It was a modern structure with a little studio-like apartment on the ground floor. Don wheeled me into our temporary home. As he pushed the wheelchair over the threshold, I was overwhelmed by the smallness of the the space and wondering how in the world I would ever navigate this space in a wheelchair. The bedroom was at the opposite end of the apartment from the bathroom. Of course, because of the smallness of the apartment, the distance between bedroom to bathroom was not a big problem. Thank goodness. Manuvering the wheelchair into the bathroom was another issue.
The 6+ weeks living in the U District was quite a roller coaster ride; a lot of hills and valleys, mostly valleys. I was not sleeping well or not sleeping at all for days. Crying frequently. I was discharged the week before Thanksgiving. Both daughters flew in for the holiday. We had a nice Thanksgiving dinner at an Indian Restaurant less than a block away. We were familiar with the restaurant from a few years ago. Now under different ownership, the food did not measure up to our memories.
It was fortunate we were living in the U District and only 2 miles from the hospital. I had 3-4 follow-up appointments a week, initially. I had PT/OT twice a week. We also were going to Harborview outpatient burn clinic for the burns on my arms. Primary care doctor, orthopaedics, physiatry, etc, etc, ad nauseum.
We did have some enjoyable times while in the U District. The four of us and a wild wheelchair ride to the movie theater to watch a mediocre forgettable movie. The farmers market was just a block away; fresh fruit and vegetables and bread and pastries. Thai and Indian restaurants and Trader Joe’s – all within blocks of where we were staying.
Our daughters were not on the same page as Don as far as the next step of buying a home. The girls were worried about our almost state of “homelessness” and needing a home for me to heal and recover. They were all for finding a small, one bedroom, one level condo in the north end. We could no longer afford a comparable condo like we had in the Northgate area. Seattle home prices had skyrocketed in recent years. Don was wanting space and a garage; all on one level. I needed outdoor space. I surely would go crazy if I could not readily get outside to sun and fresh air and trees and flowers. I’ve come to realize that outdoor space is as important as indoor space to me. Don stood firm and with his intuitive wisdom knew that the right place would show up. Of course, this caused some difficult moments with our daughters.
We widened our search. The real estate agent that helped us sell our condo was on the hunt with Don. They, and then we, started looking from Burien in the south to Marysville in the north end. We found the place we now call our “home” in Marysville. In a small, over 50 community. Eight little cottage-like condos, 1500+ square feet, all one level, (almost 400 sq. ft. bigger than our old one!) with a garage and a very large deck/patio area with trees. All bamboo flooring throughout, 2 bedrooms-2 baths, laundry room, and a family room with a fireplace! We got all we wanted and more. I would have to adjust to leaving the city and living in Marysville. No small task for me!
We did not spend much time on reflecting on or discussing how we would move forward in our new life during our time in the U District. It was just putting one foot in front of the other and getting through each day – and some days getting through each hour. Don did let me know he was in this for the long haul. And that I couldn’t say or do anything to change that. I’m sure I tested that commitment a time or two. I was and am to this day eternally grateful for this man in my life.
Don’s love and commitment to me is the very foundation that has given me the strength and determination to work hard on my recovery; both physically and emotionally. I fall in love again and again; a love deeper than I could ever imagine. There are times I feel I will burst from the feeling of so much love I had inside of me.