….summer holiday, no more worries for a week or two. Only when you’re sick and skint you’re not well enough to travel and even if you were you can’t afford a fortnight in the sun.
My last holiday was in 1996. That would be the one where I spent 3 days in a Mombasa hospital fighting for my life with meningitis, then spent the rest of the week lying in my hotel room thinking I would peg it at any second. As holidays go it wasn’t that relaxing.
The reason we go on holiday is that life is stressful and tiring and we need a break from the daily grind. Being sick is no different. When you’re stuck at home, without the routine of full time employment, every day is the same. It’s monotonous and relentless, can be boring and depressing. Just like healthy people we occasionally need a break from it all. A change of scenery. A chance to get away from the laundry, the cooker, the never ending phone ringing and being stared in the face by all the jobs that need doing round the house that we’re too ill to even think about.
As I live on my own I have to do everything myself. From putting out the bins, to checking my car tyres, to cooking all my food from scratch, to fixing my broken boiler. No matter how ill I am there is no-one to make me a brew, run me a bath or fix my dinner. It’s exhausting. On top of all that I am the main Carer for my parents and visit them every other day. I do all their grocery shopping, paperwork, jobs that need doing round the home (and the jobs I can’t I organize tradesmen), buy all their birthday and christmas gifts, wrap them and post them, ditto with cards, go with them to all their hospital appointments etc. etc. It’s very easy for outsiders to say “you need more help” but as anyone in my position knows the help simply isn’t there. Social Services provide assistance with bathing which thankfully my parents currently manage themselves (albeit only once a week in my Mum’s case as she finds it so exhausting) and meal preparation which again they manage themselves, but after that you’re on your own. There is no help with paperwork, shopping, DIY, hospital visits, chiropody appointments, hair cuts, banking and all the myriad of stuff it takes to run a home and two lives (“our bathroom tap is leaking can you find a plumber to come and have a look, oh and the electric people have asked for an up to date meter reading”).
It’s September, and for me every day of the past nine months of 2015 has been the same. Trying to keep my house going, look after the dog, look after my parents…….and meanwhile no-one is looking after me. I’m absolutely shattered. I need a break. So that is what I’ve decided to have.
I can’t afford to go away, and even if I could it’s no fun on your own and I don’t feel well enough to travel anywhere alone, but I am having a 2 week stay-cation. My parents are going to stay with my brother for 3 days, who lives 200 miles away, so once I’ve got them safety seated on the train I can have at least one weekend where I won’t have to worry about them. When they come back I’ve told them I’ll do their grocery shopping but nothing else for 2 whole weeks. I spent a couple of days cooking last weekend and have made a fortnight’s worth of lunches and dinners and have frozen them – I’ve no idea what some of them will turn out like when they’re either cooked or defrosted so I’ll report back!
I haven’t had the time or energy to read a book all year, so am hoping I can spend some time lounging and doing just that. I’d like to spend a couple of afternoons going out of the house – I haven’t visited the seaside in over two decades even though it’s only about a 45 minute drive away, so my elderly neighbours have said they will take me weather permitting so that will be nice. But more than anything I just want to rest – spending the whole day in my jim jams doing nothing much of anything sounds blissful and is sorely needed. I’ll remember to send you all a postcard 😉