The Downside of Care-Taking

All relationships have their ups and downs.  Heaven knows that DSB and I have had our share.  For the past two months, things have been very tense because DSB has been laid up and I have been caretaking, working, and running a household.  All by myself.  Did I mention the waiting on hand and foot part of it?  Stressful.  Miserable.  Made all the more miserable by his miserable attitude.

I understand being in pain.  I understand not feeling good.  What I don’t understand is taking frustration with that out on your partner.  I really don’t.  I can forgive a lot of it, but sometimes it’s just like, “Really?  Seriously?”

DSB came home from the hospital on Thursday evening.  He was in good humor, we had a crap dinner from McDonald’s, and pretty much went to bed.  I worked Friday and he called, asking where his truck keys were.  Well, I really didn’t know off the top of my head and couldn’t really see why it was so urgent that I find them, so I told him I would find them when I got home from work.

When I was leaving work, I found them in my glove box.  I texted this to DSB and he replied about how he never should have left something “so important” with me and he should have taken care of it himself.  Whatever.  They weren’t lost and it wasn’t like he was getting ready to take his non-running truck on a joyride.

When I got home, we almost immediately left for his doctor’s appointment and there were a lot of sighs and moans on the way, as he criticized my driving, claiming I was taking rough roads just to cause him pain.  Sure, that’s what I’m doing.  Makes total sense.  Then he was grumpy in the doctor’s office because I asked some questions.

By the time we got home, things were very tense.  DSB seemed to be oblivious, but I was reliving all of his little comments.  We ate dinner and went to bed.  We left the night off on a good note, so I was hopeful for the morning.

I woke up this morning and had breakfast and coffee.  I then went in to see DSB and he asked me to run out and get him biscuits and gravy.  I told him I didn’t want to leave twice in one day (because it is fracking cold out) and that we could combine the grocery shopping trip and his biscuits and gravy run into one trip.

I was then accused of not caring about him, not putting him number one, and being selfish.  Okay then.  Two can play this game.  I had no desire now to be in the same house as him the rest of the day, so I called my mom and told her I was coming into work and then I would hang out with her in the afternoon.

No, it’s not my scheduled day to work, but we have recently totally revamped the store and there are still many things that need to be put away and organized.  So, there is a valid excuse to go to work, other than to get away from the house.  I actually like all of the little organizing and putting things away into their place.

I told DSB my plan to go to work at 10:00am and then spend the afternoon with mom.  He grunted something at me, not sure what, other than I think it was just to say he heard me.  I told him that I’d run get him biscuits and gravy when I left and he said to just forget it.  He knew that he was not important to me.  That I only do things if they serve me.

So, my plan is to totally stop doing anything for DSB.  Maybe once that is taken away, he will see how much I do for him, and possibly apologize, although I doubt it.  I guess what I am saying is that, at this point, I am not willing to bend over backwards to help  him out as I have been doing for the past two months.

Want a drink of water?  A pillow?  Something fall on the floor?  Get it yourself.  He is supposed to be moving around because of the blood clots, so here’s his opportunity.  I think it will be beneficial for him to fend for himself for awhile.

That, and I’m just pissed and fed up.  I don’t think I’m wrong in feeling that, and even so, I don’t really care at the moment.

24 thoughts on “The Downside of Care-Taking

  1. I arrived at pissed and fed up last week with H suffering from back/neck pain for the past 3 weeks. He is currently on a business trip that ends tomorrow. I have enjoyed the peace and am anxious about it ending. I could feel the care taking slippage as I did everything for him [gahhhhh!] and, unfortunately, felt about half of it was necessary with the other half representing codependent crapage. For me, it is hard to discern what is OK and what is not in care taking, but I think I see something that looks like an abstract form of OK. It’s kind of mind-blowing to take up something that I thought was in the OK zone for my whole life. Baby steps I guess.


