Lessons Learned From a Short Trip

I previously published an article (June 26, 2014) entitled, “A Short Trip Back Home.”  In that post I talked about the fact that going away for a weekend took just about the same amount of preparation and packing of equipment as going away for a week. Now, I want to talk about “lessons learned” from that short trip.

I have to say that this trip back home was one of the most miserable we have taken in quite a long time.  Maybe that’s due to the fact that we have not tried a short trip since Lynn became restricted to the use of a wheelchair but I think it just speaks to the complications of taking trips. Why was it so much worse?  There are two possible reasons I think for the difficulty of this trip–the first being that Lynn is being detoxed very slowly for heavy metals. The detox process makes him VERY tired on top of the MS fatigue that is a constant in his life. Needless to say, I couldn’t count on him to help in any way with the process and because he didn’t have the energy to lift a finger, literally, he was more needy than usual and was unable to recover from traveling with just a night’s rest. The second reason was that when we go on vacation, usually, my daughter and son-in-law come over to help me pack up the van. That means I can continue to work on meeting Lynn’s needs while my son-in-law packs everything I have assembled into the van. This time I packed and had Lynn to care for all by myself.

Lessons Learned

Lesson 1:  Take two days off to get ready for the weekend trip instead of one.

I took the day off before the trip to make sure I would have everything ready to go and could get started on time. It’s a five hour trip, I wanted to get at least six hours of sleep before I left, and I wanted to be there no later than 5 p.m. because I wanted my best friend from school to come over to visit for a short time.  I had not seen her in MANY years and we were going to be staying just a mile or two from her home—perfect opportunity to catch up with each other, or so I thought.

Since I had to take his food with me and since I was not going to be home to do my weekend cooking for the coming week, I had to do quite a bit of cooking the day before we left. All this cooking is why I should have taken the extra day.  Between cooking and doing laundry, I wasn’t able to do much packing the night before.

Since I didn’t get to bed before 3 and wanted (needed) at least six hours of sleep to be able to stay awake to drive, I didn’t get up till 9 the next day. Our morning routine takes 3 hours so that brings us to noon.  It’s a 4 hour drive if we have no stops along the way so we maybe we could still make it to the hotel by five???

Lesson 2:  Don’t try to do it all yourself.

I put Lynn to bed to rest before the trip while I started packing. While he’s been detoxing he’s been taking a 1-2 hour nap each morning. I put in an indwelling catheter for the nap and trip and proceeded to pack the van.

As I looked at the magnitude of equipment and supplies that I needed to take, I realized I needed to take out the bench seat in the back of the van.  I managed to remove the bolt securing it to the floor of the van but then I could not figure out how to unlatch the seat from the floor.  There’s some type of safety hook in there that I could not figure out and with my weak arthritic hands, I couldn’t get it to come loose so I had to give up and screw the bolt back into place (many tears and words left best unsaid were involved at this stage) and just pack around it.  By now it’s around 2 p.m. (plus 4 hours for an arrival time past 5…maybe I can reschedule my get-together?)

I get Lynn up after I finish putting all the bags and suitcases in the van. I take care of his comfort needs and then I’m ready to load him into the van. Part of the floor space needed for him to maneuver into his place in the van is taken up by a shower chair and cooler of food. It appeared at first that I would have to unpack them but at last, he shifted back and forth enough to roll into place.  Of course, then I had to crawl around and lock down the wheelchair and all the other items so that nothing would shift during transit and smash us into unconsciousness as we traveled.  I managed several moves that would have made a contortionist proud.  At 3:30, we were finally on our way.

 

continue reading at: http://multiplesclerosis.net/living-with-ms/lessons-learned-short-trip/

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About mscaregiverdonna

I am a full-time caregiver for my spouse who has Multiple Sclerosis while I try to work full-time, take care of our home, and handle any number of other functions that used to be shared by the two of us. I'm learning that it's amazing what you can do when you have to and when you have God to send you the resources you need to manage moment by moment.
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