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My husband of 21 years is now my caregiver. Over the past few years the amount of help I've needed has increased. I bring almost nothing to the table in terms of day-to-day family chores, etc. Going to the bathroom is the only thing I can do by myself.


He works 7 nights a week at a paying job, plus does it all - laundry, cleaning, shopping, cooking - everything. On top of that he maintains my oxygen equipment, helps me with ADLs, and oh yeah we have a 16 year old daughter who is a handful!


The problem is this - he never complains to me, never says he's tired of frustrated or depressed or anything. I've tried to talk to him but he insists he's fine.


He can't be, and before he blows a gasket (in his heart or his brain) I'd like him to talk to somebody, go to a support group, anything. I've managed to save some money, I offered to hire a maid service even just for a month. He said no and proceeded to steam clean the entire house.


I'm actually afraid he'll wake up one morning and just walk away.


Any ideas/advice?

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Not everyone can get help by sharing the stresses they are under, breaking down and asking for help. In rare cases, they are not under stress, but right on top of the situation, stoic and running strong, willingly, because of love.
Thank him, count your blessings. When you are taking a walk around your home for your health, pick up something, put it away, fold a piece of laundry sitting down. Going out once a week requires major effort with your condition. How do you force yourself to do this? Do you feel better or worse when getting home?

Can you have a talk with your teen, and ask for her help for two hours once a week. You and her can create a special surprise for hubby. Or ease his burden somehow together.
So sorry this is so hard and that you are ill. It requires a fight for your life, daily.
Keep fighting, don't give up, remain positive.
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Thank you for all your input, it's given me some great ideas to look into.

I want to help my husband as much as possible, in a way he can feel good about.

Thank you all, again😊
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Another thought - some people are diverted by activity. A neighbor who I had never met before stopped one day to help me with some heavy duty yard work. She asked if she could do more - she wanted to clean the gutters and cut down some trees.

She explained that there was an evolving situation in her family that was troubling and not easy to resolve, and by focusing on physical work she was able to take her mind off the issue for a while, long enough to think more clearly (as Joannes also addresses in her post).

So the work your husband is doing may in fact have a different basis for his own coping mechanisms.
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I totally agree with Tacy. If you think assistance is needed, begin researching to determining what's available. Move past the query part and start making plans. Even if your husband does admit to fatigue or anxiety, you still need to have backup arrangements, so jump ahead to that stage.

There's another issue here, which comes through loud and clear in your posts, that you're seeing life from the perspective of being overwhelmed and are also focusing on death, not life. that's not a criticism, just an observation. It's easy to fall into the trap of negative thinking and anxiety. Most of us probably would if we were in situations in which imminent death was on the near horizon.

Your husband may see your situation as compromised but not necessarily of imminent death.....two different perspectives.

But it seems to me that you have a great husband who will help make your life better, so I'd focus more on that - what the two of you have together, his support, how you can plan for the time when he might face burnout or fatigue and be prepared to institute remedial action. But respect that he has a right to his private thoughts, and don't put him on the spot.

Men don't easily share their feelings; respect that and be grateful for what he's doing, keeping a watchful eye for indications of fatigue and burn out. But remember that he has a different approach and doesn't seem to be focusing as much on death.

It's not my intention to be critical, but I see in your post things that, for example, aren't as difficult as they're made to be. Maintaining oxygen equipment is easy; I did it for years and am doing it again now. Household chores are a lot more labor intensive. What I'm saying is that there's a different perspective from someone who is focusing on illness than someone who's focusing on providing remediation.

And it may be that he actually cherishes this role because it gives him a chance to be your carer, protector, and reciprocate for years of your having cared for him as your mate.

I'm wondering also if you've asked your pulmonary doctor about pulmonary rehab. Even with a permanent condition, you might be able to benefit from pulmonary therapy. It might give you the confidence and assistance you need to get around more, which will improve your outlook.

