Have spouse with physical problems and I need some support:

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Hauptman
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/7/2006 7:42 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi. I'm hoping I'm in the right place. I'm new to this forum but my wife suggested I seek out someone for how I'm feeing and what I'm going through.

I've never been officially diagnosed with depression but have had several people including family and my wife who are sure I have it, or manic depression as I do often go from the top to the bottom fairly quickly... and I tend to agree. My wife, son and myself have all been diagnosed with ADD though so that just adds to the equation.

Here's my situation. about four years ago my wife was not feeling well. Had 102 temp at her office and had to insist on going to the doctor as her boss at the time made the comment "It's not a fever until it's 104" and to "buck up". She went to our doctor (GP), one of who's nurses saw her and felt it was something that was going around... like the flu. So told her to take ibuprofin, drink plenty of fluids... the usual and sent her on her way.

Things got worse. I took her back in to our doctor the next morning and this time one of the physician's assistants saw her. This time they felt it was a bladder infection. Didn't even run tests... the doctor finally came by and simply looked at the sample they'd taken and proclaimed that's what it was. They catheterized her for the weekend (misery in itself) and prescribed some meds and sent her home yet again.

Needless to say she had an awful weekend and things went from bad to worse.

Took her in on Monday and they removed the catheter, gave her more prescriptions and said it should clear up.

By Wednesday she was in agony... couldn't sleep, barely eat, was in tears and pain. This had happened to a lesser degree all week to that point and had a terrible time reaching our doctor... always getting the one on call who would/could do nothing.

So when it happened on Wednesday I called our insurance provider who said can you have her at our clinic in thirty minutes... keep in mind we lived an hour away... but I got her there in time. Within about two minutes of our arrival she was in getting her vitals taken, etc. Then before she could even pick up a magazine in the lobby she was in to see the doctor. Within five minutes of that the doctor came and got me and we went in the back.

Turns out she had a growth in her abdomen. A blind man could have seen it with a cane and yet our doctor and his entire staff missed it and had it gone on we might have lost her. Well, long story short we had to switch over from our physician who we felt had totally failed us (our first hint should have been his taking eight years to finally diagnose me with asthma) so we could get this new doctor who was extremely sharp, as our primary so he could treat her.

I'll tell you, as far as the insurance companies clinic everything was efficiency itself... but anywhere else we were treated like cattle! Had to keep going through the entire story each time, including the fact that our original doctor was no longer the primary or even involved... although even though everything is "supposedly" on computers now that piece of the puzzle seemed to keep aluding them and popping up causing untold problems getting her the treatment she needed.

While we were still under the first doctor as the switchover was being performed we had to wait endlessly for him to get tests scheduled. The insurance company doctor (our original one was a contract doctor under their system) could have had them done in house same day! Anyhow when she finally, a full week later got in to have the ct scan done (I think that was the one) they discovered she had a blood clot in her leg caused by this thing resting up against her main artery to that leg so had to get her in the hospital right away. Neither of us had eaten as before the test she couldn't and I was not up to it either. The test took hours instead of about 30-45 minutes that they'd said it would. Got to the hospital ER at 3:45, were then checked in, she was put on a bed and were there in the hallway of ER until 8 p.m. when they took us into a room to take blood samples and such. Then back in the hallway until nearly 1 a.m.! Thankfully during this time a thoughtful orderly took me along to help get food to be delivered to the patients and got us some too. Otherwise we didn't have anything all day which didn't help.

She spent an awful week in the hospital there and then had to go home for three months with me having to give her injections of Lovenox twice a day to thin her blood. She couldn't work and as we had gone the route of me being a stay at home dad, working at home on the computer and raising and homeschooling our son she was our primary source of income. We had to drain our pension plan in order to get through all this and all that was to come.

Finally, they decided they could do the surgery so we went down to Shands in Gainesville. Oh if you ever get seriously ill and need to go to the hospital... that is THE place to go!!!! It's "wonderful"! Not really like a hospital and everyone goes out of there way to care for you and see to your every need. I just can't say enough about it.

Again long story short we were all there for a month and she had to go through two surgeries as there were complications from the first. And this was with the chief of the woman's department doing the surgery and the chief of the anesthesiology department handling that during the operation.

We thought we might lose her. And during all this I had to keep up with normal everyday life, as well as continue to take care of and be there for our son. I on the other hand had little or no support throughout this entire process.

Well, she came out of all of this with flying colors and all seemed well. But to say I now absolutely hated doctors offices, hospitals and such is an understatement, as other than at the insurance clinic and Shands I felt we'd been treated like cattle and there was absolutely no support given to our son or myself and little given to my wife who was after all the patient.

