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Old 09-15-2020, 05:58 PM   #1
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Location: Missouri
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What would you do?

I am struggling with a bit of a dilemma and would like some input from the forest river community.

This is a serious topic so I appreciate your honest input.

My wife and I have a travel trailer that we purchased new in 2016. Before that we had a pop-up camper that we enjoyed. Shortly after buying the travel trailer my wife developed some significant health issues and since 2017 we have canceled more trips than weíve actually taken. The last two years 2019 and 2020 have seen less than ten days of overall camping. I had previously booked a long weekend coming up later this month however my wife is again unable to go. We had multiple trips planned for this year but due to Covid we had to cancel early in the year and when we finally got out for a long weekend we had to cut it short due to her health issues. Truth be told we wouldíve had to cancel the early camping trips anyway Because of her health even if Covid had not come to America.

Since we cut short our one trip we have canceled every trip since and this was the last one scheduled for the year.

Iím thinking of going myself for the selfish reason of relaxing at a quiet campground but also to do some year end maintenance. (Caulk on some trim pieces, seal a few spots on roof, good black tank flush then winterize prior to heading home.)

Yes the maintenance could all be done at the house.

My wife told me that I should just go without her but Iím not sure if I should go by myself or just cancel the trip altogether. I am about 18 months away from retirement and our plan was to travel around the Country and see all the sites that weíve Been unable to see. So Iím not sure if this weekend will be a test run for my retirement years or not.

A very close friend of mine recently passed away and he and his wife traveled for 15 years in a class A. Just before he died he said he had no regrets and saw everything in the country he wanted to see. He told me not to have any regrets and get out there and see the country.
So Iím really torn with what I want to do. Do I take the weekend and go by myself and hope her health improves or do I do the maintenance on the camper at home and put it up for sale?

She told me to go but Iím not really sure that is what she wants me to do.

What would you do or has anyone else faced this issue in your relationship?

This decision could have lasting effects on whether I retire or just continue to work.
Steve & Suzanne and the pup Teddy
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Old 09-15-2020, 06:07 PM   #2
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Donít go unless you are sure that she wants you to go, and is not just saying so because she thinks you want to go and because she is willing to sacrifice.
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Old 09-15-2020, 06:16 PM   #3
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I'm married 36yrs,I don't think I would be comfortable going without her on any trips .Is it possible to go on short trips? I'm thinking if push came to shove ,I would probably give up the camper, JMO. Tough decision either way .
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Old 09-15-2020, 06:18 PM   #4
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I was faced with the the same question when my wife was diagnosed with a terminal illness. I stayed by her side for 8 months and figured my need to "escape" wasn't that great.

She passed away in the fall of 2016 and I am now traveling at every opportunity that presents itself.

Only the OP can answer the question for himself.
"A wise man can change his mind. A fool never will." (Japanese Proverb)

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Old 09-15-2020, 06:35 PM   #5
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I am sorry you and your wife have to go through this. Health issues are never fun. It's one of life's cruel jokes that when you are young and healthy, you can't afford to do these things, and when you finally can afford to do them, you may not be healthy enough to do so.

I have a viewpoint from your wife's perspective that might help. Two years ago I had some health issues that left me unable to move from my recliner for over a month. Being middle aged with a kid in grade school, this was a bit unexpected. Good news, everything is back to normal (at least 99%). For that summer I missed out on several trips and family activities. I told my wife to go do everything we had planned without me once I was able to be left alone. I was very sad to have missed out on the time with my family. However, I would have been crushed if my health issues stopped the ones I love from having those experiences. Especially my child.

I missed a family wedding, our annual beach trip to the East Coast, a camping trip with friends we have not seen in too long, and several other local activities. It sucked. But, sometimes we sacrifice for our loved ones. Have a frank conversation with her to be sure that is what she wants and make the decision together.

For me, I did not want to stand in the way of my families lives. I knew I was going to recover. I just did not know how long that would take.

If you decide that the best decision for your family is to stay home, that is OK. From a financial perspective, this is a great time to sell a camper. Sell it, wait a year or two for retirement, then take advantage of the great deals that should be available once all of the COVID campers stop buying up everything and decide they want to get rid of their campers.

In a year or two and your wife's health issues get better or at least manageable enough to follow your plans, you can still travel. This decision does not have to be final. You can just delay it a bit.

I know I played both sides of this but I hope this helps.

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Old 09-15-2020, 06:36 PM   #6
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i have known quite a few couples in this same exact situation. Some choose to throw in the towel, sell their rigs and stay home. Others have decided that staying home isn't a life worth living and they go for the gusto. One ol' boy has told me "we're too young to be put out to pasture, and if we go it will be doing something we enjoy".

