First and foremost I have to thank my brother and his wife (Jeff and Noreen) for letting us stay. It's their place and they're generous enough to let us be warm for the winter.
And, I have to thank my parents. They've gone down for a few years before us. We showed up last year and invaded their snowbird space! It's been such a blessing for Luther - his skinny body feels so much better in the warmth.
We wanted to stay through the end of May. Mom and dad were leaving end of April and we'd stay a month for the extra warmth.
Luther got sick.
Not sick-sick in the hospital sick but back to not eating. He threw up what he did eat then it came out the other way. It was a couple nights of being up, trying to figure out how to stop the gap, so to speak. I was tired, he was weak.
I just knew I couldn't be in Florida all by myself with Luther. I need help. It was so hard to admit to myself, much less tell Luther I just couldn't do it.
I want to give him everything. Keep him warm, make him comfortable. His world is his wheelchair. He's in it now 24/7. He amazes me - he's taught himself to sleep in it. No pillow. He's in the same position every moment of the day. He says he gets restless but it's mind over matter. Or in this case, mind over body.
In Florida, he could roll outside, sit by the pool with the sunshine warming his bones. There's a lot to see - birds, alligators, fish. I'd spend time in the pool, he'd be parked next to the pool and we'd spend time together. It was good.
When I told Luther we couldn't stay, it was a sad, sad moment. It hurts my heart now to think of the look on his face. He has no control over anything. I try to make him feel like he does but we both know he does not. Every day is a struggle to maintain energy, to find a way to be positive, to stay warm.
A month ago, he could stand up and walk a few steps. Today, he'll stand but he can't walk. I have to lift up his feet to put them back in to the wheelchair.
We decided to leave Florida with mom and dad. That way, if we needed help along the way, they'd be around.
As much as I want to be grateful we're home in one piece, we missed the snow, we had four incredible months in Florida... Luther is miserable and cold and tired. Since we got home, he's been wrapped up like a burrito in his electric blanket and hasn't moved much. He is eating - that's a good thing.
We're settling back in to Minnesota. We're back home. I'll keep him warm, try to keep him entertained and occupied. We'll keep our Florida state of mind.