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Why I Am Ok Not Getting To Be My Partner’s #1- Self-Care And My Relationship

Disclosure:

This article is a repost! It was originally published as part of a blog series for EasyStand.

I would so love to expand my thoughts on this topic, as they are many, but for now I will just leave things where they are. Thanks for reading!  

 

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I suppose I would call myself a romantic realist. While these traits might first seem in opposition, for me and my relationship they work in collaboration. Let me take a moment to explain what I mean.

 

It was my belief in synchronicity and romance that led me to the love of my life, Riley, who just so happens to be quadriplegic. Romance absolutely plays a main role in our relationship. But at the same time, Ri and I both believe in setting fair and realistic expectations in life and romance. We simply do not have the time, energy or desire to pile any amount of unrealistic demands on each other. Maintaining this realistic ethos works to eliminate many of the selfish behaviors that stand to plague a modern day relationship. Yes, we have ALL been guilty (from time to time) of demanding more than a partner can give. Now, understand that I am no relationship expert, and that I am perfectly imperfect in my realistic approach, but the truth is this- even if I wished it to be so, I will never be the center of my partner’s world- he just has too much going on (and don’t we all?). In my view, that is actually a good and healthy fact of my life.

 

Before Ri and I ever began a romantic relationship (back when I loved him but didn’t know what to do about it), I carefully considered the possibility of a future together. Ri and I knew each other quite well back then. I knew how his spinal cord injury impacted his day-to-day life, and I knew that his needs around care were an absolute necessity, dictating his ability to do anything and everything. I also knew Ri’s life had a certain element of unpredictability- caregivers, pain and from time to time, health complications.

 

As I reflected on those realities, I found myself struck with an overwhelmingly enormous amount of respect towards Riley.

This respect came out of a realization that he was constantly working to perfect his art of self-care, something we could probably all stand to examine in our own lives. I deeply admired Ri’s unapologetic prioritization of his health, his needs, and his wellbeing. Through Ri, I realized that my values around relationships actually began with the ability to care for myself, instead of counting on a partner to care for me or being guilty of putting someone’s needs over my own. After all, how can we give to another in a relationship if our bucket is empty?

 

I didn’t really know any of that before Ri. I thought I did, but I didn’t. I am grateful for Ri’s non-negotiable needs because they remind me that I too have needs, and that I am the one in charge of caring from them first and foremost. It truly took a great love with great needs to illuminate these values that now form the basis of our solid partnership.

 

When we have the freedom to prioritize our own needs, we actually have a greater capacity to show up for our loved ones. So, while it may seem counterintuitive, not being #1 in Ri’s life has left me feeling so adored, so loved and so worshiped. While I know he wants, so badly for me to be his #1, the truth is that I am far happier being my own #1.

 

 

 

 

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Woo Woo Poor House Health Intro

Written by Andrea

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Reporting live today from my hyperbaric chamber, you guys. Excuse me now? Yes, you did read that right- I am actually inside of that thing Michael Jackson (my absolute childhood idol) slept in.

Well… sort of. I can’t get into hyperbaric specifics right now because I have other things to write about- I just wanted to give you context, so when you are reading this post from your toilet, or wherever you read classy inspirational pieces like this, you can imagine me in this pressurized tube, taking in an extra dose of O2 to the brain and body. And I am going to bet that I just might be the only blogger out there writing the majority of posts from inside a mild hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Could that be my niche?!?

Potential Bio- Andrea Lynn Peruzzi is a hyperbaric oxygen lifestyle blogger based out of her mild hyperbaric chamber in Portland, Oregon. She tells tales of her life in the Poor House with her wheelchair cruisin lover, Riley Poor (hence the name of the blog, Poor House Love). #hyperbaricbloggergirl? #poorhouselovechamber?  I see good things coming from this, you guys! The hyperbaric chamber never lets me down!

beeIMG_3124_Fotorbee

I also like to read about beekeeping whilst in the chamber

Truth- I be woo woo with my healthcare (albeit in a selective, scientific, educated way- always analyzing). I have my reasons for bathing in oxygen. They go back, way back to the traditional allopathic landscape of my youth. My father was a primary care physician, and since we lived in the suburbs, and it was the 90’s, I had limited exposure to anything outside of that paradigm. Not that this was a bad thing in and of itself, except for the fact that I was the kid (I am #3 of 4) in my family with all the bizarre health stuff that that kind of approach didn’t fix.

