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My husband does have many health issues. Amongst them is his breathing of which he is on 1 litre of oxygen. He claims that every time he moves around it takes to much out of him as in recovery time. He says I took vows to take care of him in sickness and in health. Said if I was in his shoes he would not have a problem following those vows. His daily routine is get up in the morning, use bathroom and sit in living room controlling the tv. He does dispense and take his meds and pay bills when due. This is all done from the confines of his sitting area. Going from sofa to bathroom is his only exercise. This amounts to about 16 steps total. I bring everything to him. He has let it be known that I am to take care of him above all else. He says if I go out it should be in close promixity to home in case something would happen to him and I could get back right away.


I have no friends come to visit cause we may get in his space. Just easier than worrying we may do or say something he thinks is not on his level. Many of my friends do not drive so I do take them places. He lets me know he's not receptive to this. When I do go somewhere I make sure his meals are ready, setting on counter or in fridge. He would only need to walk and get it. More often than not he calls my son to get it for him if he's not at school or waits for him to get home and has him bring it in. He doesn't have a problem calling on us to cater to him. He accused me of caring and doing more for others than him. I said I wouldn't mind it so much if he would do the things that he's capable of. He let me know that he can't do any more than he is. Says it takes too long to get his breathing back to normal. On top of this he does not have any daily hygiene cares. To get him in the walk in tub is a feat in itself. I am lucky to get him in there every couple of months. Claims it is too exerting for him and yes I have to bathe him but the end result is well worth it. I also have my brother living here as he was having mental issues. He could help me out with this to lessen the demands. Unfortunately my husband has let it be known that he does not want my brother doing anything for him. His claim on this one is that he never sees him wash his hands. Overall, I helped my father with his personal business for the past 19 years (he passed on April 2018) all the while catering to my husband's wants as well as my 17yr. old's autism (adopted him when he was 2) and my brother's mental issues. I do not think that it should be such an issue if I do something. I always make sure if I am not right here that he has easy access to everything if he would so choose to accept it. On top of all this. After my dad's will was brought out and it was not to the liking of 2 of my siblings they are know accusing me of stealing a large sum of money 5-10yrs ago. (Prior to disclosure of dad's will these 2 had not spoke for at least 9 yrs). Now their best friends and said I was the one who had kept them apart. Not that this wasn't enough dad left me as executor. No matter what I will follow through for my dad. I can hold my head up as I know what dad chose to have done, I did. Never will there be any regrets.

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God bless you. I am going through so many of the same issues. This is my first time on this site and so I hope you and I can get some support!

There's an element of selfishness that is so overbearing. We promise to obey our marriage vows (which your husband is so quick to remind you of...) but I feel abandoned. He does not help me at all when I am sick unless I get loud and demanding and angry - which is NOT my personality. - So the marriage vows go one way.

What finally happens is that you cease to care for your loved one (for me alternating with tender feelings of compassion and tears), feel in effect, "like I have no husband, I'm just a maid and nurse now."

This is a good site to "dump" or "ventilate" on. I hope we can share on a productive basis and help each other out instead of just expressing our frustration and hurt.

Again, I can see your husband sitting in front of his TV. Mine is at the computer. We are in the same situation only I have no family or friends, and his one son refuses to answer to requests for help.

Let us all pray for each other. I am praying for you.
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Sammysunny Feb 20, 2019
Hopefully we can lift each other up. It helps to have people like you who understand. Thanks you
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You have much company, with the demanding spouse. I also have one who refuses to do for himself, as able. It does not get better. Prepare for a lot of push back, as you implement healthy changes in your situation. When my spouse gets nasty, I silently give him a time out, as it’s the same as toddler temper tantrums. I can’t always make it a two hour time out and leave his presence, like when I’m in the middle of meal prep, or need to do pet care. But, I’m creating little spots in the home, mentally scheduling myself out of eyesight or shouting distance, several times per day.

