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Dealing with the Emotions of Having a Sick Spouse

Updated on August 31, 2014

When You only Want to Help

Dealing with the emotions of having a sick spouse can make you think you are the blame for everything from not making enough money to not knowing how to cook for them. Your feelings race out of control. You ask yourself if it’s worth it to even try to please them. You know you aren’t really the blame for any of it, but that doesn’t stop your heart from breaking because of it. Sickness will visit all of us at some point in our lives. How we cope with it is not always going to be easy.

Your sick spouse may not act any different from when they were well. They may convince you they are better when they are not improving at all. Some sickness could be a permanent disability. Your spouse is not ready to give up and refuses to believe they can no longer do the things they use to do. It doesn’t matter how many doctors tell them they are done working.

Simple things like walking to the car become a chore to them. They may need assistance. The help of a cane, wheel chair or oxygen supply could be the added advantage they need to get them out of the house to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. They sometimes shy from leaving their comfort zone. The reality will finally set in and your spouse will see they must retire to a life of leisure like it or not. Other chores or hobbies can occupy their time and make them feel less helpless. Simple household duties like sitting on a stool to wash dishes or using a chair in the middle of the room to sit on to run a dust mop can give them a better feeling about themselves. Some disabilities do allow for light duties so long as the patient knows their limits.

Trying to Stay Focused

It is hard to say which is easier, being home everyday to care for them and wait on them or work outside the home and hope they can fend for themselves until you return. Often the high price of medical bills and insurance premiums to help take care of medical bills are overwhelming. We need our job if we can by any means keep it if not for the financial support certainly for a break from our new found routine at home.

Your spouse will likely get disability only to find Medicare will be something for future use. It could take a couple years before access is granted. In the mean time you are paying Cobra premiums through their former employer just to make sure of no lapse in coverage. The price is high. The paycheck is gone. The job is history.

Now the household income has not only been cut in half but the out-going expenses have more than tripled. You feel your boat sinking fast. Your daily thoughts do not become your own. You find yourself asking, “What happened.”

Solitude becomes your friend as you cannot deal with day to day chaos, if your spouse refuses to listen to anything you say. You realize you need time to yourself more than ever now. The only problem is your spouse has had too much time to themselves and rather they find fault with you or are happy to see you it can be an unexpected surprise when you walk through that door. Through sickness and in health begins to take on a new set of rules. You may find simple silly little things making your spouse snap at you and your tears don’t help much. Leaving the room may be all you can do. We must not forget this is not our fault. The illness causes them to be on edge.

Watching the clouds seem to have a calming effect on me.
Watching the clouds seem to have a calming effect on me. | Source

Patience is the Key

It depends on the severity of your spouse’s illness on the effect it has on your relationship to stay intact. Harsh words spoke out of frustration has been known to scar many marriages. If we can keep the thought in mind that the illness is speaking and not our spouse we will be better off. Put this together with hearing problems from both parties and you have an all out war. Any communication problems you had prior to the illness will surface with more strength than you ever thought possible. Patience is the key to get through misunderstandings of any kind. It will be an important defense to fighting the misery and the emotions of caring for a sick spouse.

We must always be on guard for unexpected events to change our lives. It helps to be somewhat prepared. Right when we think we are on top of things something can happen to change our minds and our way of doing things. It can change the way we think about each other and it can change our financial freedoms as well. We must keep our marriage from shambles that comes from money problems and the after math of being unable to function as we once did. We must remind each other that life is precious and nothing is more important than our health both medical and mental. If you are dealing with trying to care for and comfort a sick or disabled spouse, please know you are not alone. Just do the best you can and don’t let them disgrace you into thinking it is not good enough. Chances are they are only speaking out of pain and not their heart. They need you now more than ever. Don’t let them bring you down to a point of depression over something you have no control over. Don’t waste tears on something you cannot fix.


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    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 2 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you Gloriousconfusion. I lost my spouse back in December and I think what made me feel the worse was knowing I could not please him no matter what I did even though I knew it wasn't my fault.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      I have been caring for my sick partner for over a year although I am somewhat disabled myself. We just have to value the good times we have together, and have patience when things are not going well. So many things we can't do, but also still so many things we can do. We laugh at each other and with each other, and it helps to get over the pain and depressing times.

      I'm afraid it certainly helps to be able to bury your head in the sand at times, to live for the present, and even to procrastinate when there are more important things to do at home.

      Thanks for your take on this, Diana - so interesting to hear someone else's point of view going through the same experience.

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 2 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Sorry to hear that, peachpurple. My dad suffered a stroke once. He was able to make a near full recovery with a few weeks of rehab. Hope your mom can as well.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      I guess my dad is facing this crisis, my mom had stroke and is not normal in mind, her movement not strong and can't control urine. Dad says she is like a toddler

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 3 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you for stopping by ChAoSrEiGnS. I hope our related experiences get easier to cope with. It is nice to know others are there to discuss any stressful moments we need to get off our chest.

    • ChAoSrEiGnS profile image

      Manders Graffin 3 years ago from Hell/ Phoenix Az

      I am so very glad that I sought connection with you. I too am married to a disabled man, he has a rare form of anemia. Nothing like the rude ignoramus that notices he is jaundice and asks loud enough for everyone to hear if he has hep c. We will be going on 8 years marriage next year:) I look forward to reading more of your hubs!

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 3 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, Denise for your input. It sure can be a stressful situation sometimes.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Wow! What a tough scenario! I can see this kind of thing happening in our home. My husband is getting close to retirement, and his health is not the best. Just this past weekend, both he and my daughter were down with respiratory illness. I felt like I was sandwiched between the two! When we are faced with a long-term situation where our needs may not be met, it is paramount that we find ways to get relief. Each person will have to look at their own lives and find out what works best.

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 3 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      DealForALiving, I have to get what bothers me down in words and off my chest to some extent or I'm not able to clear my head long enough to write anything else. Hubpages is a great platform for opinion pieces. I hope to help others through the same ordeal if I can. I appreciate you stopping by.

    • DealForALiving profile image

      Sam Deal 3 years ago from Earth

      Such a heartfelt hub and so genuine. Thank you for writing this and giving me some food for thought.