When You're Sick And He Isn't - Life Stops, Anxiety Creeps in - And There Never Is A Clear Solution

WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Posts: 328Moderator Moderator
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Hello Everyone! I wanted to comment about something I know a lot of full time carers who are also partners to someone who is dependent in their care have to deal with when they're sick: how life stops when you're out of commission and how mentally stressful that can be. People don't talk about this enough, so I wanted to post about it to see if anyone out there can relate!

In our household, I am the only caregiver for my husband. It works for us and our lifestyle 95% of the time, as I have explained before many times in other posts. We have the freedom to live our lives how we want, to travel - to get up super early - to go to bed late if we want - to be spontaneous - without having to coordinate care. We chose this, yet, it does have its downsides... like when I get sick.  I hardly ever get sick, maybe once or twice a year... BUT - during the rare times I do get sick and he isn't, it is the absolute WORST. 

How many of you caregivers out there know what it's like to be sick, and grumpy, and needing some time to lay in bed and heal, when you still have to facilitate someone else's life for them? Sometimes I feel like even my own husband doesn't understand how I feel. I am tired, short with him, anxious because there is a house to maintain, errands to run, HIS life to facilitate (he is a C4 dependent Quad that needs assistance with about 90% of things) and there is no time for me to just rest. He tries his best to accommodate me - telling me to just put him where he needs to be so he can study and work, or facilitate him getting into his workout chair so he can go off and exercise. But its the stuff that goes along with that, constantly needing to be a bit on edge and not fully relaxed because I am just going to have to get up later and help him. Its that small "on edge" feeling that I sometimes just want to get rid of - so I can completely relax, but most of these times its just not possible. 

Sometimes I just want to throw my hands up in the air, give up and hide in my room, but I cant. The feeling of trying to rest and lay in bed, knowing that his life is so impacted by me not being available to help him, and that I simply cant "check out" for the day or even the afternoon, is mentally exhausting. Its a constant push pull, because I want to rest and I know how important caring for yourself is (heck, we preach about it so often).. but the cold hard reality is, he does have to come first for certain things. Normally this works quite well for us if I have balance - but not when I am sick and my life is teetering on the edge. 

This life is all about balance, and when the scale is tipped to make it so I am lacking and need some relief, its tough to push through without fighting with my partner, or being so stressed on top of feeling ill that It just takes me longer to recover. 

Our solution over the past few years for this issue is for him to accept that when I am sick, his life is put on hold - as shitty as that is for him, he knows how important it is for me to be feeling good. He does things that he doesn't need too much help with, or, just takes the day off and lays in bed with me while I heal. He is a trooper, and I give him a lot of credit for doing this, but he still doesn't truly understand how stressed it makes me to have this situation happen. I feel guilty because he isn't able to do the things he wants to do, and our household is messy and the list of things to do just piles up in the back of my mind. 

This is a true "I don't know if you can ever solve this" issue with a full time caregiving lifestyle. You can't just push your duties off on someone else. You can't just have someone come running to help when you need those few hours to yourself. 

So my only answer is to keep myself as healthy as I can, and NOT get sick, so I don't have to feel like this. And in the rare occasion that I do get sick, to tell myself that everything that needs to be done can wait, and he will have to sacrifice his day in order for me to get well. This is just the way it is for us, and that's ok. 

Thank you for reading.

Brooke 
Your WAGS of SCI
(Elena and Brooke)

Comments

  • ZcollieZcollie Posts: 193Moderator Moderator
    100 Comments 25 Awesomes 25 Likes Name Dropper
    Thank you for posting about this. It was a great read and think this topic should be talked about more. It helped me to understand a little more how stressful it is when my fiancé Bree gets sick and still has to do so much for me. It does freaking suck that I cant do more for myself so I can just let her rest when she is sick. It is hard for me to that I cant take care of her or help her out with things that need to get done. Laundry, dishes, cleaning, making food, bringing her medicine, etc... I want to be there for her and comfort her and I cant physically. Especially as a guy. Hope more people comment about this topic!
    Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. -SONIA RICOTTI
  • WAGSofSCIWAGSofSCI Posts: 328Moderator Moderator
    100 Likes 100 Comments 25 Awesomes First Answer
    @Zcollie It's so tough because I HATE when my husband gets sad and upset about it... it makes it even worse for me because not only is his life on hold, but he also is also now suffering mentally because of my sickness. That adds even more strain to ME, and it makes it even tougher on my mentality. When he gets down on himself, saying things like "I wish I could help you out more.. im useless.." etc etc, I always tell him that that makes it worse for me, knowing that, and then I ask him to adjust his mindset. I say "you can support me mentally and emotionally and that means more to me than the physical stuff" and he usually snaps out of it. He then will go the extra mile to make sure that he can do his part to help me by listening, being attentive, comforting me, letting me know its ok and everything can wait - and also doing other things he doesn't need my help with. when he's relaxed about it, I feel less stressed. Him telling me "its ok babe im fine" helps a lot. Its so much about communication. - Brooke 
    Your WAGS of SCI
    (Elena and Brooke)
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