This blog post is part of a series that I began for telling our story. You can read the first post here.
My sister’s house in Wisconsin at the time was two-story, with the only full bathroom on the 2nd floor. She could not climb stairs after the accident, but was mostly bound to a wheelchair. My parents, on the other hand, had a house with bedrooms and full bathrooms on the main floor, including a walk-in shower. So the plan was made to take my sister and the kids to Nebraska.
My brother-in-law had some of his own health problems (more on that later), so he had to return to Wisconsin and then had his own doctor’s appointments at the Mayo clinic. I’m not sure, but I think his parents may have taken him home.
Meanwhile, we had my mom’s car with three little girls in the backseat, which I drove, and my sister’s mini van with my mom driving her and the baby. We had everything they had brought for camp, including a jogging stroller, plus a wheelchair, a portable toilet, and the suitcases my mom and I had brought. Everything fit, because we had two vehicles, but it was complicated. I had to figure out how to disassemble the stroller (how do parents do this?) and a few times on the trip rigged a blanket to keep the sun from blinding my nieces.
Bathroom stops and eating meals along the way were complicated – young kids, a nursing baby, my sister unable to move much at all, and my mom and I ill-equipped to care for everything. I found myself winded by the exertion of simply helping her in and out of the vehicle, let alone grabbing the wheelchair. I felt a little sick to my stomach, too, especially when helping my nieces with the bathroom.
Eventually, we made it to my parents’ house in Nebraska, after what felt like an eternity on the road. Dad’s recliner became my sister’s bed for at least the first few days. I settled into one of the upstairs bedrooms, with my nieces across the hall. We began to work out a routine involving meals, bathroom help, and trips to physical therapy over the next few days. We even got a ramp from somewhere (probably a member of my parents’ church) to help my sister get in and out of the house (the front door was a few steps up from the ground).
Then one day when I took my sister to Walmart to pick up a few things, I realized something…
Next post coming tomorrow.