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Getting my husband involved more

Kris-NYKKris-NY Posts: 2,207
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:35 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi Everyone

I was wondering if any of the ladies can offer advice on how to get my husband to 1 - believe that my pain is real 2 - get more involved in my treatment and 3 - give me some sympathy, support and help.

I know that a big part of my problem is that I work part-time and take care of the kids and house. For 20 years now meals, laundry, shopping and cleaning has just happened with no help from him. And I just keep doing it through the pain because no one is offering to help.

Another problem is that he works in construction so he comes home physically tired and he is hurting from past knee and shoulder injuries. Because I'm not rolling on the ground crying in pain he figures his pains are worse than mine.

Sometimes I get so mad but he just doesnt see it. Other times when I am feeling depressed from the whole situation I just wish I could get some support. When he had injuries I was always there for him at doctors and taking over at home. I have a herniated disk and nerve damage and I still mow the lawn, carry the laundry and groceries and take out the garbage.

Any suggestions would be welcome.



  • I'm so sorry to hear that you're going through all of this. It does make it harder when you're not getting the support, and help, that you need at home. My boyfriend (we're common-law) just didn't get it at first, with my pain. He couldn't go to any of my normal doctor's appointments, but he did come with me to my appointment with the neurosurgeon. The look on his face, when the surgeon said that I needed surgery was priceless. After that, he helped more around the house, and was more supportive when he could clearly see that I was in pain. If your hubby can't make it to your appointments, maybe you could get the doc to write down your diagnosis, and limitations of what you should and shouldn't be doing, or get a copy of your medical records, so he can see what is wrong, instead of hearing it only from you. How old are your kids? Can they help you out at home, too? I know this may sound childish, but one week, I only did my own laundry, so when he ran out of clean clothes, he asked why, and I told him, I can't carry heavy loads, so if he wanted his laundry done, he'd have to start carrying it down for me!! It worked, and months later, he continues to do it, and even does the laundry himself sometimes, too!! Same with the vacuuming and unloading the dishwasher!! I'm telling you, for me, having him go to that appointment (and not doing his laundry lol) made a huge difference. He even asks if I've taken my meds, when before, would always say "you shouldn't need pills to feel better."
    Anyways, I hope that you can find a way to get your hubby to understand, and be more supportive and helpful. We are always here for you, too!!! Be well, and take care!!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,877
    one thing, is that unless your spouse feels your pain and what you are going through, they have such a difficult time figuring things out... Now, that is no excuse.

    This topic comes up so often here. One spouse is suffering form spinal problems and the other spouse is not supportive. You can not make some be supportive.

    The one way I know that can make a difference is IF you can put a situation together that your husband can understand. I will be very blunt, men dont take hints that well, if you dont hit is with a 2x4 it doesnt work. But that frustrates the hell out of you, because you dont want to go to that level.

    One method that might work... That is to take your husband and let him shadow you for an entire day.
    Let him see how difficult it is to shower and get dresses, and the whats it like to get into a car and run errands.

    Sometimes the best way to communicate something
    is to let the other person experience fist hand

    Believe me, you are NOT alone with this problem
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I know I'm not the only one feeling this way. And it is worse when the pain is worse or I feel depressed. A big part of my problem is that my pain doesn't show. I'm not physically disabled just in pain. I can lift etc but it hurts. No one would know by looking at me that I have a problem. And to be honest I know how lucky I am. I sit in doctor's waiting rooms and thank God that my problems are so small.

    I appreciate the support that I have found here. And the info has been priceless. I have been able to ask so many more intelligent questions after reading other peoples posts.

    So...pass me a 2x4...lol

  • Hi Kris,
    Sorry to hear you aren't getting the support you feel you deserve. As Ron stated, if he doesn't feel your pain it's hard to know what you are going through.

    I've been struggling with this same issue for years and still having issues with him understanding. He's getting better about it now since I was approved for SSDI. It's hard to get approved for that, especially the first try. He still doesn't understand why I'm tired alot, take meds, have trouble sleeping at night cuz of pain, why I don't want to go anywhere and I can forget about him being sympathetic. He feels now that I am home, I should start taking the garbage to the landfill which was once his job. I said I can't lift so he thinks I should have the kids do the lifting but it's too heavy for them.

