Monday, April 23, 2012

I've been pretending

I am not a happy person. Yes, I’ve tried. I’ve put on a smile and pretended to the world – and to myself – that all was well in my world. Changing jobs didn’t affect the problems that I face every day. They’ve made it financially easier to face, but the problems are still there. Ron continues a slow but steady decline in his health. We both like to pretend that we don’t notice it, but we do. He’s reached a point in his life that he’s not comfortable in any position – sitting or lying in bed. He’s spent many nights in the recliner portion of the sofa but all that’s doing is breaking down the sofa. He can barely get himself out of it. Taking the dog out to potty is more than he wants to take on during the day. I’m torn because that is the only exercise that he is getting – the trip to the slider several times a day to let her out and back in. If he didn’t have her, I’m not sure he’d get out of his chair for anything except to go to the bathroom.

Last night, he tried sleeping in the bed again. It was more of a nightmare for both of us. It takes him several minutes (with me helping) to get him situated in the bed, music on, breathing machine on, and just the right amount of covering on his extremities. Then, I can go to bed but I have to sleep with my head at the foot of the bed because if I snore (heaven forbid!) then it’s hard for him to sleep. (I spent 17 years listening to him but he doesn’t know how I managed to get any rest at all.) I’ve woken up with a sore throat from sleeping right underneath the ceiling fan so that has got to stop. Ron’s got a huge bruise on his left kidney (from spontaneous bleeding/bruising – waiting on test results to see what “new” is wrong) and lying down makes it very painful. He thought it had healed up enough for him to sleep but he was up several times and then finally just got up at 5:30 this morning. Today, I feel like I’ve not had any sleep at all. Even when he was sleeping, I was semi-aware of the fact that he might need something so I didn’t sleep deeply. I told Ron that I couldn’t continue this cycle. We have a spare bed and I think I’m going to start sleeping in it. It’s not a very comfortable bed, but it will be sleep. He can prop himself up on as many pillows as he needs if I’m not in the same bed.

I’m currently looking for a new power lift chair. His last one was beyond repair (financially for me because I’d have had to pay someone to do it) and we’ve tried to get by without one these last several months. It’s to the point where he has got to have a lift chair. The knee replacement is giving him a lot of trouble and we’re not sure why but he can barely use that leg again. Neither of us really knows what to do next.

I’m a selfish person. Deeply. This isn’t a ploy for sympathy or for anyone to tell me how noble I am. I’m really selfish. I am tired of taking care of him. There. I’ve said it. I’ve put it in writing for the world to see. I’m tired of never being able to plan anything because I don’t know if I can accommodate Ron. I’m tired of not getting any sleep. I’m tired of having to do everything for the both of us. I’m tired of him forgetting the little things (short-term memory is extremely short-term – and he forgets so much). I’m tired of being tired and tired of being ashamed of my feelings. I’m his wife. I signed on “for better or worse; in sickness and in health” and I shouldn’t be acting so selfishly. In the past, I’ve made it sound how wonderful our weekends away have been – and they were, don’t get me wrong. But, they were a TREMENDOUS amount of work on my part. Loading all of the stuff, making sure that we had everything that he could possibly need – so much so that I forgot my own things one time. Totally forgot my stuff. Our “cheap” weekends away are over because the $30 per night motel we stayed in is no longer accessible for Ron; he can’t get up off the toilet and the motel is so old, they are not up to ADA standards.

I’m so busy making sure that everything is OK for him that my own requirements are being put on the back burner. Some of them just never get addressed. That bothers me and then I feel ashamed for letting it bother me.

Sometimes, I think he would be better off in assisted living but then I think that it would be “me” better off – I’d have a lighter load in some respects but I’d have to visit him every night and I think that would get old. I really admire the folks who go every day, all day, to sit with their loved ones in nursing home environments. My FIL would go every day to the nursing home where Ron’s mom was. (When he didn’t show up one day, she knew something had happened to him. Even though she had dementia, she knew something was wrong; he had passed away during the night.) I know my kids sometimes think that we should make the step but I’m just not sure it’s the right thing to do. If’ I’m so quick to put him in assisted living, then how could I expect anyone to help me when (if) I get to a position where I need some help? I’m planning on going to see my WA grandkids during July 4th week and I’m already worried about who will be able to step in and make sure Ron is OK. Amy won’t because it’s harvest and they’ll be going to the farm. Everyone else lives too far away. So, do I cancel the trip (again!) because I have no one to step in, or do I just leave him and pray for the best? What a dilemma.

