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Old 05-24-2006, 11:54 AM   #1
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How does your spouse, BF/GF handle your pain issues?

Hey everyone,

I know there is a thread similar about a boyfriend sharing too much info. But I wanted to see how everyones significant other handles all the pain issues, medical appts, surgery, etc.

The reason I ask is because my wife and I are separating/divorcing and its due to my medical problems. When we first got married which was only a few years ago, I really didn't have too many medical problems. But since 2004, I've had 9 surgeries, I have fusions in my cervical and lumbar. I was also diagnosed with severe fibromyalgia which according to my Rhuematologist, is rare for a male to get to that point.

At first my wife woud go with me to my appts, surgeries, etc. She was very caring and seemed concerned. After a while she stopped and made it all seem like it was my fault. Granted, I was pretty useless for a while as I was post-op and really couldn't do much.

I knew it was going bad when she stopped going to my appts with me. She refused to take me to my last two surgeries. She wouldn't even drop me off at the door. I had to try and find a ride the day of surgery. For my post-op appts, I had to find rides because I was not suppose to be driving.

I have a great PM doc that treats me really good. Due to all of my surgeries and injuries, I require quite a few procedures that require sedation. So again, I can't drive to those. But I usually have to find a ride.

I'm just curious how your significant other deals with it. I've never really asked my wife to do anything out of her way for me. She just doesn't seem to care, and kind of makes those faces and says stuff under her breath to indicate that she doesn't believe me. I even took her to my surgeon, my PM Doc, and my Rheumy, and they all told her how bad my conditions are and that I'll never be back to 100%. I think she may be thinking that since I'll never be the same, then she should move on. I guess she forgot about "In sickness and in health" part of our vows. I've always tried to provide everything that I can for her.

Anyway, I hope everyone else has a more caring spouse/BF/GF. I guess I'm headed to divorce since she refuses to try and understand. I know my medical issues takes a toll on her, but doing this alone by myself, takes a toll on me as well.

I'm sure alot of it is the person you are with, I guess I was fooled. I did tell her that you never know, it could have been you that had to go through all this. I sure didn't ask for all of this to happen to me.

Thanks for letting me vent. I would like to hear from you guys (and gals) about how you make it work, how your spouse treats you, and if it ruined your relationship or made it stronger (sorry to get too personal).

Thanks

 
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Old 05-24-2006, 01:19 PM   #2
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Re: How does your spouse, BF/GF handle your pain issues?

I think it's very sad that your wife appears to be unsupportive and uncaring about your health. I am very sure if the shoe was on the other foot she'd act much differently. Not having someone to support and understand what you are going through makes it all that much more difficult.

I am lucky, I've been with my husband for 5 years and he's always been supportive of me, probably more supportive and caring that most folks in my given situation. He also knows that on my good days, though far and few in between, I take very good care of him.

I know at times he feels helpless and saddened by the situation that he can't do anything to change it. I feel bad at times because he used to be a very active outdoors type person prior to meeting me and now chooses to not do the things he used to love because I am unable to walk very far. We do however go on little trips and find places that are wheelchair accessible so at least we can do some "hiking".

I don't know what I'd do if he treated me the way your spouse does. It is so very sad.

 
Old 05-24-2006, 01:30 PM   #3
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Re: How does your spouse, BF/GF handle your pain issues?

I am the spouse, so I can answer this one!

I have been married to my husband for almost 24 years and take the "in sickness and health" seriously. My husband has been unable to work for over two years and hasn't been able to drive for about a 1 1/2 years due to dizziness and side effects from all of his medications. So, I take him to every doctors appointment. Even if he could drive, I would still probably go with him. He is only 42, but he now gets confused very easily and usually doesn't remember what the doctor even said.

We married young and had our two daughters when we were young. We had always talked about what we would be doing at this stage of our lives, but it hasn't turned out the way that we had expected. But I love him and I will be standing by him no matter what may come and I know that he would do the same for me.

Is is easy? Not at all. There are days that I get depressed and grumpy, but I get over it. Especially those days that I come home from work and then have to do the chores that were always "his job" - mowing the lawn, weedeating, cleaning the gutters, taking out the trash, etc. I know that he would rather be able to do all of this work instead of having me do it.

