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This is about me, needing care, and the stark realization anything more serious and I will definitely need to hire someone. Its day 10 into my broken ankle disability. I'm 68, have a bad back and suffering vertigo on top of it. I'm not strong and dragging myself from the chair to the wheelie, pumping it around with my good leg, leaning on my hands and shoulders, I'm exhausted just going to the bathroom. I can't spend much time in that position before I have to sit down and elevate my leg. I simply don't feel well, and the more I try to move around, the worse my ankle hurts. And I have to go through 6 weeks of this? I will never survive. My spouse brings me coffee, takes the dogs out (if he's in the room, otherwise I do it, hopping on one foot, hanging out the door with the flexi leash, etc. He makes meals (sort of) but he is getting grouchier and grouchier. He doesn't anticipate what I want or need, I have to tell him, and he can't multi-task at all and he is slow to do anything. I have reached the point I want to cry out of frustration. I'm trying to do too much and he is letting me, no sympathy at all. I am so irritable I could scream. If I say anything, I get snapped at. Worst of all, I now know if I had anything more serious I could not count on him for more than cursory care with little compassion and a lot of silent irritation on my part. God forbid I get dementia or am bedridden. He's a wonderful man otherwise, will do anything for me, but he is 8 years older, and he cannot be a caregiver. What am I going to do?

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Hi freqflyer: I'm doing great now. I got the boot off about 4 weeks ago and was able to walk on it right away. It felt so wonderful, but even though the bone healed, no pain there - all the pain if I walk too much is in the top of my foot, ligaments and tendons - but I can live with it. I didn't need PT and could start driving too! Do you know, I never appreciated until now the ability to stand up and walk to the bathroom without help. Or to stand in the shower, etc. Its so good to be mobile!
I hope you are doing better. I imagine it is hard to sleep without rolling over on the shoulder. My neighbor broke hers and it took months to heal. Do you have a cast, and have to go to PT. This is a real eye opener isn't it? You never dream that having one limb out of commission impacts your whole body, how you move, sleep, every day things.
Now that I look back my hubby took care of me pretty well. It took me a while to realize that what was instinctive to me, wasn't to him. Also women can multitask. Most men don't seem to be able to do that, so they accomplish less. I never realized how much we women do at the same time. I bet you discovered it too. The other day I was cooking dinner, putting the dishes away out of the dishwasher, preparing the two dogs food, and running up and down the basement stairs, doing laundry! For me, that is normal to have 3-4 tasks going. Most men can't conceive of doing that - they do one thing at a time, start to finish before starting on the next task! It takes them longer!
You better believe I am careful where I put my feet, not taking any chances walking on rough ground, stepping over things, or standing on chairs!

I have a really bad back, arthritis, degenerative disk and it is not operable (made the ankle issue worse as I was already limited in motion). I see a chiropractor once in a while. He described pain so well I never forgot it: He said "pain is like a hole inside of you where all your energy drains out". So true!
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AmyGrace, how are you doing now with your ankle? Did you need rehab? Are you back to driving? Hope things are improving for your mobility.

I know for me it has been 9 weeks with my broken shoulder, and the doctor said the pain will make you exhausted.... and grumpy, snarly, Mount St. Helen's!!! I still can't drive.

