Full Version: The hardest thing I've ever had to do.... ever
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I've made a special effort to not talk about a few things in my personal life here thinking that this forum is about our love for our hobby and I didn't want to mess things up. Then again, it's also about friendships and sometimes helping our friends through rough times. So I guess it's time for me to open up a bit.
Back in 2014, my wife Peggy was diagnosed with dementia, she was hospitalized a year later and they wanted me to put her into a memory care home, but I just couldn't do that then. I took care of her as she got worse; it's a progressive disease with no cure. Medication helped keep her calm, but she could no longer do routine things, plus she was unsteady, falling and hurting herself a lot. A while back, I got help through a local program that put her in adult day care for a few hours each week, but it stopped when Covid19 hit. We were able to apply for long-term care last year, knowing that it would be a long process. Meanwhile, earlier this year, she qualified for hospice home care and that helped big time. Even then, I was still her main caretaker, 24/7. A few weeks ago, her approval for long-term care came through, and so we all watched as the transport vehicle took my wife of 60 years away. Everyone says this is best for both of us, and they are right. I did what I could, but being untrained, it was not enough and it showed on her care and my health.
I no longer need to be aware of her moving around or needing help. She's in a highly recommended facility that specializes in memory care and just about five minutes away. She is in the hands of professionals, which puts me at ease, but still knowing that it was the hardest decision I ever had to make.
Thanks for listening, I'm not looking for sympathy; although I could use some R&R, I just think that friends want to know when other friends are dealing with major changes or issues in their life, and talking about them with others can help, that's one reason we started Big Blue, some other forums wouldn't allow personal discussions. Some of you have had to deal with worse situations than this, and my heart goes out knowing what you went though. Peggy should be comfortable where she is, they'll keep her occupied, but more importantly, she will be safe. I'll be able to visit once this virus thing goes away. For now, I can have video and "window" visits anytime. Getting the help through these programs wasn't easy. I'm not sure where we'd be if I hadn't found the ones that I did.
Don it is a hard thing to do what you are doing but as you said its for the best for both of you , your not no spring chicken it had do be a drain on you , at least you have the knowledge that she is in a good care center and is close to you . its hard after a long marriage to have this happen (the wife and i will have been at for 55 years on the 25th ) so i know what i would be like if i lost her.
Don, you are correct. Letting someone go from your care to another is gutrenching. In the long run you will find it was the right thing to do. She will get the care she needs and you will be able to shed the stress of taking care of her. Too often those giving care neglect themselves and find themselves worse off than the one they were caring for. Adjustment won't be easy. My father-in-law went in the nursing home over a year ago and I still find myself thinking I need to check on him. Family, friends, and your hobbies will help you through this change. We will keep you, and your wife in our prayers.
While it was the best thing you could do for BOTH of you that doesn't make it any easier. Still I would think it has to give you some peace of mind to know that she is getting the care that she is. Times like this is when we need our hobbies to keep our mind off these other things. My best wishes for both of you Don.
The friends I have found on this forum helped me through my loss 5 years ago and we will do all that we can to help you through this. Continued prayers for you and your family.

Hello Don---finding words of comfort is difficult because the changes in your life that you are feeling are so personal and deep after spending a lifetime with someone you dearly loved and cared for.My family made a similiar decision when my Mother entered a nursing home but I can honestly say my Mom was very well cared for and happy until she passed away.Try to take comfort that your wife is now safe and that you did your best to make her life full of love.You're a good man Don.
Thank you all, I know that many of you have had similar moments and it's good that I can use that as comfort and understanding. Yeah, you hear a noise and you jump to see what's she into now, you're doing something and stop to go check, or you reach out to see if she needs something, but then you realize, you're alone. The past few years became more difficult, I lost her when she could no longer put words together and couldn't remember my name. She knew I was someone important in her life but lost the connection as to who I was. I'm not sure how I did what I did, but the bond and the commitment we both made 60 years ago was greater than the frustration and sadness I felt.

They are taking good care of her, I get weekly updates from her hospice nurse and I plan on another video visit later this week. I know I did the right thing for us both, but it's still hard to deal with right now. Big Blue has always been there for anyone in need to talk, it's great to have friends that are willing to listen. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Hello Don,

with my humble English speak i can only say it is a dreadful expierience when a beloved person is more and more taking a leave until this person is vanished and nothing of her personality is left, but her body is still alive. My mother in law had gone this way after her crippling stroke. The person was physically still there, but the personality you have known disappeared in stages. This was a large mental burden for me and my family. So i believe i can understand the strain you are exposed now. And it was in my eyesight the right decision to give her over into the care of professional nurses. This banned also the danger of overstressing yourself.
Fill your emptiness with new projects. As your wife is shepherded by professionals, you have now the time for it.

