Friday, March 11, 2016

Big Changes

It's been awhile since I've been on here.  Hell, it's been awhile since I've spent any time on my computer for anything other than paying the monthly bills.  In that time, our household has seen some major changes.  It all started in December when we made the trip to Portland so I could go under the knife, or laser as it was, to have a microdisectomy with the hope that removing the large piece of disc that was protruding into my nerves would finally bring some relief to the back and leg pain that had been impacting the life of myself and my family.  It's been nearly three months and rehab is progressing but it's impossible to say this early how successful the procedure will be in the end.  As of right now though, I'm pretty happy and excited about how much better I feel.  The impact on my ability to fulfill my duties as a caretaker was pretty minimal given the seriousness of surgery, the pain was more than tolerable ( I went med free following), and the biggest issue I faced quite honestly was taking it easy and not doing too much, something I'm still struggling with.  For anyone reading this, if your doctor is recommending the procedure I underwent, thus far I'd have to give a big, "Go for it!".

Though that was pretty big within our household, it wasn't the biggest thing that happened in the past couple of months.  What was it then you ask?  If you've been following this blog since the beginning than you know that we've been looking for a new home for a couple years.  Something much further south than where we had been residing with more access to healthcare, help if we needed it, closer access to my family and Caden's, and somewhere that would allow Shawna to become more involved in the art community.  Two days before I had my surgery, in an absolute Hail Mary home viewing, we found that home.  Now, I will say, that I do not, in any way, shape, or form, recommend moving posting back surgery but this was a house that we simply could not pass up.  It was one of those places where you walk into and say to yourself, "yes, this is the one".  All things considered, the whole process went pretty smoothly with only a few hurdles to jump and we moved in on January 29th.

While we're certainly excited to have found a house that we love for a lot of reasons, there's a lot of work to be done to make it more user friendly for Shawna.  Both areas of entry have stairs and no good way to put a ramp on.  We did get measured for one but it would have to be exceedingly long and would go directly over our leech field; not to mention to get on it we'd still have to get her up a hill.  The other door is simply too high off the ground to put an ADA approved ramp on.  So, we've been working with both the VA and a local company in an attempt to have a lift chair installed to make use of the daylight basement entry.  It's the safest, easiest alternative to solve our problem and will allow me to build a ramp on another area of the house that likely won't conform to ADA standards but will allow her to evacuate in-case of an emergency. Together with this is the fact that there was no ready made studio space for her to resume her pottery.  I'm currently working to throw something together in the basement but even that won't be sufficient so we're also in the process of gathering the tools and equipment needed to build one just off breast of the house where she'll be able to access it safely no matter what the weather or time of year.  Just working to set this place up properly has kept me busy busy.

Together with working to make the house a home, we've also been getting set up and attending a variety of appointments.  I had to get into physical therapy, we've had visits from people within the home care program, as well as those outside concerning the ramp and lift chair.  We've already been to the Togus VA a couple times for appointments, including one of the most incredible visits I've been to with her  when she found a doctor who really seems to care and has already ordered a variety of new tests to try and find the why's of her declining health.  We've also obtained a family pass to the local YMCA so Shawna has been able to begin swimming again.  I'm not sure which makes her happier, clay or swimming, but both seem to have a vast impact on her mood and mental health and as such have become staples within our life.

It's been an exciting time within our family in the past months and this is just a brief overview.  There were a lot of up's and downs during our time living up north and by the end we were ready to begin our new chapter.  Thus far this move is proving to have been a wonderful thing for our family and I can only hope that the longer we're here, the better things will become.      

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