I Love You but Hotels Are Easier

I love having friends and family stay at my home. When we first moved to the Washington D.C. area, we knew our home would be a magnet for houseguests and we are happy when we can share the last cup of tea at night and the first cup of coffee in the morning.

I have always enjoyed staying with friends and family too. Many of my favorite memories come from late nights after mostly everyone has gone to bed and just the night owls are sitting around talking.

The years with thyroid eye disease (TED) have changed my life profoundly. Even my closest family and friends cannot always understand.

My cousin is still annoyed that I stayed at a hotel rather than her home during a recent visit. But would she have been more insulted if I asked how many bed pillows she had, or if I brought my own?

Thyroid eye disease is easier for me to manage if I stay at a hotel

It is not easy traveling with TED. When I travel, I make sure I can accommodate my needs, but it is very hard to impose those requirements on someone else, especially in their own home.

My travel bag holds a blow-up wedge pillow and plug-in night light. Both of those are great for hotel rooms but not always useful for someone’s home. I can guarantee I will be sleeping in a bed in a hotel – not a couch or blow-up mattress. Those were great before TED, but I cannot manage them now.

I no longer sleep through the night. I get up at 5 AM to take medication. Sometimes I set an alarm. In a hotel I can use a night light in the bathroom and leave my medication and water near it. I cannot do that in someone’s home, especially if there are animals, children, or other people using the bathroom. I would be a great guest, waking the household up at 5 AM with an alarm and then walking around with a flashlight!

TED impacts my relationships with others

I have become very demanding during my TED journey. Because I cannot see in low light conditions, I turn the lights on. Many people do not like to use bright lights in their homes.

Recently I had lunch with a friend, and she wanted me to help her look through various things in her closet. The lighting was dim, and I could not decipher anything she pointed out. However, it was me she became annoyed with because I was not able to answer her questions.

Sometimes though I do not want my health and my journey with TED to be the main topic of conversation. This holiday season I want to visit my family and not talk about TED. I want to enjoy our time together and not have them think about whether I need another pillow or more lights or anything else.

I do not want them to feel sorry for me because I cannot be the person I once was. I want to have a "normal" family gathering. If that means I sleep in a hotel, then so be it!

I love them but it is just easier this way.

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