To escape, to have respite, take a vacation, however you would define the luxury of getting away, it has a much different definition and result for a caregiver.
I have been able to get away at least once a year since I started caring for mom. That isn’t very much, but it has become what is normal for me. For my husband and I to go anywhere more then a few hours involves a great deal of planning and preparation. That task is enough to make me stay here and not go!
But, I manage to pull it all together and we leave. I have lived an isolated life here since caring for mom, getting out sometimes only once a month sometimes not even that. The norm for me would be at least once every two weeks. My “radar” is always tuned into what mom is or isn’t doing, whether she is sitting in the wheel chair, in the front room, or in bed in her room, no matter what time of day or night it is, that is my norm.
Now you would think I would relax and enjoy wherever I was going, whatever I was doing? No. Why? Because I have left all that is normal to me and my daily routine, my normal environment, my normal eat and sleep schedule, not to mention what I sleep on.
The sights and sounds elsewhere are foreign and even unsettling. Getting away takes me out of my normal 24/7 on-call, round-the-clock way of life and put into the normal routine of someone else’s life. It is not comfortable, it should be, but it’s not.
Speaking for myself, I am not comfortable going somewhere else, and I am always anxious to get back to my normal. As much as this home has become my prison and caregiving my jailer, this is also where I feel secure. It is difficult to just sit and do nothing somewhere, to not feed someone, change them, listen to them whine, even missing all the emotions and frustrations that are a part of each day.
Even though there is a desperate need to go away at times and have what others call normal take place for awhile, I can’t really relax and enjoy it because I do not relate to or respond well to others’ normal lives anymore. I don’t know how I will begin again and adapt to what others call normal once mom has left us.