So in a rare bit of luck, I actually won my appeal on my SSDI. So at some point this spring I should be going home.
I went to see my lawyer yesterday morning to prep for my hearing, which was scheduled for today. About an hour after I got home he called me and told me that the judge had reviewed my file and already approved my case - so there was no need for the hearing after all. He also said this is pretty rare, about 1 in 50 - so it was quite a pleasant surprise for both of us.
Now I have to wait on paperwork and the gears of government to do their thing - but at least I know that the stress will come to and end and I can go home at some point this year.
My lawyer says it will take about a month for the paperwork from the judge to arrive and then I contact him and we go from there - so I don't expect to see anything for a couple months - but just knowing that by the time the weather changes I should be sorting things out to go home - that's good.
Knowing I will be able to get health insurance coverage in Oregon and get better treatment - very good. Louisiana isn't a roll out state and their Medicaid rules basically exclude single people with no kids, no matter how sick we are. So even impoverished, my parents had to pay for my asthma medication and care through a low income clinic because nothing else was available or affordable. So going back to Oregon means I will be able to get covered under the ACA and afford my asthma medications, in addition to being able to see therapists and psychiatrists and getting my psych meds - and have the hope of getting back into the working world in the future, rather than the lowest grade maintenance treatment to just keep me going.
I can go back to my town, where I feel safe. I can go back to where I have community and friends and access to religious needs. I can actually continue to make improvements on the boat and keep it livable and get him back in sailing condition to stay within my liveaboard requirements - which my parents have helped me maintain while I was here. I will be able to pay my dock fees and bills and not stress about how I will manage to cover my expenses any more. It's such a relief.
But mostly, I will be home. Away from the POX spews and the strangers trying to save my soul, from the oppressive heat and the lack of control of living with people who still want me to be 5 years old and have no boundaries. To having one cat. To be rocked to sleep and surrounded by water and wildlife rather than suburban sprawl.
I will also not be alone. I am picking up my bestie from Arizona to help me work on the boat and keep and even keel - she and I have known each other a long time and when things get wonky - she won't hesitate to tell me and help me get it sorted out. We are not taking any big trips any time soon - the main job this year will be getting Emuna ship shape and getting her up to speed on sailing. There will be some cruising, Washington, Western Canada, Northern California and if we feel ready a run to Hawaii and back. But that is all we have on the agenda for this year - our primary focus is preparing ourselves for life aboard and longer hauls - and that takes time and effort.
For next year we would like to do South America and the Southern Pacific, around the horn and up into the Caribbean, Florida and to winter in the Gulf Coast, near my parents but not at the house. After that - we have vague plans roughed out, but it takes time - and we are working on this one stage at a time rather than planning a grand tour and burning ourselves out.
I'm hoping over winter 2014 we can find some land and build and weatherproof a small house - something to come back to when it's all sailed and done - but that is still in the works and all plans past short cruises this summer and fall are negotiable.
But the main thing is - I am going home.