Tuesday, January 4, 2011

sinking

I'm getting that feeling again, like I'm sinking into quicksand. I know I am not. I just feel that way because I want some help around the house, help that seems to be eluding me. Help that seems much like that little fuzz in your vision that you see when you close your eye... you keep trying to look over sideways at it to get a good look at it but no matter how hard you chase it you will never catch it. I want help, but I almost feel bad expecting it.

I don't know how women are able to function who have husbands who are genuinely, truly sick. Like, with cancer sick, or with a debilitating illnes sick.

Ever since my husband was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in 2008, he has not been the same. I mean, he's always been a lover of his naps and he does enjoy sleeping late. Plus he had a few soccer injuries in high school that now aggrivate his joints. But after the Lyme Disease diagnosis, he has really just changed in terms of wellness. He never feels well enough to do most activities, or if he does then he knows he will start to hurt soon. He has lots of muscle pain, joint pain, fatigue, general body aches, and headaches. On his days off, he spends a lot of time sitting in our recliner or sleeping. He now claims that our mattress is worn out (it's only 5 years old) but I think it's just his body that is worn out.

I struggle because I want to say, "YOU LOOK FINE! GET YOUR BUTT OUT OF BED AND HELP ME WITH THE KIDS!!!" But I don't want to minimize what he's feeling. I know what a massive headache feels like (I used to suffer migraines that were treated with prescription meds) and I wouldn't want anyone to talk to me or touch me while I was lying down, trying to feel better. Nowadays I still get occasional headaches, but I just cowgirl up and take 3 or 4 ibuprofen, and chase it with a couple tylenol 2 hours later. That usually does the trick. But I've never had Lyme Disease so I don't know what he's going through or if a few OTC medications can just do the trick for him.

I want him to feel better.

I want him to be able to enjoy life and do the things a 37-year-old man should be able to do.

I want him to be as healthy as his mind is willing to be, but his body won't let him.

And honestly? I want some relief from the continual childcare. My kids are really easy, wonderful kids. But, they do require attention and care, both of which are daunting when I also face laundry of 7 people, dishes of 7 people, and scrubbing toilet skidmarks of 7 people. I want to be able to rely on him to help me. Days when he spends hours in bed, after just sleeping 10 hours the night before, I get angry. Even resentful. I want to say, "Oh sure, I'd love to have a sick day and just drop my responsibilities so that someone else could take care of the kids all day, only waking up to stumble out to the dining room in time for dinner." But I think he'd really prefer to be up and about, helping with the kids, instead of retreating to the dark recesses of our bedroom, crippled with pain.

I guess I have no way of knowing if his pain is really PAIN, or if it's just man-cold-pain. I hate myself that I'm distrusting of him and what he tells me to be genuine, honest illness. I don't know if that's my selfish side talking or if it's my fool-me-once-shame-on-you-fool-me-twice-shame-on-me side talking.

I mean, what kind of a wife doesn't just accept what her husband is saying to be true??? It's not that I think he's LYING, I just think that he might be milking the situation a bit, maybe taking advantage of my willingness to let him sleep.

I have no idea. But I do know that the laundry isn't going anywhere. I guess if you could find a silver lining in any of this, it's that he's not a neat freak AT ALL. He's okay with the laundry sitting a few days or having pizza for dinner... again. But I want our house to be a clean and tidy home. I want my husband to be physically and mentally whole. I want our kids to have a dad who's active and vibrant.

I just feel helpless because I can't do anything to help him.

Texan Mama

18 comments:

Bridgett said...

That is so terrifying. I guess I never knew Lyme disease kept going so long, that it became a chronic condition. How exhausting, too, to be what essentially becomes the single parent of 5.

Heather said...

That is really rough...did he do major antibiotics? I have a friend who is really dealing with it and she found that the physical stuff led to mental stuff (still very real) that made it really rough for her. (hugs)

Crystal said...

Oh honey. I wish I was close enough to help you out or even offer a shoulder to cry on. My hubby isn't sick so I can't pretend to know what that is like. But I do know what it's like not to have any help....or do people say things and offer help but never really mean it. I honestly wish we weren't across the country from each other. All I can really offer from South Dakota is prayer and thoughts. Love you girl. You are doing a great job!

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Thank you all for the well wishes. yes he did do major antibiotics and has been on muscle relaxants on and off, but they make him really sick and also just make him more sleepy. Lyme disease is really weird because it's one of those things that we don't really know all the outcomes - it's so varied for so many people. Plus we aren't sure when he really contracted it since we never saw the "bullseye" mark on him (it would have been easy to miss because he has a lot of body hair). We're guessing he had it at least 5 months before he got really debilitated. All the other typical symptoms he just wrote off as being tired, or allergies, or arthritis, etc. It's tough because he really doesn't complain so when he does I know he's really hurting. It's when he isn't complaining that I tend to forget and get angry/resentful.

Jennifer said...