Only the persons affected can make a decision like this, one way or the other.
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Old 09-15-2020, 07:14 PM   #7
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God bless and I wish the best for you both. Myself, I couldn't leave my wife behind if she had health issues. On the other hand since shes healthy I don't hesitate to take guy trips. Only you can make this decision. I know if I were in her shoes I wouldn't want anyone held back because of me. Easy for me to say because I'm not in that spot. Just thinking, I'd probably hang it up for a while.
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Old 09-16-2020, 01:59 AM   #8
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Thanks for the advice and words of wisdom.
To clarify a few things, she is not terminally ill, she has a chronic nerve condition that causes her severe pain and many days she can barely get out of bed. She can get up take care of herself for the most part but I do everything else around the house. If I left her I would be forced to rely on friends to take care of her which is not a reasonable request.
As I type this I realize it is best to sell and just stay home as she wonít get any better.
I guess sometimes a little perspective from others point of view and seeing it in writing
yourself helps.
Thanks again
Steve & Suzanne and the pup Teddy
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:18 AM   #9
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I see that you have pretty well decided not to go alone—likely a painful, but wise, decision.

Are there any circumstances or accommodations that would allow your wife to join you on a trip (and, more importantly, to want to go on a trip)? Can any of the members of the community do something to help make this happen?
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Old 09-16-2020, 02:13 PM   #10
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To go or not to go...

I (we) were in a similar situation. When my husband's health made a big decline, we switched from a 5th wheel to a class C. That way, he would together, if he had an issue. I did all of the driving, toad, set-up, etc. He was there for consult, if needed. Four years ago, he went in to a bigger decline, and we just parked it. He passed away late last year, and now I am going it alone. COVID has sort of crushed my plans for this year, but I chose to keep the rig. I knew it, it knew me. If you go alone, for now, I would stay super close to home for the "end of year" camper stuff (final dump, clean out, etc,) I assume you have a back-up care giver for her, if you are gone. I did not have anyone. Rough row to hoe. I hope she improves, and you can go on your merry way, together.
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Old 09-16-2020, 02:26 PM   #11
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Is it possible that your wife could travel in a motorhome that could be slightly modified for her comfort. Could go out on good days and stay in on bad days. Don't have to get out of the truck to go to the trailer. Maybe in 18 months for retirement!!
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Old 09-16-2020, 02:47 PM   #12
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Take care

You are doing well at working this through.
Donít forget this Escapees facility:
And I hope it all works out well for you and your spouse.
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Old 09-16-2020, 03:06 PM   #13
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I have been married for 38 years and I feel I would stay by her side and make her feel better. I do not know what her issues are but with you by her side it can make all the difference in how she feels. I would never go with out my camping gal. I hope it all works out for ya'll just stay true to each other. My 2 cents
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Old 09-16-2020, 04:13 PM   #14
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If your wife is not at immediate risk of passing, then go! Otherwise, she will feel guilty for your stay at home.

In 1971 I was in the Army, stationed in southern New Mexico. My wife became very anxious and unsettled there. She asked about going to visit her sister who lived in Hawaii. I told her to buy an open ticket, to go, and to send a postcard when I was to pick her up at the airport. She stayed six weeks,

In 1985, I had business weeks in New York two weeks in succession. Company policy allowed me to travel home to North Carolina for the weekend. My wife said "Don't come home. If the company will cover it, go to Illinois and see your mother." The company agreed to cover it, I went to Illinois, and it was the last time I saw her alive. I will never forget that sacrifice.

In the late 1990s or very early 2000s, her best friend, the across-the-street neighbor from when we lived in Minnesota, got cancer. My wife was very concerned for her friend who wasn't adapting well. I told her "Get your plane tickets. Go. Stay as long as you need to." She stayed three weeks. The friend recovered and she and I still correspond.

The lesson from this series of scenarios is about love and marriage. Marriage is not only about "Cleave to one another." It's also about loving your partner enough to know it's okay to be temporarily apart.

(Sorry. I don't usually get emotional.)

