Friday, January 7, 2011

Up the Down Staircase

I live a horizontal life in a vertical house. I need to move things around easily, store a ton of supplies for Maggie, and maneuver her wheelchair, yet I live in a house that’s 25 ft wide and three stories high. That means a lot of stairs and a lot of up and down.

 Brisco the wonder dog  and I have had quite a morning on the stairs. This dog loves to follow me up and down the stairs just in case there is a chance I will grab a leash and open the front door. You can almost hear him ohboy  ohboy ohboy ohboy. He has to follow because he is depending on his vision more and more. He can’t hear me call him when it really is time to go out. It seems Brisco’s hearing has really faded to almost nothing.

I have been up and down the stairs a lot today. There are several rugby players from the University of Nevada staying here this weekend so they can attend the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Sunday. (Nevada v Boston College) We have a futon and floor space in the laundry room downstairs, but I have to get all the laundry done so a couple of guys can use that room. Every load is a trip down the stairs and Brisco follows expectantly.

In addition, Maggie's new mattress arrived and I had to get the other mattress back upstairs.I'm the only one home but I figured I could move a single bed mattress.  It was more difficult that I anticipated.; it took several tries as the staircase is rather steep. I could get it as far up as the bend on the staircase, but it would slide back down as I tried to navigate the bend. I kept stepping out of my shoes as I pushed and pulled. It did not help that Brisco was walking between the mattress and the wall pushing the mattress against me so that he could stay as close as possible.  (It’s up there now because I refused to fail.)

The best, though, was the attempt to put away Maggie’s supplies. The diapers, “chucks” (underpads for changing) catheters etc arrived in three huge boxes as they do every month. They just leave them on the front porch. I wish they would leave them in the driveway so I could eliminate some of the work of putting them away. I have to store these in the basement because there isn’t any other room. The boxes are too big to carry so I have to unload them a little at a time and bring the stuff downstairs. There are 16 packages of diapers (12 in a pack)  and 8 packages of chucks (12 in a pack) to bring down. (note this is not enough to last her the entire month, I have to buy an extra case of each.  Don’t be jealous) They’re not heavy, but bulky and I cannot carry too many at once, but I always try anyway.

I start down the stairs with some of the chucks, which for some reason are packaged in plastic bags that are open on one end. They will slide out if you pick them up from the wrong end.  Brisco waits for me to start down the stairs and then has to race me. You can imagine what happened. He brushed me as I was trying to balance too many packages at once and everything went kaplooie. I teetered but did not fall; I did, however drop the packages and there were orange chucks everywhere.  I was afraid to take a step for fear I would slip on the slick plastic so I just backed up the basement steps, went out the front door, down the front steps and into the basement form the front so I could clean up the mess safely.Here they are all stored on two shelves in the basement.

Brisco was beside himself when I went out the front door thinking for sure it was walk time. He looked at the hook where the leases are and looked back at me as if to say “WHAAAAT?” I had to laugh.

 Maybe it’s time we both went for a walk. 


  1. A Horizontal Life in a Vertical House is a perfect name for your book. Or Maggie's book.

  2. I came across your blog when reading an article about healthcare costs with children with disabilities. Your blog is inspiring! What a lovely daughter you have! We have a 6 year old with Cystic Fibrosis who is often ill and I try to maintain a teaching job so I can have good health insurance. it is a constant struggle. Best of luck to your family!


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