Ask an Expert: Should I Go?


Ask an Expert: Should I Go?

cabin-70165_640Dear Denise,

I have been caring for my spouse for the past several years, with the past few years being the most intense. I have missed two of my grandson's birthdays and have yet to see my son's new home. I want to go in October for a weekend for my grandson's birthday. My caree is encouraging me, and told me to make reservations and even if he's in the hospital to go. He doesn't want me to keep postponing and canceling the occasional trip I take to see my son and his family or other family members.

I would cancel my trip if something major happened before I was scheduled to leave. But, what if he just has yet another UTI, which would just require IVs? Do I cancel or go?

I guess I can't imagine going in any event, even with daily help in place who would take care of him. Am I getting too reclusive/paranoid? Would you go?


Dear Conflicted,

CBS Sunday Morning (at least I think it was CBS Sunday Morning) recently profiled a blind man who kayaks. He lost his sight during a hunting accident; unfortunately, his close friend accidentally shot him. The interview included comments from the friend who fired the shot. In essence, he said, "When my friend achieves and accomplishes, I feel better."

His friend's full life helps him heal, helps him forgive himself.

Now, these circumstances are certainly different than yours. But the common denominator is dependence. Your caree wants you to lead a full life because he feels better when you do.

I appreciate the worry about what could happen in your absence. I understand the guilt about giving yourself a break when your caree can't get a break. I understand the concern that you know your caree best which means it feels that only you can provide the best care. However, your health is as important as your caree's. A chance to enjoy your family and friend is good for your health.

Of course, his health could take a turn for the worse while you're gone. Or, not. Let's say you stay home and miss the birthday and your caree has a great weekend. Wouldn't that have been just the weekend to take your respite? We can't predict or control what will happen, which means we must do our best to enjoy the life we have.

Put your plans in place--your plans for travel and your plans for husband's care in your absence. Continue to treasure each day you and your husband have together. And, then go. Take lots of photos, commit to memory the cute stories your husband will love.

Stopping your life won't cure your caree. Living the fullest life you can will make you both feel better.

I would go.

Stumped by an on-going struggle? Searching for meaning in your journey? You’re not alone! Family caregivers ask Denise M. Brown, Editor and Publisher,, for her insights and suggestions to their caregiving conundrums. Have a question for Denise? Just e-mail her. Denise will do her best to answer questions within 24 hours.

If you or your caree are in a crisis, we urge you to call a health care professional immediately for assistance. Denise only provides general insights about general situations. You should always consult your own lawyer, financial planner, health care professional and other professional advisors for advice specific to your situation.

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I would go too. I just went on a trip at the end of march, just five days to visit a friend in Portland. It was the first trip in four years. Those were some of the best five days. I spent them focusing on myself, rolling over in bed for ten more minutes of sleep in the morning just because I could, no vent alarms went off, and I just basically hung out and enjoyed the lack of responsibility. I came home refreshed, both physically and mentally, and it has gotten me able to handle my mom's worsening over the past few months. I say that the trip should be planned, taken, enjoyed, and shared through pictures and stories when you get back home.