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My husband was severely injured when a heavy piece of equipment fell on him. This was on 3/27 and he has had 3 surgeries since. His spleen was smashed and he almost bled to death, his leg has been broken in 17 places between knee and ankle, all ribs were broken and he had skin grafts, spent one month in hospital and another week with infection in leg. I have never had to deal with anything like this, he is in constant pain, basically is bed ridden and his needs seem endless (at least to me). I get impatient sometimes as he expects me to be able to answer 5 different requests in 5 seconds. I get frustrated as I feel inadequate to care for such severe injuries (pins and nails and bolts holding leg together), etc. I've dealt with my father being sick and having surgeries but he usually came home in relatively stable condition. My husband is basically bed ridden, the most he can do is use walker to get from couch to bathroom and he can't be left for more than an hour at any given time. I need advice as I am afraid of reaching burn out (think I'm almost there) and there is a very long recovery ahead for us. This past three weeks I had both my husband and my father in the hospital at same time, spent 3 consecutive nights in ER. My parents are 85, and I am basically the only one around althogh my neices help when they can. So, you get the idea. At least we know my husband will heal but whether he'll ever be able to do same work is doubtful. It is the constant pain he is in that is the hardest to deal with both for him, of course, but also for me when seeing him in that pain and knowing there is nothing I can do but wait till it's time for another pain pill. Any advice you can give will be appreciated. We've had a great deal of moral support from friends and family and our church, but the bottom line comes down to the two of us and how we cope with this.
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Hello Patricia

Welcome..{{{{{Patricia}}}}}. I am sending lots of warm loving hugs your way. I tried to get you while you were on line last night to have you come in the chat room, but I was unsuccessful.

You really have your hands full.I am so sorry to hear of your husbands's tragic accident.It would be extremely difficult to just have to adjust and meet his needs as well as your own, but having to care for your parents as well has you pulled back and forth as to where you have to be at any given moment.

In order to support you more, it would be great if you can give us hubby's age range and what state you are in.

In the meantime, while I am not a professional,I do encourage you to do several of the following:

Find volunteers through your friends and the church to relieve you...to help you with errands, laundry, preparing meals, taking care of the lawn, garden, picking up prescriptions etc. You need time to be able to sought things out and also care for yourself so that you will have the strength to help everyone else.

You must learn to communicate more effectively with your husband...he must be feeling victimized as well as in pain...there must be a myriad of emotions he is going through...and at the same time, the same goes for you. It is up to you to initiate conversations to explain to him what you are going through as well...how you feel helpless when he is in such pain, how it all effects you emotionally, the guilt you feel etc. Encourage him to express as well..

You will need to command his understanding in helping you to set boundaries so that you can regroup your own energy ...one of the ways is to begin learning how to say no...i need to do this...what can i do for you before I start doing these chores or whatever. You must explain to him that he has to have some respect for what you are going through as well with him and your parents also.

If this is too much for you to handle, and I surely can imagine that it is, you may want to ask the doctor to prescribe an aid for your husband's care...you must communicate that you not only care for your husband but your parents and what your needs are. If you can afford to bring in an aid..then do it..you must take the pressure off yourself. If this is not financially feasible, check into what alternatives are available to possibly place your husband into a rehabilitation facility near by where he might be able to receive better care and attention and also be with people and have an opportunity to socialize as well.

If communication with your husband is difficult you might want to check into having a social worker or therapist come out and meet with both of you in terms of counseling so that you can see eye to eye and have this work out for the highest good for both of you...not to mention your parents.

There is incredible support both on and offline for you so it is important for you to continue reaching out as you are. Do you have children?

Please keep us posted and let us know how we can offer more support...

Richest blessings to you.

Gail
Patricia emailed me back and has given me permission to post her response.

Thank you for emailing me. I did get your invite to chat room, but my husband woke up just then and needed me, so I had to sign off.

We live in Southern California in the high desert, Victorville, about an hour north of
Riverside and on the way to Las Vegas. My husband is a welder maintenance mechanic and works for a large cement plant here in town. He had just gotten the job which he was very happy with as he like the work and the pay was good and benefits, etc. He just turned 47, I am ten years older than him and we have been married for 16 years.

As of right now, my parents are back on track, my Dad is out of hospital and
doing well, and their neighbors are pitching in when they need help I can't give. I have started to communicate more with my husband about how I feel, even though I feel like I'm being selfish since he's the one who suffered all the injuries and is in such pain. I think he suffers from anxiety,
especially about the future, as doctors are doubtful he will be able to do the kind of physical work he was doing.

Sometimes the whole thing seems surreal: a normal Monday, your husband goes off to work and then you get a phone call saying there was an accident about 10:00 am that morning. At first I thought maybe he got burned welding but then they told me he was airlifted to a trauma hospital in Colton, CA, and I knew it was very serious.

We have been lucky to have support from our church and family and friends. It is just that, especially when he came home, I was scared to death. I felt they released him too soon, and there was so much that was out of my realm of experience, taking care of cleaning all the pins and wires on his leg, his skin graft, keeping everything sterilized, his medicine, etc.

