Skip is nervous.
I haven't traveled on business since August 2008. When I first started my professional career, I thought business travel was cool and welcomed every opportunity to get out on the road. It kept being cool for a long, long time. I loved getting out to meet with clients in person. I loved the frequent flyer miles that gave Skip and me free flights for our vacation trips. I loved getting out of the office. I loved seeing other parts of the country without having to shell out for a vacation trip to get there.
In 2001 and 2002, I worked for a startup where I finally started to burn out on travel. I had 14 clients from Ohio to California, and was on the road a lot. On September 11th, our friends and lots of Skip's family called her to find out if I was on the road and to make sure everything was okay with her. That's because they all knew I traveled so often. Fortunately, I was supposed to travel to Dallas on September 11th, not a day earlier, so I didn't get caught halfway across the country with no way to get home for days on end.
I started at another firm in early 2003. Traveled only occasionally until 2005, when I began managing a year long project for a client in Texas. Traveled to San Antonio twice a month for over a year. You know you've been traveling too much when you don't have to order breakfast in your hotel ... the waiter knows your exact order and has you taken care of without the need to say a word other than "Good morning."
Skip never liked my traveling, even when she was fully able-bodied. She particularly disliked my being in a different time zone. I think she feels safer when I'm around and alway has.
As time passed and her MS progressed, the supports when I was out of town needed to increase. First, meal prep was too much for her, so I started leaving prepared meals she could heat up in the microwave. Then, we had to start having someone come in in the mornings for a few hours and at bedtime for a few hours. Now, care is pretty much full time. Whenever I've traveled over the last few years, Skip's aide, MW, has been here almost around the clock along with an aide from an agency to help with the morning routine.
Even with all this help, though, Skip still gets nervous when I'm away from home. She knows if something bad happens and I'm home, I'll be able to take care of it. I might get cranky when the bad thing happens, but I've always been able to fix the problem. And, she's very private and doesn't want other people besides me to help with personal care.
I understand these feelings. I think having someone around Skip can count on no matter what comes makes the horrible-ness of MS more bearable. If I'm not here, the safety net is temporarily missing.
So, I know Skip will be nervous for the next 3 weeks, until I go for my brief overnight June 24-25. Until I actually pull back into the garage upon my return home, she'll be nervous. My challenge will be to keep from getting cranky while she's in her nervous state. I've offered a trip to Home Depot (a place I hate and she loves) this weekend to keep her spirits up.
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