There are also days that my husband is mad at the world and goes through the "why me" episodes. I know that there is nothing in the world that I can do on one of those days to cheer him up, so I just try to give him space for both of our sakes.

Now here's the hard part - So, how are YOU treating your wife? Are you appreciative when she does do things for you? Has your illness become your only topic of conversation with her? Have you helped create the gap between the two of you by either words or actions? I know that I can usually sense when someone is upset with me, so are you projecting that toward your wife?

Finally, have you sat down and talked to her face-to-face?

 
Old 05-24-2006, 03:15 PM   #4
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Re: How does your spouse, BF/GF handle your pain issues?

I agree this seems very callous on your wife's part, but I'm having a hard time understanding why she was supportive in the beginning, and then suddenly changed and began acting like it's all your fault. What happened? Do you follow the doctor's advice and post-op instructions? For example, I get really frustrated with my elderly mother -- she complains about how she can't walk but won't do the exercises that would strengthen her leg muscles. Is there something she thinks you could be doing to help yourself that you are not? Does she think you are "milking it" and perhaps using recovery as an excuse not to help around the house, or whatever? What reason did she give for refusing to drive you to your surgeries?

If she was ending the marriage solely because your medical issues (the continuing cycle of surgeries and recoveries) seem too stressful and overwhelming for her to handle, it would seem to me that she would feel guilty about it and still at least drive you when you need it. The fact that she seems angry at something makes me wonder if there is something else going on.

It certainly seems like you two need to have a heart-to-heart discussion about the real reasons for this separation, perhaps at counseling. Have you tried that? Good luck to you and please keep us posted.

 
Old 05-24-2006, 05:55 PM   #5
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Re: How does your spouse, BF/GF handle your pain issues?

Thanks for the replies.

Kissa-You sound like you have a great husband that is very supportive of you. I'm glad you have that and just wish I had the same thing (of course with my wife LOL)

Advice Seeker- That is great that you support your husband after all these years. I know it must be hard because I try to put myself in the other persons shoes.

As far as treating my wife well, I try and do the best I can. Since January of this year I have had 5 surgeries. I have had a surgery every month since January and one month had two. So physically, it has been rough for me to do much. And I totally understand the frustration. Because I get just as frustrated because I can't do much either. I do try and do other things for her like ordering her chocolate or flowers, or offering to take her somewhere that I'm capable of doing like dinner or something. As far as our conversations, I try not to talk much about my medical issues. For one reason, I have quite a bit of training in the medical field and feel like I sometimes talk over her head and just confuse her. But also, I don't want to make everything about me. I try and ask her about her day and to talk about other things. She is just completely closed about it.

Avalon- I follow my docs instructions to a tee. I always look for ways to improve myself. I will schedule massage appts, PT, etc so that I can get to being active again as much as possible. As far as counseling, I've suggested it and she refuses to go. In the beginning of our relationship, I was very active and we did everything together. But physically I am limited. I still try and do and sometimes overdo, but I pay for it the next day. Due to the Fibro, sometimes especially if I overdid it, I'm just exhausted and can't hardly get off the couch. She has made comments to me that, "Oh let me guess, you're not feeling well." My rhuemy doc told me that some people just flat out don't believe in fibro and will treat you as if you are making it up. But I do try and sometimes overtry but eventually my body just gives up.

I think she is just frustrated and has given up. I read about you all that have stuck with your spouse for years and you're still there. I have much respect for you. I wish my wife could see the same thing and realize that in a couple years I may be much better. I still have a positive outlook on things and think that someday I will feel better. It just takes time. My last surgery was 3 weeks ago.

Thanks for the replies

 
Old 05-24-2006, 06:34 PM   #6
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Re: How does your spouse, BF/GF handle your pain issues?

Well, Aranger, she unfortunately just sounds like one of those people who has no empathy for people like us. I recently ended a 5-year relationship with a guy who was very supportive and loved me despite all my medical issues. He just wasn't the guy for me, for other reasons. As far as looking for someone else or dating, I just said to my friend the other night -- who would want someone like me who can't stand for long (museums, art galleries are out), can't sit in most seats long due to lack of lumbar support (football games, movies, etc. are out), can't walk very far and certainly can't do any strenuous activities like skiing, tennis or even bowling. In addition to needing to have water with me at all times due to dry mouth, having stomach issues that make me feel hungry or nauseous....I could go on and on. It's not likely single men will be knocking my door down with all that baggage. However, in your situation, your wife took a vow to stick with you "in sickness and in health" -- a vow she apparently didn't really mean, at least the sickness part. God forbid anything happens to her in the future if she remarries -- see how she would like it if her husband dumped her because she was too much trouble. Good luck to you....we're here for you even if she isn't!

