2021 - What a Year! (Totally An Understatement)
Updated: Jan 6
We both got our Covid vaccines this year. We both had to wait until March to get our first shots. Candace got hers through the UC Health system and I got mine through the VA. She got Pfizer and I got Moderna.
The vaccines really didn't affect me too much. I felt like I was getting a fever at one point, but it might have been in my head. I pumped my body full of Tylenol just in case.
When Candace got both of her Covid vaccines, her side effects were severe. She was in bed for a whole week feeling like crap. We decided it just had to do with her immunosuppression. It was hard to see her so miserable, but I am glad that she got her vaccinations. And I know she is glad too.
When I got my booster in December, it didn't bother me at all. I am thankful that I got it though because the Omnicron variant was spreading rapidly at the time. Candace has yet to get her booster, but she will soon.
The World "Normalized," But It's Still Scary Out There...
2020 was a crazy year. The world literally shut down and most of us lived in fear and wondered if we would survive through a deadly pandemic. Many businesses didn't survive, and others thrived. There are people who are on opposite sides of the vaccination spectrum for their own reasons. People feel the same about masks. Some like them and use them to keep themselves and others safe, and there are others who don't like them and won't wear them unless they have to.
When the world started to "open back up" again, I was so happy to be able to go back to church. It was one thing to watch mass online. A dear friend of ours who brings communion to Candace every week wasn't coming to our house because of covid restrictions. I felt better and more at peace when I was able to back to church every week.
The most difficult but best part about 2021 was being able to see my family more regularly again. I am so thankful for the technology we have today - video chat, text messaging, and of course phone calls. Not being able to see my family because of Covid reminded me of being on deployment. I felt isolated without them and was thankful that I could call them and text them and video chat with them when I wanted (and time allowed). I couldn't imagine it being even 20 years ago. technology has advanced so much in such a short time and without it, a lot of people (including myself) would be lost without it. It helps me keep in touch with my loved ones.
This year, I was able to go back to doing "normal" things. I went out and did some fun things with my love and with my family. My wife wasn't able to come with me on some things, but we still found opportunities to spend time together, which was nice.
We Went on a Mini-Vacation!
As a caregiver, this was something I had to mentally and physically prepare for. While we would be going away and getting away from the normal things in our lives, I would still be taking care of my wife and keeping her safe.
Before Candace became super sick and unable to leave the house, she and I were out all the time doing things together. We would be outdoors if the weather was nice. We would walk around downtown Denver together (I surprised her at work once), and we even went to the gym together. In fact, that's where we met, at our kickboxing gym.
Someone I know, who was VERY generous, paid for us to stay in Colorado Springs for 2 nights. I couldn't believe it. While the time away and the time together was very much needed, we were both nervous and had our own fears about being away from home.
For me, I worried about Candace not having something that she really needed in an emergency, such as a medication or something like that. I also worried about her not being able to get somewhere because of a lack of accessibility due to her wheelchair. I just wanted to make this trip for us as easy and as pleasant as possible. We both needed it pretty badly.
For my wife, I know she was worried, like me, about not having something that she needed, especially her medication. I know something else she was worried about was overdoing it physically. Her endurance is not nearly as good as it used to be, and she gets pretty worn out from not doing too much. That was a worry for me too, but at least I was able to help her out by pushing her around in her wheelchair.
For both of us, we were worried about being away from home in general because if she had to be taken to the ER, there would be a chance she would not receive the care she needed because it would be with the doctors that don‘t know her chart. Leaving home to stay somewhere overnight, let alone two nights was pretty risky. But we wanted to give it a shot. That is the reason we stayed so close to home, in case we had issues and needed to get home quickly.
Packing, unpacking, loading the car, and unloading the car was probably the most exhausting part of our trip. I started our trip checklists almost a month before we left for our trip so that I wouldn't forget ANYTHING. And I'm so glad that I did. I even learned about things that we would need for our next trip, which will hopefully be for her birthday in May!
Our long weekend started after we dropped off our fur-baby, Sam, with her grandparents (my parents) at their house Friday morning. The human kids were with their dad. Then we made the trip down south to enjoy our spa reservations.
