Valley Fever And The $1k Remodel

Two weeks ago, I wrote about being sick, broke, and homeless. Repeatedly, I’ve been reminding myself that it’s all about perspective. My in-laws just returned from India, where poverty was uncomfortably rampant. My good friend’s boyfriend moved out without explanation, and then returned back the next day with the loaded moving truck and a half-hearted apology. My mother told me about a story out of Florida: a women hit a nine-foot alligator on the freeway and flipped her car over the median, killing both her and her baby. When I put my situation into perspective, I actually have things pretty good.

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.”
― Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden

Three years ago, I was diagnosed with a severe case of coccidioidomycosis, more commonly known as Valley Fever. I was a healthy, fit twenty-something and I was bedridden for seven grueling weeks. Doctors stated that the “cocci” titer would remain in my blood forever, like a scar from a long-ago battle. I was told that I would be immune. But, what I wasn’t told is that the disease could reactivate itself, and spread.

Though, there’s not yet an official diagnosis, the symptoms are becoming more and more reminiscent of that long-ago battle–that match in which I was wrestled to the ground and incapacitated. The situation has drawn up so much anxiety, not because I may be on the verge of something serious, but because I’m reminded how little control I have. Organic food, nontoxic skincare, and exercise can’t protect us from external forces. It can be so hard to accept that.

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.”

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Two weeks ago, we discovered a really bad home leak, originating from the sprinkler system in the ceiling. This last weekend, my boyfriend and I visited our home to pick up a few things. The walls, ceiling, and floor had been stripped away, revealing the concrete foundation and wood beam structure. My in-laws are already building a collection of their favorite flooring samples and suggesting we replace the the bathroom sinks and counters while we’re at it. We’re jokingly referring to it as the “$1k remodel.” Thank goodness for homeowner’s insurance and a low deductible!

For those two weeks, we’re been staying with my boyfriends’ parents. And for those full two weeks, they’ve been nudging us to find a more permanent solution. It seems we’ve out-stayed our welcome, so today we’re be calling family, friends, and extend stay hotels to find a bed for the night. We’re crossing our fingers that we’ll find a place to return at the end of the day. Insurance is covering up to $150 per night, so we’re hopefully .

As for broke, insurance refunded the costs of some of my expensive medical tests and my company paid back several outstanding expense reports. The costs that the HOA refused to pay for are covered by homeowner’s insurance, so the $60,000 I feared we would owe for demolition, renovation, and alternative housing won’t be on our tab. Though things are unfolding further each day, it seems as though everything will be okay.

A few weeks ago I wrote the following blurb about acceptance, which really has helped me to keep a level head.

So, in the face of unfavorable circumstance, I choose non-attachment and acceptance; I choose to smile, laugh, and love more deeply that ever before. Today, I have made the choice to be happy, in spite of the chaos swirling around me–like a singing bird, nestled in the warm embrace of it’s true home, rooted deeply in the center of the storm.

Starting April 1st, I set a goal to show up here everyday for a year and write. I’m still hoping to achieve that, but the current circumstances may throw a wrench in that plan. I don’t know what my computer and internet access will be like in a hotel, and I can’t predict the state of my creative mind. I’m not certain whether the progressively worsening cough is Valley Fever, or something else entirely. I don’t know what my health will look like over the days and weeks to come.

However, I can accept that uncertainty. I can accept that life often unfolds in unpredictably ways, slowing revealing itself in riddles and metaphors. I can accept that life is a journey–sometimes smooth, and sometimes rocky–and that everything that happens should be viewed simply as fodder for some future story.

Hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow and the next day but, if not, just imagine me poolside, coughing up a lung and thinking of all your lovely avatars. If not tomorrow, I promise I will be back soon!

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