Follow
Share

He is 20 years older than me, but has COPD which is getting worse, needs a hip replacement. He also needs back surgery. He continues to smoke, and the doctors won't do surgery because of that. I honestly believe he is very depressed. I want to help him but I am getting very tired of trying to help someone who won't help himself. He doesn't get that by not helping himself he is really harming our marriage. Shows that he doesn't care enough about our marriage or me to take care of himself. He is beginning to show signs of dementia, or it could be the depression. He is 76 years old and could still have a much better quality of life if he would try. I really need some advice on how to get through to him. I have thought of doing kind of an intervention with all of our kids. Don't know if that would help or hinder. Any ideas?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
It can be very difficult to get our loved ones to the doctor, sometimes I think it's because they are afraid of what they will be told, or maybe they just have to face their mortality. What ever the reason, have you tried to sit down with him and tell him how you feel about his not going to the doctor? Explain that with the COPD there are new drugs that could give him a better quality of life. If he has some dementia, this could make him more resistant. My dad made an appointment for my grandma, he was able to get her to go along by telling her the appointment was for him, once there the doc said he'd look her over too. It worked. People with dementia decline in their ability to care for themselves, if fact cleanliness is not as important as it used to be. If I have something I want my dad's doctor to know or bring up, I call ahead of time and speak with his nurse, she then informs the doc so when I take my dad in, the doc knows what to look for or ask. I'm not the bad guy then. Your husband could also be depressed, it wouldn't be unusual given the fact that he has life altering medical issues. An antidepressant can do wonders. Not many docs will make house calls these days. Depression can cause a lack of self care. Some people are afraid of death, maybe he is thinking the doc will tell him the worst and he's afraid. Maybe a trusted minister or good friend can assist in speaking to him about a dr. visit. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

If I told my husband that I was moving out, he would say O.K. some people do not take well to ultimatums. I wouldn't try that one unless you are ready to go.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Ha, you have reminded me: my husband had "pressure in my neck" for over 48 hours before he would let me even call the doctor. They sent us straight to the hospital from home. We arrived at the ER at 10:00 a.m. and by 2:00 p.m. my husband had had his stent implanted and was in his room at the hospital.

I don't do that anymore. I take charge and my husband has learned to "trust me." He knows that I have his best interest at heart. It was all just a big blow to his ego to admit that anything at all could be wrong with him.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Great answers here. Years ago my Mom had a heart attack and refused to go to the hospital! It actually took 20 hours and bribery her to finally get her out. She had an immediate 5 way bypass, stubborn is her middle name. I believe in unconditional love, but also tough love. Call his bluff by sitting down with him and telling him either he goes to the doctor or you are moving out.(of course you wouldnt) But, you have to do something drastic to help him unless you can get visiting doctors /nurses to come. Does he go buy cigarettes? Dont buy them for him! Good luck!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Pain can lead to depression. I assume he needs a hip replacement & back surgery because of some degenerative/arthritic problem in the joints. Constantly getting bad diagnoses when someone goes to the doctor can weigh on them, too. But a person has to want to help themselves----they can't expect everybody else to do it for them.

It is very difficult to get a long time smoker to quit, even if doctors won't do surgery because of it. Your husband may have the mindset that he's already got COPD, so why bother quitting now? Surgeons are really cracking down on people who smoke, and more & more surgeons won't do surgery on people who smoke because it greatly increases operative problems. For smokers, anesthesia is a much bigger risk, healing takes a lot longer, they're more prone to pneumonia & blood clots after surgery. Unless it is an emergency, which in your husband's case it doesn't sound to be, a surgeon won't perform big elective surgeries such as a hip replacement or back surgery on a smoker.

Instead of you being focused on his problems, which he doesn't seem to want to do anything about to help himself to treat, move on & live your own life. Worrying about his problems is only going to bring you down. If he doesn't want to do anything about his health issues, banging your head against the wall isn't going to do anything. If he doesn't care enough about himself or your marriage to take care of his health issues, then you shouldn't be obsessed with it either. Leave him home to smoke his brains out, hobble around on his bad hip & bad back and go do your own things. You're going to waste your golden years worrying about someone who won't do anything to help himself.

And let him know it. Let him know that you're not going to sit around with someone who won't take the proper measures to help himself. Let him know that you have a life to live & you want to make the most of every day----you don't want to spend your life nagging him to quit smoking so he can get his hip replaced or get his back fixed. He's got to want to quit smoking. You can't make him do it.

In this day & age, I truly do not understand why anyone would smoke. I've heard the old excuse that once you're a smoker, it's so hard to quit, blah blah blah. It is much harder to drag an oxygen tank around with you when you develop COPD than to quit smoking. Plus, with the cost of cigarettes now, who would want to spend that money on cigarettes? Where I live, a pack of cigarettes is almost $10. TEN DOLLARS A PACK!! If you smoke one pack a day, that's $300/month---and that's is pushing $4,000 a year for cigarettes!! I'd rather take a couple of nice vacations with $4,000 than spend it on cigarettes that are going to kill me.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Another option, if this is available to you, is to have a doctor come to your home. In our area, there are a growing number of doctors who make house calls. They accept Medicare and whatever supplement the patient has. They can order in x-rays, blood work, etc, right to the home.

This might cut down on the anxiety factor of physically entering a doctor's office.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Hi Weaver,

I can really identify. I have a terrible time getting my husband to acknowledge that symptoms are symptoms and that he needs to see a doctor We DO see doctors all the time but each new symptom is a battle for me. It has actually helped to have the children involved a bit. My husband has, for example, been very lax about his hearing aid and when his son visited him last summer, the firs thing the poor son did was to pack my husband off to his hearing aid specialist. When my husband sees that his children are reacting to things, I have a bit more credibility.

Also, sometimes you just have to "woman up" and insist and don't take no for an answer. Take prisoners!!!!!! to the doctor!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

You might call his doctor and see if you can get a home health nurse into assess him. Or call your local Department of Aging and they will send out someone to assess him. If you have the money hiring a case or care management or a medical advocate company could be an option as well. They will send out a nurse to do an assessment and make recommendations. Their work is more comprehensive and thorough than you would get from the other options I suggested because YOU pay for them, but they would be your best bet.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Weaver, sounds like maybe every time your hubby did finally go to the doctor he was presented with bad news.... like being diagnosed with COPD.... then another appointment where he was diagnosed with a hip issue.... then another appointment with another doctor who said he needs back surgery. I would be afraid to go to the doctor, too.

Yes, with age decline it can get very frustrating because you no longer have the energy and ability of someone who was 50 years old, and that can be depressing. Plus, with age decline we all get some memory issues which may not be dementia, it just takes a brains a bit longer to find that file drawer in our brain that has the information :P

No, an intervention will only backfire. Your hubby is an adult and he can make his own decisions whether to go to the doctor or not. It's his body, if he wants to see it decline, so be it.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.