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Husband's severe health issues

By July 19, 2013 - 7:15am

I have been married to my huband for 32 years this December. 14 years ago his health started spiralling out of control. He was diagnosed 24 years ago with Type 2 diabetes, but 14 years ago his vision became so bad that he was no longer able to drive and after seeking help, doctors said that the damage to his vision was because he had had diabetes much longer than he had been diagnosed. His vision was not the only thing compromised with this disease. He has been on dialysis 5 years now. Too many health complications to mention here. Congestive heart failure, infection in bones that have led to amputations, aggressive IV antibiotic treatment to fight infection that led to damage to the 8th cranial nerve affecting balance issues and the list goes on and on. I hate to admit that I just don't enjoy taking him out. I feel like my life has been put on hold and I may never get to enjoy things that I always looked forward to being able to do. We can't really plan to do anything. It's hard going and doing anything. I am always lugging either a walker or wheelchair in and out of vehicles and the having to make sure the places we go are handicap accessible and not low light so he can function. His frustration and bad attitude are very understandable, but embarrassing at times. I am finding that I am not physically or emotionally attracted to him. I love him, I don't want to leave, but I am tired of being the caregiver, nurse, maid, sounding board and then be expected to satisfy his needs when he wants to be satisfied and I am no longer physically attracted to him. I am committed to taking care of him, but I am exhausted and find myself resenting him and what life has dealt me. I am 52 and feel like I am married to an 80 year old man. I know he can't help it and I feel guilty admitting my feeings. But I see other people our age getting to enjoy life and I feel cheated. I made a vow 31 years ago, in sickness and in health, but sickness is getting to me. Because of his illness, I have ignored some things that I personally need to take care of for me. Due to money, transportation for him and scheduling is tedious. I'm sorry that I have vented so much. Guess I had more pinned up than I thought.

By August 3, 2013 - 3:40pm

Dear Kim,

You have every need to vent and I hope that just getting that out there may have helped a bit.

I am 51 and in better health than I have ever been in my life. Sadly, my husband who is 61 is not. I have found that complete honesty despite fear of hurt feelings had to be expressed. Not only did I express my frustration, disappointment and anger over the fact that his health is the result of his poor lifestyle choices, I insisted on one major change OR I was done being a nurse on my time at home (as I am an RN). There absolutely had to be less negativity and pity parties. I reached a breaking point for this sickness and in health business and it was my mental health I put first. I did not worry about what people might think of me or how uncaring I might be perceived. I wasn't going to do anyone any good if I was no longer functioning.

I don't have any regrets in handling it that way and he was thankful to get the unspoken stuff out of the closet. When I find myself feeling less patient, I try and concentrate on the fact that if the positions were reversed, he would be there for me.

With attending to all the other "needs", I encourage you to try and talk with your husband about your roles and that with each decade we get older, intimacy is so much more a mindful and emotional exchange than a physical one. Your stores are clearly empty, your shelves are bare. And that needs to be replenished before you can give anymore.

Best wishes to you and all you carry.

August 3, 2013 - 3:40pm

Group Leader

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