Last week I told dad I would take him out to lunch the next day, but I when I made that promise, I had forgotten that I had medical tests scheduled early the next afternoon. Instead when I visited dad I told him I could just have a regular visit and we would go to lunch the next day. I didn’t give medical details as I don’t want him to worry.
The last set of tests just told me I needed more tests. That made me more and more worried as the date came closer. I was happy to put it all out of my mind while I took a short vacation with some of my children and grandchildren.
We got far enough away in time and space so I could just think about the present and enjoy our time together. Before we left, I visited dad and told him I would be going away for a few days but would bring the children to see him the next day before we began our vacation.
He seemed more concerned about me leaving than he used to be. I assured him I would be back at the end of the week and visit him again. On Monday 2 of my daughters and 3 of my grandchildren visited dad with me. We had a nice visit and dad seemed aware of who they were. He still seemed concerned about how long I would be gone. “When will you be back?” he asked. I told him I would be there Friday. “What day is today?” he asked again and I said it was Monday. He seemed OK with that and we left.
Right away we drove off for our mini vacation. It was a total immersion vacation in that we were at a resort type place where we ate and played without getting into the car. My daughters arranged for time in the spa for the 3 of us while my son-in-law watched the children in the play areas. There were many activities and the children would have been happy there for weeks, but we only had a couple of days.
After two nights, we went on to a second nearby location and to sightsee for our last night and day. It was a great get-away. I don’t have much opportunity to spend much time with them because they live far away and travel here only once a year or every other year. During this time I was able to put aside all health and other worries. It really “felt” like a mental vacation as well as a physical trip away and I was glad to be able to do that.
I visited dad again after our return and by then he seemed to have forgotten that I had been away at all. I showed him some pictures of our trip. We went out to lunch at one of his favorite places and he seemed to be doing pretty well. He ordered his usual meal and responded to questions appropriately. I think our weekly lunches work out as the best time for a good conversation without the noise of the television and other distractions. He often seems to be half asleep when we visit in the ALF, but at lunch he is totally awake and aware.
By now the children have all gone off on other trips. My long distance daughter is visiting other family members and then will return to her home. I miss them already but have mental plans for future visits. I don’t travel long distances to visit now because I hate to be far from dad.
However, I do go south in the deep winter just to protect myself from the extreme weather that is common here. I spend months lining up caregivers before I take my winter trip. I hate to think about starting that soon again, but by the end of the month I will probably make a preliminary call to the companions to see if they expect to be available in the winter. If not, I will have to explore other options. It feels like such a lot of work that I must do to get away, but since it is necessary for my mental health, I will do it.