Alot has been happening since I closed on my dream property, Ripple on Silver Lake. I spent the better part of the month of June cleaning, reorganizing, rearranging, redecorating, reconfiguring and renovating the space. It's been alot of work, but truly a labor of love. I've lived on the property for four years and had a plan for the property long before the closing. The day after the closing I got started so that by the time the first mortgage payment was due, I would have generated enough cash flow to cover it. Paying my old rent is quite different than meeting the new mortgage!
In an effort to generate some cash flow, I quickly I secured leases with three long term tenants. I upgraded two rooms and listed them on VRBO for the summer and fall season. I renovated the barn and turned it into a pleasant and functional space for workshops, trainings, meetings and classes.
We held our first event in late August. I learned alot, made some adjustments to the space and began to plan a calendar of events. The calendar started on October 5th with the Magic of Manifesting with the Law of Attraction class, a Vision Board Party, a couple of followup programs and our Open House event that was chock full of events planned for the day, including a Clear Your Clutter for a Cause yard sale to generate money for our scholarship fund for locals who may not be able to afford to attend our offerings.
I was excited and really looking forward to seeing the house come alive, our base expand and begin to expand our offerings throughout the fall and into the winter.
And then I got the call. Evelyn, the social worker who has been coordinating my Dad's care asked if I could be on a conference call on Wednesday. I rearranged my schedule to accommodate her request to meet with my Dad's care team. Dad began his most recent medical journey six months ago. He was out and about in his neighborhood and had a fluttery feeling in his chest. He went to his primary care doctor who referred him to a cardiologist. The cardiologist scheduled him for a cardiac catherization to clear a suspected blockage. Once they got in, they decided Dad needed open heart surgery. The day after his surgery he was extubated and doing well. I talked with him on the phone. He was a bit loopy from the medication but was doing well. Shortly after our call, Dad had a cardiac arrest. He was coded for thirty minutes and reintubated. And there it began. He was on a ventilator for 2 weeks and kept in a medically induced coma. He experienced multisystem shutdown with all sorts of complications. We had no idea what his neurological status was and yet had to make all sorts of critical care decisions. Going with our best judgment and a whole lot of intuition, but not really, truly knowing how things were going to turn out.
Dad had to have a tracheotomy and ultimately got transferred to a complex care respiratory facility to get weaned off the ventilator. He couldn't speak. He couldn't eat. He couldn't walk. He couldn't really do much of anything but lay in bed. His course of treatment was even more complicated by a couple of serious lung infections, a bladder surgery, dialysis, endless tests and a couple more hospital admissions. Little by little, his neurological status became evident. He was really confused, but seemed to be coming back. Finally he was discharged to rehab for physical therapy and occupational therapy.
While he was in rehab, me and my brothers took over his household, his bills and taking turns visiting him in Florida. We kept each other informed of his progress. He was working really hard in rehab, but it didn't seem that he would ever get beyond the need for assisted living. We started to explore options. In the meantime, we fought with insurance companies, negotiated with bill collectors and advocated for Dad throughout every level of the health care system.
The past six months have inspired me to talk to people about being sure they have a living will, clearly spelled out with specific directives. My Dad had a living will, but the process of deciding on his behalf while he was in a coma and not knowing what the outcome would be was the most difficult thing we had to do. The past six months showed me how lucky I am to have awesome brothers who are married to awesome women who have all banded together to support my Dad in the most amazing ways. And the past six months have taught me how necessary it is for me to take good care of myself so I can help others. Extreme self care became my motto. And asking for help ... specifically what I need and want to allow me to recharge for the next round ... has become second nature to me.
In the middle of it all, the deal for the house came together in the most miraculous ways. Almost as if to remind me of my own dreams and goals. Almost as if to prevent me from giving up the life I love in NH to move to Florida to take care of my Dad full time. And almost as if my Mom had a hand in orchestrating it all so she was sure I didn't give up my dream to make the Silver Lake property a retreat center that helped people connect, learn, grow and thrive.
As the call progressed, it became clear that Dad was making remarkable progress. Even more remarkable over the past few weeks. The team recommended him for discharge to home. Not to assisted living. Not even to an independent living facility with onsite support services. To home. To the place he has lived for over twenty years. Ideally he would need two to four weeks of someone with him 24/7. And he was ready to go as soon as we could coordinate the details of him coming home.
I was in California. I was flying back to Boston for a few days to prep for the October 5th class and for the Open House. I had list upon list of things to do to get ready for the upcoming schedule of events I had planned.
And Dad was waiting to go home. He had been waiting for six months. And today was the day he could be free.
I did the only thing I could do. I called my brothers and put them on alert. I changed my flight and headed to Florida. I drove straight from the airport to the rehab center. And there he was, walking up and down the hallways with his walker waiting for me to come. Practicing his transfers and balance exercises so he would be strong for when he got home. I met with the physical therapist who scheduled a home evaluation. Dad passed that with flying colors. There was no legitimate reason to insist that he go to assisted living. Except for my own reasons. My schedule. My plans. My reasons.
And so I did the only thing I could do. I made the decision to bring Dad home and to stay with him during his transition. I canceled all my classes and appointments and workshops and meetings. And I am right where I am supposed to be.
Dad and I have had lots of powerful conversations about all that has happened over the past six months and the impact that it has had on each other and our family. In between we are focused on the very simple activities of daily living that we take for granted until we are humble and find ourselves in a place we have to pay attention.
Life happened. I was busy making other plans. I'm glad I was able to cancel those plans so I can support Dad fully in accepting, living and thriving in his new normal. I am grateful for so many things, but in this moment, I am grateful for the richness of the experiences and challenges I've had this year for the lessons and growth they have afforded me.
When Ripple on Silver Lake celebrates it's Open House and when the new class schedule is released, you can be sure that it will be inspired by the life and the lessons of my Mom and my Dad ... and all I have learned from them and through them.
In the meantime, I'll be sure to continue a bit of self care while in Florida and be sure to take in some of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen!
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