A new perspective about how the elderly feel.

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I can't think of many reasons why breaking my ankle is a positive thing. I'm trying to make good of a very bad situation I guess and this is what I have realized: I've been mostly helpless now for five days. I can get around by crawling, hopping on one foot, crutches - forget it - I don't need to fall again. Even with a walker, I can't take care of myself beyond a sponge bath, taking 10 minutes to get to the bathroom, etc. Bottom line - I am depending on my spouse to take care of me which he is trying to do. But, he isn't good at it, he doesn't anticipate my needs, I have to ask for everything, one by one. Then I feel like a baby, a nag, totally a burden. Its 11:40. I've had coffee, no breakfast, because I haven't said I want breakfast, so its assumed if I don't ask, I don't want it. If I ask, I feel like a pest so I am sitting here, hungry and contemplating whether it is worth it to heave myself out of the chair and hobble into the kitchen and eat a bowl of cereal while standing at the counter. Nah, I'll wait until I have to make a bathroom run and grab a cookie and maybe I'll get lunch in another hour or so.
Then it occurred to me - this is probably how most of our parents and grandparents must feel if they have any conscience or if they are still cognizant and know they are helpless and a burden for their most basic needs. I feel more sympathy for all of them, and for my mother (even though she has needs that she refuses to let anyone help her with - so she is the exception)
Anyway, I think about how it must feel to be really old, and wonder if I want to live if I can no longer take care of myself. Worse than being helpless is feeling like a burden.
Sorry for the rambling - I've had wayyyyyyyyyy too much time to think about things.


Well, you really don't get a choice about how long you have to live in a dependent state. So you either learn to accept things as they are or you need medications to protect others from your wrath. Elders get caught between not wanting to live and being afraid to die. Limbo.
Very true. I wonder if my mother feels that way as she has never said. They say we should all walk a mile in someone else's moccasins. This is a lesson for me on how it feels to be unable to do some things for yourself. It is also a lesson for my future, at least, that we would all be better off if we try to help ourselves as much as we can. Caregivers are human, not martyrs, not every caregiver loves caring 24/7 or has compassion, or even is empathetic enough to anticipate basic needs
AmyGrace, your hubby and my sig other must be from the same cloth... "he doesn't anticipate my needs, I have to ask for everything, one by one." When I had major surgery years ago, I really felt like I was all alone, even though sig other was in the house. Of course if anyone asks him if he helped me, you would think he very devoted and helped me 24/7 :P And why is it when they actually do something, you feel like you need to throw him a parade !!

Anyway, I understand how it would relate to be older and not able to do things for yourself. One thing to be thankful for if the internet, I can buy groceries and have them delivered to my door. Same with clothes. Back in the early 1980's we couldn't do that. Now, I just need to keep one step ahead of the curve to keep up with new technology.
freqflyer, so glad you understand. My hubby will happily do anything I ask as far as house repair, improvement, yard, etc but when it comes to showing the least bit of sympathy or compassion when I need health care help, it seems he just does the robot thing. He doesn't ask for praise when he cooks me dinner because I can't even stand up, but he acts irritable and it makes me want to apologize for "putting him out" so he can't get his usual projects done. Then he says "it is what it is and we'll deal with it" - boy that makes me feel great yeah. Just one hug to tell me he feels bad for me would go a million miles. He will watch me struggle to get to my feet after pulling myself up to a chair, offer his hand, but it is such a completely cold neutral gesture. He is clueless, and you can't make a person feel compassion - either it is in them, or it isn't. I think it was how he was raised, and how he raised his kids (he was married for 25 years before me). No sympathy when anyone was ill, just soldier on and deal with it. He's a wonderful man otherwise, but I have to admit, I am concerned for the future. Eventually I will have something serious happen and I don't think I want him to care for me. I just know he will resent it, and although he won't say it, I will know it. I can see the future because I have had a lot of minor health problems plus a chronic bad back and now osteoporosis so I know I could eventually fall and break a hip. I'm not rich so I don't know how I can plan to be cared for as I need it if that happens. I have enough to worry right now - trying to make sure my mother is ok from 40 miles away. I guess I'm on a pity trip
I have had to point out to my husband in the past when he was acting hostile or resentful or put out for having to help with new babies or if my elbow was broken. He is blissfully unaware of the little noises, eye rolls, his curtness, the fact I have to enumerate every little detail of what I need because he can't think of it. "How am I supposed to know!!!" We have had some doozy fights over it when I tell him that he does NOT get to act like the victim in these situations. Suck it up and get the ___ job done. And try not to act like a flipping teenager in the process. We're still married after 20 years, so it apparently hasn't broken our relationship!

