How do I save my marriage due to the care of his sick father?


My husband and I have been very frustrated and have been snapping at each other, due to the care of his sick father. Sometimes, my husband even yells and cusses me out.
My father-in-law is difficult and is refusing any type of care or physical rehab.
He has been admitted to the hospital twice in the last few weeks ( copd/emphysema) and now wants to leave rehab.although he promised to participate. His strength is nil, due to his inactivity for the past year. The doctors and nurses feel he is capable of doing more. We both feel that he has just chosen to give up. My father-in-law is also refusing any type of pallative/hospice care. He basically has chosen to be bed ridden, using bedside commode and does not even try to walk any where ( just to the bathroom would be great ).
We are both freaking out about the bedside commode, as his bed is in the livingroom ( he has a perfectly good bedroom and bathroom).
For the past year and a half, I have waited on this man hand and foot. I know he is sick, but I feel he has really taken advantage of me.
When I try to address the future, such as a nursing home or continuing care, my husband refuses to talk about it or make any plans. My father-in-law's primary feels he should be in a nursing home, because of the type of care he wants. All our friends and most of his family feel the same way.
Mind you, I am not complaining mindlessly, but I have made it VERY aware that I cannot give the type of care he wants now. I would be more than happy to if I felt my fil was at least trying. The thought of me taking constant care ( feeding, and changing bedpans ) of man for possibly a year, leaves me drained and depressed.
Just yesterday, my fil was admitted to rehab.,to build up his strength and already by 7 am this morning, he wants to come home. He has not even done one session. The place he is at is an old place and busy, but has the best level of care around. He has a private room, good food and lots of help available. The original plan was for him to stay at least two weeks and then continue therapy at home.
I do not have anyone to help me, although he has two daughters, they are not around. My husband works, but not full time. He is home at least three to four days a week. When I try to demonstrate how to do something for his father, such as meds., for an i.v., he does not want to learn. In other words, most of the care falls on me. He does drive him to appointments, but now that looks like it is going to be another responsibility for me. I do not have a car, but now my father-in-law is ok with me using his truck. ( I get a little hurt, that he never let me use it before ).
I know I am burned out and I have told my husband that I am. He just gets angry.
I do not know what to do. A part of me has just chosen to not care any more and to no longer say anything other than "no".
I am so disgusted with the both of them just sticking their heads in the sand about the entire situation.
I am thinking of just confronting the both of them at once. Obviously in a calm but firm way. Sometimes I think my husband is just using me to care for his dad, due to his house.
Am I over-reacting? Sorry about rambling.

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dgrey, hugs and hugs and more hugs to you. You are not over-reacting at all. Your FIL really needs to stay in rehab. as long as possible; both for his needs and you need a break!!!!!! But, I suppose they want to send him home if he is not cooperating. I don't know how you do it; no wonder you are depressed; this is overwhelming.

It's unfortunate your husband isn't supportive. You do need to talk to both of them as you mentioned. Any chance of some respite care to help you out? It can be expensive and I'm sure you have thought of that. This is just a suggestion; but it might help you if you first talk to someone from Elder Services in your town. These people are well trained and so supportive; they saved my sanity. Since "they have heard it all"; they might have suggestions that can help you approach your husband and FIL. When I consulted with the social worker from their office; the one on one was therapeutic in itself and helped me tremendously.

Blessings to you and will keep you in my prayers.
Helpful Answer (7)

dgrey, is your husband refusing to put his father into a nursing home, out of guilt? The two of you need to get away for the day and talk to each other. Tell your husband that you WANT to understand his thinking, as to why he refuses to get his dad the care the he really needs. If I were you, I'd want to know the thought processes that my husband had rolling around his head, of how he has reached his decision that I should be the one taking care of dad. Maybe you'll find out, that at some point in his life, either his dad or maybe even mom, made him promise NEVER to put them in a nursing home. If you had the insight, maybe you'll be able to get through to him. If your husband still refuses to discuss it, or he DOES discuss it and nothing has changed, THEN if I were you, I'd be taking a little vacation. Get away for a few days or a week and stay at a friend/relative/whomever and make yourself scarce. Hubby may need a wake-up call.
Helpful Answer (5)

Hang in there! You need to remind your husband that this is HIS FATHER! I strongly suggest that he be put into a nursing home. He needs more care than you alone can give him, and you have no help from his own grown children. As long as you continue to carry this load alone I believe that they will let you do so. It doesn't seem fair that you are stuck with this burdon. I'm not sure if your father-in -law is taking advantage of you or not. You have to keep in mind that he is very sick, and does need a great deal of attention. This is not his fault. However, I am sure that your husband and his siblings are taking advantage of you, and as long as you continue to care for their father when they don't even help... they will continue to let you do the job. Tell your husband you are done! If your husband has a problem with this, divorce the bum, you'll be better off anyway, and happier. Stand up, stop allowing your husband and his siblings to use you like this so that they don't have to do anything. Your husband yells at you because he wants you to think that you are doing something wrong,and you'll be more than willing to help out with "DAD" to make up for it. Oh, this get's me so mad! You are too nice.
Helpful Answer (5)

You mention waiting on him hand and foot. That reminds me of something a nurse said to me last week. She was visiting on the behalf of the insurance company, assessing whether my husband was in need of a Personal Care Attendant. She said that it was very important to allow/insist the impaired person to do as much possible for himself. Let him get his own glass of water or a sweater from the other room or fetch the mail. She said when she goes into homes and sees a bell the impaired person uses to call for favors she says, "Get rid of the bell!" The body needs exercise and even walking to the kitchen (or wheeling oneself to the kitchen) for a glass of water helps prevent a bed-ridden condition or one where the person can't transfer from a wheelchair to the toilet, etc. She said if that happened it would make my workload impossible.