My best wishes for you and your family

Lutz, your "humble English", is eloquent and I'm thankful that you're here. Along with everyone else, you all understand what I'm going through. You are right, the person we put into memory care a few weeks ago was just a shell of who my wife was, but still, every once in a while, part of her would pop through and I would wonder if I'm about to do the right thing. Then she'd fall and I'd call the Fire Department and they'd help me get her back up and patched up until Hospice sent a nurse and maybe an x-ray machine to take care of her until the next time she'd fall. That's when I would know that it's the right thing to do. And yes, it's usually the caretaker that gets the strain and stress and so we all understand what each of us has or is going through.
Don, I am sorry to read this, and my prayers will include you. After all of those years with not only a loving wife but a true life partner it will be very hard to adjust to the loneliness. 
You know you have done your best and will continue to do that, but you must think of your other family members and keep strong for them. Let them help in what ever way they want. It is their need to help them through this time too. Contact old friends. You have many here you have never met, and if you need to chat feel free to PM any of us and supply a phone number, or reach out on the Facebook page.  
I will remain a true blue friend.
Thank you Charlie, and everyone else too for being so understanding. If I didn't think of you all as friends, I never would have posted this in the first place. As I said, I've met and/or talked on the phone with many of you, I had planned a trip across the country many years ago, and wanted to stop along the way to visit some friends that I've never met in person, but my wife, for some reason, didn't want to go, so we didn't. I think that was in the very early stages of her dementia, I found later on that she was afraid to drive or go to new places.

There's a line in the movie, "Things Change" that I always remember. The crime boss is skeptical of this guy and is about to have him whacked, when he hands him something, I think it was an old coin that has significance. The boss calls off the hounds, then looks at him and says, "It's always nice to meet a new friend". That's what it's like whenever someone new shows up on Big Blue, without the whacking thing of course.....
Don and others. I have never done Zoom, but I think I could figure it out and if you would like we could set up a "face to face " meeting say once a week where we could just say hello and get to know on and other a little better.  We have a lot in common that we could focus on. 
It would be somethng to try,
Don, I knew that was coming.  Was surprised you hadn't made that move earlier.  I knew it was a strain on you.  You have been an extra good husband.  Prayers for you and her.  God bless.
(08-25-2020, 08:08 AM)Chief Eagles Wrote: [ -> ]Don, I knew that was coming.  Was surprised you hadn't made that move earlier.  I knew it was a strain on you.  You have been an extra good husband.  Prayers for you and her.  God bless.

Thanks Frank, it took a while, not only because my commitment to her, but we would have been broke inside a year if I had to do this on our own dime. It was years before I found even one program that would help. That lead to another and another, then finally to ALTECS, the Arizona long-term care administrators. We applied in November, and it took ten months to get all the paperwork in and do what I needed to do in order to have her qualify. Even then, I wasn't sure that I wanted to do this, but, when I started to become on a first-name basis with the Surprise Fire Dep't, having called 911 at least a half-dozen times this past month, I knew it was time.

If there are others here that are struggling as caregivers or know someone who is, and they need help, there's a chance I can point you in the right direction. I was at Brenda's Kitchen for breakfast this morning and there's this one guy that his wife is in a wheelchair. He stopped me and asked about the help I was getting. These programs are there to help, but are difficult to connect with.
(08-25-2020, 07:11 AM)Charlie B Wrote: [ -> ]Don and others. I have never done Zoom, but I think I could figure it out and if you would like we could set up a "face to face " meeting say once a week where we could just say hello and get to know on and other a little better. We have a lot in common that we could focus on.
It would be somethng to try,

Great idea. It would be great to spend face time regardless, especially when we can't visit during these times. We used to do a chat every night, then just once in a while, then none at all. It seems like chat rooms went out with the Dodo birds. Pat added, then removed a chat room here since no one was using it, plus it was a potential problem. Zoom is good, I did one Zoom meeting with a doctor's office and from what I understand, one person sets up a meeting, then sends everyone else an invite. You can use your computer or cell phone. I have done more with Skype, but only one-on-one. I'm not sure it they can do a multi-person get together, I'll check and get back to you on that. All these can be either free or paid, but the free versions are adequate for our purposes, one just has to be careful when they register that they take the "free" path. The free ones usually have a limit on the number of people in a meeting, plus the amount of time.

I'll talk to Pat tonight and see if we need to do it independently of Big Blue, or if we can set something up here.
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