Caring For A Sick Spouse
My husband recently had surgery for a deviated septum. We were told by the doctor that he would be down for a few days after the surgery so to plan accordingly with work. Well, work has nothing to do with home life and with our large family that is much more difficult to coordinate. Out here in LA we have no family which means just the two of us to care for our large brood. We’ve become excellent at balancing the chaos together, but boy did I learn a lesson about when one of us is really down for the count.
I’m not going to harp on the evils of outpatient surgery, but instead on the new career of nurse I was given for the weekend. I was told by the doctor there would be “some blood.” I’m not so good with blood, but I nodded and paid attention as I was shown how to change the bloody nose bandage. Upon bringing my husband home from the hospital I quickly realized that he was going to need my full on attention 24/7.
Playing Clara Barton in 2nd grade did not prepare me for this.
I had envisioned my husband laying on the couch and watching TV with the kids all weekend while he barked orders to be brought Jell-O and 7up. Instead my husband was unable to feed himself or go to the bathroom on his own and he was repeatedly coughing up blood. After the experience of watching my husband vomit up a few liters of blood I can tell you I no longer find Edward from Twilight sexy. It was painful to see my husband in so much pain.
Aside from my husband the patient, I still had 5 children to care for which lead to one very exhausted malnourished Mom. On the day of the surgery I only ate a few snacks so, by the time I did eat at 8:00 at night my body was so angry with me I threw up. (Being surrounded by the constant smell of blood didn’t help). Having to sleep on the floor several nights in a row to be near my husband gave me unbearable back pain. The lack of sleep from tending to him like a baby all night turned me into a zombie for the weekend. Then to top it all off I was gifted with a cold for all my great service when my husband was finally on the mend.
So, my advice when caring for a sick spouse is this, don’t forget to also take care of yourself. Helping a sick or recovering person is exhausting which in turn weakens your immune system and causes you to wind up being in need of care. Unfortunately in my experience the care I give isn’t as good as the care I receive. (I’m sure all Moms can relate to this). When you’re a mom being a nurse is part of the job. In my opinion its not the most fun part, but I’m glad that everyone in my family feels comforted when they’re sick because I’m there. Now could someone please bring me some 7up?
More posts by MeLisa at adoptivelegacy.com.