 
Old 05-24-2006, 07:05 PM   #7
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Re: How does your spouse, BF/GF handle your pain issues?

Aranger, I am so sorry. Here I am bothering you for advice when you are feeling so troubled. Please don't feel alone. While my situation isn't near as bad as yours, I also don't get any help either. I finally gave up telling my husband about my condition--why bother. He will ask for some details about my appts, but thanks to the topamax things tend to get fuzzy and he will get angry with me. That's when I remind him that I shouldn't be driving. (I do write down imortant stuff) Funny story(sort of)-- I herniated three discs in my lower back many years ago, while married to my first husband and had a small infant. His mother had to help me because I couldn't even lift the baby. He was of no help to me. Well all these years later he has hurt his back now and has recently told me how sorry his is for treating me so badly and not helping me. He had no idea how much pain I was in. So see, sometimes the tables do turn. Not to ever wish ill on anyone. But I can't help but think that someone was thinking of me there.
You seem a lot like me. I keep trying to do things to please my husband knowing full well how I am going to feel in the end. Like camping, mowing the lawn (big no-no) Sometimes it takes weeks to recover--in my own silence. It would be nice to hear more from the "other" half and really see where they are coming from. Just a hug sometimes would be really nice I'll be thinking of you. Angela

 
Old 05-24-2006, 08:50 PM   #8
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Re: How does your spouse, BF/GF handle your pain issues?

Angela- I have no problem with you asking me questions. You are NOT bothering me at all. I enjoy giving advice and sharing any knowledge that I have. Matter of fact, it seems that I can talk on the healthboards and feel like people understand. My wife on the other hand can really care less. Although there have been a few times when she has had to go to the doctor (I went with her) and the dr asked me what she should take. My wife had no problem with me talking to her about her meds at that time and welcomed my input. Funny how that happens.....Thank you for your kind words

Avalon-I think about the same thing about someone else being in our shoes. I don't wish my injuries on anyone especially my wife. However, for maybe just one day, if she could feel what I feel, I think she would have a different attitude towards the whole thing. I've told her before that you never know when it is you. It takes one time falling down some steps, or getting in a car accident, or work related, etc., that can change your life forever.

 
Old 05-24-2006, 09:46 PM   #9
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Re: How does your spouse, BF/GF handle your pain issues?

Hey Aranger
I was so completetly in your shoes yrs ago . I had 2 surgeries in one yr (ddd). Before that I was a very active person and could do just about anything. Well I was married for 14 yrs the year of the surgeries was my 14th. My husband decided to leave me because I was no longer the person he had married. He just didnt understand. I had metal in my neck and was having a tough recovery. I couldnt believe it I was floored. I stayed single for about 5 yrs and I am married again but to be honest with you I am not sure anyone really fully understands what we go through. I am in excruciating pain most days but I dont complain, I usually just say I cant do that. Now I am finding after being married 2 yrs my new hubby is getting tired of my pain issues. He gives me a hard time about meds and dr's appt's. I am sure there are many of us that have the same stories. I found out in those years that the only person who truly understands what i am going through is a person that is going through it. I think it must be hard for a "normal" person to understand that someone could be in so much pain. Maybe we just put alot of negative there way...you know what I mean. I know there isnt much positive coming from me but I try. I honestly try to smile through the pain and do things even though i feel like screaming. I really feel for you, you seem to be a very nice and interesting person. I think that it may be hard for some people to hold on to the LOVE issue when it comes to us. And I really dont think they understand how hard it is for us to watch them to be able to do things we only wish we could. I wish i could tell you how to make her understand but I dont know how to do that myself. If you ever find out how its done please let me know (lol).
MSHATCH

 
Old 05-24-2006, 11:01 PM   #10
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Re: How does your spouse, BF/GF handle your pain issues?