I think Joannes makes good points as to planning for death and getting your affairs in order.
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If you have a serious chronic health condition that you know is going to lead to an early death, have the two of you sat down and made health related plans for the future, especially considering that you still have a child at home? This could be a starting point for the discussion you are suggesting. To find an attorney to do medical and durable POA forms, and all the rest of your health care desires in terms of living will and code status etc. Perhaps discuss the need for life insurance to protect him and your child? And funeral plans should/could be discussed too. In that process, the needs for, and trials of on going care could be discussed, as well as how to plan for it. If you've basically had a good marriage, you may have a husband who just feels like he made marriage vows for better or for worse, and he just needs to get on with it....as other have said....men tend to take on things this way, without wanting to discuss them. BUT....your wishes, desires, needs come into the picture too, and I hear that you are worried about him and his health and his ability/willingness to take all this on. Perhaps you would rather have some type of caregivers doing part of this care, so that you have more of a 'real' relationship and time with him. You need the ability to say this and make plans accordingly. Also, as one who has been coordinating care and handling finances for both parents, plus have a husband home with early Parkinson's and still trying to run a home business and keep it afloat at age 71....it is NOT easy to discuss feelings or sort out choices and even make decisions beyond just getting through the day and what is on the immediate plate, when one is overwhelmed with too much happening at once!! I regularly call one or the other daughters in for a few days of 'visiting', just so I can catch up; reach a goal of finishing a big project or just to problem solve and create a more long term plan when I am terribly overstressed. I just cannot think my way out of the paper bag when I am in the middle of it.... I get tunnel vision and cannot see multiple choices I may have that are easy for the girls to see, since they are more removed. Your husband may need this kind of third person.....and perhaps the way to get started is for YOU to say that YOU want that third person involved....and you want some of these future plans worked out on paper. Also, there is nothing wrong with letting your hubby know that you want him to have help, so that your relationship does not suffer, and so that you can maintain a more normal relationship as a married couple, by having other people come in and do house cleaning, physical care for you or whatever would be a 'fix' for you and him together.
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My perspective is a little different than most. Why does he have to express his concerns to you when you see what caregiving is doing to him. It is up to you to get the help you need. I would start by calling your local commission on aging, have them evaluate your needs and start with getting help for you by taking things off his plate.

I may sound a little harsh but it is up to you to get the help you need. Obviously, the two of you have a good relationship and he may not want to burden you when you are ill. It is up to you to change the circumstances. Best wishes
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Nightlady, if you go to "desktop view" in the menu, you can fill out your profile by going to edit account. How about calling his doctor, or sending him/her a letter to express your concerns?
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You can't force him to get help and you can't make him talk about his fears if he is resistant. It could be his coping strategy is to work himself to exhaustion while determinedly denying the tiger in the room. Not necessarily healthy, and it won't be pretty when that tiger bites him in the ***, but it seems to be the way a lot of men deal with things. I think the best you can do is gather the information he will need if he ever does reach out for help, and reassure him you see and appreciate what he does. ((hugs))
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I've seen folks talk about their profile - perhaps bc I'm on an iPhone is why I can't access that portion.

I have several chronic health problems but the one that causes me real problems is a progressive, incurable lung disease. Even on 5lpm of 02 24/7 I'm still very easily winded and fatigued. I rarely leave the house more than once a week.

I do manage to handle all our finances although even that is becoming a challenge with my short term memory loss.

My prognosis is I'm going to die. When is unknown, but certainly sooner than we'd like. I'm having to have lithotripsy for kidney stones and it may very well be the death of me. After this "outpatient" procedure I wind up in ICU bc of my breathing.

I'm just wanting to find out if maybe there's a social services agency that would even send someone to the house for an assessment for him. I love him dearly and I know this is hard for him.
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What are your medical conditions? If you would complete your profioe that would help the rest of us to formulate an answer. What is your prognosis?

Yes, your husband needs help and a break! But, like most men he most likely will never confide in you. He may feel it is admitting defeat and mean he is coming to grips with his denial.
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