My planning throughout December and early January seems to have paid off. Everything is running smoothly for dad since I left home last week. Although I tend to worry a lot ahead of time, it all worked out. I worried that the weather would be too cold and snowy to fly. Yet while it was extremely cold with blowing snow, we were still able to take off.
This was a lucky break as it looked like all the other flights in the terminal had been cancelled except ours. The airport looked deserted except for our gate. While our flight was delayed for a few hours, once we got in the air, it was smooth all the way here. I was so relieved to deplane in a warmer climate. It was so cold when we boarded that we were told to wear our heavy jackets on the jetway and we were only allowed out in small groups because the wind chill at that time was well below zero!
Now that I am here, I have found the system I set into place is running smoothly. I have 3 different companions each visiting dad once a week. They call or email me after each visit. Dad’s regular companion from last year brought him snacks and played checkers with him. All 3 companions checked his room for supplies (snacks and Depends) and straightened up the kitchen.
Each companion found dad in the lounge and not in his room. In fact, it took me 4 days of trying before I reached dad by phone because he was never in his room. When he finally did answer the phone he was groggy because I had awakened him. Still he was in a good mood, though slightly confused as to when he had visits from my son and grandson, and the companions. He did remember the visits though and said he was fine and had everything he needs.
As usual he asked where I was and when I would be home. However, instead of being concerned about how long I was to be away, he said I should “have a good time”. I feel like he is more comfortable this year and less worried about my time away. This is the 3rd year I have left him in the care of companions (in addition to the staff at his ALF) and he has adjusted nicely to it.
I am relaxing in a way that I can’t seem to do at home, despite the fact that I worry when I can’t reach him by phone. The sound of the ocean calms me and the sunshine makes me feel more alive. Winter is usually a depressing season for me.
The snow and cold up north were making me feel alone and depressed. I don’t like to drive in bad weather or on slippery roads and the sidewalks and streets were very icy. I talked to my next door neighbor more on the phone than in person because it was so darn cold! Now I can walk to the mailbox without putting on boots, gloves, a hat and warm winter jacket. How nice!
So in addition to being away from my regular duties with dad, I am also away from the harsh reality of a colder, snowier winter than usual. I still get stressed when the bills come and I have to sit at my computer and make sure they all get paid. Some of my caregiver duties come with me wherever I go. But in other ways I feel insulated from the day-to-day tasks that I have at home.
I like to take walks in the neighborhood or on the beach. I love to browse around the stores and little shops. I take books from the library and read one after the other in the daytime and the evening.
And we have regular activities such as dinner at a local restaurant with a group of about 15 other residents of our condo complex. We also have activities out by the pool. It didn’t take long for me to feel much less stressed than when I was at home.
While I already have flight reservations to go home, I would be able to change them if dad has any health crisis – or anyone else in the family for that matter. But for now I am able to relax and enjoy my stay.
I don’t expect to blog as often now that I am on vacation. But if something comes up that seems worthwhile, I will add a post now and then.