Last year we sold our home in Florida at the same time her company downsized and she was let go. Had to move out right when there were four hurricanes coming through our part of the state. But hey, what's a little more stress right? We wanted to make a clean start of things so decided to move back to her home town in North Dakota where we'd dreamed of living for the longest time. So we came up, found and purchased a house and things were looking up. But while here I somehow contracted what we are fairly sure was whooping cough. Had an awful time as we were on the road for another month before going home... well, where we were staying with a very close friend until our final move up here. And that awful coughing and such stuck with me for a full eight months... gradually going away during the last couple of months.

Then, with all the normal stress of moving... and then some, about two weeks before we're scheduled to rent and load the two moving trucks and make the move Kim starts having problems breathing and has chest pains. We go to a walk in clinic only to have them make us wait over an hour, then take her vitals, recommend we go to the emergency room and charge us $190! What a rip off!

So off we go to the ER. Keep in mind that now we have no health insurance as we're between jobs till we get moved. They admit her and after tons of tests and a week in the hospital they decide she has an infected lymph node on her lung. They prescribe antibiotics and away we go... $14,000 in the hole! This after having bought our house here outright, no mortage, car paid off so no payment there... no credit cards... nothing. Now we're suddenly in debt up to our eyeballs again! Stress, Stress, Stress!!!!

Somehow, by the grace of God we get moved and settled in here with the help of our best friend in the world who is more like a brother to us. Then we get jobs, and begin to get our money built back up while keeping up with regular bills and such. And as they'd more or less forced my wife to apply for Medicaid when in the hospital we ended up fighting for months to get them to actual cover things which we'd been assured due to our not working during the time we'd been staying with our friend in Florida and hence no income and little in the bank except for our move and basic living expenses, that it would not be a problem.

Well, after being given the royal run around (cattle time again!) we finally got ahold of someone who knew what they were doing and they covered it. So that was a tremendous relief and load off our minds. Now we could concentrate on settling in here and making a new life for ourselves.

However, over the last month my wife now finds that she needs a root canal... badly... which is going to cost nearly $2,000 and she's also been having major problems in the joints of her hands and now her elbows... and after researching all this on the web along with her other symptoms she's fairly certain she has rheumatoid arthritis (hope I spelled all that right).

Okay... finally back to me. After the absolute hell we went through during her original illness, the stress of the moves and everything else we'd been through (believe me there's alot I'm not including as this is already longer than I wanted it to be as is!) I'm now feeling like "Here we go again!"

I'm feeling very overwhelmed, frightened, worried about money as we still have no health insurance and it's soooooo expensive. My one true friend who is the one we stayed with and who helped us move is back home in Florida. We email each other and speak on the phone on occassion but other than that I have no real support up here or anywhere else. And now I'm scared to death that it's all going to happen all over again.

I also tend to have the typical male response of "I can't fix it" and that adds to the frustration.

I'm working very hard, trying to be supportive of her not only with what she feels is happening (she's concerned that if she goes in for a diagnosis that it will then be considered preexisting and not be covered when we get insurance) and listening to her when she talks about it (which depresses me all the more) and just trying to keep up with the day to day running of the house and work and our lives.

It's been very difficult for me due to our role reversals. On the one hand I'm overjoyed that I've gotten to see our son grow up, be such a big part of his life and be there to do so much for him which my father was not there to do for me. However, on top of everything else he's now firmly in the teen years and so dear old dad is rather unnecessary in his life right now for the most part. And after sixteen years thats hard to take at times.

Many folks don't tend to understand as they're stuck in the traditional "the men work the women stay home" and not even so much that... both parents normally work... but there is still that stereotype. And yet so many men envy what I (and many other guys) did and so many women wish they're husbands could be full time dads as well. But there are just enough people who don't understand to make it really rough much of the time.

And up here, your job is "everything!" It's like the first thing everyone asks you about. Drives me nuts! But all in all most everything else is comparatively stress free up here, if not for these new physical problems kicking up for my Mrs. And I'm not in the greatest of shape but due to money concerns I generally just take an advil and get through it. And that is really beginning to take it's toll.

But I get soooooo depressed and frustrated over all this. I feel sad much of the time... very down. Doesn't take much to get me on the verge of tears (no I'm not a member of the John Wayne old school... guys can and do cry!) just because of the sheer frustration and my inability to do much more right now.

And just the thought of having to go back into that system where we get treated like cattle again, shoved from place to place, often with little or no explanation. Having to deal with uncaring administrators, bill collectors, etc. and just struggling to make sure she's okay... well, it's enough to make anyone climb the walls.

I know there are so many folks so much worse off than we/me but that thought doesn't help much. I really feel there should be as much thought and effort given to supporting the caregivers and family members of those who are suffering through an illness than just for those who are sick. Our resources get depleated so quickly and often this can go on for many years in a row. God forgive me but there were times during that month that I didn't even want to go to the hospital and visit her. I just wanted to get away for a while... have a release... see a movie... anything! But I didn't. I went each day and did all I could for her. And our poor son sat in the hallway outside her room, extremely uncomfortable and alone, even though the folks there tried to get him to go to the rec room and watch tv and spend time with some other kids who were there. He just handled it better doing what he did... but it was still hard.