    • Baby steps indeed! I have been to your blog and see what you are going through. I can’t even imagine…how stressful! I am with you, it’s hard to discern what is ok and what is not when you are taking care of someone. I know that the waiting on hand and foot has to stop. He MUST get up and get his own drink, every once in awhile. He MUST get out of that chair every once in awhile to do something other than pee. Really, he MUST. Unfortunately, he doesn’t feel the same inclination to move. Hopefully those blood clots don’t start moving around from his lack of activity. Or get bigger. Or do whatever blood clots do. It’s just so frustrating and it is nice to hear that other people are struggling with the same thing, too.


      • Thanks for your kind words! Fortunately, H is feeling better but gawwwwddddd…before he went to PT this morning, he asked for suggestions about questions and I somewhat reluctantly provided them. He had the *right* conversation with his PT and took a proactive stands and Viola! things seem to be going better. The Lesson here is that it’s not rocket science and I do not have to do it for him, as I always have…[yes, now I know better lol!]

        Blood clots are scary business! I think it’s very hard to watch someone hurt and watch them struggle with inertia at the same time…AND not do too much! Shoot, so called normal people struggle with doing too much – how is a codependent to know 1) what normal is and 2) how much is too much!


  2. You’re not wrong, men make the worst patients. However I have found that when a person (man) is feeling sick and is reliant on others they tend to feel hemmed in and fractious (yes like a toddler) so of course they decide to take it out on the one person they believe won’t walk away when all along they’re just in a pissy mood. Hope it gets easier and your on the right track – don’t provide a target by being there every minute. Oh one last thing – I’d lay money that you’ll never get that apology as that would mean he was thinking about his actions and if he does that he’ll feel guilty so he will avoid that little thought like the plague. Best of luck.


    • Yes, exactly like a toddler. You nailed it! I’ve started trying to be away more, and, while that should provide him with the impetus needed to get up and get his own drinks, blankets, pillows, etc, it seems that he just stays in that chair and doesn’t drink or eat or move all day. Gah!


  3. It happens and you have every right to be fed up with the patient. When my now-ex had his gallbladder out, he drove me nuts. Then a blizzard hit and I had to go to work for 12 hour days for two weeks straight (I worked for the highway dept ordering salt, sand etc so I had to be in whenever the plows were on the road). I felt bad leaving him…oh, wait. Not really. I wanted him to feel better but I didn’t want to deal with him in the meantime.

    Hopefully he recovers well and this can be chalked up to him being a bad patient. Doesn’t make it right, but it does mean that it should just be temporary.

    Hang in there ((hugs))


    • I really do think this is just him being a bad patient; it’s just that he’s been a patient for an excruciatingly long time now. I don’t feel bad leaving DSB when I have to go to work, but it is irritating that he doesn’t take care of himself while I am gone, he just waits until he gets back before he eats or drinks or gets something to make himself more comfortable.


  4. When Garry was sick last time, he accused me of making the weather bad so he would have to go out and get groceries before the snow. The weather???? Really?? It’s a guy thing. NOT a good guy thing. The other kind.


    • Hah, the weather! That’s a good one. I took him this morning to get his labs drawn and was once again being accused of driving over potholes and taking the bumpiest route. I’m really not sure there’s any reason he can’t drive, so why do I keep doing it? I’m not sure.


  5. LOVED this post and totally feel your aggravation. My fiance has back injuries and seems like he’s always in pain. I totally get it and understand but ever since we’ve been together, I’ve waited on him hand and foot, washed his clothes, washed his dishes, ran out and did everything he wanted or got what he wanted and have pretty much babied him, and he has a shitty attitude at times… and when I ask him to do something for me, he’s in “pain”, or has to leave for work, or so and so …doesn’t want to pretty much. I’m right here with ya and hell no you’re not wrong for how you feel or what you’re doing. I always say I’m going to let him do things on his own from now on and my dumb ass keeps doing things for him. that’s love… sadly! 😦 glad you went to work and took a break from him… sometimes, if they don’t have us to do things for them anymore… they start to see how hard THEY have it and realize they need us and appreciate more… good luck!


