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Learning how to deal with my emotions and especially my impatience
My husband had a stroke 7 years ago when he was 53. He was doing so well , as we had physical therapy and cognitive therapy at home, but now I am trying to do the pt and speech with him. It's very hard to distinguish between wife and therapist. Some days he's good to do the exercises but other times give me a hard time. And the hardest thing right now since we are both home, is there are some functions that he sometimes can't control and I end up cleaning up after him and then I get so angry. I feel guilty afterwards because I know its due to the stroke but its like sometimes I feel I'm just always cleaning up and doing all the chores. My outlet before was taking long walks, but now with the weather getting colder, I really have no outlet. I appreciate all of your suggestions and thanks for listening,
AHAASAKatie, November 2, 2020 8:58am EST
Good morning, I know that this must be so hard for you and I am sorry. Caregiving is not easy and you have been doing this for a long time. Would it be possible to bring in outside help for a few days a week, even with COVID19 restrictions? It's possible that even a small break could help you step back and get a breather. November is National Family Caregiver Month and we have lots of materials to share and hopefully help you through this time. Please know that we are here to listen and support as you need.
JKViggiano, November 4, 2020 2:30pm EST
Boy can I relate to your message! My husband had a stroke 12 years ago at age 51. A couple things come to mind that helped us:
1. SCHEDULE EVERYTHING. We agreed to an exercise schedule 5 days a week. I varied the exercises so the days and weeks were different. We added music. We had a specific time to exercise and then we did something fun--our reward for good work. Walking helped everything. The increased blood and oxygen flow to the brain and body made a significant difference in his ability to think, speak, sleep, and recover. When the weather turned bad we walk malls, large stores, or just suited up and went outside. Walking every day was not negotiable. Even now, 12 years later, we walk every day. If there were other things that needed to be done, they went on the calendar. I didn't have to nag and there were start and end times. In the beginning, we even set timers for bathroom times to minimize emergencies and accidents. The schedule helped us both separate wife/caregiver/therapist time. If course, it is never perfect but it made a huge difference.
2. Find another outlet for yourself. If walking is out for a few months, look for another way to socialize/exercise/take a break. For me, I joined a pilates class, a Bible study group, and I started volunteering again. What a difference!
As for the messes and clean up, there is no easy answer. I have to remind myself that he is better than last year and focus on the progress. He isn't doing it on purpose, he has a terrible brain injury. Is he able to take on any chores? My husband's first chore was making the bed. It wasn't pretty but who cares? He felt better about himself when he began to contribute around the house, maybe you husband will too?
Good luck and keep us posted.
toughrose, November 5, 2020 9:55am EST
My bf just got back from the hospital after heart attack and he had been in the hospital for 14 days oversea. I could not be by his side. We have not discussed about his condition or his emotion. I understand it is tough to deal with whether your role as love one or spouse or caregiver like home care worker. I am also caregiver for cerebral palsy senior. As any caregiver emotional connection with their patient sometimes play big role in their life. You just need to be patient and not rush in. Just the first day my bf and I have only less than 5 minutes conversation. I have dealing with heart disease patient like my husband who passed away last spring. Certain things he can or can't do after his heart attack and we spent 21 years to deal with till he passed. My Godmother has dealing with my Godpa after his heart attack for over 10 years now. Now my bf, the third person in my life, has been through all over again. I know you may have emotional each day and do the best you can. We are all here as caregiver like you with our love ones.
GiraffeGirl, November 7, 2020 4:26pm EST
I'm currently sharing care responsibilities for my 90 year-old grandma who had a stroke earlier this year. While I realize my situation is very different from yours, I do understand what it's like to get angry and then feel guilty about it.
My grandma has been having bouts of severe post-stroke depresion where she talks about being a burden to us and wishing "the Lord would take [her] on." (Her doctor recently increased her antidepressant, and we're hoping that helps.) Because I'm single, I often stay with her at night. She usually wakes me once or twice in the middle of the night because she needs the bedpan or something, and I can usually deal with that okay. When she's really depressed, whatever need she wakes me up for is accompanied by rambling about being a burden or wanting to die; that's when I tend to lose my cool. Of course, I feel terrible about losing my temper with her. I've experienced episodes of depression myself, and I know those thoughts are difficult or impossible to control (although I usually kept them to myself because I was afraid of being hospitalized).
I couldn't agree more with what Katie said about getting an outside care provider to help shoulder the load. Even with multiple family members sharing caregiving duties, we've sometimes sought outside assistance with my grandma.
In many areas, Senior Services maintains a list of reputable home care agencies, and you don't need to be a senior citizen to get a copy of their list. Call a few agencies to compare rates. Ask what COVID-19 precautions they have implemented for their staff (e.g., daily temperature monitoring, requring face masks on the job). Also be sure to ask if staff are required to get a flu shot (apparently that's voluntary at some agencies). Be sure to ask specific questions about what staff are and are not allowed to do -- we've found some agencies will have staff provide "medicateion reminders" don't allow them to actually give someone pills or will "monitor vital signs" but not do finger sticks to check blood glucose. Also be sure to ask if there's a minimum number of hours of service per day, especially if you only need a break for a hour or two.
Good luck, and remember you're not alone.