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Old 09-16-2020, 04:21 PM   #15
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Stick with her. Don't go, and don't fret it.
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Old 09-16-2020, 05:22 PM   #16
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The big question you have to ask yourself, "If I go, will I actually enjoy myself or will I be thinking about and worrying about my wife the whole time"? Not knowing you, but knowing your situation, caregivers need to take care of themselves too. Having a case of the "guilts" would be my motivating factor. By posting here, I think you have already answered your own question.
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Old 09-16-2020, 05:39 PM   #17
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My wife has told me Yes means No and No means Yes.
Do the right thing and stay by her side, give her some extra care and love.
You will not regret that decision.
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Old 09-17-2020, 01:20 AM   #18
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When Life Throws Us Challenges

My story has both differences and similarities. In my case, my late wife was a cancer and heart attach survivor who's cancer came back and settled in her bones and lungs. In addition, the youngest of our six sons, Joshua, was born with Down's Syndrome and required a lot of help. I wasn't in a good financial position for me to retire, not old enough, and take care of them when it first happened. She took care of herself and Josh and it was getting harder on her by the time I was turning 57, which gave me a little extra on my retirement. I told her I would retire, take care of them, and for her to not worry about the finances, we would make it some how. When I retired the doctor's told the wife she only had 2 more months to live, she went past that by over 2 years. (I was hoping for an moji of her thumbing her nose at the doctors, but I guess one of her laughing at them is close enough.) I stayed with her day in, day out, but had to get out of the house a couple times a week to take Josh places and to go shopping. When ever I was out of range for me to hear her, she would go into panic attacks, so some of the ladies from our church took turns coming over and sitting with her while I was gone, in fact I heard they would get in arguments about whose turn it was because they all loved going over. That made me kinda proud ofthe lady I married.

Before she passed away in 2007, she asked me if I would take Josh traveling when she was gone, so when she had passed and all the hoopla was over, Josh and I went to visit his five brothers (that trip was California, Nevada and Utah). Didn't take long to figure out that driving a car was NOT the way to go. Purchased a 19' Crossroads Sunset Trails plus a Chevy 1500 Silverado. The pair turned out to be the perfect match for each other and us. We got the new rig just over two months after the day she died and just over 4 months after her death, she came back and took Josh home to Jesus with her. 8 weeks with the new rig less the last week and a half when Josh was in ICU, in 6 1/2 weeks Josh spent 23 nights in that TT. We were constantly on the go, last trip, we made the circuit again to see all his brothers. We figured out afterwards he was saying good-bye to everyone because he knew he wasn't coming back.
Anyway, I figured out that the wife knew I was going to need the TT because trips in it to work on family history or to visit & photograph cemeteries were what kept me sane the next couple or three years.

Remarried 7 years ago to another wonderful lady. Since then knees are shot, have type 2 diabetes with neuropathy in both the feet and the hands, my balance is almost gone. New DW loves going out in the TT, but a 10 1/2 week round trip, California to the Maine in a 19 foot TT when she retired almost did her in plus living in it for over a year while we were getting our house ready to sell and then living in a RV Park for couple of months after we moved. Plus the TT didn't have anything that was powered other than me and I was worn out from use and abuse after years as a heavy equipment mechanic, so when we got to Bakersfield and her eldest son expressed an interest in it, we let him have it.
She had surgery on her lower back just before we moved to Bakersfield but never has healed right from it and now the middle of her back is hurting and the surgeons are saying more surgery and she is saying unkind things about the surgeons and trying everything she can come up with to get out of it. She misses some of her old friends from where we used to live as well as her 96 yr old step-mother who lives in Medford, Oregon (and had to be evacuated the other day). She likes to be able to see them from time to time and its a multi-day trip for her. I always tell her to go, never complain about the costs when she gets them presents or takes them someplace fancy for dinner. Never know if this will be the last time she sees them in this life, so I want them to enjoy themselves. By the same token, I take off overnight every-so-often by myself and she doesn't complain. Of course we also spend time on the phone to each other every evening we are gone.
But, she really has missed that old trailer and our trips, so when I happened to be surfing and saw the floor plan for a Rockwood 2608BS Ultralite, spent the morning studying on the internet then I asked if she wanted to go for a ride which somehow took us right past the local F-R dealer. Went in, as I told her, "just to see what the new trailers were like". We looked at two or three and then I asked them if they had any of the 2608 (I knew they had 2 on the lot). She walked into that TT, took one look at the kitchen with all the front of the TT being counter space and cabinets and then the sink, stove and fridge 90 degrees to it and she fell in love (she not only worked as a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, but also as a caterer). Later, I did a note to myself that it took her longer to fall in love with me than the TT!!! Anyway, we walked out of there with the paperwork started for a new TT. We're in Calif., not the place to buy an RV right now, so we paid too much, but I knew that going in, and knew she'd be happy. Now with the wild fires, not the best for camping either. But the wife is Very Happy, we've been able to do 2 to 3 night every 3 weeks or so, it gets her to better altitudes where the air quality is a little bit better, there are lots of big green trees, green meadows, running water, and the Fur Babies (but they are for a different thread) love camping and the DW loves them. My body is still worn out, it takes me a couple hours or more to set up and to take down, I have had to develop new methods of doing things, and so has the wife. Everything is good.

