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Who really suffers?

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,832
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Depression and Coping
It has been so many years since I had spinal surgeries and fully understand the impacts to everyone in my family.

But, I know after my recent shoulder surgery, things are so much clearer. I could not do anything, Instead, my wife took over every thing that needed to be done for our house. Mine you, she works 40-60 hours a week in a stressful hospital position and then has to come home and do all the other things... Planting, weeding, trimming, mowing and so much more.

While I was recovering from surgery and going through rehab, I had all sorts of support. But the extra hours my wife has put in, sure I tell her I appreciate it, but how does one really let a loved one know that they have done so much and without them, things would have never come into place.

My story, sure, the patient suffers in pain and discomfort, but who really suffers, the ones that do 100 times more than the normally do and never complain.

We all have to step back and look at everything that happens around us.

I am lucky that I have seen what I needed to see
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


  • Wow so much to think about. I know that my loved ones are impacted so much. I have 3 young kids and I try to not let it affect them but I know it does. They are so sweet sometimes when they help take care of mommy. I hate that things are that way but I am so grateful to have them. My husband holy cow he's amazing!!! Don't know what I would do with out him he takes on so much. This makes me think that I need to make sure he really does know how much I appreciate him. Thanks for your thought provking post it's good to hear things like this sometimes.
  • In my case my husband and I have a mutual understanding. It's not perfect but we both understand. Over the years we have had more than our share of surgeries. As well as lost jobs and emotional upsets.

    When one is down the other either picks up the slack or finds ways to do so. The first thing that comes to mind is the lawn guys. While it is a luxury it sure takes the pressure off. They do in 20 minutes what would take us 2 hours and lots of cursing. My husband may not cook but he will suggest ordering in more often. While not necessarily doing the others chores we do find ways to ease the rest of the burden.

    My kids have also learned to adapt. I bought smaller laundry baskets (square are great) so they will carry the laundry up and down. My son has learned to cook and loves to make breakfast. My daughter is the biggest hold out but will do something when asked.

    Oh yes our problems impact our loved ones. But I like to think it's part of being a family. Today you need me and tomorrow I need you. Not always equal but a great scale that can tip both ways.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,832
    is really good to hear. I know for myself, I could easily take care of other people, make sure they do all the right things, etc, but when it comes to taking care of myself, well, lets say I need help.

    I really do not know why that is. I do know that I need to do things for myself to avoid additional problems and that I am pretty good at.

    But, I would much rather spend my time and energy looking after another.
    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 think we are edging around the original question to a new emotion. People need to take care of others. Built into our emotions is compassion and caring. And it is so much easier to "see" what others need and do it.

    But when we can't make things right for the ones we love it comes out as frustration and anger. Often the loved one thinks the anger is directed at them instead of being on their behalf. The husband who yells when he finds out your medication wasn't called in. He knows you will be in pain all night. Or the mother who drives you to the pharmacy and you find out the prescription isn't ready. She gets mad, not at you but because she knows you can't walk around for the half hour until it is ready.

    But the patient doesnt always understand where the anger is directed. They either get mad because they think you are mad at them or they feel bad because you are upset.

    So who suffers? The caregiver who feels helpless and the patient who feels responsible for upsetting the caregiver.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,832
    I see this all the time, right here on Spine-Health.

    Person "A" makes a post, person "B" gets offended, then Person "C" jumps in to try to change what Person "A" said and how person "B" felt.

    That can go on and on and on and is one of the problems that we see here so often and one of the reasons why some people leave Spine-Health.

    We are all adults, so we should now how to handle things correctly and not only on emotions.
    But at the same time, we are also pain patients who suffer a lot and many times our judgments are not really focused.

    Anger is a complicated action. Who is it directed to? Why is it being directed? What are the basis for that anger? and so forth and so forth.
    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
  • is not the actual physical work or the time given. What is difficult is his emotions! He has always been an active guy. He is not a tv watcher or a reader. And so he is getting increasingly bored and frustrated when he sees me doing what he considers his work. So he is either 'micro managing how I do the work' or becoming very quiet when I am out working. Which gives me more stress. I would so like to slap him a good one (Kidding folks) and tell him to get over it and live with the reality as it is now. This is going to go on for several more months- sigh!
  • Music? I spent half the last weekend ripping CDs into my laptop, reformatting my 8 gig memory stick so my music would fit, then plugged it into the back of the stereo in my Jeep.

    When I bought the 8 gig stick my wife and kids said, "You will never fill that" I have 145mb free...

    I have all the music, backed up on my Blackberry, my netbook and a small 160 gig external hard drive now. It's kind of neat to be able to get to just about anything I will ever want to listen to in a few seconds!

    Often when we are "laid up" we get into a funk and don't connect with what we can be doing, only what we can't!

    Try and think of what he used to like to do that did not require a lot or any physical effort.

    Like Ron's original point, it does hurt everyone around us to some extent. Both from the caregivers getting overloaded and stressed by not being able to do enough, or so it seems, and by the injured not being able to do seemingly anything, yet watching the world move on without them.

  • This year the roles have been reversed, where my husband is the one in need of care and I am the caregiver. Much like beaver described above, it can seem like a no win situation. If you do something that is normally his task, he gets bummed or resentful and it seems to feed the frustration ...

