We're a few weeks now back in Oaxaca, and I feel like there are a few things I want to share but also to write down to remind myself.
- I did a good thing when I got back and I let other people take the reigns in caring for Bill and Carol once they were back home. It was hard, as I had been with them almost non-stop through some pretty terrible days. I learnt that you show up when you can, and rely on others to do the same.
- I learnt that as far as insurance is concerned, you need to know a few things. If you have various insurance plans (say you have a medical plan from a home country and then insurance from a car company in the event of an accident), no one is going to help coordinate that for you. No one.
- I learnt that insurance doesn't cover everything you might need depending on what accident you have experienced and what your individual circumstances are. Decide what is important to you and look after that as far as insurance and savings is concerned. For example, if an air evacuation back to a far away home country is critical to your happiness, and it is not 100% covered by your insurance plan, don't travel. I am only kidding a little bit, here. Or own your own plane.
- Insurance often doesn't cover little (or big) considerations, like if you can stay in your own home to recover or have to move because of the configuration of your current place. It may not cover things to make you more comfortable, like extra pillows or a sheepskin or an airmattress to avoid bedsores. Maybe it covers a capped amount for physiotherapy or massage and your doctor recommends more. what I learnt is there are lots of incidentals that can arise. Have a little fund, for those little things.
- Be OK with loosing it completely some days. If you are the caregiver or the patient, there are going to be tough, shitty, rough days. They are good for us. And if you are the caregiver, encourage it, embrace it, make tea. As the initial person who was there, everyone one else's love via email and text kept me going and positive and gave me the much needed energy I needed. Thank you to all those folks who did that.
- I learnt that if you are one of those people who "moved away", then making sure you have a community where you live is vital in so many ways. Sure, I flew out and helped my friends because I could at that moment, but when we were back in Oaxaca and I was back to working, what seemed like 100 people "showed up". From getting beds and spaces organized to groceries to cooking to managing a visitor's schedule to organizing nurses to texting doctors, our community showed up in spades, and that moves me to tears.
Finally, I learnt that I should not put off things that I have a bit of fear about that I have been wanting to try. I have been thinking about Carol, who will have been in a hospital bed for about 8 weeks. And then after the 8 weeks, she has to build up her muscles again and learn to walk again and can't do stairs for likely a long while yet. I thought about how I would feel if that was me in that bed, with those plates in my body and screws holding me together. So, I decided I was going to do two things, with the help of Bill & Carol, that I had been putting off for a long time. I am going to try to paint (with Carol), and I am going to learn to play my ukelele (with Bill). That should make for some interesting blog posts!