I am in the ninth year of caring for my husband. It began when he was 59 (I was 52) when he had a stroke and three brain aneurysms coiled. He ended up w/ 90% usage in his upper body/arms, but very little in his legs, which resulted in him using a wheelchair. He also could not read or write like before. His communication skills also took a pretty big hit.
Life was different - restrictive - and he could not do many things he was used to doing and liked doing. He grew frustrated and depressed. What he could not do, fell back on to me, including running his business while working full-time.
This went on until, due to an ongoing external internet theft (long story) his business began to fail until finally two year's ago it was pretty much gone. I worked double-time on the business to try to keep it from failing, but I was not successful at all.
During the time that I was working both jobs, I was also caring for all of the household duties (lawn, bill paying, housekeeping, groceries, cooking) along with taking him back and forth to his many doctor's appts.
It was also during this time that the Drs. discovered he had prostate cancer, but due to his lack of mobility they would not remove his prostate gland and treated it w/ other methods, including massive hormone injections and later an orchidectomy. This caused him to go into an even deeper depression, plus the physical side effects including loss in bone density and muscle mass.
It also caused major problems with both urine and bowel (laser treatment side effect) incontinence. He has also had severe problems with urinary tract infections that quickly turn septic and are life threatening and mentally debilitating to him.
He also suffers from nerve pain from the stroke and is completely addicted to pain pills and zanax (sp?) which adds to his weakness and has contributed to several falls when transferring or trying to stand to use the commode.
(Did I mention over the nine years that he has broken both hips?)
He uses an electric wheelchair inside the house, which does allow him more freedom, but it has also caused scratches and paint removal on several walls, knocked holes in doors, walls and molding, bent the front of the oven, dishwasher and fridge, and torn up most exterior door frames. The house is a mess structurally and I am a lousy carpenter.
He needs help all of the time - in/out of bed, on the commode, diaper changing, sheet changing, getting dressed, getting food - you name it, he needs help. Because my full-time job is home based, I am here to help, then work all night to make up my work for my job.
So, now, in the ninth year, I am about to go crazy. We've gone through our retirement because my full-time job was not enough to pay the bills. I owe the IRS money and I am looking at losing our home, even though we just have four years left to pay. I am also looking at having my income garnished.
In the meantime, he has grown even weaker. I cannot keep up with all of the soiled laundry unless I stay up all night to do it. I have no natural nursing skills and cleaning up a grown man's urine and feces day in and day out truly makes me ill.
Seeing our house destroyed just weighs on me day in and day out. I am ashamed to let anyone come here so I am basically a recluse. Neither of us have family near by and now my sister is dying of inoperable cancer, but I cannot leave him to go see her. Our only son died three years ago. I just feel like I cannot breathe anymore.
I have never been one to lash out or yell. I always respected and loved my husband, but i can't seem to find that person anymore. He's gone and I find myself saying some pretty hateful things to him. I feel guilty afterwards, but it is happening more and more and I am very ashamed.
I also find that I am not as attentive and I feel resentment when I have just tended to him, then turn around and everything is a mess again. I need to go find work, but that means putting him into a rest home which we can't afford.
I just can't see where there is any real reason to hang on. Everything is gone or soon will be and if he goes to a rest home -- it really will all be gone. I'm tired of caring for him, but it is all I have left of him.