I have been a caregiver for my husband since May of 2022. He suffered several small strokes (with no lasting damage) and had carotid artery surgery a few days ago. Because he was on medication for 7 months that caused muscle weakness and because of his age (85), he is currently in a physical therapy hospital to regain his balance and strength. He was very strong and physically active before May. Fortunately, he does not suffer from any cognitive issues. I am experiencing burnout after these months of caregiving and am "enjoying" him being in a facility where I know he will get better and is taken care of 24/7.
You don't say how far away you are from the physical therapy hospital. If it is 20 minutes by car and the parking lot is full of cars, that is just added stress.
In an ideal world, I would suggest that you are there either every other day or every day. However, I would time your visit to when the doctor does his rounds or when your husband gets PT and keep the visit short. The visit can be just a little before, during and after the PT and since it is short, it will still leave you some time to be by yourself for R & R.
The reason why you want to be there for PT is because you can watch what they are doing and ask questions about why and how it is being done. The reason why you want to know these things is because chances are, you will have to do it with him once he gets out rehab. In addition, it could benefit you in the future as you may need to strengthen those exact same muscles in your own body.
Depending upon the kind of relationship that you have with him, you could also be his cheerleader, and his sounding board during and after these sessions.
So I would go every day or every other day, and try to time it when you can observe his PT sessions or when the doctor comes for his rounds (much tougher to time correctly). I know that your husband would really appreciate some "different" company, however, by keeping the visit short, you could use this time to re-energize yourself, too.
I feel it is important to take care of yourself. I don’t think your husband would want you to be physically exhausted or emotionally drained if you are feeling overwhelmed.
I hope that you are comforted knowing that your husband is being looked after by a professional staff.
Go see him when you can. Rest when it is needed. You can always call the staff for updates on his condition.
Wishing you and your husband all the best.
It can be very stressful when you’re a caregiver, so you can make the decision on how often you want to visit your husband. A suggestion if you can’t visit him everyday is to visit him every other day.
Hope you find a solution on visiting your husband that works for you and will not be overwhelming to you.
I'm not sure why you are feeling sorry for her husband. Caregiving is hard. Everyone needs a break sometimes. People don't have to be martyrs and its not wrong of her to feel the way she feels. It doesn't mean that she loves him any less because she needs to take some time to refresh while he is being taken care of by other people. Respite care exists for a reason. There is some alarming % of caregivers that actually DIE before the ones they are caregiving for due to burnout and stress. If she was sick would we begrudge her time to take care of herself? Why is taking care of her mental health any different?
And not to put too fine of a point on it - but I have never once experienced being with someone in the hospital or rehab when I got to sit there and relax and enjoy being there. Overnights in the hospital we were woken up multiple times (while I slept on a hard couch). During the day I was fluffing his pillow or getting him water or asking the nurses for something for him to drink or trying to take care of him. And when visiting my FIL in rehab it has been a constant battle to explain to him all of the things that he wanted us to do for him that we needed him to do for himself, or spend all of the visit explaining why he's not ready to be discharged yet. It's not always a walk in the park to visit someone you love and sit back and relax.
I think her best option is just to go with what works for her. She shouldn't be judged for using this time to heal herself while he heals himself.
What works for him...
My Husband had dementia and I went everyday for his PT and OT. I had ways to get him to do things that the Therapists did not. Once I got him to grasp what was being asked I sat there and shut up. After PT I would have him walk around the facility. (He was there because of a hip fracture/post surgery.)
If your husband is doing well, progressing well and understands that you can not come visit daily then pop in every other day or every 2 days.
Use this time to recharge your batteries.
My FIL is being discharged from inpatient rehab next week. He has been there since right after Thanksgiving. He was in the hospital for a little over a week prior to that and was transferred from the hospital because he would not get out of the bed. Not could not, would not. He was an unsafe discharge home (and many thanks to this forum for that particular phrase) At first, we thought for sure that he would not come back home. We were looking for Skilled Nursing Facilities. He was alert and talking and engaged, but unwilling to get out of the bed. (there was nothing physically wrong with him, he took a small roll out of his chair but was not injured and had multiple tests in the hospital to ensure that) He had a UTI that was treated in the hospital but at this point he was completely clear headed.
