Monday, July 2, 2012

Our Separate Vacations

Even before the Alzheimer's invaded our marriage we never had separate vacations. Of course there were times when hubby was in the hospital, but one can hardly call that separation a vacation. Enter respite time, breaks for caregivers. See article  here  which points out that in a survey 80% of caregivers say respite time is the number one need of caregivers. Because of the generosity of family, I had the opportunity to have respite time apart from my Alzheimer's husband.

June 22. My husband flew by himself to another area to be met by his son for a visit through July 1st. DH’s cell phone is off and I call that home. I realize that he had already thought I was on the cruise, but it would be one and a half days until I depart. He calls back, we talk, and I take a shower. I get three calls on my cell during that shower asking "How do you open this suitcase?" I could not get through to him after that shower. I presume that he walks up two flights of steps to get his son to help him with the code to open the suitcase.
June 23, the next morning, I am awakened by my husband's call at 5 AM. He misses me! Did he get any sleep at all? My sister-in-law comes to Plant City and we go to Ikea in Tampa. I get a $20 on sale backpack to use as my purse when we leave the ship. Backpacks are so handy for travel and this one is a favorite color--bright pink.

June 24 hubby and I talk in the morning. My sister-in-law and I leave for Port Canaveral for a week Caribbean cruise on the Freedom of the Sea, luxury ship owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise lines. Hubby and I later talk before the ship embarks.

THERE WILL BE NO MORE CONTACT UNTIL JULY 1ST. Will he remember to wear his ties to church both Sundays? Will he forget and wear the same clothes repeatedly. Will he remember to use the plastic bag I packed for his laundry and will that laundry bag return home in his suitcase? ABOVE ALL AND MOST IMPORTANTLY WILL HE TAKE HIS PILLS TWICE A DAY? I have to leave all those cares behind. I am not paying for Internet/cell phone access on the trip. He cannot contact me about things like his suitcase.

We set sail and travel all night and the next day. I celebrate my 68th birthday with my sister-in-law Monday night, a dress formal night. We meet our lovely 5:30 PM group in the dining room; these wonderful people we will see every night if they can make it. 
From Wikipedia
     • Tuesday we were in fabulous Labadee, Haiti
     • Wednesday we were in Jamaica and got stranded when the motor to our glass bottom boat breaks.   Shortly we were rescued by another ship. "No problem", just a situation, is the Jamaican attitude.
     • Thursday we visit Grand Cayman island.
     • Friday we debark at Cozumel, Mexico.
     • Saturday is another day at sea with so much fun before we arrive back one on July 1st.

I met people in countries and on the ship to pray for. With some of them I prayed right there on the spot. God is not limited by distance. My husband was in the LORD's hands that week; his son had legal and medical documents and authority. There are other concerns in our world than a husband who has Alzheimer's and Vascular Dementia and I was able to see poverty first hand, especially in Jamaica. I know that in Mexico and Haiti there are areas beyond the tourist sections we saw. I left a pile of clothes including my fancy dinner outfit ($15 at the Goodwill) for my cabin steward that she will bring back to Jamaica and prayed with her about her daughter. You know, though, many in these poor countries may be more spiritually atuned than we in the states are.

I brought too much with me, but left some on the ship.
July 1st we carted our luggage early to customs and maybe two hours later at about 9:30 we arrived at my Plant City home. My sister-in-law left for another vacation with her family and she got home about 9:15--actually 8:15 in her time zone Sunday night. I was in time for my church--maybe ten minutes late, and I enjoyed sweet worship. I was a little sad that my husband didn't sit by my side in his usual seat at church, but his plane was scheduled to land in Tampa Sunday night.

Back home from church, my digital camera has over 130 gorgeous photos to download. E-mail at home was way over 500, including Facebook's notice that I had family and friends postings to check up on. In our house there was no water and no home phone. "No problem", just a situation. The mail will be delivered Monday.

I left to pick up my husband at the airport, receiving a message from his son that he was indeed on the plane. Excitedly, I waited to see him. When he arrived as one of the last passengers to walk up a ramp, we hug and kiss. Hubby doesn't have his shaving kit and suit jacket. A flight attendant from US Airways brings his shaving kit out to us after I ask. No jacket she says--oh well--that was a $10 Salvation Army find that does show up later wrinkled in his luggage. We go to the Olive Garden for dinner. At dinner he kept asking how long it would take to get home. Half hour, Sweetheart. Plumber to come Monday. We will also pick up our dog from the kennel on Monday. I keep repeating this information, one thought at a time, and hubby is reassured there is no problem. We are both so happy to see each other. He loved being with his family, but couldn't remember all the details. A grandson thoughtfully posted pictures of his vacation on Facebook.

Today the plumber came and cleared a box of spider webs by the main well and so water was restored. How weird is that! Thursday the phone company will be here for our land line. Just two situations.

Reflections. I have a tan and didn't gain weight. I have been waiting on hubby almost hand and foot, but the ship waiter pulled out my chair and put my napkin in my lap. Waiters with various accents robustly sang "Happy Birthday" to me on my birthday. I got to go to a workshop on nutrition where the speaker said she takes one tablespoon of coconut oil each day. I went to two workshops on napkin folding. About three mornings I walked for 30 minutes. Every night I went to entertainment including ice skating. I am still reflecting on the cruise--wonderful for me. Things don't seem so burdensome at home now because I had been pampered all week. I just relaxed about no water on Sunday.

Special thanks to my husband's family and my family for making this trip possible.


  1. I am SO happy for you both. God is good.

  2. I am so glad you were able to take this trip for R and R. Glad that it worked out well for Hubby. Recharging definitely helps us to look at life in a more relaxed manner instead if panic mode. Thank you Lord for providing this time for Carol and her Hubby.

  3. Your trip sounds wonderful! What a blessing to have such a wonderful sister in law.
    I'm so glad you had this opportunity to have a vacation....and for your husband to visit with family.
    Hugs and prayers