    I found that one thing I can and need to do, is to get away once in a while and do something completely for me. I also found that when attending to things tat he normally takes care of, I do them while he is asleep or away from the house. It seems to go a lot easier if the tasks are just done when he wakes up vs doing them in front of him.

    Also I refrain from reminding him of things that according to his doc, he cannot do. He knows what the doc told him and he knows when he is "pushing his luck". I just make sure he knows that I do not wish to be without him and I would appreciate it if he keeps that in mind, when he decides to do something that his doc says he shouldn't be doing.

  • Beaver,

    My husband feels the same way you do. He works 40 hrs a week, takes care of kids, laundry, cleaning, and cooks an occasional dinner. He would like to slap me too when I start micro-managing him. Like your husband I also get very quiet when he's working and he knows that I’m torturing myself inside with guilty feelings and tells me to stop.

    Like your husband, I was a very active person and now spend most days on the couch with my tens or heating pad. I have my days where I overdo it and be laid out for several days. I always get the speech "when are you going to realized that this is it and you can't do those things anymore”. My hubby always says be thankful that you can get out of bed every morning and put your feet on the floor. He doesn't care that he has to do everything, its life, get over it!! He is thankful that I am alive and able to do the things that I can do. Why is it so hard for us to face reality? That it's never going to get better and just deal with it?

    It's just going to take time for us spineys to come to grips with the curveball life have thrown us. I know it’s frustrating at times to see him like that but try to be patient with him. I’ve been dealing with this for 2yrs and am just starting to accept the way my life is without feeling guilty. It’s a very long road to travel and there will be a lot of bumps on the way.
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    I guess everyone around us suffers in some way. I haven't accepted my 'limitations' and probably never will until I can't get myself out of bed. My hubby works everyday and I've been a stay at home mom (son's in college now). I feel like everything at, in, or around the home is my job and still feel like it has to be done 'just so'. I know I'm stubborn, stupid, all of that and I pay for it with some long nights and days. I will be honest and say that I fight those limits because I'm afraid if I give in to them that's it. I know that pushing myself is what keeps me going and that I'll probably have these spinal issues the rest of my life and feel like I may as well make the most of it. I worked very hard yesterday and today I suffer but still I press on. So as of now, I suffer the most. I have a nice looking yard though so it's worth it right? haha. :)

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,832
    as you and I have discussed many times, seeing the results of hard work (lawn/garden/shrubs) comes along with some pain and flareups.

    Is it worth it? You know my answer = YES

    I guess we all try to find the proper balance. We just dont want to give in and stop doing the things we love and have a passion for. But we also know that giving 100% into that will result in some bad days/nights.

    I only wish I know what that threshold is. Just how much physical work can we do without suffering those flareups.

    Debbie, if you find that limit, please let me know

    Take care
    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 think deep down we know where the stop point is. We just don't want to admit it.

    There are several degrees in the stop point as near as I can tell. The one we miss or ignore leaves us in pain for X amount of hours or days and does little to no actual damage.

    The second degree may cause actual damage, but we may choose to do it anyway!

    The last degree is the one we better learn to stop at before we end up in the ED...or causing a stop or reversal in our healing if we are healing at that time.

    Since we are in Depression and coping lets throw that in the mix.

    Same deal, we know a beer or two, glass or two of wine, whatever is not going to help our mood for more then a few hours. We drink it anyway...

    The next level is the one or two wasn't enough lets try three...We all know that is playing with fire. So we don't go there, if we do, lets hope we quickly learn not to, before we do damage. no mixing with certain meds etc,

    The last level is time to call the hotlines or head to the ED.

    I think that anyone whom is well read on both these subjects can see the lines drawn across our path and choose when to step over them.

    The very key is to not step over too many of them at once, some of them never.

    The lines that hurt others are often ones that run along our path, we have to walk with on foot on the wrong side of them, or they are so blurry we do not see them clearly.

    I seem to have wandered across one of those lines and am now looking backwards trying to find it, maybe its up ahead? Sometimes its dark in here and hard to see the D*#N lines!
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    I'll definitely let you know if I ever find that limit. You do the same. Let me know how that works for you. lol.

  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    Do you need a flashlight? I'd send you one but my batteries are dead. lol. I think someone moves those darn lines sometimes without telling me about it!
    Don't do to much looking backwards...that's murder on the neck!
    Hope you're having a good 'spell'.
  • sunny1966 said:

    Don't do to much looking backwards...that's murder on the neck!


    That's what those darn things that we keep walking into along the side of our car are for. I hear that if you look into them you can see behind you without turning your head much. Of course if you knocked one out of alignment whilst walking by it then who knows which direction you are really seeing.
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    Is that really what those things are for?
    I thought they were there so when you back out of the garage they 'pop' off to show you you're to close? 8}
    Seriously though, I can't use my mirrors (just inept I guess) I'd run off a cliff using them not to mention what would happen to pedestrians! I'm having a bad neck weekend caused by not doing that very thing Friday. I turned my head quickly and felt a pop...now can't turn it much at all. So, hmmm. maybe I need to learn to use those things too you think? I mean since they're there?

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