Musings & Whatnot · Van Life

Life Changes 2018 – The End Of Nomad Life?

It’s autumn already! The leaves are changing to vibrant, iridescent colors and the landscape will soon morph into winter.

This post is to catch you up on what’s been happening on the Simply Connie home front this year.

2018 Has Been A Bit Crazy

I started 2018 out in Homestead Florida visiting Nikki. We had just finished the 2017 Christmas season and it was so much fun. We had tons of memorable Mother-Daughter moments!

Make Every Moment Count

In February my Dad got very ill.

Dad, who lives in northwest Illinois (aka The Homeland), was taken to the hospital by ambulance. He spent several months in the hospital and rehab center for physical therapy.

Even after physical therapy my dad needs help with the cooking, cleaning, laundry and more. He simply doesn’t have the wear-with-all to complete strenuous activities.

So, in mid-March, I drove to northwest Illinois to stay with my Dad in lieu of traveling. I’m told the official term for what I’m doing is “Caregiver” but I’m simply a daughter helping her Dad.

I didn’t come back to the Homeland alone!

Before leaving Homestead (Florida) Nikki was told she had to move from her apartment because the Landlord’s family was moving in.

Nikki quickly found a place to stay but she couldn’t keep Cookie with her.

Giving Cookie away is NOT an option so Cookie will be staying with me until Nikki can keep him again.

The Groomer always gives Cookie a seasonal bandanna. Isn’t he cute?!

Cookie lost his hearing shortly after we got to the Homeland.

It wasn’t long after I got here that I realized Cookie was deaf.

I spent the winter with Cookie (in Florida) and he seemed to hear me just fine. But, somewhere along the line his hearing went poof.

The vet said there was nothing wrong with his ears and it’s not uncommon for older dogs to lose their hearing. Cookie is 12 years old.

Cookie can hear a few very loud, sharply pitched tones out of his right ear but he can’t hear anything else. But, he doesn’t hear my low pitched voice when I call him or give him commands.

He also doesn’t hear cars coming down the road or the silly little squirrels giving him heck when he’s outside going potty or romping around the yard.

Since he can’t hear cars coming he doesn’t go out of the yard without being on a leash.

I’ve been learning sign language (from YouTube) and teaching Cookie sign language commands. He picked it up quickly but, then again, he’s one smart Cookie!

Living in a house ain’t easy.

If you don’t already know, I have chemical / environmental sensitivities and living in a house isn’t an easy thing for me to do.

A few family member’s helped me get the house to a fairly tolerable level. It’s tolerable but it’s not 100% and never will be. But, I’m doing my best to be able to stay here and help my dad.

I’ve had a couple emergency room visits and many doctor appointments but, finally, things seem pretty well under control.

One of the ER visits was because I couldn’t breath. I later figured out it was chlorine in the water – especially when I took a shower. A handy dandy shower filter from Amazon solved that problem!

Cookie isn’t the only one who lost their hearing.

Some of my doctor visits were because I was having ear trouble. My right ear always felt “full” (like it was stuffed with cotton). I also couldn’t hear well out of my right ear.

After 6 months of back-and-forth doctor visits I was referred to an ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat doctor) who quickly determined I have severe hearing loss in my right ear and moderate hearing loss in my left ear.

The cause of my hearing loss was a virus.

My MRI test showed signs of previous inflammation behind my right ear which was (most likely) caused by an infection which was (most likely) caused by a virus.

So when did this virus occur? There’s no way to know where it originated for sure but I have my suspicions it happened this past January.

While in Florida, the day after Christmas 2017 I became very sick with a really bad head cold. This was the sickest I remember being for many years. I was out of commission for over a month but, with my immune system, it’s not abnormal to take longer to recover.

I’m still a bit numb about my hearing loss but I won’t let it get me down. I can’t change it so I must keep moving forward!

Earlier this week, I saw the Audiologist about getting hearing aids.

The Audiologist said both ears have enough hearing loss to warrant a hearing aid for each ear but, for now, I’ll only be getting a hearing aid for my right ear.

My left ear isn’t as bad as my right ear so I’ll see how the right ear goes and then decide on a hearing aid for the left ear.

How long will I be in the Homeland?

My time frame here at my Dad’s is unknown but my guess is it will be a while.

I’m thankful for the time I get to spend with my Dad but, on the flip-side, it’s not always easy being on the front lines as a Caregiver.

The challenge of being a parental Caregiver has nothing to do with the work that’s involved – the challenge is watching your parent struggle.

What does this mean for my Nomadic Adventures?

This year has had it’s ups and downs and has been quite challenging. Ebbs-n-flows are part of life and I’ve learned to simply ride the tide until it works itself out.

If nothing else, I have new experiences to add to my long list of things I’ve been through in my life!

As for my wandering Gypsy ways, here’s how I see it…

  • My van is still my cozy little home on wheels.
  • I’m still a Nomad.
  • Nomad life is NOT coming to an end.

Life on wheels is still the best choice for me and I look forward to getting back on the road – when the time comes.

Our lives play out in chapters and this is simply the next chapter of my life. This chapter involves less road time, more Dad time, time caring for Cookie and time taking care of myself.

This is also a great time to ponder (and work on) changes I want to make once I get back on the road.

This is a period of adjustment… but adjusting our sails is simply part of life.

When you can't change the direction of the wind, adjust your sails.

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