Specific Situations > Extreme Caregiving

I feel so hard hearted

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Fuchsia:
I had cause to realize today how differently I am coping with my husband's illness than others in the family.  I think it's because I am with him full time.  I don't react emotionally to a lot of his symptoms or his moments of pain.  I deal with what I need to for him and keep going. If I break it's later.  I am also able to keep doing mundane sort of normal/happy things while he is obviously not well.  I kind of compartmentalize and stay in the moment as best I can.  Otherwise I'd lose my mind I think. I notice that my daughter does this to an extent too.  When she feels happy she doesn't have to feel sad...she has learned how to take an emotional break.  Which sucks cause she is only 6 and shouldn't have to cope with this.   

Others in our family are feeling their pain 24/7.  His mother was over today and stayed while he napped.   She sat for a couple of hours and listened to his labored breathing. She was a wreck with worry by the time I got home.  I listen to that all night every night and no longer worry.  I sit in the kitchen and listen to him cough and just play on my phone and wait till he's done and needs me.
 Its crazy...there's so little emotion to it.  I feel like my heart has hardened.  But it's a self defense mechanism! I can't live in pain all the time.  I can't imagine how it looks from the outside.  They all say they don't know how I keep going.  Part of me is turning to stone. 

DebW:
Darling.....you are far from hard hearted....you are just doing what you have to in order to survive this and to help and support your husband. If you weren't able to push the constant sickening worry and dread down you wouldn't be able to function. You are living every second of this and you are there for his every need. He knows he can trust you to do what needs to be done. Please don't be too hard on yourself, you are amazing and very brave. ((Hugs))

ManutesGirl:
I often think that those not as close in some ways have a harder time dealing because it isn't their life.  We don't have a choice and we live the life we have to live at the time.  It somehow just becomes another part of our day to day lives.  I just did...I didn't think about what I was doing.  I did it because that was the life we had to live at that time.  It also meant we still experienced all aspects of living, including laughing and enjoying things.  Heck, DH & I got in a huge fight when he was home on hospice.  I walked out of the room and remember thinking now what, he can't come after me and I have to go back in there to get ready for bed.

So you do what you need to do to get through each day.  Caring for him and your daughter are your priorities and you need to do whatever you have to to do that well.

hachi:
Dear, dear Fuschia,

I remember this all too well. The good, bad and awful moments. The awkward "I'm sorry I am not dying fast enough" comments, meant to be a joke but a statement that still haunts me, along with the horrible wishes for it to be over.

Thankfully, we found our peace with it all, and were able to spend his last days exactly where he wanted to be. There was a sort of rhythym about it that seemed natural. And I was always happy to see the visitors go, so as not to feel their pain as well.

PM me if you want...
--- Quote from: Fuchsia on September 29, 2015, 01:03:06 AM ---I had cause to realize today how differently I am coping with my husband's illness than others in the family.  I think it's because I am with him full time.  I don't react emotionally to a lot of his symptoms or his moments of pain.  I deal with what I need to for him and keep going. If I break it's later.  I am also able to keep doing mundane sort of normal/happy things while he is obviously not well.  I kind of compartmentalize and stay in the moment as best I can.  Otherwise I'd lose my mind I think. I notice that my daughter does this to an extent too.  When she feels happy she doesn't have to feel sad...she has learned how to take an emotional break.  Which sucks cause she is only 6 and shouldn't have to cope with this.   

Others in our family are feeling their pain 24/7.  His mother was over today and stayed while he napped.   She sat for a couple of hours and listened to his labored breathing. She was a wreck with worry by the time I got home.  I listen to that all night every night and no longer worry.  I sit in the kitchen and listen to him cough and just play on my phone and wait till he's done and needs me.
 Its crazy...there's so little emotion to it.  I feel like my heart has hardened.  But it's a self defense mechanism! I can't live in pain all the time.  I can't imagine how it looks from the outside.  They all say they don't know how I keep going.  Part of me is turning to stone. 

--- End quote ---

Carey:
compartmentalizing is probably saving your sanity at the moment. I really think youre right, it's our body's way of sensing total panic and so certain things "shut down" as it were, to shield us.  It's not hard heartedness, it's like the turtles shell.  Just prepare yourself, because obviously I can't know for sure, but  from my experience and others here, once the "flight or fight" mode of taking care of him and doing what you know HAS to be done, as soon as that part is over there may come a total emotional breakdown.  And that's not wrong either.  There will come a time when you will feel those emotions.  I also think others are right, it's your 24/7 reality, he's half of YOU.  So you've had to find a way to deal or fall apart. It's not their life so they don't have that protection going on. If that makes any sense?

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