Are vacations relaxing for you/ your partner? — Reeve Connect
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Are vacations relaxing for you/ your partner?

WAGSofSCI Moderator Posts: 379 Moderator
100 Awesomes 100 Likes 100 Comments First Anniversary
Firstly, Happy Canadian Thanksgiving ya'll!

This weekend my boyfriend, Dan, and I spent the weekend at his parents out in the country. This is a place we really like going to because it feels like a holiday property and we have a decent system down pat. Dan is a C6, and the only travel equipment we bring with us is a travel commode and a sliding board. Our travel shower/ toilet commode comes apart into seven small pieces and is VERY light and reversible; meaning it can swap from left to right, depending on which side the bathtub is on. Dan can fit through all of the doorways, uses an outside electric lift to get into the home and can fit comfortably under the dinning room table. As many of you know these are all deal makers or breakers. 

That all being said, one thing I often notice when we go away or stay anywhere other than our own home, is that it doesn't always feel like a vacation. Why? Because at home Dan is much more independent with things like his remote control bed, the bed is the right height to transfer, he has a routine that he feels comfortable with and of course it is predictable. When we are away, even with family in the same home, he tends to ask me to get things or do things for him. Why? Because he knows that he can rely on me to do certain tasks the way he excepts. For example, I know how to hold him up, while pushing against his chair and sliding him across on the sliding board. These are things he is not comfortable asking his dad or brothers to help with, and I totally understand. But, there are also tasks that other's can help him with such as making a sandwich or passing him his fork etc. that I find myself still hoping up to do. This has been an interesting conversation that has come up for us as we are now almost four years post injury. 

Last night, I was given the opportunity to sleep in my own bed, in a separate bedroom and a separate floor from where Dan was sleeping. I jumped on it. We have been experiencing sleepless nights for Dan this past month, which means sleepless nights for me as well. This morning I woke up to his mom calling me to come down because Dan had requested I start doing his morning routine in order for him to start studying for school. Again, no problem at all and I was so thankful for a solid nights sleep that I was feeling back to normal again. But, as we sat down for breakfast it dawned on me that being a partner and caregiver can feel a little bit overwhelming someday's. I love my partner with my whole heart and cannot see my life without him but I had an honest conversation with him and myself that I tend to put my own needs second to his and by the time I have time to care for my own needs...I'm tired. Almost four years have passed and I am still not comfortable saying things like, "hang on a minute" without feeling guilty, especially while we are on holidays. Ever hear the phrase, "I need a vacation from my vacation?" How do we manage stressors on vacations? Do you have any tips or tricks that you have found helpful? Would love to hear them all. :)

Thanks so much for reading,

Your WAGS of SCI
(Elena and Brooke)


    WAGSofSCI Moderator Posts: 379 Moderator
    100 Awesomes 100 Likes 100 Comments First Anniversary
    Hey Elena - thank you for sharing all this. As your partner in WAGS of SCI, sometimes I don't even know what you're going through and we talk daily so thank you for expressing this!! Life gets busy and sometimes we just go go go like the energizer bunny and do not stop to discuss our thoughts and feelings.. we just have to carry on... so mentioning this and sharing your deep feelings is so important!

    As someone who cares for my husband full time, I can honestly see what you're saying. We as humans get used to and accustomed what we are around, and while I may be used to the routine at home for my husband - daily bathroom routine, showers, constant care needed day and night - when we travel, it usually takes me a couple of days (sometimes a week or more even) to relax. I find that the stress of moving all the equipment, unpacking, unloading alone - takes a huge toll on me. It's because its out of the "norm" for my body and mind, so it really is stressful. See I am used to the care, so adding anything else makes my stress level go over the top - its the same in your case. I arrive at the destination and I usually have to take some time out to breathe and relax before our vacation officially begins. Sometimes I am exhausted, have headaches or some other physical symptom as a result of the stress of getting TO our location. This is why normally we stay longer than 2 days at the minimum.. so I can enjoy my time. 

    Your stress coming when you have to take over nursing for Dan is totally understandable - because you do not have to do this every single morning, it adds to your daily stress level and of course, wouldn't allow you to have that break you seek. Would you and dan be open to having home care come to Chilliwack in those mornings you need it, in order to relieve you and have things be more like at home? This may make it so when you DO get your own room and a good sleep, you don't have to worry about hopping out of bed and getting going.. your vacation would be an actual vacation, and not something where you have to work....

    You would be getting home care during those days if you WERE at your own home, so why not find another agency or the same agency but different location in Chilliwack for when you are there? Since its in BC you would be covered just the same as at home. The important thing is that YOU should NOT have to feel stressed and tired - this is YOUR vacation too, and you should be able to have a break in that sense. Even if Dan is uncomfortable with it at first, he would obviously get used to it, and you could find some respite in enjoying your mornings again.


    - Brooke 
    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
  • stephanie426
    stephanie426 Moderator Posts: 64 Moderator
    10 Comments First Anniversary 5 Likes First Answer
    Hi Ladies,

    I'm late to the conversation,  but I'd like to join in! My experience is vastly different than yours because I am a wheelchair user and so is my partner, and we're also both very experienced travelers. While neither of us use attendant services (yet) I can definitely understand how exhausting it can be to serve in that role as I have previously dated a person who I provided assistance for and I've also dated individuals who were professional attendants to others. 

    While I would never presume to know exactly what you're going through, I can definitely agree with Brooke that bringing in attendant services while you're on vacation can be really helpful,  both for you and your relationship.  When I was in a long distance relationship with a quad, we'd bring in an attendant whenever he came to visit me. This meant that I still needed to assist with some tasks,  but having an attendant took many things off of me so that I could just enjoy our time together.  Plus, since I'm a chair user myself, when I did provide assistance, we had to communicate A LOT and my ex needed to put in just as much effort as me because I was definitely limited in ways I could help him.  The communication and honesty and my bluntness in telling him to wait helped our relationship,  created important boundaries, and made me feel respected.  

    Now, as a wheelchair user who travels a lot with another wheelchair user,  some of our complications come from getting to our hotel and realizing that two wheelchairs can't fit into our hotel room! Or trying to find vacation destinations that will be accessible to us because we know that there will be no one but us to help each other.  Right now we're planning our honeymoon in South Africa which is exciting and also anxiety inducing because I just know we're going to encounter access barriers that we'll have to deal with. 

    Anyway, I know this perspective is vastly different, but I hope we can continue the conversation! 
    WAGSofSCI Moderator Posts: 379 Moderator
    100 Awesomes 100 Likes 100 Comments First Anniversary
    WOW> what an interesting perspective - thank you for sharing! Would love to know more about your travel experiences with 2 wheelchairs in a room! We have so much trouble explaining to hotels about what we need.. I cant imaging doing it with 2!! You must have some stories!!! - B
    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
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