Changing Course
RECHARGE: Camping is a good option

My partner desperately needed a break last week, so we decided to take a holiday.

We didn’t plan to spend it in hospital, but that’s what we wound up doing.

Well, we spent a lot of it there.

We didn’t go in for treatment since neither of us was injured or ill, but Sal’s 80-year-old mum needed to be admitted just as we were finalising our walking, cycling and swimming preparations.

So, instead of heading off to the coast, we unpacked the camping gear so we could use my car to ferry Sal’s 82-year-old dad back and forth between his home and the hospital to visit his wife.

And for much of the next five days, we were either in the ward with Mrs Pat, or preparing meals and clearing up around the house for Mr Pat, or just keeping him company.

That’s right, they both call themselves Pat. Their names are Patrick and Patricia… and yes, it can get confusing.

The reason I am telling you about our camping trip that didn’t happen and our time in and around the hospital is that neither Sal nor I felt cheated by the sudden need to change our plans.

We love spending time in nature and we were looking forward to getting some fresh air, but we also felt lucky to have already taken time off when our assistance was needed.

Mrs Pat’s hospital visit and the time we spent with the two of them may have been exactly what her parents needed.

For several years, Sal’s mum has been taking medication for breathing problems.

Her drugs were prescribed by a general practitioner, but while she was in hospital hooked up to an oxygen supply, a specialist examined her.

That led to a new diagnosis and new drugs that may greatly improve her health.

Mr Pat, meanwhile, has had health issues of his own. He has been doing his best to ignore them, but when he finally realised how worried his wife was about him and how that worry was affecting her recovery, he allowed Sal to take him to his doctor to set up a thorough investigation.

Mrs Pat found that reassuring and it helped her relax… and a relaxed wife greatly improved Mr Pat’s outlook on life.

They have been very worried… both about themselves and about each other, and the worry has been bad for their health.

Sal has been worried too, and that hasn’t been good for her. She had been looking forward to doing as little as possible during her break but instead she was on the go all the time.

It wasn’t the relaxing holiday we had planned but it was an incredibly rewarding one and Sal came out of it felling good about herself and far less worried about her parents.

She’d had no downtime to recharge her battery, but when she went back to her job the morning her mum came home, she seemed to be recharged.

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