I'm packing to move house. Again.
Hopefully, this will be the last time.
You may remember that a short while ago, I asked lupies what they would do if they had one great big bucket of money to do something for their health.
My own answer was that I'd buy a house, which had a granny flat for me and would be able to house the rest of my family, or a carer's family. The idea was that I could continue to be as independent as possible, but there would be help close at hand if I ever needed it.
Since doing that post, I've been working on how I could make it a reality. You see, my family was keen to have the same thing: a home that really was ours, where we could all have our own space, but be there for each other if needed.
After lots of searching, a very disappointing call to the Qld Housing Department's home loans section, and a lot of daydreaming and scheming, we came up with something.
My superannuation has been paying me a pension - but I've always had the option to commute a part of that pension to cash - to get a lump sum of money in return for a reduction in income. That's what I've done. I've taken a reduction in my superannuation income, so as to be able to have a home.
The house we've found is perfect. It has two storeys. My daughter and her husband and their daughter will have a three-bedroom house upstairs. My son and I will have a two-bedroom house downstairs. The part I will live in is flat. If I find I am going up and down the stairs a lot, we can look at installing a stair lift (because it's our house, not a rented house, and we can do what we want with it.) Downstairs also has a large rumpus room that can be an arts and crafts studio and office space, something I've always wanted.
It's a big risk. But most of the big things we do in life involve big risks.
One risk is that I will have a bout of brain fog and sign something I regret, or order three different electricity suppliers or none, or do something that makes the whole contract fall through. This is where my family's invaluable. I'm not doing anything on my own. All the phone calls I have to make, someone else is with me, keeping track of things I might forget, finding easier ways to do things. We're sharing the work, and helping to keep each other organised. All of the paperwork, someone else reads as well as me. Everything that happens that I have to remember, I tell everyone in the family. Everyone else's brains are working to cover for any brain fog I have. Even going to the shops for bits and pieces for packing, I have someone with me who can tell me if I'm getting vague and declare a rest break. Whenever a problem comes up, we talk it out until someone works out a solution.
Another really big risk is that I will end up with a major lupus flare from the work involved in moving. We started packing early, as soon as I signed the contract. Packing very slowly means I'm not under as much physical pressure. I'm breaking the big job down into very small jobs. I want to do my fair share of the packing, but I know if time gets tight, the family will be there to help. At the other end, unpacking can take as long as it takes. If I only unpack a box a day, I'll still get through them eventually.
Of course, sometime very soon after we move in, we'll need another trip to Ikea, and you know the risks involved there. That always takes me at least a week to recover, with the risk of a flare no matter how careful I am.
One risk I really can't control is that the distance we're moving (we had to go a long way to find somewhere affordable) means that it will make sense for me to get a new GP. Having been with the same doctor since before I was diagnosed - this is probably the scariest part of the transition. There's a risk I won't find a doctor anywhere near as good as the one I have now. I'll get to my specialist with public transport, but travelling an hour or more each way for my regular visit to my GP seems a bit extreme, when there will be several other doctors within a couple of minutes' drive of my new home. I've already had recommendations for someone who's supposed to be good. But changing doctor feels like a much bigger step than buying a house. I haven't yet worked out how I'm going to handle that transition.