Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Caring for My Sick Husband When I'm Constantly So Sick Myself

Yesterday, a hard reality hit home. When I needed to step up and care for my sick husband.

We're not sure exactly what happened (he was fine one minute and feeling quite sick the next), but it was pretty sudden and in the middle of the day. We'd had an enjoyable morning of going to see a movie (G-Force, really good if you like animated, weird, oddly funny stuff like us! just a note though: not all kids will really get it), eating lunch, and working on cleaning our cars. Then just suddenly he felt very sick. We can speculate as to what happened (and we don't think it's anything contagious), but while he was feeling better later last night, he slept horribly and stayed home sick today.

My husband is never sick. He's a little bit of a workaholic and just does not stay home sick. So it takes a lot to get him to that point and you know it's bad when he stays home.

You can imagine then that yesterday was a bit tricky for me. I did everything I could to maintain a good, caring spirit. Which admittedly can be very hard for me when I'm already feeling so miserable myself...and I shamefully was a bit of a grump at first. But I prayed about it and checked my attitude, and then I did as much for him as I could muster the energy and strength for, and it was quite taxing. But also being able to do anything for him at all was thrilling! I dearly love my husband and want to be able to care for him in this way. Especially now that he has to do so much more for me on a regular basis because of the Fibro (oh and then throw a cold or sinus infection or flu on top of that and I can't do anything!!). He is such a trooper...the least I can do is bring him the phone, more water, a blanket, turn down the a/c when he's sweating and turn it up when he's shivering, etc. After all, he does those things for me virtually every day! The problem is, that I'm already also "sick" with Fibro constantly, making this a clash of physical impossibilities.

So what do we do? Well, yesterday I had a spurt of energy that I can only imagine came from the Lord. Of which I am so thankful!

How do those of you with chronic illness manage this yourselves? What sorts of things are you able to push yourself to do? How do the rest of you "normal people" (for lack of a better term), when you are sick, manage to take care of your kids and husband despite it all? Does your hubby step up and handle things for you? Are you able to take care of stuff with kids and hubby even when you are feeling sick and miserable? I am just very curious...I honestly can't imagine days like this with children in the house, yikes. And how do those of you who are single and live without a roommate manage any of this at all? Not having someone nearby to grab something for you, get your medicine when you can't move, etc....? Or did you have to give in and get a roommate or move in with your parents? I hope you don't mind all the questions...I just think it's good to remember what others go through to keep ourselves in check and be thankful for what we do have, instead of feeling sorry for ourselves.

My fear with this is that whenever I'm taking care of him and the adrenaline rush of doing so is over, that I will find myself flat on my back in a bad flare-up or having caught whatever he had. I'm okay with that because I love him, but at the same time wrestle with knowing how to try to avoid that while still caring for him.

Obviously this is something I haven't quite figured out yet. It's tricky. Perhaps it's just another thing to chalk up to God's constant provision in our marriage/lives, that we can yield ourselves and patiently and compassionately care for one another even when we are feeling so dreary and miserable ourselves. It is, after all, in our greatest weakness that we can find the most strength in Him.

To God alone be the glory!


Vikki G said...

I would encourage you to keep a pantry of things that would not only be helpful to you in taking care of him but also will help him. Make sure that you have canned soups, teas, cold medicine, juice boxes, jello, pudding, ice pops the kind you just keep in the freezer at will~ These sorts of things enable me who is in constant pain to take care of my family when they are sick. Another big thing is to pace yourself..just because someone is sick does not mean they need constant care. You can set him up with a blanket, pillows, book or remote...tea or juice and some soup ect....than check in every once in a while or set him up in the living room and get yourself in a comfortable chair nearby..And the biggest thing to remember is God will give you the strength and patience just like he gives it to our husbands who take care of us.

Kayren, Pink Daisy Girl said...

Well, I suppose I'm one of the 'normal' people you're referring to, but I'll just state that it's strictly health and not state of mind! :)

I remember once we had a horrible stomach bug go through when we just had the three kids (right before I got pregnant with number four). I happened to have my couldn't get out of bed except to throw up day the day before Hubby. The kids were sick during this time too, so when we weren't feeling well but able to at least semi-function, we were taking care of them. I actually had the littlest one throw up over my shoulder hugging me the day after I was able to get out of bed.

When Hubby was in Kuwait my arm paralyzed. Completely. It was sudden when I got up one morning, although I had weakness for two days but didn't realize what was happening. It was basically dead for seven weeks. It was a Tuesday morning when it happened, and by Sunday I called my mom and stepdad. They came on Monday thinking they'd stay a week to help and go home. When a week was up she stayed and he went home. My mom was there for four weeks, Hubby came home the next day for his R&R, and at the end of that 2 1/2 weeks they released him from his command in Kuwait and let him report early for his assignment stateside so he could stay home with me.

Even though my arm was just starting to wake up, I still was not able to fully lift it for months. It was a challenge on many levels.

During the time my mom was there a friend from church would get my grocery list and do my shopping with hers each week at the commissary.

When you have kids, keeping some of the dehydration necessities and meds on hand are important, and I think probably with adults and older kids it is too, although sometimes I don't have soup and bland foods. Thankfully we haven't been in a situation where both Hubby and I have been really sick at the same time again.