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Something I’ve Never Talked About

Hello people! Hope your day is going great. Ready for Thanksgiving? Those that are celebrating it tomorrow, I hope it’s stress free and fun-filled!

Today, I’m going in a different direction with my blog. First, let me state, I am NOT looking for sympathy. I talk about my past sometimes, about abuse, about my ex the narc, about family and some issues I have with them. I very rarely talk about my life in the here and now.

I do talk about ME, but not about my life here, or my husband or anything that is going on at home. Some know my story, most don’t. I’m actually a pretty private person. So why have I decided to let some of my story known? Because I need help. I need to hear from some other people who might be going through some of what I am going through and how to cope during the hard times.

Let me explain.

caregiver stress

I’m from the states. I came to Canada close to 14 years ago when I struck up a friendship with my now husband online at a gaming site. We talked for hours on the phone and online. So I decided to take holidays from my job for a couple of weeks and go to Canada to meet him in person. To make that long story short, I came, I met, things happened, I stayed, we got married.

My husband’s health had always been good, except for his back. At odd times and it seemed for no good reason his back would go out and he’d be in terrible pain and could hardly stand up straight. He’d take a few days off work and lay on the couch and his back would get better. Till one time it didn’t get better.

That was a little more than 2 years ago. He bent over to lift an empty bucket and his back went out. We thought it would be like the last number of times, he would rest on the couch for a few days and his back would be better. Didn’t happen. It ended up he was off work for 8 months while the doctors tried to figure out what was wrong. Good thing we had insurance from his work place to help us make it through.

After months and months of doctors visits and tests and x-rays, they came back with his prognosis. Spurs at several places on the spine and arthritis of the spine. Inoperable because of the spurs being so many along the spine, of course, for the arthritis there is no cure. Double whammy.

So we talked things through and he decided he would try to go back to work as he had 5 more years before he could retire with full benefits. He tried to go back to work, but between fighting the insurance company and his workplace for the right to go back to work he developed anxiety attacks that would land him in the emergency room.

Finally, he was able to go back to work full-time doing the job he had been doing for 35 years. He lasted 3 months. His back and the pain that came with it just wouldn’t let him do it. So he opted to take early retirement, even though we couldn’t afford it. We had no choice. There was no way he could work. So I became his caretaker.

Our marriage was rocky years before he had to quit his job. In fact, it was so rocky I had thought seriously of leaving and going back to the states. Again, let me stress I am not saying this for sympathy, it’s just bare, cold facts. Period.

Suddenly our roles were reversed. I was his caretaker, I became the leaning post. Things financially became difficult. More than difficult. He lost the house we were living in, his house for the past 20 years. He loved that house. The mortgage was something we just couldn’t handle anymore. We were behind in everything, barely hanging on. We lost it all. The house, his credit, everything. He had to file bankruptcy as the house and bills were in his name and were his before we got married.

We had barely enough money left to buy a 30-year-old mobile home. He fought me every step of the way too. But he had to face reality. We needed a roof over our heads and this was the only way. We bought the mobile home, at least we had a home that no one could take from us. But it seemed to be the last straw for him so to speak, he pretty much gave up. Also, right after we moved he fell down some steps outside and injured his back even more.

Now, he is on 2 super strong pain medications, plus sleeping pills. He can barely walk or function. He is almost bedridden. In two short years things went from him working every day to him being disabled with no chance of it getting better. In fact, the doctors have told us it will just get worse.

Here is where I need help. It’s humbling to admit to it. I’ve always been strong when I needed it. Now, I’m not so sure.

How does one cope? How does a person find that strength? That patience?

It is down to me doing almost everything now. We have a friend that comes over and helps with things I can’t do, thank goodness for friends. But, I find myself losing patience sometimes with my husband. Maybe it’s because he’s given up. I don’t know. There is no way I would leave him now, he needs me and I just couldn’t leave knowing he is in the shape he is. We have a relationship most wouldn’t understand, but we do, that’s all that counts.

I know a lot of what he does is because of the medications. And that he drinks. He does weird things. I have to watch him all the time. He leaves the water running in the bathroom, he leaves the portable heater going, he does other strange things.

Yesterday I lost my temper. It’s not something I’m proud of. It happened.

So my questions are…...Are there readers who are caregivers? How do you cope? How to you keep your patience with trying days? Is there a trick to this? What am I doing wrong? Am I doing anything right?

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is, my husband is completely disabled, on strong meds, drinks. I’m doing the best I can, I think, with what we have. We are trying to find help, but we fall into that middle ground, too young to qualify for a lot of government help, too old for other things that might help. I can’t go to work, as I can’t leave him alone. Plus, I have a few health issues of my own.

I am not too proud to ask for help, nor too stupid to do so. Anyone with any suggestions? Thanks from the bottom of my heart.