Enough of my whining for now. I’ve done really well with avoiding the issues but today I’m just not in the mood to bury it all. I am ordering a topper for the twin bed. That will make the mattress more comfortable for sleeping. I feel bad for Ron. He's pretty depressed over things these days and has had his anti-depressant adjusted. He also showed me tonight one of his fingers that doesn't look too healthy. Since he wears gloves so much, I hadn't noticed it. I asked him why he didn't show the doctor last Friday and he said he didn't think of it.

All things to think about for another day.


joanne said...

sending you healing thoughts...I often feel the burden of being the great 'pretender.' I'm the sick one here so your honesty is appreciated. take care of yourself, go visit those grandbabies, all will work out to the best. take care.

orchid said...

Dearest Teresa,
I am SO sorry for my recent absence, my friend.
I think we need some place to express our feeling, otherwise we will be overwhelmed.
I always am thinking about you and sending warmest love.
Take Good Care of Yourself☆☆☆
Lots of Love and many Hugs to you from east, xoxo Miyako*

lyndylou said...

Dear Teresa, please don't put yourself down so much. If you were a truly selfish person, you would have run for the hills the minute Ron became ill.

Instead you have relocated numerous times to accommodate his declining health, are always sourcing new equipment, extra help and thinking of new ways to work around his health issues and still give him a life outwith the home, not to mention the fact that you are looking after him on top of all that. THAT in itself is a full time job yet you work on top of that!

Something has to give and it will be you if you don't take stock and re-evaluate. I think you should go to see your grandchildren and just ask people to drop in and see how Ron is. Also maybe you need some anti depressants to, just to help you cope with all that you do. I have had to take them on and off over the years to cope with my caring role.

I think you are doing a wonderful job but you are only one person and this is the work of many (((hugs)))

SkippyMom said...
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SkippyMom said...
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Lois said...

I think that you are wise to face these feelings, however difficult it is. Personally I don't think that 'for better or for worse' means 'sacrifice own self'. You have the need to live as well. Be well, and remember self-care. Be kind to yourself.

colenic said...

I know that you don't want sympathy or for us to tell you that it's okay to feel what you are feeling. I will agree with what has been said by people who put it far more eloquently than I can. I will add my love and my ear to you- please know that this is a safe place to write whatever it is you want to write...and to be true to yourself without having to worry about everyone else.
Hugs and lots and lots of love to you!

kneesandpaws said...

Many good things are going to happen today. Believe it.

Sleep deprivation can make the world and our lives seem intolerable. Make it a priority that you can have just that one thing every 24 hours: a good, deep rest. Do not let feelings get in the way of that one thing.

I'm sending good intentions that you will be able to overcome frustration. Sending lots of love.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

There is NOTHING wrong with how you are feeling. A person can only do so much and for quite a time I think Ron's problems have escalated beyond one person's ability to manage them.
My dear friend experienced such similar things as her husband's health failed and then he died--the expense, stress, physical strain and emotional exhaustion she went through was staggering. Anyone who would call you selfish at this point really doesn't get it.

Thisisme. said...

Dear Teresa - my friend, I really feel for you. Honestly, I do. I just don't know how you have coped all this time, AND you work full time as well. No wonder it is all getting on top of you. There's no harm at all in letting off steam like this. You know that you are amongst dear friends, and we all want to support you in any way that we can. It is good that you have said all this. Sometimes, just being able to say these things, can make you feel just a little better. Lyndylou has said some very wise things (and SkippyMom and Jenny). You MUST try to make some time for yourself and at least have some respite. Otherwise you are going to go mad. Please don't feel guilty in any way for having the feelings that you do. They are completely natural. The trouble is, you can see no end at the light of the tunnel whatsoever. In fact, you can only see things getting worse. I know it's all too easy for me to say, but, like Skippy, if I was closer, I would be there to help you like a shot. Please, please make sure that you get to visit those grandkids in July. Please know that I am thinking of you and praying that, somehow, this whole situation will get easier for you somehow. Take care.

michiganme said...

Can his doctor prescribe some home health care help? I wish I lived in your area---I see used power lift chairs for sale on Craig's list furniture at least twice a month for very reasonable prices. Caregivers of the world are SAINTS!