It has been 4 years since I had my injury. During these four years I lived in the same house where I had lived for the last 12 years. We loved our house. It was the perfect house for my family. It was in the perfect subdivision, with the perfect neighbors.
My injury changed my house from the perfect house to a house that did not work for us. It was not really accessible. I could not fit everywhere. I spent the last 4 years not being able to go to my twin daughter’s room, four years not being able to read to them and tuck them, 4 years not enjoying my basement, my back yard. Going to my room everyday was a big ordeal. I had to transfer from my chair to a chair lift, from the chair lift to another chair. I did this every time had to go to my room. There was only one bathroom that I could use. Moving around the house was always an obstacle race. Worse of all, there was only one exit I could use in case of an emergency.
After 4 years of dreaming, saving, working hard, we finally built and moved to the house of our dreams. Our dearest cousin Luz Montiel, our architect, executed our vision of a fully accessible house and at the same time incorporated the most beautiful design elements resulting in architectural work of art. I might be a bit biased but for me it is a work of art. Similarly, I was lucky enough to hire Marty Ankers and Paul Shrieve from HIGHLANDER COMMUNITY to build our house. They did not only worked with the utmost professionalism but took this project as a personal challenge going always the extra mile to make sure that the end result was what we wanted, expected and more.
Life in a wheelchair has always the added annoyance of not having the freedom of going to places without fearing the possibility that place will not be accessible. It just takes a narrow door in the bathroom, several steps in an entrance, narrow space between tables to make it difficult to go to a restaurant, a park, a friend’s house. I really was dreaming the time where at least in my house I could feel I belong to. Being able to get to every corner of my house has been liberating and unleashing. For the first time after 4 years I am finally able to experience what it feels like being at home. I can take a nap on my bed whenever I feel like. I don’t have to rely on someone to help me get to my deck when I want to enjoy a glass of wine. I can hide in the basement when I am going through a dark moment phase. I can read to my girls at bedtime. I can tuck them. I now can bring coffee to my wife in bed same as she has been doing in the 4 last year (I have not done it very often but I have done it J.) My teen kids are not very thrilled. I can now get to their rooms and discover how messy they are.
I dedicate this blog to my comadre Luz who patiently worked with us to ensure that we could call our house our dream house. I thank her for considering every detail to ensure our house was truly accessible, for keeping us honest, for her tireless dedication, for always going the extra mile, for making this project a personal project.