I would be angry and resentful too. It is kind of hard not too. I mean it is like when a woman is pregnant and the man just does not get how it feels and wants... stuff, that she doesn't feel like. Same thing. You can't know what he's going through and that makes it hard for you. One hand you want to help him and on the other you want him to help you.

Basically what I'm saying it is just a sucky situation all around and you are probably just going to have to deal. That's probably not what you wanted to hear, huh?

Anna See said...

This is so very hard. I am so sorry. I have several friends whose butts have been kicked, long-term, but Lyme's. I am scared ****-less by this disease b/c it is so sneaky.

Jaci said...

Does he take vitamins? I'm taking GNC vitamins that have "energy boosting" ingredients in there that I remember reading from my diet pill days! It's a temporary high, but it might be enough to get him functioning for a few hours. It's sad that he's missing his kids.

Gigi said...

I know I would struggle with this too, if I were in your shoes. I would insist that he see a doctor though - there must be something they can do or give him - because he is missing out on a lot.

Jennifer said...

I agree with the comment insisting he see a dr. Lyme disease is big up here ( because we have a lot of deer ticks) and I have met quite a few people who have it. They do have some health problems, but for the most part, you wouldn't know they were sick. There has to be a way to manage it so he can function within your household.

Kate said...

Feeling for you!

Elaine A. said...

This may be out of the realm of possibility but is there a way you could maybe hire some extra help, to get things done around the house and it all not be so taxing on just you? Just wondering if even maybe someone once a week or so might not help...

Thinking of you, I'm sorry that's the situation, for both of you... xo

Carrie Thompson said...

do you read http://www.fiddledeedee.net/

she has it and maybe reading what she says would help you put into perspective what he says he is feeling. Plus she is getting a treatment right now that is helpin her??? I know it effects people differently but anyway just a thought.

other than that HUGS and I will be in Grapevine on Feb 16-19... I can come do laundry with you for a couple of hours! :) Or you can meet me again for lunch! YOUR CHOICE!

Karen said...

I feel so bad for you in that situation. It would be easy to be mad at him. What a mix of emotions. Hugs. I wish you could afford to have someone come in and clean every other week. It helps my attitude a lot. Karen

nicole said...

I know this is hard. My husband was sick this weekend. Legitimately sick, but I still had a hard time feeling sorry for him. I managed to get out of the house with all of the kids for about six hours on Sunday, hoping he could sleep. He couldn't sleep b/c of congestion. So when we got home he was still tired and not helpful. I was having a hard time being charitable.

I have several friends with Lyme. They didn't realize they had it until well after the fact. In fact, some of their kids have it b/c it can be passed via pregnancy. They all have different symptoms and struggles. They have found that whole food diets with lots of organic and raw stuff have been most helpful in managing symptoms. Maybe that is something to consider.

Good luck!

Sarah said...

I could have written this post. My husband has severe depression...and some days I just wonder if he isn't milking my unflappable support. Why on the days when *I* am sick as a dog and barely able to function, he isnt able to man up and do all that I do. Why I'm left alone with the kids, despite my clear & present sickness, while he runs off to escape the "pressure" of doing it all...

We all have those moments. They are not our proudest, but that makes our feelings no less valid.

As much as we want to claim the title of 'super mom'...we don't want to HAVE to BE Super Mom ALL.THE.TIME. Our souls and our bodies get tired too.

Amy said...

I'm so sorry to hear what you're going through.

I will pray for you and your family that you can find solutions.

Moomser said...

I truly feel for you. My husband was diagnosed with leukemia last year and underwent the treatment and all that. He's slowly getting better but he's got many "bad" days still and it's easy to feel all alone, with all the responsibilities and all the burden.I'm way better off than you cause I only have two kids and I have help, but I do understand what you're going through. There's nothing anyone can say to ease your situation, the only thing to do is have faith that things will get better, and you just have to hang on and try to keep it together till then. Good luck!

misssrobin said...

Sorry it took me so long to respond. I kind of dropped off the planet for a few days.

I am sorry you're having a difficult time. I do not think you are an evil person or a bad wife for thinking and feeling these things. I think you are very brave for sharing what I think are universal feelings for all of us sometimes.

I struggle with chronic fatigue and a chronic headache. 24/7. It sucks. I'd much rather be doing something. I don't think that's true of everyone who is sick all the time. I think some milk it. But if he was active before, I'm sure it's difficult for him.

And you would think someone who is sick all the time would be more compassionate, but I'm not. When my husband gets sick I just get irritated. And snotty. And then God teaches me a lesson by giving me the same illness a few days later and I am penitent. I even apologize to my husband sometimes for not taking his illness seriously.

But usually I just mock him for being such a "man" about being sick. Translate that to mean baby.

So I feel for you and am on your side. And his. Which you are, too. I can read that in what you wrote. Feeling bad for him doesn't mean you can't also feel bad for yourself and the effect it has on you.