Now, on the oxygen situation. If you do not own an oximeter, please purchase one. I have lung disease, am on oxygen. They are excellent for confirming I am on the right oxygen delivery dose. Check him often. Exertion can make us breathless. But, sometimes we feel breathless, but are adequately saturated when we move around. The oximeter will tell you that. Bathing is notorious for dropping oxygen saturation, so expect it to be tiring. Sometimes we persons with lung disease feel breathless, but are not starved for oxygen. If the oximeter shows low oxygen, it can be helpful to keep an oxygen diary. Note oxygen saturation, what the activity was. I actually took mine to the pulmonologist, plus cell phone photos of my finger oximeter readings, time stamped, to show what activities were dropping you oxygen, and how much. That will help the pulmonologist make the best prescription for his needs, as well as indicate if new testing is indicated. We with lung disease often need propped up on a wedge or pillows, to help with the breathless feeling. Also, the sensation of moving air when we struggle to breathe, helps. Like a fan blowing on us, or running the air conditioning vent right in the face, in the car. One thing many of us struggle with is oxygen saturation falling when we lay down. Especially after meals, when the body is busy digesting food, laying down can compound the low oxygen. I drop a good 6-8% just going from sitting to lying down, wide awake. Sleeping, I drop further. Oxygen desaturation is nothing to mess with, but medical professionals are pretty cavalier about it. The WHO considers oxygen saturation at 92% to be a medical emergency, as per the laws of gases, oxygen cannot move through the cell walls at that point. However, only in the US do we ignore science, and instead use Medicare’s arbitrary 88% oxygen saturation for medical criteria to have insurance pay for oxygen supplementation. For me, I follow science, rather than arbitrary payment criteria. But that’s me. Caution here. If he has COPD, he could be a CO2 retainer. Oxygen supplementation can be very tricky. So be in close contact with the doctor on any adjustments made when he desaturates.
Please feel free to post as you need to. We all benefit from others’ ideas and experiences.
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Before my father had any health problems, he wanted my mother to stay home and not be involved with anything that took her away from the home - church groups, bowling league, women's social clubs, exercise classes and especially helping members of her family. Taking us kids to music lessons, team practices or games, shopping trips, etc. was fine. This behavior got much worse once Dad's vascular dementia came into play too.

I came to understand after my father's paranoid personality disorder diagnosis that he was afraid of "losing" my mother and/or his family. Dad jealously guarded my mother's time and I believed considered her homemaking and child raising efforts as a major conformation of his own worth. My father came from a very dysfunctional home where he was abused and neglected as a child. My mother was the eldest daughter is a very solid middle class farming and construction trade family and a local beauty queen. My father's extended family was similarly solid with his parents being the "black sheep" exceptions. Almost everyone (even my father's extended family) considered that my father was "very lucky" to have my mother become his wife. My mother admired his determination and ambition to build a better life for himself than the way he was raised. She was strong enough to handle his rough edges.

It's possible part of your husband's controlling and needy behavior is also driven by his emotional needs too and not just plain selfishness or self pity. That doesn't in any way change your need to set and maintain appropriate boundaries. Understanding may make it easier to cope and forgive some of the more outrageous demands. I learned my father needed more numerous and demonstrative tokens of affection than most adults. He saw someone bringing his ice tea to him as an indication he was loved and valued, particularly as he aged. So Mom and I would take him snacks, but not meals. It was a balancing act between maintaining boundaries for yourself, giving enough extra attention to meet Dad's emotional needs, and doing what was physically/health-wise in his best interest.
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You just described emotional domestic abuse. He has separated you from friends to keep him all to himself like a slave Try to seek councelling. You are enabling him to continue this destructive path.
Ok he is on oxygen. It sounds like he is deconditioned. He should get refered to pulmonary rehab or cardiac rehab if it is heart related. Rehab improves his quality of life but does not take away the shortness of breath. If he refuses then consider hospice.
If he is so short of breath, there are some lung conditions that do not match up with the delivery device. This is an issue that 3 major medical organizations are trying to change with Medicare. Consider buying one of those $20 oxygen monitors and take readings at rest and walking. It the level falls below 90, take him back to the doctors for re evaluation with his device. He may need 2 liters. Again do not expect miracles with his quality of life.
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puffbucket Feb 23, 2019
You are spot on about TNtechie being "groomed" as a domestic abuse wife. For "love", like most of us, she married someone she had no idea would take control, abandon HIS part of the marriage vows/Bible that instruct a husband to treat her as a precious beloved": eventually deny her all contacts/activities that would fulfill her but deny him 24 hour slavery. "A slave to love..." Remember that? Before our time but an apt phrase from a song/old movie.
We ladies need to realize that we are surrendering to the narcisistic (spl?) demands of a parasite. God does NOT want us to live in abusive marriages. He understands when "marriage vows" become an excuse for a woman's life-long duty as a mere servant. This is indeed "spousal abuse" and again, God does NOT expect us to live with this and in this case divorce, or just living separately is admissible.
"The good die young." Even if as caregivers we are likely to die first. And if we don't, our very lives become deadened and lost.
My spouse has "health issues" but mine are ignored and getting worse because of misery. My mental status is deteriorating along with my health. Don't people like us need a "Wake-up call"? Blessings.
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Wow--

You aren't a wife, you're a slave. (Hello, fellow slave!)

Coming from someone who has been ""there". Still kind of am.

My DH has had many health issues and every time the clock gets reset.

Most recent was 2 heart attacks last summer. It WAS horrifying, but it was what it was--4 lifesaving stents placed and he is "better".

However, he then refused to get out of bed. Wanted all meals served to him in bed. Wouldn't shower. Only needed to pee twice a day and by DARN I was not getting a urinal b/c he was "so sick" he couldn't walk 15 feet.

