Thursday, December 18, 2008
Living on my own
David was still living with me at the time of the accident. He couldn't really handle living in the house while I was lingering in a coma, so he moved out. The house sat empty from November of '05 until I finally came home in April of '06. While I was still in the coma a team of people, including my parents and some friends, decided to deep clean my house for me. This was a great gift because neither Cliff, David, nor I ever focused much attention on really cleaning. (To this day I don't dust. In my opinion dust is what holds my nick-knacks in place!)
Now, while I say this was a great gift, and I am truly thankful that they did it. It was kind of disturbing to find out that, while I was incapacitated, my family and friends cleaned my house from top to bottom. For a very long time I felt as if my privacy had been violated, and in some ways it was. When I got to visit the house for the first time, while I was still an inpatient at the ARC, not only did it feel lonely, but several things were out of place and nothing seemed quite like I remembered it.
The house didn't smell right either. I kept questioning this while my Physical Therapist and Occupational Therapist were looking around. (The point of the visit was for them to get an idea of what modifications would be needed and what I would need to be able to do physically to return home.) My parents kept saying that the smell was just because the house had been shut up for a couple months and the air was stale. A few months later, while I was living at my parents house, a group of friends from my days at Purdue came to visit and took me to my house for the day. My friends took me in through the garage, and we realized that there were a couple of bags of trash in the garage that had obviously been there since late October/early November. This, was the source of the smell that my home had taken on in my absence.
As I said, many of my things had been moved during the deep cleaning project. Before I could come home permanently several modifications had to be made to the house. This, of course, required that more things be moved and piled into rooms where they didn't belong. (To this day there are still things that I know I had in this house before the accident that I cannot find!) Then, in April of '06 I was finally able to come home. Jamie moved in a few days later to help me with things that I couldn't do on my own. With two people living here, I was never really able to find everything that was missing, or get the house set up the way I wanted it again.
So, after three years, I finally get my chance! The room that has belonged to Cliff, David, and Jamie has now been turned into an office, with a futon for guests to sleep on when I have visitors. I'm very happy to have a place for guests to sleep again. Once upon a time my den was set up to be an office and guest room, but it was very tight and it's right off the living room, so it didn't really allow any privacy. (Cliff and I took in a stray friend for about three months and I finally had to get rid of the hide-a-bed to get him to move out! That's a story for another time.) The den gradually became the home for my Star Wars collection and lost it's use as an office. Especially after the deep cleaning project and renovation, when everything that didn't have a home wound up shoved in that little room.
Now, back to my point...where was I...Oh yeah, I finally get my chance to set my home up the way I want it, without having to deal with anybody else's shi...um...stuff! The den is now a display room for my massive Star Wars collection, and it doesn't look insane like it used to. (I'm very happy about that.) The second bedroom is now an office and I no longer have bills and other mail cluttering up my house. The house is happy, and therefore I'm happy!
Jamie didn't move far. He's just on the other side of the intersection closest to my house. he still comes by every week to help with the trash and he's planning on helping with the grass when it starts to grow again. (He wasn't very good about cutting the grass regularly when he lived here, so I'll probably need some other people to help out with that as well!)
For the record, Jamie was a huge help during the time that I needed him most. He learned how to administer the PICC Line when I was on IV antibiotics and did that nightly for 9 weeks. He helped me with laundry, cleaning (to some extent), trash, yard work, and other house work. When the infections were at their worst we even had a baby monitor set up between our rooms and he would come help me with whatever I needed at all hours of the night. He is a great friend and I do miss his company, but man I love having the house to myself!
Take care and have a Merry Christmas.
Love from Virginia Beach,
Harry and Lilla