To PD2436, sorry to be monopolizing your thread, hope you don't get too upset with me. Sometimes we need to hear someone else's story to be able to apply pieces of it to our own story. It's helped me in the past.

I'd like to share a few thoughts with you:
There are lots of trips in our lives; from a trip to the store to weekend camping to a cross country trip and of course the greatest trip, coming to this life and living with all the mortal experiences it has for us then heading back home (some folks call it dying, but I think of it as graduating from hi school into a graduate program).
Sometimes our decisions are win-win, some times lose-lose, and sometimes half and half. One thing about our becoming more mature senior citizens is that we can look back at those decisions and see through the eyes of experience, wisdom and a changed heart that we really didn't do near as bad as we thought we did. Sometimes we also find out that in the long run, no matter what we decided to do, it didn't really matter. What mattered was Love for each other.
Take for instance your concerns if you should go on a weekend trip. PROS if you go: It would help you get some things done on the TT. She might appreciate seeing you doing something you love. She might also appreciate a little time away from you (everyone needs a break once in a while and she might like an opportunity for some girl-girl time (someone once said that a man needs a woman, and a woman needs a man, and a woman she can talk to). It would give you some "Me Time", which for someone who is a caregiver is something you dearly need from time to time and Will Need To Take from time to time. CONS: She MIGHT feel abandoned and that you don't love her. You might feel guilty about it. You and/or she might worry about her getting the help she needs while you are away. Maybe you won't get as much done on the TT if you try to do it all at home.
There are probably more that the two of you can come up with. I found in my case that it is good if I discuss things with the DW, they both have been very good at coming up with gems of wisdom. Praying together about it is good, if the two of you aren't into praying together, then just ponder on it, don't be in a hurry, let your mind digest it and get back to you later (usually when you are thinking about something totally different). But the main thing is the two of you coming up with the plan of action if you can.
I've found, and I am definitely not all that smart, that if we both love each other and let the other one know that, and then we work together on whatever is facing us, then, not only does everything work out in the long run, but sometimes, we also find that what we did didn't really matter in the long-term scheme of things because what really mattered was our love for one another and that we had worked on it together.

Again, I apologize for being so long winded.
I want to thank the PO for this question because I know that many more than just he and I have been and are affected by this or a similar challenge.
I love every one who has shared on this thread and pray for each of you and yours.
In closing, can I share a link to an article from RV Life titled "Living, Loving, & Full-Time RVing While Caregiving" about a couple where the wife has a progressive, degenerative, and often fatal genetic disease. They decided to become full-timers. It's something that will help everyone who has or may face any of the things we have been speaking about,

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Old 09-17-2020, 01:23 AM   #19
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To go or not to go..

My wife and I have 48 plus under our belts. Through out our time together there have been many times one of us has needed to be away. The longest was I spent 9 months in FL Working. At times it was tough on her.
You asked the question "what would you do?"
If my wife had some kind of health problem but felt she could manage being away from home, knowing some days she would not be able to get out of bed but still wanting to camp. It would be a no brainer for me. The TT would be on the market and gone ASAP and we would be camping in a class C, super C or an A. If her health went down to the point she could not travel we would stay home from then on.
The main reason I would make this decision is I know camping would help to make my wife feel better and I would do it as long as we could.

Everybody's situation is in it's own way unique so only the two of you can decide what you feel will work for you.

Take care of the wife and if it is God's plan I would love to meet the 2 of you some day.

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Old 09-17-2020, 06:14 AM   #20
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In the new medical world there is always hope.

My DW is a tough one. After two years of suffering the doctor found a combination of drugs that has her appearing to be pretty normal. We know there is no cure.

She enjoys the trips. We are in the glamping range.

Traveling in the rv is pretty easy on her. We stick to a regiment that we go nowhere before 9:00 nor drive after 4:00. No more 14 hour days.

I would make a reservation close. Encourage her to join you. You can always take her home.

But, then again, my DW is a tough one.

We had the same issue in 2007 over the sailboat. Was not fun the year she did not go. Sold it. Had one 24 years. I was kind of tired of it.

As your rv is larger, I would do nothing a year. With cell phones and all the amenities of modern rv’s it is not much different than being home my DW says.
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