I also am concerned for the future should I become an invalid. So many men fall into this category that is can't be coincidence. They never played with dolls or were forced to be the quiet, gentle, anticipatory one in the family. They were taught the opposite. Don't be like mom, be a rough and tough dude who never emotes, never expresses sentiment, and by golly absolutely never exhibits a soft side in front of people.

I live in fear of an old age where I'm not mobile and I have to coerce him out of his recliner, away from the football, and away from the beer to bring me some water, or help me toilet, or clean up, etc. I raised two kids with him, but I pray to God I'm never compromised and dependent on him.
Same here, I dread the future if I should need any help.... all sig other would do is stand around with his hands in his pockets not knowing what to do. I really believe their Mom's spoiled them. They never got to see their Dad's be caregivers...if someone was sick at home, the men would be sitting out on the front porch until someone call them in for dinner. Don't get me wrong, not all men are like that. My boss waited on his ill wife hand and foot, he adored her.

My sig other would think he was being gracious telling me don't bother cooking for him since I am recovering from whatever, he will get something out for himself. Ok, I guess that means I need to struggle to get to the kitchen so I can have something to eat. Like, what's up with that???

And why do we have to ask them for hugs?
sandwich42plus, that reminds me of the time when I was staying in the hospital after having surgery, our hospital has available a nice recliner for the spouse/sig other so they can sleep in the same room overnight. I was so scared after surgery and wanted sig other to stay. He didn't want to stay.....

Well, it will still early in the evening, I was alone in that room, so I started to channel surf... ah ha... now I saw why sig other didn't want to stay... the Yankees were playing that evening. I am still spitting nails over that. Or as Dr. Phil would say "women have long memories".
Visiting nurse services can be ordered by your physician if you can not take care of yourself. You can also get in home PT OT and home health aide to assist with personal care and etc. Usually covered by insurance.

You might consider Meals on Wheels --- they can deliver to you a hot meal 5 days a week (at least in our area) and can also include evening and weekend meals. A person who is disabled temporarily can qualify for this assistance I believe.

If you are part of a faith community, check with your clergy or office staff about volunteers that might be able to help you during this short term need.

You need to make your husband a list (breakfast in the AM and Lunch by noon and pain pills at X and Y.....) you need to keep up your strength. My husband would go days without eating...so I have to remind him that I can not do that. Even if you just told him which boxes of cereal you need near your recliner...and put milk and other beverages in a cooler with ice that you can reach. He can be asked to refill this a couple of times a day. Make a list of places for To Go food for Lunch and dinner...and have him go and pick it up or pick ones that deliver.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery....don't be afraid to ask for help.
Doesn't one have to be in the hospital for 3 nights before one can get visiting nurses or physical therapy at home? In today's medical world, just about everything is now out-patient, even my mastectomy was out-patient... [sigh]
I was in an auto accident with a head injury, still dealing with over a year later. My husband did have to take the lead for a while caring for our daughter. I was able to do things for myself, but stayed dizzy for quite sometime. Not being able to drive drove me batty and I relied on him and my parents for transportation for 4 months. On the plus side for Amygrace is your ankle will hopefully heal completely. My sister is just healing from recent ankle break and she had to stay with a friend a while. So I can imagine it really opens your eyes to how our parents we are caring for are feeling.

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