    So, if you find out how to get him to understand, let me know. I think you did the best thing by coming here and reaching out to others who do understand and can sympathize with you. Unfortunately that doesn't get your dishes done and your floor mopped lol.

    Feel free to PM me anytime if you need/want any support or just to chat.
  • Kris,
    Here is a post I started a long time ago feeling similar to what you are.


  • i am so sorry you are alone in your pain struggle! :''( having a helpmate is such a blessing! as for your husband, try some of the ideas above. :? you got some good ones.. have him get online here and listen to other people hurting alone!!! :T needing support, assistance, and love!!! i do hope this works out for you.. noone should have to go through this pain hardship by themselves.. you always have us spineys!! :D Hugsssss, >:D< >:D< Jenny :)
  • When I read posts about unsupportive spouses, I feel so grateful that mine is. But as Ron said, men are men, lol. A 2 X 4, hmmmmmmm, what would be similiar to one that would literally knock some sense into your husband's head that you need more understanding and support? Not going to be easy after 20 years of your doing all the work around the house, bearing the "burden" as they say. You need to pace yourself and slow down or your pain may get worse. Keeping your frustration all bottled up inside and getting depressed doesn't help at all. I know I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. I'm glad you have come here. Lots of great supportive people here. I wish you the very best!

  • Kris,
    Would your husband be willing to go to one (or more) of your doctors appointments? My wife comes to as many as mine as she can. In fact our schedules are different and I schedule my appointments on one of the two days off I have during the week. We had to sign her up for FMLA so she could go to my appointments because she works Monday through Friday!

    Anyway, if he can attend your doctor visits, then he may be able to understand much more and ask questions of the doctor directly.

    I hope you can get him on board as a source of support and as an advocate for you!
  • Well I finally got my husband to one of my appointments. I had an EMG of both arms so I told him I might not be able to drive home.

    It was great because he got to talk to the doctor and hear what the doctor was suggesting. I was a little surprised to hear my husband explaining my pain to the doctor -- and I thought he never listened to me!!!

    This piece of advice was the best. I think women try too hard to make everything easy for the rest of the family. Guess this is just another thing I've been wrong about all my life - live and learn.
  • I'm glad you got a little response from your husband.Mine was the same way for a long time,he even came out and said that i wasn't that bad that i should be able to do the stuff around the house and go back to work.He never went to my doctors apt. with me until i saw the neurosurgeon,he came to that apt. he was absolutely shocked when they did there exam and saw how bad i really was and for him to hear from the surgeon that i needed the surgery done was a real eye opener for him.After that he really seemed to understand what i was dealing with daily and really tried to help out a lot more and even got the kids involved.
  • we needed to hire a cleaner as it was getting too much for me, he responded by doing nearly all the housework, success, now we do it together, we talk more as a result of it and spend quality time that we would not have had before.
    and we laugh while doing it,
    we cook on alternate nights and the one who cooks gets to put their feet up while the dishes are done, im very lucky i know
  • I've thought very hard about getting someone in to do some of the cleaning. Problem is I don't know what I would have them do. I just seem to do it and suffer later. lol

    I've also thought about taking the laundry to the laundromat and having them do it. But I figure if I have to haul it there and back I might as well take it down stairs and do it myself.

    I think what I really need is an extra day off during the week to get everything done. I have been thinking about seeing if I can switch my hours and work a little extra for 4 days and have one day off. Then I could take a little more time to be careful as I do the housework instead of rushing and pushing myself too far.

    We'll see what happens...one day at a time.
  • Kris,
    I'm so happy that you got such a good response from him. Sometimes it takes them hearing it from a medical professional.

    My husband went to all my injection appts and some with the original surgeon. He never really understood until he went to my 2nd opinion surgeon and that surgeon pointed out on the MRI why I was in so much pain. He was very sympathetic for a little while. I think at this point he just doesn't know how to make me feel better and that's a man's instinct. I'm not making excuses for him cuz he really is quite an a$$ about it again for the last 6 months. He was great in March 2009 and good for months afterward.

