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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, July 11, 2015

Life Goes On, Yeah!

We've been home a week. Seven days so full I can't tell you exactly how each one was spent. We now have more visitors coming and going daily than we've had in the entire 15 years we've lived in this house. Home health nurses, aids, and therapists call and then arrive to do their jobs at varying times, so a schedule is not something we have the luxury of keeping. My husband is a creature of habit, meal times, nap time, television viewing were all previously predictable down to the half-hour. I myself kept to a fairly routine schedule, too, calling it "discipline." That's all behind us now. We're adapting, learning to take things as they come, learning to let go of what was once comfortable and discovering the comfort in what we have now.

The biggest thing we learned this week was that everything previously "routine" now takes much longer. There are extra steps in every move from room to room, from bed to walker to wheelchair to recliner, from recliner to walker to wheelchair for meals, from wheelchair to walker back to recliner or to bed. Next time you walk from one room to the other in your home, add ten minutes to the process. That's our routine now. After a week, we're getting better at it, but I often wish for the wide corridors and open spaces of the rehab center. Our old house is not nearly so accommodating. No matter how much space, we always seem to need another inch or two to make that turn or clear that doorway.

One of my biggest concerns was resolved when our ramp was built in one miraculous day on Monday, right before the rain moved in. It was an awe-inspiring experience to watch two men  who said they were both older than I am--though I found that hard to believe--construct something so large and complex in such a short time. It was clear they knew their way around lumber and power tools, and even clearer they were committed to getting the job done ahead of the weather forecast. Words can't begin to express how grateful we are to them. That ramp is the difference between Possible and Impossible. Imagine being confined to your home, barred from your previous activities, not only by an injury, but by the stairs that lead from your front door. Then imagine someone providing, as a gift of their time and labor and expertise, the freedom to come and go as needed. "Thank you," which I said many, many times on Monday, seemed a poor acknowledgment of that kind of generosity, yet they replied each time that they were just happy to be able to do it for us. I sincerely hope I have the opportunity to pay forward their example of working with a joyful heart at some point in the future.

On Thursday, we put the ramp to use for the first time when we left at 7:00 am for the three hour trip to Kansas City, where we saw the surgeon for John's first follow-up. While the trip was long, it was uneventful. With a lot of help from our daughter, we were able to make all the necessary transfers, find the right office, eat lunch, and return home without doing anyone any further damage. The visit with the doctor was routine--X-rays, dressing change, and much to our relief, a new and less constricting brace. There is no sign of healing yet, and while the doctor said it was probably too early, he also repeated his initial caution that the bones may not heal. They are currently held together with an impressive hardware collection. Only time will tell if there is sufficient blood flow to promote healing. Meanwhile, that metal plate and those nine screws should keep everything securely in place.

I guess we're settling in to this new version of life. The last two nights we've watched television together, something we've rarely had time for in the past few years. I've done a little writer's work in between all the other work. And I've taken on a new project. One of the things that's driving me a little bit crazy is the challenge of living in half the space we were used to. Moving to the first floor created its share of issues, not the least of them finding a place for everything that had to move down with us. Clutter is not a thing we need along with all the other new necessities, like medical supplies and equipment. I bit the bullet and ordered the two pantry cabinets I'd been dreaming of adding to our kitchen for some time. As soon as I get them stained and moved into place, I'm hoping to at least close the doors on some of the extra "stuff" of this new life.

So now we're on to week two. Our immediate goal is to get to church tomorrow morning. That involves more maneuvers than you'd ever dream a six block trip could include, not to mention a bit more muscle than I've built up so far to heft that wheelchair in and out of the trunk. But we'll never know whether we can do it until we try, right? Next week we make another road trip to yet another doctor, this one just an hour and a half away. With luck, in the next few days we'll have everything we need in place in the bathroom, and John will be strong enough to maneuver around all the obstacles, so that he can take a shower for the first time in over a month.

Milestones, each small step along the way back to comfortable living, seem to be those things we took for granted before but rejoice over now.  Little by little, all the new things we do feel more familiar, seem to require a little less thought and effort. With each day, we're letting go of what used to be and embracing what is. This may be temporary. We certainly hope so. But life is whatever you make it, wherever you find it. I learned that one a long time ago.

As the old Beatles song went, "Ooh blah dee, ooh blah dah, life goes on, yeah!" That may have sounded more like fun than a challenge back in the day, but it's still the truth!


  1. I am SO glad you got a good ramp! I know how it is caring for those who are and being disabled. That is another story for another day however. I can't help but smile at the ending of your post. Great song, so true! Thanks for sharing your stories with us!

    1. You're welcome, Joely! I know so many people find themselves in situations like ours every day. It helps to think we can support each other by sharing the little day to day trials and triumphs that make up our larger stories. Thank you for leaving a comment!