those ugly red "Past Due" stamps on our bills. There will be arrangements and adjustments to make. That's always been my job, managing the budget. At the moment, I would like nothing better than to turn it over to someone wiser and less emotionally involved, so I could focus on John's recovery. I'll get over the cowardly wish to magically have it all go away, I'm sure. Some days you just have to pick your burdens, I guess. Right now, here in this hospital room, all my energy is required to be the encourager, the cheer leader, the comforter. Next week, once I'm home again, I'll tackle the revised state of our finances and all those other details that keep me awake right now.

The big question, for which we have to find an immediate answer, is where do we go from here. It was obvious from the beginning that John would need more therapy before he could come home than what's provided in the hospital. Inpatient rehab has several levels, we've learned. Which would work best for our situation has been a question with different answers, depending on who you ask. We've made and abandoned several plans so far. Age, diagnosis, prognosis, and cost all have to be weighed, and then just when you think you've found the solution, there's no bed available and you're back to the drawing board. We think we know where we're going Monday morning, but apparently nothing is written in stone.

So we wait two more days here. It's not a great hardship, although I'd give a lot for a change of clothes I haven't already worn twice. The staff has been wonderful, both in caring for John as a patient and caring for both of us as housebound guests. But no matter how pleasant the stay, every traveler eventually begins to long for home. Believe me, I'm longing. I'm sure John is too, but he's being very brave about going to rehab instead. He's ready, at least in mind and spirit, to get to work.
I've decided to look at this "lost" weekend as a chance to rest up and get focused, preparation for the weeks ahead. We're at the mercy of whatever powers determine our next step, but we can make the best of it. We have television, room service, and relative peace and quiet--things we may wish for once we're discharged to the real world.

I continue to be grateful for so many things. The injury is bad, that's true, but it could have been worse. The prognosis is not perfect, but there's room for hope. We've been extremely fortunate in the doctors, the hospital, and the staff. Our friends and family have provided unceasing support, despite the distance. Most of all, we have each other. We've always been blessed with the kind of bond that endures and even strengthens under pressure. In times like these both of us lean heavily on the calming comfort of our faith, knowing that in a Christian marriage there are three partners. No matter where we go from here, we go together.

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