He had a panic attack one night and thought it was another ha so we headed to the ER. I was so tired and so frustrated (about 2 weeks after the 2nd HA)...I went out in the hallway and told the ER doc I thought it was a panic attack and also that DH is deaf and they needed to be looking AT him when they talked to him...and something in me snapped. I just started bawling. I was DONE. I BEGGED them to admit him just for one day so I could get some sleep.

Some sweet ER doc came and talked to me. Said I needed to talk to his cardiologist--and arranged for me to do so.

Holy Moly--the cardiologist ripped hubs a new one. Said he was to GET UP, SIT UP and STAY UP. And that NO MORE MEALS were to be "delivered". I'm getting the stinkeye from DH as he knows I'd ratted him out.

He sort of slowly did do better. He had to lose 50 lbs and go VERY low carb, which he hated, and I worked my tail off trying to make meals he could/would eat that were "OK".

He lost the weight and has been pretty good about the diet, if I make treats they go straight out of the house, but he'll still eat a whole tub of TraderJoe's gingersnaps in one sitting.

It took months to get him to get up and move. I thought I would go insane. He was mean and thoughtless to me (so again, cardiologist calls in a pysch consult) and he is on an antidepressant that helps a little. Refuses to exercise, which Dr says will simply cut his already shortened life more. His choice.

Basically, he KNOWS he's abusing me and my good nature and natural desire to care for "needy"---but he just LOVES being babied.

I have had many a meal all alone at the kitchen table with his plate sitting there, getting cold b/c he thought I'd bring him a meal in bed. Nope.

We had a shower chair from when he had his liver transplant, so I put that in the tub and said "You WILL bathe every other day, no questions" and then when he got in the shower, I'd strip the bed of linens and he couldn't go back to bed until I did the wash (He could have used the other sets of sheets but he can't make a bed).

Very slowly life got 'better'. It's not awesome, by any standard. He definitely came back from the heart attacks angry and feeling like he'd been handed a death sentence.

BUT--though I am a SAHM now--after raising 5 kids and working off and on for 43 years---I do NOT do everything anymore. He complains about the garage being messy and I tell him to deal with it. In the past I would have gotten right on it and cleaned it up!

It's HARD to be tough with someone you 'love' and really, have to care for. I DIDN'T make the "for better or worse" promise, that's not in our faith's marriage vows. I have done so, anyway, because I do love this big booger, but he drives me just nuts.

I DO get out of the house and when he's choosing to not get out of bed, which is pretty much every weekend, I live my own life.

You have so much on your plate--my gosh. Come back here and vent away. There's no judgment and a lot of support, Somehow, writing out what we feel is VERY cathartic and helpful. I know I have received some amazing advice and a lot of love here.

My own friends and family are sick to death of hearing about my DH. This site has been a godsend.

Please take care of you, first. And maybe have DH's O2 checked. My DH was on O2 several times and it took some fussing to get it right. Not enough and you DO feel pretty exhausted.

{{Hugs}}
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Sammysunny Feb 19, 2019
Thank you so much for your input. It helps to know there are other people you can talk to on your journey through life.
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As a divorced woman take what I am saying with a grain of salt.

The Marriage Vows are about caring, not hands on care giving, in sickness and health. And certainly in this day and age have nothing to do with being a servant.

As long as you do your best to ensure your husband has care you are meeting your vows. You do not have to be the hands on provider of the care.

There are a great many people on this site, who are caregivers to their loved one and the loved one is in AL, NH or MC. That does not make them any less of a loving spouse, or child, it means they have recognized that as one person they cannot possibly provide for the all needs of their LO.

I know nothing at all about O2 levels, so will leave any discussion about that to others who have experience and your doctor.

Bathing, as he is capable of getting into the tub and you are at this point willing to help, I would make this non negotiable. "Bob, I will not prepare any meals until you bathe." You could check if there there a facility in your community for bathing. In my small town one of the public funded AL allows community members to book their bathing room at least 2x month. I have never seen it, but I do know it is well equipped to help bath those with mobility issues. Although your husbands may complain about it taking too much energy to leave the house.

As Countrymouse said, he cannot outrun you. Make plans to be out of the house 2-3 times a week and stick to them. If he chooses not to go to the kitchen to pick up the lunch you left for him than that is his choice.
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Sammysunny Feb 20, 2019
Thanks for the input and info.Something to definitely look into. Much thanks.
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There are many devices available for people who truly are handicapped and don’t have an ever ready, handy dandy wife to fill all requests.

Some rather simple aids could help with daily life.
You could utilize things such as a thermos for hot or cold soups. A lunch kit with an ice pack can keep a sandwich and fruit chilled even in warm weather. These could all be as easy to reach as the tv remote.

Perhaps he needs a medical alert for emergencies?

