We would experience more ups and downs, steps forward and back, over the next weeks...months.
Paul had reactions to three different antibiotics, causing changes in drugs, protocol, and schedules three times before Christmas. We visited Dr. H at least once a week. Finally we hit on the right drug--a very expensive antibiotic that required me to mix it from powder form into an IV bag before infusing. It was, appropriately, champagne-colored.
So we settled into a routine of infusions, Dr. visits, and everyday household stuff with a small child. Paul adjusted to life without a hip joint, making his way on crutches, eventually returning to work. We started making plans for his total hip replacement surgery--three weeks after the last antibiotic treatment. We could see the end of this ordeal. We could see the path to recovery unfolding.
It was not to be. Not yet anyway. Our last visit to Dr. H's office before the surgery gave us the news--lab results showed the infection was not completely cleared. Performing the surgery was out of the question. Instead, they would go in again, clean the area out, put him back on IV antibiotics for another 8 weeks. Back to the hospital.
We settled in again. What else could we do? Life on crutches for Paul, twice daily infusions of antibiotics, regular check-ins with Dr. H. Mom stayed to continue to help with Owen. I adjusted to my 9-5 job, Paul went back to work. Through all of the we were thinking, talking, reevaluating our lives, taking stock. Suddenly our priorities seemed much more clear, our values more salient. We started really looking at how we wanted to live our lives.
It was time for a change.
I've written about this part of it before: here, here, here, and here. I won't bore you repeating it all. The short version is this: We decided to "come home." We decided it was time for our Blue Ridge dreams to start coming true.
Paul's surgery took place in June, 2005. July 1, I quit my job, Mom came home. August 1, Paul moved to Western North Carolina to begin his new job teaching. Nov 1, Owen and I followed. Thanksgiving that year was spent in the mountains we love, with the family we love, doing the things we love. I'm happy to report: Thanksgiving this year was more of the same.
We make much less money than before. We live in a smaller house. We buy less stuff. Our jobs are completely different than anything we've ever done before. And we are exactly where we want to be.