Living with COPD and…

PTSD were originally my motives for writing this blog. I have another blog of course but I think it would shock the Stepdaughter when I write about the bold and honest truth of things.

The doctors have come up with a long list of items… PTSD, COPD, MDD, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Stroke, anxiety, Vascular Dementia, and now Emphysema to the mix. In other words his body and the mind are in terrible shape.

The psychiatric doctor upped a medicine. After 3 days Rich experienced nausea, extreme dizziness, headache, and overwhelming fatigue…worse fatigue than before. I cut that med back out. The warnings on the label say call the doctor right away if you experience these side effects. Yeah, who to call on a Saturday? The triage nurse would ask for me to drive him to the ER 90 miles away and we would spend most of the day there. Been there and done that so many times. The doctor on call makes notes of the vitals and suggests to the patient that he talk to his provider. End of story.

Now I am dealing with the “I can’t” .. I can’t take a shower, I may tip over.

Me: That means you will fall?

Him: Yes.

Me: Let me get the shower chair. He squints his eyes and grimaces. 

Him: NO! I just feel I can’t take a shower safely!

Me: Then you are a fall risk. You said when you moved the truck yesterday you didn’t think you could make it back to the house. [30 feet]

Him [Angry face with squinty eyes]: I am not a fall risk.

Yes you did it and I watched you, you walked just fine. In your head you couldn’t make it. I get MDD. It is like trying to move through silly putty, fighting each step. However if you do not move, it will turn to cement.

Me: You just said you were.

I stop myself. I am arguing with Dementia and Depression. But he is supposed to move, he can move, he feels he can’t move. He wants a magic pill.

I can’t help it though. I was raised in a family of doers. Our family, particularily my mother never let us have an excuse for NOT doing work. IT had to be done, no matter what. No one got a free ride. Headache? Fine, you can still pick vegetables with a headache. Low grade fever? You can still wash dishes. We were threatened with our lives if we broke something. I did break a little toe. I still had to garden and mow the yard.

Yes that world was harsh, but it taught me that even with shoulder surgeries and then an elbow surgery, that I could get ‘it’ back. I was taught grim determination. Plow through IT whatever it was.

So I see my husband with major depression and I feel bad. I know he isn’t healthy either .. but he won’t get better by sleeping 15 hours a night and only being up for 3 hrs a day.

So I nag, cajole, push, nag some more. He fights me every step of the way with “I can’t. I’m tired. I can’t.”

In my vocabulary as a kid we were not allowed to use “I can’t.”

As a caregiver I am being burned to a crisp. I hide resentment at having him be the center of each moment of the day. Anger that he won’t seem to try to help himself. [Yes, perhaps he cannot help himself].

I fume when I ask him for help to find a tool and he won’t. Then he calls out the kitchen window or comes to the back door…as if stepping outside will harm him. He hides in the house shut off. He won’t see friends, won’t call anyone. He won’t move like the doctors said he must.

But then again. Who am I to judge? I am not in his body or mind.

And then I feel guilty for being a hardass. I want to throw in the towel because it would be so much easier to let him sleep all he wants and just put a meal on the table and ignore him otherwise.

But I am committed. I have appointments to take him to nearly every other day.

Thank goodness…He just got into the shower. It took 3 hrs, but he got there. Such is this life.

And yet I do still love him.

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2 thoughts on “Living with COPD and…

  1. They have respite care for you too. Someone will come in and be there so you can take a whole day or a weekend to recoop. You need that. Believe me. I wish I could have done it. I had work for most of the time but wanting to be at home. It’s one more thing, but the VA should be able to tell you if they have respite care for caregivers.

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  2. True with that and we have talked about that already. However when a certain someone keeps saying SHE wants to help, I’d like to see her step up just once. I will take assistance when I can from home arranged care from the VA.

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