My sig other is helping out a bit more, after a month of teaching him how to do some housework, and re-teaching every other day, he finally is doing some stuff without being ask.
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Sarah I hope you can get help for him before things get worse. I often wonder, why, after a long life, when things slow down and we should be making the most of it, we have more problems than when we are young and we are less able to deal with them. Maybe your hubby is the one who needs the antidepressants. I can't remember when my mother was happy or the last time she smiled. She has always seen the glass as half empty, and she seems to enjoy having something to worry or complain about. I thought the Zoloft was helping her but she delivered another ration of obsessions at me yesterday so I guess she dug deep to resurrect them. I shouldn't be so cynical but listening to her groan and complain for 20 years is getting really old.
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Amygrace i do not like myself with all these chronic ailments . I try to make light of it. I was always a fun person whereas my husband. He sounds like your husband's background. I know he would have done anything for me also but he is not the same man. He never was a happy person. I feel bad for him really but when he is so abusive i am at my wits end. I feel trapped but i am really trying to get help for him. I know when your body feels better your mood will change. It is starting already for you. Thank you for responding.
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Thanks for the words of encouragement Sarah. Actually, I'm much much better now. Its been six weeks, and I can now hobble around a little with a support boot and can do more for myself. I think most of my misery was simply frustration and physical exhaustion and expecting to still get everything done. Plus, having a five month old puppy who needs a lot of attention frayed my nerves because I couldn't get up and around. My husband did quite well after a while. He just had to learn what I needed, and I needed to tell him. I'm so sorry you are going through such tough times. My husband is about the same age as yours. I think when he was growing up his parents gave him very little nurturing so he never learned it. He will do anything for me, he is just not expressive or openly sympathetic. I understand how you feel as I have a lot of things wrong with me, and I guess down deep he is as tired of my health issues as I am. Maybe yours is the same?
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Hi Amy, I am new to this but I find its helpful. You sound depressed and with every right to be. You cannot depend on men, they are just not made like women being the nurturers. My husband just tells me not to clean. That makes a lot of sense. But I wrote about my problems with him. I hardly ever asked him to help me when I was sick, (and I have chronic illnesses) he never knew what I had. I tried to be independent all my life but now since I have gotten older with all these things it is hard to keep going. I take antidepressants and cannot say they help too much. I have cried myself to sleep because of pain but never even bothered my husband, he wouldn't be any help. With all these things wrong with me I always kept going so he thinks I am always okay. When he gets sick watch out. He is 77 and for his life he had pretty good health. I wrote already about him, but I am trying to express how I feel. Everything cannot be as we want unfortunately. I guess we just have to get thru this life as much as we can. I find music soothes me the most. I would try and get help for the housework, which I am considering for myself. I guess you can say I am also in your shoes. Take good care of yourself. Sarah0370
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Amy, just want to say that you should give mom's doc feedback about the return of her obsessiveness. It may be time to up the dose.
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freqflyer, I'm not sure I felt spacy that first week, but I did feel exhausted. Everything required me lifting myself up and balancing on the other leg, hopping etc. and by the end of the day unable to find the strength to get out of the chair. I would climb the stairs to bed on my hands and knees and lie on the floor at the top until I caught my breath and got the strength to pull myself up to the walker and put my leg on it. All that physical effort made me dizzy and my head throb.
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AmyGrace, oh my gosh I couldn't imagine trying to wear a support boot to walk... bet your back is crying for relief. Lack of sleep is my big thing... funny I can doze off during the day but night time I am watching TV up until 4 in the morning.... can't find a comfortable sleeping position... bet you ran into that, too.

During your first week with your ankle, did you run into an issue of when talking that you would start a sentence but your brain wouldn't let you finish it?.... my week has been filled with half sentences :P

I did take your advise of asking my sig other to help with this or that, instead of hoping he would notice and do on his own. I just don't want to sound like a nag and I am trying to keep my OCD at bay when it comes to the condition of the house, esp the kitchen !!
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My mother used to use the "guilt" thing until her dementia got bad. Now she uses other things. I just talked to her on the phone - wish I hadn't. I thought the Zoloft had helped the obsessions but, NOPE, she's back on it "I lost all my money" "all my furniture is gone, where is my dining room set and my sofa" "when am I going to get it back". Tomorrow I will hear it again, answer it again and again. She doesn't ask when I'm coming, doesn't really care, thank goodness. She is just so happy being unhappy and thinking up things to be even more unhappy about. That's her personality. We've been dealing with this for the past 20 years. I can't help wondering how much longer this will go on with her torturing herself with complaints about her miserable unhappy life and not feeling good. I'm glad I have another couple of weeks when I can't drive!
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AmyGrace, you are so right about how exhausting it is just trying to heal a broken bone. I was glad to read that because I thought something was wrong with me.... guess I have to keep reminding myself that I am 68 years old and not 38.