I'm just hoping someone out there might be able to give me some pointers or some information that would help me be able to better handle all this. Most folks here (where we live now) don't know it... in fact most people I've ever known don't know, but I tend to fear social situations. I'm not someone who is afraid to go out of the house... but in some ways I'm not far from it. I avoid social situations like the plague and when I'm stuck in them I tend to go completely the other way... it's the only way I've found to deal with it. Let it all hang out, be very outgoing and all, but for days beforehand I shake in my boots and that's not fun!

And due to the lack of insurance and money I can't be going to counseling or doctors, etc. right now. But I definitely need a way to handle things better. I don't want to spend the rest of my life unhappy, down and depressed. I have many interests and love to do so many different things. Our doctor (the good one we switched to) and I just got started on all this when we lost our insurance. He'd prescribed meds but I then heard they were causing some teens to commit suicide so I never took them. I'm not a big medicine person. I only take it when I absolutely have to and this kind of thing scares me to death. And yet in my heart of hearts I dream of being able to take a pill and feel totally normal... just one of the crowd. Not fearing people or situations... not feeling down or depressed much of the time. Just taking things in stride.

And it's been especially difficult as if you have an arm or leg in a cast or something folks cut you slack. But if you have things like a bad back (which I also have) or some other problem that is not visible... then they think you're a slacker or are just lazy when you say you just can't handle doing something right then or that you don't feel well. You end up working twice as hard and really hurt yourself just so you can show you're as good as everyone else.

I'm just so tired of having to be that way. I want to be happy. I want to be there for my wife to help support her through any physical problems she's having (she's also having a hard time remember things alot, but that may be our age (43) as I am often having the same problem) and our son to help him get through whatever happens. But I need some support in order to do this.

I do hope I haven't rambled too badly here. And I hope I haven't bored anyone to death this this long "Gone With the Wind" post. I also hope I don't come across as whining... because I really do feel awful and empty inside much of the time and I know this is not good. I often feel that if I disappeared tomorrow no one would notice or care. I don't like that. I want to feel I'm important and matter and that I can do what I want to do to support others and take some of the load off their shoulders. But sometimes I need that too.

Well, I hope someone out there can help me out and perhaps give me some answers to what I'm going through.

Thanks!

els
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 2/8/2006 11:20 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Hauptman,  My Gosh you have been through so much.  And so has your family.  I am so sorry.  I understand your situation all too well.  I was married for 2 years when I became sick and started to have to have numerous tests and hospital visits.  The only differance I can say is I have good doctors that I trust.  I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis after several months and a Brain Biopsy. 2 years later we ended up divorsed and one of the major reasons was due to the bills.  I ended up with thousands of dollars in medicals bills and he didnt want to be responsible for them.  Of course my medical care is ongoing and now I have another diease that is in the parkinsons family called MSA that is fatal and very costly.  My medication bills are enormous every month.  SO...... I can really respect a man or woman who stays by a sick spouse.  It can not be easy not to mention just seeing the pain that your loved one is going through.  But please just remember that although it is extremely stressful for you it is probley twice as stressful for her.  You said that you live in Flordia I know that they have a medicaid program, I dont know if you would qualify but you can go to family services and get information for it and for counseling services that is low cost.   Also the samaritian center should have information on some counselor services or local churces provide this some times.  These are just some options to look into.

Hang in there. It sounds as if you are doing a great job and it is not an easy one.  We are always here for you if you need to vent or talk anytime.....

Welcome to Healing Well


~elisha


Hauptman
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/8/2006 4:25 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Elisha,

Thanks so much for your wonderful letter. I'm extremely sorry to hear about all you are going through. Truly makes mine/ours seems miniscule by comparison and I do wish you all the best. You will definitely be in my prayers.

Actually we're no longer in Florida. We moved to my wife's home town this past summer and knock on wood plan to be here the rest of our days. It's a wonderful little town in North Dakota which I feel is alot like the old Mayberry on the Andy Griffith Show. Wonderful place to live and so much less stressful than everywhere else we've ever been or even visited.

And luckily, after months of fighting their system Medicaid did finally cover the bills down there so we were extremely fortunate and God blessed us once again... big time! But He's always been there for us and He does want us to lean on Him whenever we need to and whenever we've had to He's always been there.

We don't have a new doctor here yet... other than a dentist... but hoping to get in with some soon. I wish we could have brought the one we had down there with us. He was absolutely fantastic and very easy to work with. One in a million!

