Still Grateful with a Touch of Combat Fatigue

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Let me preface this with saying I am extremely grateful that my husband is everyday beachout of the hospital and home.  My heart was filled with joy on Christmas Day, this is all I needed. We’ve had some pleasant days, some good moments in most days. But then reality hits.

Despite all of our efforts over the past week, so much is still out of our control. The C. diff, such a nasty gastro intestinal infection, would be difficult for anyone. The abdominal pain is excruciating and the result of the pain would be hard to live with in an ambulatory person, let alone someone wheelchair bound. He has very little strength. I have never seen him so weak.

Just to try and sit up in bed or better yet lie done. He cannot do it alone. His legs are so swollen and heavy from edema; they are weeping puddles of water. His upper body strength which used to compensate for lack of legs is nearly gone. Once he strains to transfer from chair to bed, usually an easy maneuver, he needs me to lift his legs one at a time and put them on the bed. Getting up is practically a gym work out for him; I can do little to assist here.

After a few days of the home health treating the wounds on his legs and not addressing the cause, I called the nephrologists today.  It’s not my first rodeo. His instructions upon discharge were to eliminate the water pills he normally takes. By mid week he had water blisters soaking the gauze dressing the nurses put on. This new doctor is good, really good. He called back nearly immediately and after our discussion my husband is back on the max dose of furosimide until the swelling and weeping subside.

A few weeks ago, @bobmarcotte, who cares for his wife, compared aspects of caregiving to combat. Building on his excellent analogy, my husband and I are both suffering from combat fatigue. Entirely too many battles this past year. He naps a lot and is unable to resume any of his daily activities except for cooking. I see him out on the porch staring at our two new porch rockers waiting to be assembled. I watch and hear the discouragement he is feeling. It hurts me to the very depth of my soul that I cannot ease the pain, the recovery process.

In the meantime, thoughts run through my head. Thoughts that make me feel so very guilty. I am tired. Physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. Will this ever end? I need a break; I need a haircut! I want to go check into a hotel with room service and massages and spend a night. A night without worry, a night with uninterrupted sleep.

This is where I shake myself, how dare I feel this way? He is the one with all thedance in the rain sea suffering, with the very real questions running through his mind. “Will this ever end?”

I am humbled and embarrassed as I watch my husband in combat mode once again. So I put my big girl pants back on and get to work trying to keep him as comfortable as possible as he bravely fights yet another battle.

Yes, this is where I want to be. This is what I want to do. I choose him each and every time.

6 thoughts on “Still Grateful with a Touch of Combat Fatigue

  1. Avatar of Gail KrollGail Kroll

    Dearest Pegi, For the first time after we met with our PCP I thought to myself. “I don’t want Mom to wake up.” I was overwhelmed with guilt. How could I think this way? Then everyone left today and our CNA came and Mom had a good day yesterday and an okay day today. My sisters are resisting Hospice. I think Mom and I have made our final decision but certain answers must be met for my sisters to agree and I am keeping out of the them. They need to go through the process. I shall let them. They want to contact Mom’s and my PCP before a final decision is made. I agree. My sister calls me bipolar in my thought process and difficult to deal with. Okay. So is she but I bite my tongue. It’s not appropriate. Like Mom whispers to me. They all will leave soon. We will be alone again together. Let go of it. So to honor Mom I do. My combat fatigue is waning. I am joining Mom’s force again. We agree most probably she will die in six to twelve months. So be it. We will be together in this. I am sending you my prayers and my love! Keep the Faith friend! Know you are in my thoughts! Love, Gail

    Reply
  2. Cathy Mitchell

    Pegi and Gail, your words and your “stick-to-it-ness” are so admirable. You both move me and also give me strength. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Reply
  3. Avatar of TrishTrish

    Pegi, My heart is with you both whether hubby is home or in the hospital. Of course you are fatigued – you’ve BOTH had a rough year. It is physically and emotionally draining to go back and forth from home to hospital and fight the battles you’ve had to fight. You are tired and it’s okay to be tired and to wish you weren’t (and to wish for some pampering!). It’s okay, hon. You know we’re here for you and supporting you both during this battle. While you regain your strength, picture yourself in some pretty pink fatigues. :-) Big hugs!!

  4. Avatar of DeniseDenise

    Hi–This is a wonderful post because you write what so many of us think. You give us all a voice with your honesty.

    I, too, wish, you could have some time away. A little break ensures you continue in your best shape possible. It is very difficult to battle every day. It’s impossible to fight a war without taking time off the front lines.

    I hope you’re taking a break with some lovely daydreams which transform you and Jim to a place of pure tranquility. Close your eyes and rest your heart with visions of healing. :)

    Reply

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