Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Part 6 of my GoFundMe updates, C&Ped here.  This was written four days after we returned. I aim to return later and add some of the photos described here that were shared on my GFM page.


Brian and I had our uneventful flight home Friday, woke up two groggy boys at 1am to hug and kiss, and crawled into bed shortly after. A few short hours later, the pair of them blasted into our bedroom to crawl in bed with us for a snuggly reunion. (Well, bouncy, noisy, snuggly reunion.) 

Since being home, I find myself wanting to Do! Things!, then rapidly being reminded I am still in recovery. I function well, then need a hard nap. (Very hard--yesterday's was nearly three hours, today's over two hours, during which at one point I thought I was on the plane home.) 

I'm wobbly but manage without the cane at home because there are plenty of walls, pieces of furniture, etc. to balance me in a wobbly moment. That doesn't stop Trent from chastising me if he doesn't see me using it--"Mom, where's your candy cane?" he asks. Heh. So, I’m using it just a little bit more when he’s around. 

Jett is a little weirded out by my scar, but is clearly very happy to have me home. Now we swing in to the home routine again, with some modifications, and I’m back to reading Harry Potter books to him at bedtime (we just started The Prisoner of Azkaban). 

I do wish to remain transparent about finances relating to this surgery as much as I can, and now that we're home, the numbers are coming in so I can to share what we know thus far. The actual medical bills likely won't get here for a few months (oof, the waiting), but the hotel and rental car numbers are in. Please forgive that I am rounding since I haven't gone through the receipts just yet and am going by memory. The hotel was approximately $3200 for the 14 night stay, managing to save a fair amount using street parking rather than the hotel's $14/night + tip valet for the majority of the stay. We paid a hospital discount rate of $185/night and were initially assuming the total would be about $2700 or so, but ugh...forgot about that part with all the daily taxes and fees. The rental car, again for 14 days, was about $1200. So, the travel portion of this surgery totals about $4400. 

It feels awkwardly improper for me to talk about money like this, but again, I wish to be transparent. Once the medical bills come in, I'll be certain to post them as well. Missing chunks of my brain or not, I'm a fighter and keen negotiator, and will not put up with an insurance company trying to play a very expensive shell game with us. I have already been put in contact with a health advocacy group and they're ready, too, to bring it should it need to be brought. ;) 

Regardless, though, there is no question--NO question--that going cross-country to see Dr. Bolognese and have this world expert do my operation was the right decision. Absolutely no question, not for me or Brian, who in fact said if we're paying for it for the next few decades, it's worth it. 

This is where I will attempt, and no doubt fail spectacularly, to express gratitude for the outpouring of kindness we are receiving from so many different aspects of our lives. For one, Brian's work has set up a dinner schedule so that for the two weeks my mom was watching the boys. *plus* the first two weeks after my return home, we don't have to worry about cooking--which, I'm realizing, also means I don't have to worry much about grocery shopping or kitchen cleaning. Our first full day home, I was thinking (worrying) through my exhaustion about lunch/dinner, and I realized--there were some leftovers from the meals in the fridge. There was plenty for everyone, for both meals. That moment was yet another time when the tears came, for all the best reasons. 

I wasn't sure I was up to driving the boys to school and we were tying to figure out how that would work...and then the adult daughter of a dear friend called me and volunteered herself. All this week she's driving the boys to school, with me in the passenger seat, and has offered to take me to my doctor appointment to get stitches out Thursday if I need. (I'm hoping I can manage that brief little drive myself by then.) 

I miss my horses so, but right now the barn is incredibly unsafe for me. The uneven ground alone is a risk even with my cane, so leading a horse, grooming them, mucking stalls, feeding--all of that is pretty far out of my reach at the moment. And so--yet another friend has been lovingly tending to my horses on a regular schedule, grooming them, bathing them, exercising them (she got Tril to jump!), all the while sending photos and even a daily diary of their adventures. Again, it brings tears. 

I'm so overwhelmed with gratitude, I feel a strange futility trying to express it, because my expression is vastly disproportionate to what we are being given. (But I still keep trying.) This leads me to a strange place: I am learning to breathe deep and accept it. Accept the love, the friendship, the generosity, the kindness, for exactly what they are: love, friendship, generosity, kindness. 

And...yet once more, thank you.

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