Over the last six months, we have managed to get out of town occasionally, for one or two days around dialysis.
By around dialysis, I mean that leave for our mini holiday accommodation (usually a hotel about an hour away) straight after dialysis on Wednesday night. We spend the night and have breakfast and a leisurely Thursday morning there, then, around lunchtime, we return for my afternoon dialysis. At the end of dialysis, we go back to the hotel (all in all about a 4 hr round trip). We then spend Thursday night and all of Friday at the hotel (no dialysis Friday) and check out Saturday morning in time for midday dialysis.
Basically, this gives us three nights away, with one (shortish trip) to dialysis in the middle.
Works for us!
A couple of weeks ago we did this to go to a flash hotel in Healesville and had a great break.
Just before my big splash
I even went for a swim in the pool! I haven’t done that for about five years when we went to Bali. Back then it was a private pool attached to our room, so there was skinny dipping. But not this time. Lots of oldies there in bathrobes: a naked body may have caused a heart attack – and not just mine.
The other thing I enjoyed a lot was the breakfast: free and as many courses as you like. For me, that’s gotta be the best part of the stay.
Naturally, we are always on the lookout for a mini holiday.
But they don’t all turn out as expected.
About six months ago I was invited to speak a renal conference in Bendigo (about two hours north) on the consumer’s viewpoint of dialysis. Julie and I thought about it. It would be a great opportunity for a break: we could go the night before, maybe I even dialyse there and stay another couple of extra nights, for a real getaway. So I said yes.
Then. about two months before to conference, Liam (our no.2 son) who was turning 40, sent out an invitation for all and sundry to go to his birthday party, to be held on Cypress, in the sunny Med (he lives out that way). So our daughter Katherine and her husband asked if we could look after the kids if they went too.
Of course, we said yes.
I wasn’t great timing. It meant we were looking after them on the day I was speaking in Bendigo. No mini holiday now. We would have to get up early with the kids, drive to Bendigo, I’d talk and drive home the same day.
As the conference approached, I spent more and more time working on the speech, which was playing hard to get. Sometimes a little unwell, cursing that I had accepted, and I even considered weaselling out. Looking after the kids was a good excuse. But Julie encouraged me to stick with it (she can be very persuasive).
Then, two days before the speech, I came home from dialysis with AF (Atrial Fibrillation) and was quite weak and useless. Good excuse not to go? No says Julie, let’s wait and see. The AF went away the next day.
As expected, three days before the conference the kids came to stay. About 4am the morning of the conference, I woke up to the kids crying – there was a blackout and their comfort lights had gone out. We lit a couple of candles. Then I checked our alarm – it had reset to 5am. If the kids hadn’t cried, we may have slept in and missed the conference anyway!
Julie and I both set our phone alarms.
Up about 6am. Organising and shepherding kids, we left about 7am. We arrived with 15 minutes to spare. I checked my notes, sat and waited until the previous speaker finished.
I walked to the lectern and looked at my notes. The first page was missing. Great…
Luckily, I remembered most of what I was to say. After a little heart flutter, all went well. I delivered my speech, left the stage, and called Julie. She arrived with the kids 10 minutes later and we drove home.
Bendigo from the car
Not the break we’d imagined.
But a week after, I had an email from the organiser. They loved the speech. Lots of praise. Would I like to speak at the next conference, to a larger audience, in June? Only thing, it is in Auckland (New Zealand).
Hmmm. Maybe this could be the Bendigo holiday, done right? I could arrange holiday dialysis for a day or two Auckland. I’d need to be a lot fitter and stronger to travel: working towards this trip could be a good incentive. So I said yes.
I started my first gym session in three months today. I walked on a machine for seven minutes, rode a bike, rolled around on the floor, did some pretty pathetic sit-ups and we went home. Sound like a good start to me.
Now I’m looking forward to NZ!
Getting away on a mini holiday is not always easy, but, with a little thought and perseverance, like life, it can be delightful.