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September 4, 2017 11:40 pm  #1

Barely holding it together


Life is piling on, and I'm in a very shaky place emotionally.

​1.  As I've mentioned, husband is in a power chair and retired on disability. He needs to have a caregiver come in for a few hours each day when I'm not available, mainly to help him on and off the toilet, into and out of the shower, and into and out of bed. Lately we've been battling bedbugs. As a result, we have been unable to find caregivers to come in to help. The good news is that we may have found someone to come in for five hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays; better news is that a former caregiver (who knows about the bug problem) may also be able to help out Mondays thru Thursdays.

​2.. That said, the need for a caregiver is much greater now. Husband has had multiple eye surgeries for various problems - including two cataract surgeries and three vitrectomys (one of the vitrectomies on the right eye needed to be redone.) As a result of the vitrectomys, he has artificial lenses in his eyes. Ten days ago, the lens in his left eye dislocated. I took the day off work to go with him to his eye doctor, the next day we went to a specialist. While at the specialist they found a stitch from his cataract surgery in his right eye that was poking out (hadn't dissolved) and removed most of it - the stitch broke off but the rest was covered by tissue so it isn't scratching him. As a result, they gave him antibiotic eye drops.  A week ago Sunday, he told me he was having a lot of difficulty seeing out of his right eye - turns out he has corneal edema in that eye. Tuesday he called me at work and asked me to come home because his eyesight in the right eye had gotten much worse. He called his ophthalmologist, who said that was a normal reaction. Since then he's been essentially blind - can see colors but not shapes - and has been at home alone for a couple days, with the new caregiver coming in for a couple days as well for five hours a day. 

​3. He has an eye appointment tomorrow for the corneal edema, which will probably mean eye surgery. Friday he has an appointment for the left eye's dislocated lens, which will definitely mean eye surgery. He will need someone to come in to look after him while he's healing from those surgeries.

​4. Because of the bugs and the problem getting people to come in, his case worker has said he may need to go into a hospital for 24 hour care. My fear is that, if this happens, he won't come home but will be placed into a care facility for the future.

​5. As for the bugs, the caseworker and another woman from a community group for retirees have started setting up a treatment for the bugs. Basically, they will pay for the treatment which will include taking our furniture and belongings (all boxed up as if we were moving) and putting them into a special truck for heat treatment, while they will heat treat our unit. We will have to buy a new Bunkie board for our bed (the plywood sheets we currently are using can be a bug hiding place) and we will need to spend a couple nights in a hotel while the treatment is going on. Husband says former caregiver will be more than willing to box up most of our stuff so we can get the treatment going ASAP.

​THAT ALL SAID: I am a total wreck. I'm terrified of losing him, terrified the bug treatment won't work (we've had four treatments of various kinds over the last five years, and the bugs keep coming back), terrified his eyes won't recover, scared that taking all this time off my job (which I just started in May) will jeopardize my continuing to work there (logically, I know that isn't true, but emotionally I'm still scared) -- Lately I find myself bursting into tears for no reason. I'm in a state of constant low-grade anxiety which flares up frequently. When I'm at work I'm ok because I focus on work and put the home stuff to one side, but when I'm at home it's all so prominent that I'm constantly feeling guilty and fearful. 

​Other than husband, I don't have any friends to confide in; I'm not close to my family at all (we email each other maybe once or twice a year, if that), and I just don't know if I can cope or how I will be able to cope.

​I also have to remind myself that "I am a lot stronger than I give myself credit for", that "The only way past all this is to go through it" and that "whatever happens, it will come out all right."

​But I am so, so, so, so scared right now I can't think straight.

​Husband is actually doing much better mentally than I am. He's stoic and somewhat accepting of whatever the outcome will be - but then, he's lived with health problems his whole life and they've only gotten worse over time. I know eventually he will need to go someplace with 24 hour care, but I'd like to hold off on that option as long as possible.

​That said, back in 2008 (New Year's Eve, to be precise) he tried to commit suicide. He checked himself into a motel and slit both wrists and his throat - luckily, he quickly changed his mind and was taken to a hospital where he checked himself into the mental ward for a couple weeks. I did not find out about this until early New Years Day - I got home and he wasn't there, I called his cell phone and it went to voice mail. After midnight hit I called the police and the hospitals, but because of the HIPAA laws they wouldn't confirm he was there. Finally he called me and told me what was up. I waited two hours in the rain for a cab (don't have a car) and finally got to the hospital, where I walked into the room and said to him "If. You. EVER. Do. Something. Like. This. Again, You. BETTER. Succeed. Or. So. Help. Me, I. Will. Kill. You. MYSELF!" 

​He swears it will NEVER happen again, and I want to believe him, but I'm not sure I completely do - I was burned once and am scared it could happen again.

​It all boils down to the fact that this is a series of situations where neither he nor I have any sense of control, and I HATE not being in control! I know, I KNOW, one way or another everything will be all right - at least, my head knows this, but my heart is still stuck in insecurity mode.

​Please pray for us, keep us in your thoughts, whatever fits your spiritual sense. He and I could really use some good mojo right now.


"We have our stalking memories, and they will demand their rightful tears."

September 5, 2017 12:08 am  #2

Re: Barely holding it together

I'm sorry, caircair. Praying for him and you.

I'm a woman and I think women are beautiful when they cry.

September 5, 2017 12:47 am  #3

Re: Barely holding it together

I'm sorry all this is happening to you, caircair. Life can be so cruelly complicated sometimes. 

It's hard to find something to say that won't sound trite, but I do believe that taking one day, one problem, one moment at a time makes things feel more manageable. Easier said than done, I know. 

You will both be in my thoughts. 

It is such a secret place, the land of tears.
-- Antoine de Saint Exupery, "The Little Prince"

September 5, 2017 7:34 am  #4

Re: Barely holding it together

I'm sorrry to hear about this too, it's something i fear everyday when i don't forget that struggles are there to make us stronger and to test our faith. I hope everything will become better in time..

“To weep is to make less the depth of grief.”
― William Shakespeare

September 5, 2017 8:11 am  #5

Re: Barely holding it together

Good thoughts and good hope upon thee. Wish the best for both of you.

"Bless me now with your fierce tears..."

September 10, 2017 10:35 am  #6

Re: Barely holding it together

CairCair: you are not breaking out into tears for no reason! What you described is just awful! You need support and you need somebody to talk to! If ever you think it helps talking to me just do it, I know it is just an email but sometimes it helps. Maybe you have a possibilty to join into support group or sometimes the local chuch provides such help. Take care!


September 10, 2017 8:20 pm  #7

Re: Barely holding it together

On the plus side, it appears we will have his surgery for the left eye in the next couple weeks. We saw his ophthalmologist who thinks the right eye problem is not rejection of the cornea (due to cataract surgery in the past) but probably a reaction to the antibiotic drops/stitch removal. He's been on steroid drops every hour and a mild saline solution four times a day. Yesterday he said the eyesight in the right eye appears to be getting less cloudy, which is a relief.

​We've managed to pack up my books and clothes and have a huge lot to donate - I'll be calling The Salvation Army once we know when the surgery will take place so they can come and get everything.

​Meanwhile, I'm still feeling stressed, but am coping. In the end, I know everything will turn out as it is meant to. It's just the getting through to the other side of all this that is disheartening.

"We have our stalking memories, and they will demand their rightful tears."
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