This is from a professional who talks to several caregivers each and everyday, and sees the outcomes of various approaches. We probably aren't doing any one any favors by waiting on them hand and foot while they still have use of their own hands and feet.
Helpful Answer (5)

I'm sorry you are having to go thru this, especially alone! You said your husband has 2 sisters but they aren't around. Where are they? Isn't your husband mad at them for helping? I understand that daughter -in-laws do care for our spouses parents, but this is just CRAZY that your husband has not 1 but 2 sisters & puts this all on you!! I stay home and care for my mother-in-law so I do understand . My sister-in-law lives out of state & does not help at all either but we were given my mother-in-laws home if we would be the caretakers for her. We are all happy with the terms of our agreement. Your thoughts and how you want to live your life MUST be heard. You have every right to be upset with this situation. Nothing in it seems fair to you. Please stand up for yourself. You are going to have to since you have no help. The longer you do this without some kind of agreement is gonna stick you right there the rest of his life. I know its not easy to confront them but your husband isn't being fair to you. Like I said especially when he has other family out there to help. I'm gonna be praying for you to get strength to stand up for yourself. Please put your feelings out in the open and talk REALLY LOUD if you have too! God gave you a voice Sweetie and right NOW seems the perfect time to use it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love, Sherri
Helpful Answer (4)

Truth is YOU are a good person and deserves better. Make it clear to your husband that if his father comes home early, as he comes in the house YOU will be going out the other. You my dear need a break!!!
Helpful Answer (4)

I was in a situation much like yours. When my husband was faced with the daily things I had been doing for the past 3 years caring for both his Mom and Dad. Things drastically changed. There was paid help brought in for the week days. Recently FIL was admitted to the hospital then rehab in nursing home. My husband just dealing with his dad 2 days a week was totally exhausted. My suggestion is tell him you can't do this anymore. Let him deal with it. I know one of the first things to go for my FIL when my husband had to deal with him were the depends. I feel for you as I've been in your position. The only way to get your husband to truly understand is step away from the situation. Tell him exactly how you feel that Dad needs to be in a skilled nursing facility. If he doesn't listen, and brings him home it's on him, cause you can't do it anymore. Good luck wish there was a way I could keep in touch with you so I know how you do with everything.
Helpful Answer (3)

My first question is, are you sure that you want to save the marriage to this man who is shamelessly taking advantage of your kind nature? Who refuses to discuss the future?

But assuming that he has other redeeming qualities and that a mutual respect and love could be rekindled outside of this traumatic situation, I go along with the let-him-handle-it-alone approach. Arrange to be elsewhere at least a week after FIL comes home from rehab. How will hubby be able to go to work? Guess he'll have to figure that out, won't he? What about those tasks he's refused to let you teach him? Hmmm ... guess he'll have to figure those out, or call a professional for guidance.

This may sound really, really drastic. How serious are you about wanting things to change for the better? Start with NancyH's advice about heart-to-heart talks. If that does not result in improvement, prepare to take drastic measures. Or decide that the marriage is not worth saving, and take the drastic step to relinquish it.
Helpful Answer (3)

You've tried to be kind and diplomatic in talking to your husband and he "refuses to talk about it or make any plans". So, there is no indication that anymore "asking" for his help is going to change the result. Your FIL and you will continue to decline unless there are changes. Your FIL may be beyond improvement. But, you are not.

It's time for you to put your foot down and take control of your life. Your future may or may not include your husband. That is the thought I would have in my head as I take the next aggressive steps. Whether your marriage survives and your husband stays in your life will depend on his actions. (How you're being treated could be considered abuse. Do you want to stay with a guy who doesn't want to come to your rescue?)

Your FIL will continue to decline...under your roof and care...unless he makes some drastic changes and his mental state improves. That probably isn't going to happen with the conditions you describe. The future path, under these denial conditions, will only get worse and incredibly too much for you to handle. Working part time, your husband is CHOOSING to not make decisions, help you or make plans. He needs to know that his choices have consequences.

I agree with others here, you need to get away for not only your health but to also force your husband to get a clue. Take your time away when he is off work, therefore it won't interfere with job & income (and an excuse from him.)

You may have to do this more than once. If after the third (you set the number) getaway he doesn't come around...separate. Is there some place you could stay? You need to be thinking about this and making your plans now.

Your life should not...can not be a fulfilling & happy life based on your husband's choices. This isn't the 50s! Take charge of your life. Act on your choices...and don't feel guilty about it. You've been a loyal, trustworthy soldier. Put your husband in the position of asking himself what he's made of. He's taking advantage of you and doesn't have a problem with it. He needs to step up to the man plate.

Good luck to you and please keep us informed.
Helpful Answer (3)

I have been where you are at with my hubby except he does work full-time so I have to give him some credit. However, for all of Us who are caretakers are full-time workers too except without pay. I agree with a lot of the people here that you really need a break but, as long as you continue to take on the whole responsibilty then you will never get a break. Your husband has no clue what little and big things you are doing for his dad. He needs to step up to the plate! Maybe, you can take a Saturday off for yourself and make sure you leave the house so you can get a break and just breath and enjoy yourself.
Do you have a 'Area Agency on Aging,' that you can call and see about getting 'respite' care? I know I was just complaining about the price but recently recieved a call from them and they are going to see what else is availble to help me out. They do try and work with you and being your husband is a part-time worker it probable would not cost that much. If nothing else he can step up to the plate and give you some time off for its his dad. You have went far and beyond as a supportive and loving wife and now he needs to support you and how you feel. Talk to him and let him know that you need some time to yourself.
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