The old joke goes something like this: the worst part of a remodel is the beginning, the middle and the end.
However, Escondido resident Taylor Church would beg to differ. The buzzing drills and banging hammers in her home sound fantastic because they are bringing with them a world of new possibilities.
"I could sit here and listen to them all day," she said.
Church watched Friday as volunteers worked to make her bathroom and bedroom more accessible for her.
It's been five months since her life changed.
In May, the 22-year-old stay-at-home mom entered Palomar Hospital with flu-like systems. Doctors soon realized she was septic and administered medicine needed to keep her vital organs alive. That same medicine drew the blood from her arms and her legs and forced doctors to amputate her hands and legs below the knee.
“It was either life or keep your hands and not have it,” Church said. “The right choice was made to say the least.”
Now, she’s learning how to do everything differently like writing or brushing with two hands instead of one or adjusting to not being able to step into her own shower.
To help her with those day-to-day tasks, members of the San Diego chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry will widen her living space inside her parents’ home so that Church can get into her bathroom unassisted.
The group selects one project a year to do pro bono. So far, they received donations of supplies and fixtures from local companies as well as donated services from 40 to 50 contractors and subcontractors.
That’s not to mention family members and volunteers who are stopping by to sweep up, bring snacks or simply provide moral support.
“This is an opportunity to take what we know and use it for something besides just making a living,” said Sheen Fischer, President of NARI San Diego Chapter.
Without the remodel and her family’s support, Church said she’d likely need to move into an assisted living facility.
“I’m going to be able to do so much more by myself and be able to feel more like a normal person than someone who has disabilities and can’t do those things,” she said.
Things like caring for her son, Aiden.
During her rehabilitation, there were moments when she wanted to give up. That’s when her father, a 25-year U.S. Marine, would put his grandson in his daughter's face and remind her why she needed to fight.
“'If you give up, you give up on him,'” she recalls her father saying. “It got me every time, every time. To this day, it still gets me.”
She also wants to realize her dream of attending nursing school. She was enrolled at the time she entered the hospital.
“I’m still going to do it, it’s just a matter of finding out how to do it,” she said.
In the immediate future, Church wants to focus on walking better and eventually, she says, she’s going to start running.
“Once I start running,” she said. “Game on.”
“I’m going to do as much as I can, as fast as I can.”