My family just returned from a week long vacation in Las Vegas. Dad, Mom, Sister K, Grandpa and I all went and flew together from home. Husband wasn’t able to make it because of work. This trip has given me so many thoughts, feelings and emotions I need to flush through. The biggest of all- the lack of control and anxiety that comes along with traveling with Mom who right now for all purposes is essentially handicapped. Mom cannot physically stand or walk therefore she needed wheelchair assistance from the beginning to end.
Monday came, our official travel day, and I woke up early and just felt stressed. On top of everything else it was also pouring rain which also added another item to the list of things I cannot control- weather. I felt like the entire day was a long check list and I would finally be able to let my guard down once we were physically in our hotel rooms and I knew we had made it.
What was on the checklist?
- Get Mom in the car to the airport.
- Get Mom out of the car at the airport and into a wheelchair. Get Papa a wheelchair too.
- Get luggage checked and boarding passes printed.
- Get Mom and Papa through security.
- Get to the gate early enough for pre-board.
- Get Mom on to the plane with special assistance of the aisle chair on the plane.
- Get Mom off the plane in Las Vegas.
- Get Mom back into her wheelchair.
- Get our bags.
- Get a car to drive us to the hotel.
- Transfer Mom from wheelchair to car.
- Transfer Mom back from car to wheelchair at the hotel.
- Check into hotel and hope we were able to get adjoining rooms.
- Arrive in hotel room and figure out how to get Mom into a different bed.
- Get food for everyone.
And that concluded Travel Day.
I would say this was the most stressful day of the entire trip. Even traveling home was not nearly as stressful. But I felt like the entire day I had a check list in my head and I was checking items off as we went along. Monday evening Dad, Sister K and I all went downstairs to get food for everyone and we all had a cocktail while we waited for our food. I felt like in that moment of cheers it was to think we did it! We made it.
I keep running everything through my mind wondering how I could’ve had less anxiety or less nerves about the situation. Sister K seemed fine. Dad seemed a little stressed but is much more deal with the challenge as it comes. Do I think about it wrong? Do I need to stop thinking about the overview and go one step at a time? Can a person change how they deal with things like this? I know Sister K didn’t have a running to do list in her head on travel day. I don’t know.
We did make it though and it all worked out great. But now in hindsight there were important lessons I want to remember for the future.
Lesson #1: Try not to let the overview of the entire travel experience overload your emotions. In my case there were honestly moments in the morning before we left for the airport that I felt so stressed and overwhelmed that I secretly felt borderline sick. That’s not good and I need to find a way to process that better.
Important to Remember: It always somehow all works out. It is stressful in the moment but in the end it figures itself out. You can’t predict every bad scenario and the outcome. You also can’t have a back up plan for every plan.
I learned a lot on this trip and plan to spend the next few weeks processing all these lessons…but overall:
- Did my family bite off more than we could chew taking Mom with MS and Papa who is 86 to Las Vegas? Maybe.
- But was it worth it because of the memories we have given them and now have? Yes.
- Will we do it again? I don’t know.
- Am I glad we did it this time even with the additional stress? Absolutely.
How do you handle stress of the unknown in these kinds of situations? Do you ever find the task at hand daunting because of all the to do list items it involves? Do you have experience traveling with someone handicapped and managing the additional items involved there?