I was hoping this would be a wake up call for my parents. Thank goodness I use an in-line grocery service but my Mom still wants someone to go into the grocery store for certain items she doesn't like from the service. My sig other won't go into the store as he is dealing with carrying in and unpacking two households of groceries, he doesn't have much patience. Now my Dad wants to go into the grocery store to get those items.... yeah right... he would be roaming that store for an hour getting 3 items because he never paid attention where things were back when he and Mom use to shop. They are trying the old guilt trick to get us to do things.... [sigh]

Babalou, I couldn't get my parents out of their house with a shoehorn, a team of wild horses, nor dynamite. I keep wondering what would they do if I wasn't around.
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FF, I have an idea. Can you use the "I'm out of commission for two months and I'm so worried about you" line to get your parents to go temporarily to the retirement village?
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Oh freqflyer - you poor thing. Two months is a long time! I'm sure the shoulder is painful and makes it hard to sleep? It is not easy being handicapped. Its exhausting, everything you do means you have to compensate with other muscles, takes extra effort and makes you feel off balance. I'm into the 6th week and can hobble a few steps with the support boot, but it is not a comfortable walk. The boot has a thick sole so the right side of my body is higher than the left (same with when I am on the knee walker). This makes my already bad back hurt because when I'm upright, I'm crooked. I'm going to have to learn how to walk again when this is over! I see the doctor next week for another x-ray Actually he did pretty well, but I'm back to cooking (its tough, but poor hubby has more on his plate than he can handle, my chores and his) In the end he did quite well, I felt guilty having him wait on me but he never complained. I just learned to accept he was not going to be intuitive about some things if you know what I mean. I understand the healing process is long for an ankle and I expect I will need the boot, and not be able to do my usual activities for at least another 6 weeks. I'm going to ask the doctor if I can take the boot off to drive if I promise to put it on when I get out of the car. I have so many things to do, my house is dirty, my winter clothes are still in the closet. I am not long on patience, but I'm learning. Good luck, just try to accept that you can't get everything done, and don't push it or your recovery will be longer. (that's what all my friends keep telling me)
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AmyGrace, just checking up on you to see how you are managing with your ankle. I've been off the board here for almost a week after i fell in my office parking lot week ago Friday... broke my right shoulder, bunch of scrapes and bruises... turning black and blue, now green and gold. So much fun.

Well looks like my right broken shoulder will be a 2 month healing process.... i am right handed so now i am trying to do things left handed, too painful to use my right hand... forget about eating soup :P... still trying to learn to brush my teeth....and trying to control the Mouse its all over the screen!!!.... but typing is easier then i had thought but real tiring.

Had to order new specially tops as i can't move my arm to put it in a shirt sleeve... oops looks like i will need to go barefoot, too, can't tie my shoes.

i am just thankful i don't need to do hands on care for my parents. They are still grumbling about not going to doctor appts etc. Heck i can't drive for 2 months. And sig other now has this hands full doing all my chores here at home... that man must had been in the wrong line when common sense was handed out !!... like handing me a bottle of pills that has a child proof cap without opening it first.... [rolling eyes].

