Believe it or not, there are perks in getting old. I just returned from ten days in Florida visiting my family, thanks to Charlie's daughter who took over the caregiving responsibilities during my absence.

I was very anxious about making the trip; if you read my blog of a few weeks ago, you know what I mean.

The first thing I did was ask my doctor for something to keep me calm during the days leading up to the trip. Ativan did the trick; nary a case of anxiety.

When I made my reservations, I requested wheelchair service through the airports. The chair was probably not necessary at our little Manchester airport; but I sure appreciated the service when I arrived at the huge Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa airports. Just finding your way around on those "people movers" is stressful, not to mention the long security lines. Those stress busters were eliminated with a personal escort.

And did you know, if you are over 75 you no longer have to remove your shoes? There are times when I am glad I am an old lady.

Wheelchair travelers are the first to board the plane, avoiding another long wait in line. I travelled on Southwest Air, a company that does not offer assigned seats. Since I was fist to board, I had my choice of any seat on the plane. I selected the front row seat on all flights, giving me extra leg-room and ease in leaving my seat for restroom trips; again making the trip less stressful.

My worries about my IBS problem were abated by careful selection of the food I ate on the trip.I found restaurants to be very accommodating when I stressed "no black pepper," my biggest trigger. There were times when I had to settle for a salad when I would have preferred something more elegant, but those decisions made for a trouble-free experience.

The weather was another of my big worries. I certainly lucked out on that one. I flew out two days before the BIG blizzard and snuck back in a few hours before the next one hit New England.

Someone bigger than life was looking out for me.

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I checked in on Charlie every day. He was enjoying all the pampering he received from his daughter. Yes, he sat with his calendar in hand, counting the days until my return. And he was teary-eyed when I came safely through the door.

He and his daughter celebrated his 81st birthday while I was away; a celebration complete with balloons, flowers, filet mignon and ice cream cake. The only thing that was missing was me.

I returned re-nourished and rested. I know that, for a while at least, I will be better able to cope with the everyday stresses of caregiving. I read daily about the need others have for a brief respite from their responsibilities. I know I am blessed to have had the opportunity to get away.It was good, for both Charlie and me to have a few days apart.

If, like me, you are telling yourself all the reasons why you can't get away, think again. It may be possible for you, too, to have some respite from your responsibilities.