As promised, I need to explain why my husband drove out to Pittsburgh and back while I merely flew out to Pittsburgh and flew back from DC.
That part is easy. He has nearly six weeks of vacation coming to him this year, which becomes “use it or lose it” come December per company policy. Until this two-week trip, he had used about a week’s worth of vacation days. Meanwhile, I am in the hole on my 12-point-something vacation days (without expiration date) after using just three days for the part of his trip where I met up with him. And since I spent the last weekend of July at that women’s blogging conference I said I wouldn’t talk about anymore, he deserved some vacation away from home without me, too. That all makes sense, right?
But did I like that he wanted to drive all over the country, as well as rural Canada, without me? That I would be home alone for eight nights total compared to the three nights I took away from him? No way.
Let’s face it. Life was different before the husband’s hypoglycemic incident that ended in a seizure in November 2004. Before, I didn’t think twice about going on business trips or visiting my family by myself for a quick weekend. I trusted that my husband would take care of himself, that he could treat any lows that might arise by himself. That all changed with that phone call from the paramedics that evening five years ago.
I try to remember that it was a good thing that he had the sense to stop driving, that he didn’t seize while driving, that he didn’t cause an accident. When considering this road trip of his, all by himself, I had to remember that there have been plenty of incidents since the seizure where he did take care of himself, where things turned out just fine. He eats lunch every day now, he tests his blood sugar more, he doesn’t want another seizure either. Finally, I got to a place where I was okay with him doing the road trip.
Except for one more thing. That part about being alone for eight nights. Four nights apart, four nights together in Pittsburgh and DC, four nights apart again before he’d return home.
It’s not that I am so completely dependent on the husband for entertainment and companionship that I can’t bear to be without him for a few days. In fact, I can be fiercely independent from him; for instance, our bank accounts are still separate and if I didn’t have such a common first name coupled with a common maiden name, I wouldn’t have changed to his uncommon last name. I enjoy shopping and dining alone. I don’t even mind being home alone for shorter periods of time (after all, there is a pack of cats to defend me if I can’t do it myself).
The fact of the matter is, however, that I am dependent on my husband for one thing. While I am so very concerned about his diabetes and possible hypoglycemia, I still count on him to be the one who drives the car in this relationship.
That’s right. I don’t drive. Yeah, I’ve been the proud owner of a learner’s permit on and off for the past ten years, but I don’t drive. I could try to explain why I haven’t learned, though I don’t even know the answer entirely, other than it’s just one more component of my generalized anxiety disorder.
I hate being so dependent, yet I can’t move past the fear of driving. Or maybe it’s the fear of learning to drive at this point. I mean, my nephew turns 16 next month and if he can fulfill all state requirements and if he can find a way to pay for insurance, he will get his driver’s license before me. How’d that happen? How did I get to be 33 without a license? How does someone my age learn?
I use public transportation to get to and from work and to go shopping and dining by myself. I remain dependent on my husband to fill in the gaps that public transportation skips.
Take him away from me, let him go on this incredible road trip, and the thought scared me.
The what ifs were running through my head – what do I do if one of the cats gets sick or if I need to go on an emergency Home Depot run? What if I get stuck going to or coming from the airport?
Well, I do have friends who might be able to help me out in a pinch while the husband is away. Of course! That was the solution. As much as I hate to burden anyone else with my lack of driving ability, I knew that I could count on a couple people to help if I absolutely needed it.
Now that the two weeks (mostly) apart is over, I can say we all survived – me, the husband, the cats. The only major incident of the husband’s road trip was needing to replace the windshield on the second day. I didn’t get stranded anywhere. (However, I’m still jealous of all the places he managed to visit along the way.)
And while I can survive a couple of weeks without my husband thanks to public transportation and two grocery stores within reasonable walking distance, I know that something needs to happen regarding my anxiety about driving. I’d rather tackle it than keep being dependent on others. Once and for all.