Are we having fun yet?
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Perhaps there is a rescue group for your dog's breed in your area. I'm not saying for a moment you should give up the puppy, but maybe someone(s) could visit and walk the puppy just to help you out. You can reciprocate when your ankle is better. Dog lovers of all breeds want to help when they can. Check with Best Friends, ASPCA, you dog's breed club, even high schools where kids need to do public service.
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Vertigo is awful. It has so many different symptoms. Ringing in the ears, always. Lightheaded and spacy days that last a few days or weeks. Difficulty concentrating, feeling dizzy turning over in bed, etc. Been to so many doctors, MRI's, neurologists, different drugs - there is not a lot they can do for when little stones in your inner ear start floating around. With the room spinning kind of vertigo (which is horrible and makes you feel sick) the doctor can perform the Epley maneuver to re-position the stones.
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Do you have Medicare? If so, they will should be able to send someone a couple hours a day to help depending on which state you reside in. I would start with that if you do have Medicare.
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Hugs, AmyGrace -- thankfully, I don't have a broken ankle, but I did feel quite sorry for myself this past week, dealing with the flu. I probably would have cried, but didn't want to go buy more Kleenex, haha. Go ahead and feel bad, cry, whatever you need. It STINKS to have your good health go away. And it feels even worse when your partner can't provide what you need in the empathy department. And feeling less capable, even temporarily, makes us worry about the future in a way that non-caregivers don't.
Is there any thing you can indulge in during this time? If you can steer your mind towards binge watching a show you've been missing, or finally teaching yourself to knit, or something. It couldn't hurt to say "Fine! If this is how it's gonna be for 7 more weeks, then I'm going to do ____, and like it!"
Feel better soon :)
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AmyGrace, I feel for you with the vertigo... I use to get that at least once a year and back then there was Antivert which was great for vertigo.... otherwise, use the over-the-counter non-drowsy Dramamine which has the same medicine in it as Antivert. The regular Dramamine does not. Get your doctor's permission before using it.
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That would be great to have someone help with the puppy, but breeder is 2000 miles away. My other dog is no trouble at all, she's an angel who will lie by my side all day and be there for me. Believe it or not, none of our friends have dogs, or they are working all day and my sister is dealing with a very very ill spouse. I'll just have to get better fast. I am going to the doctor tomorrow. I'm having throbbing in my head and occasional headaches and light headedness. It could be stress, or my vertigo acting up but I'm getting checked out. All I keep thinking is how relieved I am that Mom is in AL. (still can't reach her, I think she turned the phone ringer off - guess she doesn't miss me or think of me because she hasn't called me............so I have no guilt, I just check on her with the nurse once a week)
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About the dogs, maybe the breeder could help with the puppy for now or another owner that you trust just for a short time...two or three weeks...your mobility will be better and you will heal faster if you can find solutions for the stress. Your dogs are stressed because you are...they could benefit from "day care" at a friends or specific other place one or two days a week? several hours each day? Some do the training part too.
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Maybe you are depressed. (and with good reason)...talk with you PCP, perhaps some medication adjustment would help...maybe for a little while you may need an antidepressant. Take care of yourself and get the help you need.
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With a lot of these guys, its a ploy that worked in childhood. And darn all those mothers and fathers who didn't make their sons do the same chores as their sisters. Nowadays, both men and women need to be able to do each other's jobs if need be! When both work, both share.
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AmyGrace, we are all here for your party and can relate. By the way, if I ask my sig other to vacuum he would say "I will do that tomorrow".... tomorrow will come and go and no vacuuming... a week goes by no vacuuming.... I will ask him again to vacuum [pets do shed] and he will say "later"... a second week goes by. Sigh... I gather up the energy and I finally vacuum. Stalling must be an acceptable excuse.

Or if they do help they mess it up so badly that we never will ask them to that again. Hmmmm, I should try that.... maybe get out of cooking by burning all the meals !!! :)
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freqflyer. Basically Mars and Venus is what I'm thinking. You can't make someone intuitive or compassionate when it is not their nature. I should take a page out of my own book. My daughter used to complain about her boyfriend didn't do this, didn't do that, not the romantic gesture she wanted, etc - I would always say "did you tell him specifically what you wanted and didn't want". Truth is, unless you do, most of them are incapable of reading your mind and go by whatever you do or don't say. I guess I just have to ignore the grouchiness and say what I want. Oh, I can't wait to get well. Being laid up is awful. I can't check on my mother - I think she turned the ringer off on her phone and I know she turned the answer machine off (for about the 10,000th time, but she doesn't know how to use it anyway - hasn't been able to figure out how to push the d_ _ _ lighted button to listen to messages for the past 15 years!) My puppy is behaving badly, teething, figuring out I am helpless and she can get away with things............I have a headache half the time from struggling and the physical effort of moving on one leg. I think I am just on a pity trip from frustration! Sorry everyone~
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AmyGrace, I know exactly how you feel... been there, done that, still wearing the t-shirt. During my recoup time from a surgery years ago, I really think I would have been better off by myself, especially emotionally, than have to constantly get after my sig other to please please please help me. He thought he was all that and more just by bringing me toast for breakfast. And if he did something extra like vacuuming, I had a feeling he wanted a parade so the community could see what a swell guy he was :P