BIL/SIL visited at most twice a week for long enough to say hello and switch out his clothes, maybe a few minutes longer. DH and I live about an hour away, and we visited once a week usually. We all spoke periodically on the phone but it amounted to someone speaking to him at least once every day.
This time was a much needed respite for the entire family, as DH and I are back up/additional "sharegivers" and emotional/mental support and the "cavalry" so to speak whenever any interventions need to happen with FIL. It has not been without fireworks even with him being in rehab. Had we gone every day - I know he would not have made the progress he has made. We literally saw him regress when we visited.
When we visited - he would ask SIL to brush his teeth or DH to push the call button that was literally at his finger tips. He would ask me to hand him his phone that was laying on his stomach. He would ask BIL to hold his water cup for him. He would ask us to raise the head of his bed when the controller was laying next to him. He would literally not do a single thing for himself. He wanted us to feed him. He wanted us to brush his hair. The list goes on and on. We would not do it for him because we knew he could do it himself. But we asked him who did it for him when we were not there. He said he had to do it himself because "They don't come fast enough when I call and they say I need to do things for myself."
I don't know - maybe that sounds selfish of us to someone outside of the family. But had we stayed and been there every day or every other day and done those things for him - he would not be coming home next week. He would 100% be going into a Skilled Nursing Home from rehab instead and there is a good chance he wouldn't have made any progress at all because as he once told a doctor "Why would I do it when they can do it for me?" And that statement right there is the exact reason he has lost so much of his mobility and independence to begin with.
Now you know you have your mornings and maybe early afternoon. So sleep in and enjoy your peace.
What I DO know is that YOU need some relaxation time of your own and you don't need permission from anyone to take it. If you break down, then what happens? Then your DH stays in that rehab SNF in their long term care section, permanently.
Wishing you the best of luck coming up with a plan that works for YOU!
He was too sick to care or was always being tested for one thing or another, otherwise watching TV.
I am not one to stay with someone all day and night in the hospital, doing nothing but sitting there or watching TV, see no reason to do so, may just be me.
Go take a nap!
Patients had a rest/nap period for an hour after the day's therapy. Dinner was afterward, and if I wasn't already there, I arrived every day in time to wheel LO to the dining room and help feed him. I also helped other patients who couldn't cut their food, etc. The aides were stretched very thin at mealtimes.
I noticed that out of maybe 40 patients in that wing, I and one other woman who was also helping her husband were the only ones doing that every day. Some patients didn't see a family member the whole time they were in residence. I was told this by the aides, with whom I became friendly.
Take what you will from this. It's up to each of us how much we are able to give and how much we want the job once they get out. I didn't know at the time that I could refuse. But now YOU do.
I so appreciate your honesty.
I am with you. Its time to take care of you. He is OK. Just tell him the truth, you need some rest after spending so much time in the hospital with him. You need to rejuvenate. 😁
Before I would visit, I would find out his schedule. Mornings are hectic in Rehab because they need to get the person up, dressed and to breakfast. PT is usually done in the morning. Then med passes and lunch. Then he will have OT in the afternoon probably. I probably would not even go visit in the morning. Maybe after lunch and I would leave at dinner especially if you live somewhere where is dark by then.
I am a talker but I am uncomfortable sitting around visiting someone for more than an hour or so. My DH though is almost deaf and he is the only one I sit around for. Even though I have asked that "deafness" be put in his records, it doesn't go from shift to shift. So I need to be there for the doctors.
I did call the hospital and they are able to give me the daily schedule. You're right they work them hard until 1:30. He'll probably be tired. When I went there yesterday for a couple of hours it was hard for him to stay awake. It's kind of cute because neither one of us wants to hurt the other's feelings. He wants me to stay but not be an imposition on my life and I want to be there a little but need permission from all of you to do that. My husband is also deaf which makes it also a little hard to continue to make conversation because those hearing aids don't always work very well.
It would be good if I could go there for meals but because of Covid they don't let anyone from outside to go any of the meals. So the only place I can really visit is in his room.
Much here depends upon the relationship you two have nurtured throughout a long time. I sure wish you good luck.