Moving House Across the Country with a Disability, Part 2

Read Part 1 of Moving House Across the Country with a Disability

I made it to Arizona! Hello, sunshine and palm trees!

While it was great to finally be back, there was a lot of work to do to get settled in my new home. Among the things I had to get done were: training a whole new set of caregivers, completing my care schedule (I didn't have enough care throughout the day), and most importantly, getting my insurance situation settled.

New State, New Insurance

Without insurance, there would be no caregivers. In every state I've ever lived in, the process to get enrolled and active that the state Medicaid program usually takes about 45 to 90 days. I did not have enough money to wait that long, so I located the main office and paid them a visit... every single day. I was there so much they had put up a cubicle for me and had a name tag ready. What would normally take 45 days, I got accomplished in four. To be fair, it certainly helps that I was a former resident of Arizona and they already had a file on me. That helped to expedite the process.

While I am glad to be back in Arizona, it certainly hasn't been without its struggles. As anybody who relies on others for personal care can tell you, working with caregivers can be tough sometimes. Humans are complicated, and when you work with other humans, they inevitably bring you into their lives whether you want to or not. Sometimes this means that people are unreliable and your basic needs don't get met. So when you find a caregiver that you work well with, hold on to them, because they are worth more than their weight in Starbucks gift cards (gold is so cliché).

Settling Into the New Apartment

Boxes moved into the new apartment

Once I got the insurance settled, then I could worry about moving into my new apartment. I had to wait about two weeks before my belongings arrived from New Hampshire. It's a good thing I have wonderful friends, one of whom allowed me to stay at his place. Once my possessions were in the state, I had to figure out how I was going to get them to my new apartment. Thankfully, the storage facility was only a couple miles down the road. Now it was just a matter of finding a few people who had some spare time to help me get my stuff into my new home. Again, I have wonderful friends, and over the course of two weekends, they helped me move in and arrange all of my things in the new apartment.

Starting a New Job

While I was handling all of this craziness, I also started my new job. Actually, I went in and filled out the hiring paperwork the day after I arrived and started working a couple days after that. Starting a new job is always a little stressful, but when you add training new caregivers and trying to get insurance figured out, it can get overwhelming. However, I made it through. It was a hectic time, but completely worth all the effort.

Adapting Your Environment

The other hurdle has been living in a non-accessible apartment. A lot of people with disabilities live in homes that aren't completely accessible and that can make daily living a bit more challenging. However, a lot of us are great problem-solvers and can figure out ways to make it work. I seriously wouldn't know how I would survive without my friends, as they have helped me in so many ways. In regard to my living situation, one friend helped me secure a shower bench so I wouldn't have to smell like I had just been at the gym every day. Also, I can't close my door to my apartment by myself, so the apartment manager is often extremely helpful and will come help me when I need to leave. I realize that I'm taking time away from her work day, but she has been more than understanding and willing to help. The good news is that my modifications have been approved and work should be underway very soon. Once I get an automatic door opener installed for the apartment and a roll-in shower, things will be much smoother for everyone.

Although I have encountered many hardships along the way, I don't regret any of my moves. The experiences have taught me a lot about myself and my limits. They have also deepened my comfort level and understanding that asking for help is okay. In addition, all of these experiences have led me to this point in my life. Without all of these things to help me evolve, I wouldn't be the person who I am today. That's not to say that all of these experiences haven't been difficult, because they have been, but I'm grateful for all of it.

Any move to a new location requires throwing a bit of caution to the wind. Everything is new and there is a multitude of unknowns. Moving to a new location with a disability requires throwing caution, fear, and sometimes common sense, to the wind. However, with proper planning and some perseverance, moving with a disability is achievable. So if you have ever thought about leaving where you live to go explore new possibilities and opportunities: plan and be diligent, but get out there and see new places. You never know where it could lead you.

About the Author

Tony Jackson

Tony Jackson is currently a Registration/Reception Specialist and the Power Soccer Coordinator at the Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center in Phoenix, AZ, where he coaches athletes and plays for Ability360 FC. In addition, he provides play-by-play commentary for domestic and international power soccer tournaments with Power Soccer Shop. He also started ParaSportsLive in 2017, with the goal of live streaming other adaptive sports to raise awareness of all of the amazing athletes out there. In his spare time, he enjoys discovering new music, cooking, dreaming of the next travel adventure, watching sports, and improving his graphic design skills.

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Date: 6/11/2019 12:00:00 AM


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