Hi,
I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Your wife seems to think her vows were only for the good times. To hear she wouldn't take you to your surgeries made me very sad. I can't imagine her sitting around while you try and find a ride. My b/f isn't perfect, no one is. But he does help me and like I posted before he takes me to every apt. I do have a different situation, when we met I was already having problems. He already new something was wrong. He made me get help. I was to scared. When my b/f was younger he had health problems so he knows what it is to be sick. He grew out of his problems, but it stuck with him. We have problems just like everyone else. They have never been because of my health. I remember a comment he made 4 years ago after he wanted me to go to hospital. I was in bed in pain more like in hell. He said something along the lines that I must enjoy being in pain, or I would go to the hospital with him. It upset me where I considered leaving him. Later he said he was sorry and he said what he did to get me to go to hospital. But to this day thinking about that comment still hurts me. I wish your wife only new that the way she is treating you will only making your problems worst. Causing stress to someone with a disease or condition only makes it worst. There are people out there that can never understand the reality that people get sick, things happen. I recently had the tables turned when my b/f woke up and was in a lot of pain last March. He had to go to the ER. I went along. I waited 9 hours with him. All along we had no idea what was wrong. He had a kidney stone. Thankfully he is ok.

 
Old 05-24-2006, 11:04 PM   #11
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Re: How does your spouse, BF/GF handle your pain issues?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avalon
Well, Aranger, she unfortunately just sounds like one of those people who has no empathy for people like us. I recently ended a 5-year relationship with a guy who was very supportive and loved me despite all my medical issues. He just wasn't the guy for me, for other reasons. As far as looking for someone else or dating, I just said to my friend the other night -- who would want someone like me who can't stand for long (museums, art galleries are out), can't sit in most seats long due to lack of lumbar support (football games, movies, etc. are out), can't walk very far and certainly can't do any strenuous activities like skiing, tennis or even bowling. In addition to needing to have water with me at all times due to dry mouth, having stomach issues that make me feel hungry or nauseous....I could go on and on. It's not likely single men will be knocking my door down with all that baggage. However, in your situation, your wife took a vow to stick with you "in sickness and in health" -- a vow she apparently didn't really mean, at least the sickness part. God forbid anything happens to her in the future if she remarries -- see how she would like it if her husband dumped her because she was too much trouble. Good luck to you....we're here for you even if she isn't!
I used to wonder about things like that too. I have a hard time walking and can't stand for more than 30 seconds. I can't sit down unless I take my cushion and back support with me, I can't do any strenuous activities nor many 'lesser' activities due to the possiblity that I will pull a muscle or break a bone (it seems I always pull muscles, but have been super careful to avoid anything where a break is even remotely possible). Heck, I got my necrotic ankle bone and slipped disks (C5 and C6) from doing absolutely nothing, although my doctors think it might have been caused by "the strain of walking"

That was, until I met my first G/f. She didn't really care about any of that, nor about any of my 'deformities' (my fingers, feet and toes aren't 'normal' looking and I have a rather severe forward curving of my spine - not sure of the name at the moment). I also had the pleasure of dating in college w/out needing to worry about anything really. If there's people out there for me that don't care about the what or why, there's gotta be people for you

 
Old 05-24-2006, 11:07 PM   #12
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Re: How does your spouse, BF/GF handle your pain issues?

Hi,
I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Your wife seems to think her vows were only for the good times. To hear she wouldn't take you to your surgeries made me very sad. I can't imagine her sitting around while you try and find a ride. My b/f isn't perfect, no one is. But he does help me and like I posted before he takes me to every apt. I do have a different situation, when we met I was already having problems. He already new something was wrong. He made me get help. I was to scared. When my b/f was younger he had health problems so he knows what it is to be sick. He grew out of his problems, but it stuck with him. We have problems just like everyone else. They have never been because of my health. I remember a comment he made 4 years ago after he wanted me to go to hospital. I was in bed in pain more like in hell. He said something along the lines that I must enjoy being in pain, or I would go to the hospital with him. It upset me where I considered leaving him. Later he said he was sorry and he said what he did to get me to go to hospital. But to this day thinking about that comment still hurts me. I wish your wife only new that the way she is treating you will only making your problems worst. Causing stress to someone with a disease or condition only makes it worst. There are people out there that can never understand the reality that people get sick, things happen. I recently had the tables turned when my b/f woke up and was in a lot of pain last March. He had to go to the ER. I went along. I waited 9 hours with him. All along we had no idea what was wrong. He had a kidney stone. Thankfully he is ok.

