Thursday, March 1, 2018

Care giving and me

My hubby by Feb 2014, had had 3 strokes. He had lost some brain and could no longer drive, but still was a great best friend...we’re in our 51 year of marriage and both are 73 years old... what he didn’t tell me was he was suffering a lot of angina, like for 2 hours at a time. Finally, diabetic and like many men, non compliant to a healthy diet and exercise (he hates veggies and loves fast food and although he was about 30 lbs overweight, he could get away with things like pizza etc, which I hadn’t been able to eat since High School) ... I have a weak gall bladder and a hiatal hernia and a hereditary condition called eosinophilic esophagitis which causes immune challenge and narrowing of the esophagus.... He seemingly got away with his less than healthy lifestyle...he first experienced erectile dysfunction in 1994 which the doctor laughed at and offered him, Viagra...(great for a diabetic prone to heart disease right...😩😩) ED is actually was the first symptom of vascular disease and CAD... no medical provider ever warned a toe turned black in 2016, we were totally unprepared for what was to the ER, they gave him a heart cath test (I later found out that when there is blockage in the legs, there is likely blockage in the heart - another thing no one ever warned me about) and announced to me that he needed a quadruple coronary bypass! Imagine my shock --- he walked into the hospital and seemed "OK".  *sigh*  They also did a popliteal to femoral bypass in the left groin and amputated 3 toes. He came home for a couple of days in the end of February, 2016 but with no wound care, so he came down with septicemia and osteomyelitis and back to the a toe on the right foot turned black!  He lived but was 8 months in the hospital and came home sort of a different person...even his voice had changed, was more high pitched, probably from intubation...and I was thrust into the role of caregiver and had no clue how hard that would be! Not only losing my best friend but tons of work, living with being very tired etc.and grieving the life we had together only a year previously.  He came home from the hospital in November 2016 and I am just getting over the grieving. The shock of a new life in the last few months...very difficult...probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life but I AM feeling better now and enjoying life more...I suffered depression though, for a long time. I want to write about this because no one prepares you for things like this, and least of all, the medical profession.  I watch TV with him...he’s lost large parts of his brain so I have to explain the story on TV to him often ...I do my workouts...40 minutes a day or 50 minutes and that’s my “me” time, important for care givers. I take a short drive in the car also some days, errands but also "Me time". I sneak some therapy in for him, like hugs for his upper body (he loves that), making him walk to the kitchen, he uses a walker, for his meals, changing his “briefs” while he’s standing up and I do have a CNA come in twice a week to give him a “bed bath.”  I take it a day at a time...sometimes an hour at a time...all we can do. Caregiving is hard! But there is life after the first difficulties.  We even go out together on mobility scooters (those are really nice) and his favorite outing is a scooter ride ending up in a fast food place (what can I say... he still loves fast food... I have been on a low fat diet since 1994 so I don't indulge except an occasional Wendy's junior frostee -only 165 calories and yes, I count my calories daily to keep my weight down - am 9 lbs below my WW goal and about 11 lbs higher than what my physician wants but frankly I don't think I'll ever get down there again. The current WW program doesn't work for me.

No comments: