Once upon a time I was married to a man who ‘knew’ what he wanted and when he wanted it. He was ‘the’ boss in a way. I didn’t mind as our decision making was generally in the same frame of mind.
Cancer took so much from him. His TIA took some more. Now the neuroscience people are saying that it was not just a TIA even though he seemed to recover within an hour…but that he has had significant damage to the brain in 3 areas. Ahhh. Well. Rich nearly died during cancer treatment. The cancer was stage IV and yet…yet he did well even without the full treatment.
On May 6th last year he had a major stroke. Even though we live in the boonies, the Paramedics were on the ball, the local hospital was on the ball. The VA demanded he be sent to the nearest trauma center. I drove behind the ambulance wondering yet feeling so distanced. I dialed my step daughter and told her what was going on. I asked her to make the CALLS. I had no idea if I was touching the Widow Window or not. I’ve touched that window so many times in the past 20 years that it seems to become routine every few years.
By mid summer last year, Rich seemed on the way to a good recovery. He was tired all of the time from the brain damage. However he could walk, and move about without a wheelchair or cane. In fact the neuro surgeon at the VA was surprised. He cheated the Widow Window again.
Over the winter Rich either had more mini strokes or perhaps depression attacked along with worsening of his COPD. His hearing got extremely worse. [I read through his medical notes and was surprised to learn that when they surgically removed the clot in his brain they discovered a bleed. It had to do with the ‘hearing’ part of his brain.]
Sleep has become the new norm. It was something that happened during the winter. Cold temps took his breath when he tried to do chores. Other odd things popped up. He got confused as to what he should be doing and got lost standing next to the hay pile. Lost as he could not recall who needed feeding. He lost his ability to play backgammon. This is one of our most favorite games. He lost the ability to think out moves. He lost the ability to recall what was said to him on the phone.
He is sleeping his way to dying. The more he sleeps, the less the bladder functions properly, the weaker the muscles get, the lungs get weaker, the heart gets weaker. This may sound as if I don’t have a soul or a heart. But I am a realist.
We just finished a Neuro Psychology test. Results in two weeks. I don’t want to lose him but I know I am losing him to multiple diseases and to depression. So I awaken early each day to enjoy the time we have together. His ability to make decisions has nearly disappeared. The Man I used to have as a partner no longer supervises my fencing, no longer tells me how to train a mule, or mow the yard. Perhaps I’ve learned enough? Or perhaps it no longer matters to him.
In March his mother had a fall. She is 87. Rich is her legal guardian. By default I am now tryin to struggle with taken care of her household, medical issues, home health care, and HIS. I can’t. I really really CAN not. Rich’s sister decided that she wants nothing to do with Mom. It is hard as she is diagnosed with Dementia. I won’t go into all the details but the result is…
After Rich’s stroke I had to leave my work to care for him. I am not paid, … I am not complaining. Being here each morning and daily for another few hours with my husband is a blessing.
His primary doctor forbid Rich from being his mom’s guardian and told him that I should not be the person trying to balance MIL’s life too.
It could very well kill me … and I am not exaggerating. The stress of running two places and working with a non-compliant person is enormous.
I called my son who has POA for health and finances, that if I ever was diagnosed with Alzheimers or Dementia to please go to court and get me a guardian.
At the moment I think I am dealing with a MIL with Dementia and a husband with Vascular Dementia.
I can only handle one. And that will be the one I promised to love in sickness and health until death do we part.