I'm hoping against hope that we don't end up having things get any worse than they are and that no more hospital trips will be necessary, at least for a long long time. But I want to be more prepared for it if it does happen again.

I'm so sorry to hear about your husband doing that. To me, the vows say "In Sickness and In Health" and it's in there for a reason. I love her enough to walk through red hot coals and broken glass for her and know she'd do the same for me. I honestly don't know if she could have handled what happened had she not had me there. She was extremely scared... her initial thought was cancer and although it flashed through my mind as well I was the one that calmed her down and told her that we need to wait until tests are run before we jump to conclusions. Could be something very minor. Turned out it was a cyst and although it had grown to the size of a football the doctor said they are fairly common and once removed generally will not appear again. It was hard and extremely exhausting for all of us but we got through it and moved on.

I pray that there is someone else for you out there... perhaps around the next corner... one never knows. Someone to love you and help you through these difficult times. We all need someone. I can't imagine not having the love of my life by my side. In fact, it's always seemed like we've always been together.

I do so deeply appreciate your writing me and giving me your support. Wish I was there to help you and hold your hand whenever needed. But I will be praying for you and that can indeed move mountains.

You hang in there too and if you ever need some cheering up I and the rest of the forum are only a post away.

God bless and many thanks!

els
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 4031
   Posted 2/10/2006 8:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you so much Hauptman.  That was a very nice reply and touched my heart.  I am lucky and am seeing someone now who is very nice and kind.  But I find that after going through what I have that I dont what to get too close to anyone.  This fustrates him and makes me feel guilty at times.  But in the end I have to do what feels right for me.  I am so glad that you are a part of Healing Well.  Your positive attitude, faith and outlook will no doubt be an asset for us.  Keep posting.  Take care.......

~elisha


Hauptman
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 2/10/2006 11:29 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Elisha,

It's a pleasure. :-) I'm so happy to hear that you have indeed found someone as I'm a strong believe in how important this is. We're not truly complete until we have that special someone in our lives.

I can totally understand you're wanting to keep some distance... and am sure you know this but don't allow what your husband did to color your view on all this. Do what you need to do for you but don't be afraid to let him share what you are going through and especially everything else in life with you. If it was me I'd want to be there in the good times and bad, helping you through and sharing with you. That's how I look at it with my wife. It's very very hard at times but this is one of the things a spouse is supposed to be there for. God brings us together for a reason... when it's really meant to be. Often we as humans make mistakes and make the wrong choices, but hopefully in the long run it all gets sorted out and we end up finding the one and true to be with for the rest of our life. I feel so sorry for so many folks that choose their mate based on money or looks or things that in the long run mean little or nothing. Most people don't consider the realities in relationships and that's where so many of them go wrong. Those vows are there for a reason but most people just say the words without really paying much attention to them. But luckily life often gives us more than one chance to get it right. :-)

I am extremely fortunate. We met at a Sci-Fi club meeting... we'd both been members and I'd been Secretary and VP yet we'd never met. Turns out we'd gone to the same high school, had many mutual friends, etc. but again never met. Even have a pic in the yearbook where she's in the front left corner and I was in the back right corner in a large crowd. Close, but took us a bit longer to find each other. In fact we almost didn't go to the meeting but I'm so glad we did. Our president who was a close friend did a bit of match making and it's stuck! :-) Once we found each other it was like we'd always been in each other's lives. On May 2nd we'll have been together for twenty two years and not unlike the Timex watches of old we just keep on ticking. :-)

It has been so wonderful being together but now, after years of planning and dreaming and hoping to have gotten up here where we've wanted to be, thinking and hoping that all the major problems were behind us... at least for a time as I know such things never end... and then have new ones pop up again so soon. I pray they're not as bad as she thinks and will be able to be worked out and we can get on with all the things we've planned and hoped for.

And of course with most guys the first thing you want to do is "fix it". And when we can't we get even more frustrated and bent out of shape. I don't want her to hurt or have problems... would take them on myself if I could and know she feels the same way. But we know God has a plan and if it's in that plan that it all gets worked out it will be. We just have to do what we can on our end and let Him handle the big stuff. :-) More times than I can even remember we've both done that... put those things we simply feel are too much for us to handle in His capable hands. And they "always" work out. The times we've tried to just do it on our own is when things don't go too well. I think God needs to be needed and this is His way. He wants to take care of His children... and as children we do some really stupid things at times. :-) Thankfully He's always there to pick up the pieces and make things okay again.

Hang in there! I know due to what happened before it will likely take a while before you are ready to let him all the way in the door. But if he is truly "the one" it will all be worth it... for both of you. And I wish you all happiness from the bottom of my heart.

Got to run for now but wanted to thank you again for being there. Bright spirits like your's are what make it worth getting up and facing another day. :-)

God bless!
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