Does your brother stay home when you are out? Can he call you in case of an emergency?

Your husband could be lonely, jealous or just bored. He may panic when you aren’t near by. Does he have friends or family or confidants he can visit with?

Do you have a care plan in place? Do you communicate with his doctors, understand his meds and issues? Why isnt he receiving physical and or occupational therapy? Perhaps he is.

It’s not acceptable to live in filth. I would refuse to serve him a crumb of bread if he refused to bathe. It is tiring for the elderly to bathe but he is putting himself and perhaps others in danger of worse health.

Negotiate with him. Get him a sitter if he is truly afraid for you to be away. He needs interaction with the outside world.

Not bathing is considered by many as an indicator of cognitive decline. Isolation doesn’t help.

He wants to hold you accountable to a higher standard than the one he sets for himself. I’m not suggesting you get on his level but his mental health is worth working to shore up for both your benefit.

I am truly sorry that you are in this situation. It is important that you take a cold hard look at your future and that you be able to focus on your child who at 17 needs two parents to guide him. You sound like a caring friend. I’m sorry for the loss of your father and the family discord over his estate.

Try to find some balance in your life. Don’t give away your freedom. There will be a time when your husband will need you or someone around the clock.
You might be feeling a little panic of your own.
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Sammysunny Feb 19, 2019
Reply is much appreciated. Thank you for your ?'s as well.
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Is it possible the 1 liter of O2 isn't enough? "He claims that every time he moves around it takes to much out of him as in recovery time." Perhaps a trip to the doc to determine if his O2 level needs to be increased which may solve this complaint and enable him to do more on his own. (Edited to add: as Countrymouse stated, sedentary lifestyle will exacerbate this issue.)

"He says I took vows to take care of him in sickness and in health." Didn't he take the same vow? Your health matters too and he needs to step up to take care of you and ensure your physical, mental, and emotional needs are met.
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Sammysunny Feb 20, 2019
Thanks for listening to me venting and your words are most welcomed.
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Well. I bet you can outrun him, for a start.

To play devil's advocate just for a moment: you repeatedly say your husband "claims" this that and the other. But that sounds as though you are sceptical about his difficulties, when actually his difficulties are real enough, are they not? He does get uncomfortably out of breath on the slightest exertion. It is difficult for him to get up out of his chair and fetch his own lunch tray. It's not like he's putting it on.

Having said that, I'll also bet his doctors don't agree that sitting still all day is the best therapy. What have they recommended for his daily maintenance routine?

Anyway. The real point is that, while your husband's need for support and assistance is fair enough, it is not reasonable to insist that it all comes from you. But then again - what difference does it make what he says? He's the one who's stuck on the sofa. You are the free agent. He can complain all he likes, but the actual, executive decisions are in your hands. Make them as you think right.

Sorry - you ask *why* does your husband want your undivided attention, to the detriment of (his and) your overall wellbeing? Because he feels sorry for himself, I expect, and needs to know you still love him and care about him. You can do that and still take your friends to lunch, of course.
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Sammysunny Feb 20, 2019
Thanks for your opinions....I accept them gracefully.
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Does he have a weight problem? If so, this is why he can't breath. Not saying that he doesn't have a breathing problem but being overweight doesn't help. I would tell him if he doesn't get up and move and do for himself, he will eventually be in a home because you will not be able to care for him. Vows or not.

You have too much on your plate. You deserve time away. Your life will be hell if you don't stick by your guns.
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Sammysunny Feb 20, 2019
Thank you for your response and words of encouragement.
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I know other posters will have more advice and information for you, but all I can say is this sounds like a completely untenable situation. You are a saint to go along with it for so long! I hope you find a solution and can find your way to taking care of you!
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Sammysunny Feb 20, 2019
Thanks for your kind words.With my therapists suggestions I have hope.
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Seems to me that your husband doesn’t want a wife. He prefers a slave, and that was outlawed many years ago. Sorry to be blunt, this isn’t a health problem, it’s a marriage problem. He’s an entitled bully and there’s no reason for him to change a thing, he has everything he wants handed right to him. Only you can decide to make changes, and I hope you will before your health is gone
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Sammysunny Feb 20, 2019
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He may EXPECT that you wait on him hand and foot 24/7 but you do not need to do so. Set boundaries now - it is only going to get worse.

My dad was the same way with stepmom - it finally got so she had to stay in the same room with him all of the time.

Let him know when you are available to help him. The other times you do what you want to do. Let him fuss.

Bring in help to help him bathe - no option.

Bottom line - he isn't going to cooperate to make this easier for you - so you need to decide what you NEED and implement that. He can yell or whatever he does, but you matter.
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Sammysunny Feb 20, 2019
Therapist suggested a strategy of which I am going to attempt. He says it will be tough at first but as I continue it will get easier.
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