    • Oh Momz, I do the same. My withdrawal of complete hand-and-foot waiting here in the last couple of days has only meant that now he barely drinks or eats anything because he’d have to get it himself. He has been on a trip since he received his disability check so now it’s not just fetching things from the house; we’re back to doing all the grocery shopping, fetching, etc.


      • oh man, if they have to do anything for themselves, they turn into big ass babies… ! it’s sad.. .I feel your pain. hang in there and keep your head up!


        • Thanks so much for your support, Momz! We are currently in the middle of a war because I want him to drive himself to his own lab draws and wound vac changes. Why should I have to function fully at 7:00 in the morning? I’m good usually by 8:00, but getting up at 530 to be ready by 630 kills me.


          • what?! He doesn’t want to go alone?! that’s crazy… mine is the same way. when i have to go to the store or somewhere and it’s too cold, i go alone and let him chill in the house warm as hell.. when he has to go somewhere, it’s the same thing. ..war because I won’t go with him. I’m in the same boat as you and you’re not alone! if you need an ear.. I’m here for you! they don’t appreciate some of the things we do for them. smh


  6. Yup, men. Can’t live with them and eventually you run out of room to hide the bodies.

    I think your approach is sound. If he’s going to be rude and unappreciative, stop doing things for him. I do that to Josh when he gets in one of those moods. I know that I really do need to take care of myself first so that I’ll be able to take care of everyone else, and I have no qualms about reminding him of that.

    Good luck, sweetie. I hope things take a turn for the better – real soon.


  7. Having been the one in pain, I can empathize with your guy – but only about 5%. It’s awful to be dependent on others. It’s probably worse for men, who don’t give up their independence easily. But I’m with you at least 95% because it sounds like you’ve been a wonderful caretaker, which must be one of the toughest jobs in the world.

    I learned that depression and anger are close companions of pain. Can you find some tips on how to handle this — for him and for yourself? You shouldn’t have to go through all of this.
    p.s. This probably doesn’t matter right now, but I really like the way you wrote your story.


    • I have tried looking through forums online and have talked with DSB about getting on an antidepressant, or doing ANYTHING that might lift his depression. He doesn’t feel like he is depressed, or doesn’t want to admit it at any rate. I know that I have to take care of me, or I will spiral out of control. I’m starting to take some steps toward that, but it’s really hard to just watch him waste away in that recliner.


      • It’s hard to admit you’re depressed when you’re depressed. That’s for other people. “Weak” people. But not me, surely!!

        Unfortunately, the very thought makes some “tough” people even more belligerent.

        Is there a rehabilitation hospital for people recovering from injuries, pain, etc. that offers pain management groups? Sometimes men have to hear from other men how the same conditions are affecting them, in ‘safe’ places like a group.
        What does his doctor have to say?

        I really feel for you. And would say this: no matter what he’s going through, you deserve gratitude and respect.

        Be KIND to yourself, or you can’t be genuinely kind to anyone else.


        • Yes, belligerent is a good word. I called the local rehab hospital today and there are pain management groups, but I was advised that they are mainly full of the elderly. I don’t know if DSB would go for that or not. And I am truly trying to be kind to myself, which is hard because I normally am not, even on an average day. Sometimes this BS going on just makes it all the more difficult! I really appreciate your support!


  8. Uggghhhh. A part of me sooooo wants to respond. Another part sez, STFU QoBorD.
    As mentioned earlier, IRT, We are afraid to post, because it might be a small novella, and that’s not rational in a comment section.

    And We read thru’ the comments, and such a similarity of rejoicing of those without the Y chromosome who gather to common ground. Really? Why? Why… just because one has an XX does one tolerate the BS of the XY when illness befalls? Does it have a turn’round point when the other side drops. Methinks not.

    Okay, I can already feel myself falling into an abyss that is for another day. Suffice to say there is a huge difference between the occasional smirk and giving a bit of extra attention, than the vast crag of enabling BS.

    Oh, must stop. Word up, my beloved sistah.


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