Nothing worse than having an able bodied person in the same household who rather glue himself to sports than help you with anything. But it sounds like your hubby will do some of the household chores, so that is a plus.... but you'd think after being together for many years that they would be able to second guess what you need... sigh, I guess not :(

Yet, if these guys get a paper cut, I feel I need to dial 911 and have a police escort. And that, too, scares me for the future, because I eventually bounced back from surgery, but as we age something like dementia there is no bouncing back... then what? A continuing care facility would look pretty darn good :)
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First of all, have a good cry. Trying to hold it in takes more strength and energy than letting go. Through your doctor or a friend, find a licensed home health care agency. They fax your doctor for permission for a variety of services, he faxes them back, they call you and make appointments. You can get in-home PT/OT. Call Medicare at 1-800-633-4227 to get the current free book, "Medicare and You 2015." Look up Senior Services for your local city and county. Perhaps meals can be delivered or a shuttle sent to take you and your husband to a senior center for meals and company. Some agencies can provide personal hygiene help so you can bathe, etc. Cut back on your expectations of cleanliness and tidiness. What's important is that you rest and get well. Pain will slow the healing process. These can all be difficult if you are in a rural area. Most fair-sized cities have some kind of senior help. Meanwhile, grab a box of tissues, hug the puppy and let go of some of the pressure. Wishing you a teary afternoon.
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I think a lot of the frustration is about trying to do things the way you want them done, rather than facing the reality of how things really ARE. I had a great aunt who couldn't fit her walker through the space between her side table and the living room wall, but refused to move that table because that was where she wanted it to be... not worth having to move over you would have thought! Your hubby may not be the coziest guy or get things done as efficiently as you could, but it seems he can get the job done if you let him do it his way. Just relax and let it be. (I know, we caregiver types are always planning and worrying, it's hard to give up control to someone else!)
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Hi Babalou. I'm not eligible for homecare (I had to fight to get the knee walker, and I got it only because I have osteoporosis and the risk of falling on crutches could mean more broken bones) We have no LTC, can't afford it. Hubby has no problem doing the physical stuff like vacuuming, washing kitchen floor, cleaning garage, laundry so I don't need that. He's done the cooking, or takeout. Its the personal little needs he doesn't see and the tension I feel from knowing it is keeping him from his other projects. He's a great guy, but he is not touchy-feely and sensitive. A lot of people are like that, and those people don't make good caregivers and when one realizes that in a partner, one must accept it and figure out something. I guess I would just have to make sure my savings are put aside for AL or homecare when/if the time comes. Since he is older, I might be the caregiver, which is ok with me as long as I can physically and emotionally do it. I wouldn't dream of boarding the dogs, one is a puppy we got only 2 months ago and I am training her. This is a crucial age and my breaking my ankle couldn't have come at a worse time. Both dogs are champion bloodline, velcro attached to me and would die of heartbreak if put in a cage. The only family I have is my sister, niece and mother, so obviously they are dealing with their own serious issues. I'll get through this. I feel this is a heads up and I have to figure out what I would do for any future health issues (my grandfather had Alzheimers, so it is always in my mind I could be in line for it)
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Amy, there are two wuestions here, one about now and one abou the future. For right now, hire some help. Get someone to come on and do the laundrt, heavy cleaning, some cooking. Can you order readymade meals from somewhere? Can you board the dogs for a week? Are you eligible for homecare through medicare or ltc insurance?
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