Example- Me. Onset- grade 4. Covered in crusty psoriasis plaques (like, covered– arms, legs, scalp, torso- 70% body if I had to guess). It is unclear to me whether I was a naturally thick skinned kid or if the psoriasis itself actually built me a thick shell – either way I can’t recall the skin issue having a negative psychological impact on a young me, and yet, I am unable to write about it here without a tinge of sarcasm, so there must be something there…

Unscathed by my lizard like skin, my friends and I actually spent our free class time picking psoriasis chunks from my scalp and lining them up for display along my 4th grade desk (kids are super bizarre). While I was’t particularly bothered by my leather skin, I nonetheless adhered to a strict nightly treatment regimen which, in retrospect, was completely absurd (sorry parents, I know we were trying).

Here was the routine- each night, I arduously covered my psoriasis plagued body in steroid ointments. My dad got free samples, but they were these small trail sized tubes, so I would go through one tube after the next, layering it on thick. But once I put on the pjs, my hard work would inevitably rub right off. Clever child that I was, I developed a technique to keep that ointment in place. It was quite simple, really- I mummy wrapped my entire body in saran wrap. Then, as a last step, my psoriasis thickened scalp was covered in a slathering of tar (brain damage…tbd) and once I popped on a shower cap I was ready for bed. I cringe recalling this method, in part because it sounds unenjoyable, but also because I went on in my adult life to earn my master’s in Chinese medicine and, as it turns out, from a Chinese medical point of view I followed exactly the right steps to set myself up for a lifetime battle with psoriasis. Who could’ve known, way back then?

25 years later I sit in my mild hyperbaric chamber surrounded by an arsenal other healthcare tools. The chamber came into our life originally for Ri, but it has also been a really positive thing for me and my health. And so, in my desire to introduce our health focused lifestyle, I needed to first tell you about my psoriasis as that is where my healthcare journey began.

Now, I know Ri is the one in the wheelchair, the one with the unavoidably obvious physical disability, but here is an interesting thing- at age 25, we both coincidentally (I say there are no coincidences) went through our own versions of healthcare hell. We both had to stare our mortality directly in the face. Those kind of things at such a young age leave scars that are not just surface deep. They dig into your psyche. They are a source of trauma. I suppose on some level Ri and I soften our scars through the compassion we extend to one another.

Over the course of my 25th year on earth, a health issue slowly transformed me into a 70 pound version of myself. I had a difficult time doing the simplest of things- walking the length of a driveway, as an example. So lightweight, I could feel my body beginning to separate from my soul. I recall laying on the hospital stretcher in that sort of holding room that exists before you enter an operating room, mind fixed on an image- a lotus flower, a symbol of purity, rebirth and divinity. A healing vision to help me through a difficult surgery, if you will. Eyes closed and focused on my lotus, I heard a soft voice, felt a gentle touch upon my shoulder, smelled an enticing scent. I opened my eyes and saw a man that was so handsome I questioned his very existence, thinking I might have died, gone to heaven and was lucky enough to be greeted by the apparition of my eternal mate. But as it turned out, he was actually one of the docs on the team coming to prep me for surgery. Once I snapped back into reality I noticed his name tag, and somehow even as I inquired, I knew it- his name (which has now slipped away from my memory) was the sanskrit word for lotus flower. True story.

Amen! Hallelejuah! The message was clear – I was going to be alright. And thank goodness because if I hadn’t made it, and if Ri hadn’t made it, well, I never would have walked through his front door, years later, on the very same day he made a little list describing his ideal mate. That is the brief version of another true story that I will leave you with for the time being.

