Because my husband has Major Depressive Disorder which became much more severe over the past week, I took him to the VA ER per the triage nurse's directions.

His depression was so severe that he couldn't eat or drink fluids. He wouldn't get out of bed. Period, except to use the bathroom.

Here is the twist. I told his doctors this was coming 2 weeks ago. I figured it was another severe bout of depression.

Hubby History: 2015 Throat Cancer, TIA, Anaphylactic Shock to chemo

2017 MCA Stroke that required surgery. Slow recovery, emotionally flat, aphasia, memory and speech issues.

COPD and some other health issues. Brain Aneurysm.

As winter set in he seemed less and less able to function outside the home. He stopped doing chores with me, by June he even stopped mowing the yard [he loves to mow on his rider]. He stopped wanting people to visit [nah, I like visitors, so they came].

He was admitted to the Mental Health Ward for severe 'MDD' and after a team of doctors looked at him, they feel the depression is not related to his PTSD symptoms, but are now related to the brain damage from the TIA and the MCA stroke which disassociate his feelings. Meaning, he can laugh and seem to enjoy things,...when in reality, he doesn't because his brain doesn't let him.

He is emotionally flat. And because of that he can only think negative thoughts and live without any hope.

They are trying a treatment that I never heard of until yesterday. Ketamine Infusion. It won't bring back his broken brain, but they are hoping to stimulate some feelings of hope.

Because he is at the VA Mental Health Ward, he is in Lock Down. That means it is like a prison. He actually feels safe there and is getting a lot of attention from the doctors who find him quite a mystery.

He may come home in a week or so. Let me tell you, this is tough and it is sad. BUT when my son asked me 'how are you mom?' I replied, "Honey, I am on vacation right now!" That was what popped into my head. How awful, but my son totally got it.

On the 2 hr drive home yesterday from the hospital, I stopped at several places and even had a picnic lunch. I cleaned house with the music blaring, made beet pickles, danced with the dog, and sat on the porch with a beer.

I know I should feel awful, but I don't. Right now someone else is taking care of DH 24 hrs a day and I know he is in good hands.

I'll take it.

PS~I talked to DH last night on the phone. His voice actually sounded better and he quipped that the food on the ward 'sucks like mud'.

The sobering thought is that the Doctor told me. His brain is broken and this could be the 'best' he will be. I understand that. My job is to get him out of the house when he does get home and get him doing activities. I told the doctor I would have to burn the bed, he loves his bed.

If he doesn't move and do things, he will revert and his health and mind will rapidly decline.



Day Trips?

I'm going to get his butt moving IF I can.

But for the next few days?

I'm going to enjoy some much needed 'me' time.

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The Ketamine infusion and other meds are working right now. He sounds like his old self.
Will it cure his dementia? Probably not, but he says he can't wait to come home and mow the yard, walk, help me work, fence, train mules, and GO Fishing!

It may be temporary, but what the heck, lets take it while we can.
Helpful Answer (15)
Isthisrealyreal Aug 16, 2018
I hope that it continues to work and you get part of your hubby back.

Beer, fresh air and doggy dancing- you go girl😎
I can't believe anyone would criticize you for taking some time to yourself. In fact, tell his daughter that to provide the best care to her dad from now on you are going to need two weeks a year of respite care. Ask can she take over for a week anytime this year?
One week of walking in your shoes would open her eyes!
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Val3rie Aug 16, 2018
I told her tonight that she could come and watch over her dad while I go visit my biological grand kids that are 4 hrs north of here.
She paused.
Good job, Val!! Get in all the R and R you can!
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Val3rie Aug 16, 2018
LOL. I did more work and arranged more things since he was not in the house than I've been able to do in a long time.
But I am taking a day just FOR me!
You go girl! We are all in this for different reasons, but we all agree that as a caregiver we have to maintain our sanity. Blare that music and dance with the dog
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disgustedtoo Aug 22, 2018
Crank up Dancin' Fool by Frank Zappa while boggeying with the dog!
My mentally ill son was in jail for six months and it was a vacation for us. And he had no access to drugs and was forced to take his medications.
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Val: Hubby’s daughter needs to “bring it, not sing it,” eh?

Take ALL the care of yourself you need to and want to. You have been deprived of pleasures for a long time.

No shame, no guilt. Rebuild yourself. 😃💗
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You absolutely should not feel guilty. Here's a way to think about it: would you feel guilty if your husband had a heart attack and you turned over his care to a cardiologist? Of course not! He is being cared for by experts.
If the financial resources are there, consider placing him in a memory care community. The staff are trained to deal with cognitive impairment, there are built in social engagement opportunities and a staff of people to encourage him to engage. You can spend as much time with him there as you want without endangering your own health with the burden of his care.
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My husband is in Va lock down and at first I was feeling very guilty and felt like I am betraying him for been so relax he too has dementia and other mental health issues along with other health issues he is so angry and mean I could stand it any more the home we bought together is unlivable cause for 24 years he refused to fix anything or let bring anyone in the home to fix thing He came home but he called the police told them I was trying to kill him I am sorry he has to go through what ever in his head he is going through but I was sick every day and getting more depressed myself well long story short I refused to bring him home letting the ca take care of him for a while I filed for ptsd in March they say it’s still pending they need more evidence they been giving his Prozac for about 24 year want to fix my home but va says no and I have retired early to try and take care of him that didn’t work out I moved into a senior citizen apartment that takes half of my social security income but I am more relaxed and happy
Helpful Answer (4)
anonymous827732 Aug 20, 2018
I hope everything is sorted out for you soon, take care of yourself.. X
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You are amazing,you've coped so well with your husbands illness's, I am in awe with you,enjoy you time to yourself,you so deserve it,and like you said your husband is safe,god bless you..xx
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Val3rie you are perfectly justified to feel freedom and joy while your husband is hospitalized for his condition. As a caregiver for a person with brain injury (TBI) you need a regular break or you become as apathetic and ill as the person you are caring for. I found that not only did it zap all of my energy but that I too became depressed and anxious. Simple daily tasks became overwhelming for me. When he returns home, schedule someone to come in even if it’s only for a few hours a week so that you can get away and recharge. It will be something to look forward to and give you a much deserved break from your daily routine.
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Val3rie Aug 21, 2018
He is back. Yesterday was great and then he came down with a head cold and is now miserable.
You guessed it.
The bed.
But hopefully he can get over this nasty cold he got while getting 'better'. His attitude is better and he feels like he'd like to do something.
I can only cross my fingers.
I did go off on an adventure on Sunday with NO one to answer to!!!
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