We asked for home health care and got it but all they did was come in and take his bp and
temp and then clean his pins. However, even with their experience, and with me cleaning the pins the rest of the time, his leg got infected and he had to go back to hospital for another week. And his pain has been so bad that I am afraid to touch him sometimes, as he yells with pain and I jump a foot.

But, you're advice has been helpful. I have tried to explain that while he experienced the accident and is in all the pain, my life has also been turned upside down and I also am having to adjust to a major, sudden change. I think he is beginning to understand that more. I know he gets anxious about our future and what kind of work he'll be able to do and that weighs on his mind a lot. He also gets anxious when he can't see me, if I'm in another room of the house. I think part of that comes from having a lack of control over his movements and he has always been very active.

So glad I found your site. In the beginning we had a lot of visitors and calls, etc., and lots of offers of help, some of which we were able to use. But, of course, as time goes on people have their own lives going on, but some of the guys have started coming around and offering to visit so I can get out for an hour or two.

I think a lot of his friends are beginning to realize that this will not be a quick recovery. I'll try to visit chat room when I can, but have already received a nice email from one of the other member of your group. It is wonderful to have this venue to express myself.

Right now, even if there was a support group in our area, I would have a difficult time getting to it. Thanks again for your advice and prayers are always accepted with thanks. We believe that God has put us on this path for a reason, what it is we do not know, but it will be revealed to us one way or another.

Hope to hear from you again. God Bless You and work you are doing.

Patricia
Hello Patricia.
so happy to hear that the support you are receiving is helping...you sound as if you are getting things more under control..glad to hear your parents are doing better as well..and that you are working on opening communications with your hubby...Victorville is kinda isolated which can make services a
little more difficult...

With your permission...I would like to post your response below on the message boards so that others can learn, heal and grow from the
sharing..please keep us informed...

warmest wishes,
Gail

PS I enjoyed speaking with you immensely in the im Patricia...You are doing incredible work.
Dee asked me to post this letter here as she didn't know how to copy and paste and was at the hospital continuously with her mom.

Dear Patricia,

My name is Denise Faust and I live in Catawba, South Carolina. I used to be a part-time caregiver to my Mother, but as of fifteen minutes ago my life has taken a "sudden change". I am now her full-time care-giver.

Up until March 20, 2000, I have enjoyed the luxury of staying at home and caring for my grandchildren. This began in 1996 when I kept a then three and a half year old granddaughter-Amber and her newborn brother-Lake. The fall of 1997 Amber went off to pre-school and it was me and Lakey-boy until my younger daughter had her daughter-Rachel in June of 1999. I have cared for her off and on while her mother has gone to school and worked at different jobs. But me and Lake, there has been a special relationship and bond that I truly didn't even have with my own children. I have loved and enjoyed every minute of him. When he was new born until now I have kept him from 7 AM until 6 PM five days a week. He spent the night at my house at least four nights a week from the time he was new born until he was six months old and then at least two nights a week he spent here and of course on the weekends Amber, Lake and their Moma are over here in the pool.

In fact from August 1999 until March 2000, Amber, Lake and their Mother Niki lived with my husband and me. She left her husband, their father because he is abusive and has a drug problem.

She moved into her own house March 13, 2000, the week before my Moma got the diagnosis of extensive small cell carcinoma of the lung. Since March Moma has gone steadily downhill. Lake was going to start pre-school in September 2000, so since I knew I would be needed to care for Moma we just enrolled him three months early. I've known since he end of April that his Niki had found a good pre-school and that the first opening was on June 5th. I've been trying to prepare for this change, and have done well since I must be there for Moma. In my mind I projected July being as the time her health would begin to decline to the point of her needing me full time.

Last week she broke her hip and I've had to arrange having Lake cared for during the day. She is still in the hospital, I stay the nights and talk with the doctors until someone else comes and relieves me. This has worked out will over the three day weekend, but everybody is going back to work tomorrow. I called my daughter a few minutes ago so we could figure out who could keep him in the morning until I could get home at about 9 AM.

Niki told me the director of the school called and told her that Lake's spot became vacant a week early. Lake is going to pre-school tomorrow and I am staying with Moma as her full-time care-giver.

I am so torn up right now!!! One of the sweetest periods of my life just ended, and the saddest and most bittersweet time of my life is continuing. SUDDEN CHANGE is difficult. Ten years ago when I thought about what I would be doing when I was 45 years old, it didn't include caring for more babies or caring for a terminally ill parent!!

The care-givers website has helped me so much. I can come post or see who has answered my posts, it is a constant source of support and inspiration. You are trusting in the Lord and that is the only thing that will get you through this difficult time of change. Listen to Him and he will lead you, one day at a time. I'm sure you can understand "one day at a time" in a real way since your husband's accident.
My prayers are with you and I send out my Love to you and your husband as we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

Dee

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