My wife, Candace, got a full-body massage, and I got the best damn facial of my life. It came with a back and shoulder rub, and an (I guess) top-of-the-line facial. I had never gotten a facial before this. But I was so happy about the experience, I almost cried. It was everything I needed and wanted. We had some fun before and after our spa treatments with the amenities in the bathrooms. Well, Candace did. I know she did because she told me. I had to yell through the door, “We don’t have time for that!” 😂
We had a BEAUTIFUL view from our room (we were right next to a pond on the property). We had the blinds closed in the room for a while, because of the sensitivity Candace experiences with the sunlight, but I opened them for a little bit to see what was out there, I was not disappointed.
It felt nice to dress up (the place we stayed at had a dress code). When I left the room I made sure my hair was fixed and that I had on a nice collared shit, and that I had on a nice (not holey) pair of pants. I even brought my nice pair of boots that I like to shine and keep pretty.
The mattress we slept on was so nice, I pulled back the sheets and snapped a picture of the brand and the name because I wanted to buy one.
I think the highlight of our trip was the Pike's Peak Cog Railway. We weren’t prepared at all for how the elevation would affect us. Candace was still even feeling the effects after a few weeks. The lack of oxygen didn't help her at all, and she has been having breathing issues, to begin with.
When we made it to the summit, they let everyone off the train and go inside to go to the gift shop, grab some food, and look at the touristy things that were there. I did not realize how windy it would be up there. We let everyone off before us and I pushed Candace inside the building as fast as I could. It felt like forever though. We were both freezing by the time we got inside. We didn't dress appropriately. Whoops.
Once we got warmed up, we went into the gift shop and got our souvenirs. I used to get t-shirts and hats and sometimes shot glasses, but now I have been collecting stickers or postcards wherever I go. They are a lot easier to carry around and keep in one place at home. We had to get out of there in a hurry because we needed to get back to the train before the crowds started to.
The trek back to the train was miserable, to say the least. It wasn't funny at the time, but it's hilarious now. The wind picked up (what felt like) twice as much as it did when we first got off the train and felt just as cold. I was fighting the wind and pushing a wheelchair at the same time. I was so exhausted. Candace was freezing her ass off and I kept apologizing because I couldn't move any faster to get her out of the cold and wind. But we finally made it and I had to stop and catch my breath and when I did we laughed about the whole thing.
For the rest of our weekend, I took advantage of the 5-star experience. I hung out in the hotel robe, drank, and we watched our shows together on our Roku we brought from home. It was perfect. We ate well on our mini-vacation - the food was amazing. And usually, I'm too cheap to use valet, but this time I got over it and had no regrets. I let someone cater to me for a change.
The Holidays Weren't the Same
This year for Thanksgiving, we didn't go over to my parent's house for dinner like we wanted to. Candace wasn't up for it, and I didn't want to risk her feeling worse. We had a nice Thanksgiving still, and I am thankful I was able to FaceTime with my family. I am thankful for the technology we have today, even telephones. It was pretty low-key and sometimes that is okay, especially when normally things are a little chaotic. Or a lot chaotic in my case.
Christmas was fun this year. Candace didn't come with me to my parent's house, but we still had fun. We did video gift exchanges, and the gifts we exchanged with my parents and my sister and her boyfriend were fun. I went home and we had a nice Christmas dinner at home with my wife and the kids and their dad.
I Accomplished Personal Goals in My Career
I released a book this year called Praying the Rosary. It's a prayer book that teaches and educates people who aren't familiar with the basics of the Rosary and how to pray it, and it gives those who are already familiar with it a new perspective. It's a project I am very proud of and am looking forward to promoting more in 2022. It's available on my website for purchase at https://www.kristinehutchinson.com/shop-1.
Something else I was able to accomplish this year was starting a new position at a company called SBrand Solutions. I started as a Virtual Assistant but have been told the great news that I am getting promoted to Business Manager in 2022. My transition begins in the new year.
Next year is going to be the best year YET. There are many things I want to accomplish, but the biggest thing I want to do is to continue to promote my book "Praying the Rosary" that I published at the end of 2021. I am also working on another book that I'm calling "Understanding the Bible: How it Was Passed Onto Me." I am looking forward to publishing that one and my goal is to have it out by October/November of next year. Sooner would be even better! I love all my clients and am looking forward to continuing to work with them on any new projects they might be working on. And of course, I am looking forward to working with new clients as well. The reason I do what I do is to help people accomplish their goals and help them pursue their dreams.
My biggest goal next year is to continue to take care of my wife, Candace, and to help her through her healing journey. We are hoping to take one or two more trips together again. I want to take her somewhere for her birthday and then maybe take another trip somewhere just because.