Posted 1/2/2008 8:59 AM (GMT -7)
Men don't make very good sick patients. Just ask any other wife!
When I get an upset stomach and have to go to the bathroom a lot, I usually feel very drained and I'm not up to doing a lot of physical labor. I will make myself do some, but I would imagine that, for your husband, your daughter is a lot of physical labor. And yes, it is very depressing to be stuck in the house pooping all day. And being afraid to go anywhere or eat out because you're terrified you're going to be sick. Men don't adjust very well to that kind of constant fear.
In terms of importance, your daughter is most important. So long as he feeds her, gets her dressed, keeps her clean and out of trouble, then I'd call it a decent job done. If he also does some dishes or makes supper, then so much the better. But I'd let the housework thing go until he gets to feeling better. And sit down and tell him that yes, you've been a little too hung up over the house cleaning bit (I'm here to tell you, the vast majority of men don't see the need for a clean house; my own husband says he doesn't see a problem with throwing stuff in the floor), but you would like to see him try to feel better because you don't like to see him down all the time.
The anti-depressants are one thing that sometimes helps people with IBS. Has he been to a GI and done a breathalyzer to look for bad bacteria? If he has diarrhea, has he tried modifying his diet and/or taking calcium supplements? Has he been tested for food allergies? Many men do have to be lead by the hand when it comes to their health; I've known way too many who stick their heads in the sand and ignore their health problems. In fact, it's a documented fact that men are less likely to seek treatment for any medical problem than a woman. So, yes, you will have to do a lot of the legwork for him if you want to see him get better. If you could get him to talk openly about what problems he has and when, and convey that to us here, we might be able to suggest tests he should get or even medicines that might make him better.
One thing you should know and come to terms with: IBS has no cure. Even people who find a medicine that works for them, they have to stay on that medicine in order to maintain good bowel function, and there is always a chance that the medicine will stop working one day. Many people do not find a magic bullet, but are able to improve their lives *some* with various remedies, which they sometimes have to change up because they too stop working as well. And an IBSer, no matter how well their medicine is working, will always have to be a bit careful about what they eat; there will always be things they can't have. It's like having diabetes; it's something you always have to be mindful of as you eat and as you make plans. So don't expect to restore him to 100% functionality and have it last.
Is there any way possible to hire someone to come clean your house every week or two weeks or even just once a month? Since you work in a hotel, I know you know housekeepers; I'm sure one of them would be interested in cleaning your house for a little money on the side. At least get the housekeeper to do the vacuuming, mopping, bathrooms, dusting once a month and just leave you and hubby the laundry and dishes to do regularly.
Look into www.Flylady.net. She's a woman who overcame her tedency to do nothing because she couldn't do it perfectly (you have to be careful that when your husband does something, you praise him like a child, even if he did a half-arsed job of it; people--and especially men--who feel like they are not meeting someone else's expectations will very quickly give up and refuse to do anything at all; I know, because my mother was a drill-sergeant of a house cleaner and she could always do it better than me and would tell me so, even as she made me do it myself). Your husband may not have any use for FlyLady, since she's oriented towards women, but she does have a male following if he was willing to be open-minded about her.
Even so, you can read some of her stuff and get an idea on how to organize yourself, your hubby and your house so that both your and your hubby have less work to do. One thing I think is really useful that she teaches is "You can do ANYTHING for 15 minutes!" That's how she breaks down her cleaning: clean for 15 minutes and see what all you can accomplish. It works! She has some people write in to her who have serious health problems and they might have to limit themselves to 10 minutes or even just 5 minutes at a time before they sit and have an equally long break, but they find that chunking work up into small portions and resting in between allows them to get stuff done without laying them up in bed for weeks with exhaustion. FlyLady also teaches "A job done incorrectly still blesses your family." This is how she overcame her perfectionism that crippled her before she even got started. Or, as I like to paraphrase it, "A half-arsed job is better than none at all." And that's the tack you have to take with your hubby. If he attempts to do something--even if he doesn't finish, even if it's not a great job--it's still something; less you have to do to finish up (although be careful about redoing things he thinks are done; he will see that as your disapproval and will not want to do that chore again because he feels like he will automatically fail).
Does this sound like a lot of work? Yes. Which is why women are the ones who tend to stay home and keep house. :-P Obviously you can't have that traditional role, so both of you will have to bend and make concessions to keep the peace.
Also, if he will do it and you can afford it, try and find him a therapist or even a group (hospitals organize these, also you can look in your local paper for meetings around town of various groups); talking about your problems with people who understand make them so much lighter. Why do you think we're all here?