Here is the list (it kind of cracks me up- Ri says it makes him sound like an a**hole).

Ri love list_Fotor1_Fotor

Oh, but here is some advice- if you are like me, there will be so many moments of synchronicity throughout life. So take your time when deciding which ones you need to tattoo on your body, especially if your psoriasis is always looking for a new reason to creep back up :).

Hey thanks so much for reading, everyone! And if you like this blog- Subscribe and share, por favor!

Oh! And find us on social media  here and here! Like and Follow us so we can all ride this rollercoaster together!

~~Andrea

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I want to tell you about Wheel Pad!

Written by Drea

I ask you this –

Where do wheelchair bound/paralyzed folks (anyone needing accessible housing, really) live when their former housing accommodations are inaccessible? That is a tricky predicament facing a lot of people in our country. For the newly injured in particular, this adds one more layer of stress atop an extremely stressful time. Even Ri, who had a multitude of family, friends, and community resources struggled to find accessible housing. He lived in a hotel for months until he found something half decent, and even now, 8 years post injury, we are still altering our home to make life as accessible as possible.

Short of expensive remodels or relocation, this predicament had few alternate solutions. Until Wheel Pad, that is. Wheel Pad, launched in 2016, is a 200 square foot accessible bedroom and bathroom module that has the ability to actually link up to an existing home, bringing accessibility right to your doorstep! Ta-dah!

The beauty of Wheel Pad is that it is an immediate short term solution. It keeps families together and removes the stress around creating an accessibility plan. I am all for easing burdens, so this is a project I am behind.

Check out this video below to get a better idea of what I am talking about (Wheel Pad on YouTube).

Oh, and keep an eye out at 1 min 38 seconds for the (2 second!) Ri and Andrea cameo!

 

So I’ll be straight. I dig Wheel Pad, in part, because it is a Riley Poor inspired project (no surprise there- if you have been reading this blog my adoration is clear). I also dig it because I find pleasure in watching Tiny Home shows and Wheel Pad is very “on trend” with the movement. Furthermore, I thoroughly enjoy Julie Lineberger and Joseph Cincotta, Ri’s godparents and Wheel Pad’s founder and chief architect, respectively. All of that, coupled with the accessible housing situation it addresses make it a win for the home team.

But really, the Wheel Pad project gets my stamp of approval because it is innovation with soul. Wheel Pad is a product of the ripple effect that was born the moment Ri dislocated his neck. It is, essentially, a proactive adaptation in response to a heavy, tragic moment- a call to action, if you will. While not a direct part of the design or building process, Wheel Pad unmistakably has Ri written all over it. The clean lines, the modern vibe, the materials, the design and even where it was built (Vermont- Ri’s childhood homeland and where he had his spinal cord injury) ripples right back to the initial source of inspiration.

So, without going off on too much of a tangent, my point is this- the actions or events we face (whether they seem good or bad at the time) carry with them the capacity to change the world in both big and small ways. Ri is firm in his assertion that he would change nothing about his path in life- and why would he when it is clear that he has inspired a lot of greatness in this world, with Wheel Pad being just one example.

Here is the link to Wheel Pad’s website. While it may not be a solution for everyone (cost and space are potential obstacles), you just never know who might benefit from this project, so don’t be shy about spreading the word :).

That’s all I have today! Thanks so much for reading! And please don’t be a stranger now – say hi, join my bloggity blog and let me know what you think!

~~~~Andrea

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Poor House Video Tour!

Written by Drea

Welcome to our ever evolving Wheelchair Accessible Ranch Home!

Thanks to LineSync Architecture (Ri’s godparents and the architects behind the initial house remodel- we Love you Joseph & Julie!) we have a video (circa 2015) that highlights some of the accessible stuff around the Poor House. Fun!!!

While we are talking Poor House remodeling projects, boy oh boy I just can’t wrap my head around HOW MUCH has changed around here since this video was made… and I can’t wait to show you!!

So please stay tuned for more updates on all of the Poor Family projects and remodeling fun happening over at our place in Portland, Oregon!

Thanks for viewing!