 
Old 05-25-2006, 08:38 AM   #13
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Re: How does your spouse, BF/GF handle your pain issues?

MShatch- Thats crazy that after 14 years your husband would leave you because of medical issues. In my case its only been a couple years. I guess better now than 14 years. And I agree that sometimes the only person that understands is someone that went through a similar situation. Just like I don't know how it feels to have a baby, but when my wife had our baby, I stood next to her the entire time, got her whatever she needed. I was in so much pain from standing that long, but I never said a word because I knew she needed me there. It didn't even cross my mind to ever say that she wasn't in pain or making "Pain" up. I knew she needed me and drugs LOL.

Fibbles- I agree that there is a person for everyone. I've never had a problem dating or anything like that. All my scars are on my back and some on my abdomen. But other than I walk a little different because of the pain, you would never know. But I feel it so important for the other person to know everything about you before dating. Because I need someone for me, that won't judge me, or try and second guess my injuries/disorders. Its not like I only have fibro which is something that you can't "see." On top of fibro I have a 3 level fusion, and it has taken 9 surgeries to try and get it right. So I have the physical scars to "see" it also.

WOL- It sounds like your B/F try's to understand or is at least supportive. But you mentioned something key. You said he had problems when he was younger. I think that someone that has had some type of similar situation, understands so much more.

There is not too much more I can do. My pain will continue, but hopefully get better. Believe me though, when I find someone else someday, they will know my medical history. Because that is type of stuff that can't be changed. And it can affect anyone at anytime. Although for me, I could never leave someones side. I could never let my wife be wheeled into surgery while I sat at home watching TV. I would want my face to be the last thing she saw and to let her know that she would be just fine. I would also be there as she woke up from Anesthesia. But I guess some people are different. Apparently after the first few surgeries, it became to much of a hassle for her....

 
Old 05-25-2006, 08:55 AM   #14
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Re: How does your spouse, BF/GF handle your pain issues?

It really just breaks my heart to see or hear of significant others or spouses who end the relationship due to health issues. How can people be so callous? If it were their child would they just throw them away?
I know that I'm blessed but I can also say that I was married before and even my ex husband back then of some 13 years treated me well and understood my pain. We did not divorce because of my health but other marital reasons. He was just as supportive in that aspect as my current husband and we're still friends.

When I met my current husband I made sure that he throughly understood my syndrome and the health issues that I had. I couldn't be comfortable with someone who I didn't think would understand. I tease him all the time and tell him if he is tired of me he can go find a new model because I'm pretty broken. He always says "Oh Honey, no one could replace you, broken or not". He is a wonderful man.

He went through VNS surgery for depression a few months ago and it was a pretty major surgery. The incisions were larger than that of an ACDF and he was in a considerable amount of pain as a result of it. It was then that he really understood what I go through each day and has become even more attentive since then. I count my blessings every single day.

His mother is even wonderful, when he had his surgery his first time ever having surgery, she made darn sure she drove some 200 miles to be there for him the night before and by his side the day they operated. When I had my ACDF she was in California and couldn't be here for me but my sister in law told me she called her crying because she couldn't be here and wished that she could. My mom is the same way, she's been there for nearly every surgery. The only ones she missed were after they had moved to Puerto Rico and of course tickets can be costly.

I am indeed blessed with no tonly a husband who is loving and understanding but a family and inlaws who also are caring and understanding as well.

I have an aunt who has Minears disease, has had cancer twice and has a host of other illnessess and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome as well. She's been married about 40 years now to the same man. Her husband loves her so much and has always stood by her side through each one of her surgeries and through all the pain. Their marriage truly exemplifies what a real marriage is and I admire them. I find that my husband treats me in the same wonderful caring way that my uncle treats my aunt.

yes, I am quite lucky and I think I need to let my husband know just that!

Barbie

Last edited by Kissa; 05-25-2006 at 08:57 AM.

 
Old 05-25-2006, 09:15 AM   #15
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Re: How does your spouse, BF/GF handle your pain issues?

I'm so sorry to hear that. If you ask me, she's as bad as the women who leave their husbands while they are in Iraq.

My husband does really well - I'm lucky. He's been TDY every month so far this year, yet coaches 3 of our boys sports teams, works, still does all the stuff around here that I can't do cause of the pain.

 
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