    I wish nothing but the best for you and hope your husband continues to support you.
  • Kris I'm glad your husband understands after going to the doctor with you. I'm lukcy that my husband is understanding. Since my husband hates to vacume, and do heavy cleaning I have been taking in someone to clean since right before my first Lumbar surgery. I still do things around the house, but leave the vacuming and moving of furniture to her, she does the heavy cleaning, and I do the lighter stuff. It works for us, and stops me from arguing with him about helping me all the time. Since I am only 8 weeks post op my Cervical surgery, he has been eptying the dishwasher, and trying to help with other things too...but this too shall end as soon as I am on my feet again.


  • Kris -

    Now, honey - you know full and well that if we weren't there doing everything, our homes would crumble around us.

    I work an 8 hour day, 5 days a week. My second shift starts as soon as I get home. There's supper, homework, laundry, etc etc. PLUS a little added on the side, I tend to my elderly, ill mother.

    I used to do everything on Saturday, so I'd at least have Sunday's to rest.

    THEN, I realized if I did a little something during the week - clean bathrooms one nite; dust another, sweep/vacuum on Thursdays... I have more me time on the weekend and can actually rest more. But that's just me.

    I am thrilled your hubs understands now - at least a little, but the info came from someone in authority - a doctor no less! Oh, and probably a man, too.... My husband is a real man's man. The sports, the hunting, the chauvinistic ideals, etc. He also treated me differently when I had my surgery. I guess the doctor talked to him while I was being wheeled from the OR to recovery...

    I did go the hired help route. Of course, I'd clean the house before the cleaning crew came... I'd die if they saw my house messy! Needless to say that did not last long. My husband actually does laundry sometimes. Feels real proud of himself when he does and we all have to "ooh" and "aaahh" over what he's accomplished.

    Men. They're so funny sometimes.

    Hope you continue to get the support you deserve. One day at a time, indeed!

  • I am rolling on the floor reading all these recent posts. Do you ever wonder who these women are who "share" the house work equally with their husbands? I see them on Oprah but not in real life!! Even the ones who help don't come any where near equal. My father's (76) idea of helping is to not complain about what's not done.

    I know that I take this on myself. It is what works for our family. I salute the women who work full-time and still do all the house work. I only work part-time and I don't know how you fit everything in after an 8 hour day.

    I hope this post keeps going. There is strength in numbers - even if we are only sharing our stories.
  • I was looking back at past posts and saw this one. Almost two months (where the heck did the time go) I wanted to add to my experience.

    I am still doing all of my usual work and chores. I am finding that I am getting tired more easily. My husband has been off work for the past 5 weeks but instead of helping me he is working on a vacation home we bought recently. In one way it is giving me a break but makes it harder in other ways.

    Back to the point...I am nearing the point of making a decision on surgery or no surgery. This has freaked out my husband incredibly. I think he is scared to death that something permanent might happen to me. I guess he does care :)

    I am scared of being unable to do things after the surgery. As I said at the beginning of this topic I take alot on myself. Not sure how I would handle letting go. I also don't want to push these things off on my family.

    Not really sure what this has to do with anything. But I do believe that sharing lightens the load.
  • I was much like you, I did everything at home. Cut the lawn,(which is over an acre)trimmed all the shrubs,trash, laundry, cleaning, cooking.....I'm sure you get the picture. Before my surgery I was unable to do much of anything and had to learn how to let go. It wasn't easy and still isn't easy for me, as I get very frustrated that things are in, what I see, as a state of dis array. From my yard to inside my home. My husband works as a mechanic and is gone from home for more than 12 hours a day, so I hate to ask him to do stuff, however, I've learned to ask. Does he scrub the tub when I ask him? hahahahaha, I wish. I just let it go because for me to scrub the tub would invite more pain on myself at this point in my recovery. Now that my husband has his own set of neck issues cropping up, I need to learn to REALLY let go. Keep working on the letting go. Remind yourself that to compromise your health is not worth getting that floor clean or tub scrubbed.
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