A Step Towards Healing

The last year has been really hard on Hubs. I have seen him slowly spiral downhill into a place I can’t always reach him. I have watched him change from the man I married into someone else. Someone who was a shadow of the person he used to be.

Over the last year, Hubs has seen no shortage of health care professionals. While we were still in NB, and he was still in the military, he was seeing a Nurse Practitioner. He had been seeing the same NP for years. She was also noticing the change in him. She acknowledged she thought he may be depressed about a year before he was released (which was about the time the release process started) She did not send him to see anyone at this time. It wasn’t until about 2 months before his release that she decided to send him to anyone. Well. He needed to see a psychologist or a psychiatrist. But those have waiting times. So she sent him to a counselor. The counselor acknowledged he had depression and anxiety ‘tendencies’ and gave him breathing techniques. They didn’t help him.

Through all this, I knew that something was off. He needed more help. But the military isn’t really open to spouses advocating for the health care of their serving members. I tried. But there wasn’t anyone listening to me. I was just the spouse.

Around the time he was being released we started meeting with Veterans Affairs Canada. VAC disappointed me over and over and over when it came to Hubs. Hubs should have all his medications and treatments covered in relation to his ankle injuries. His right ankle was injured as a direct result of the military and we have documented proof of his left ankle being injured due to his right ankle. We have documented proof that he grinds his teeth due to the pain and the stress surrounding everything. We had 2 medical professionals stating that Hubs was, on some level, depressed and needed help. VAC acknowledged that his right ankle was the military’s fault and is covering all his treatments. They acknowledge that his left ankle injury was caused from compensating for his right ankle, but they are refusing to cover treatment for it. We can’t find anyone willing to treat the right ankle and not the left ankle. As soon as the right ankle is treated, the fear is the left will get worse if it’s not receiving some care too.  And if the left gets worse, the right will to, because Hubs will likely compensate for the added pain in his left ankle by over using the right ankle. But I am kind of digressing here.

Every time VAC denies something, I can see  Hubs getting more and more discouraged that he isn’t being listened to. (this problem isn’t unique to us, a lot of people have this issue with VAC) No one was helping him with those emotions. Finally we were assigned a VAC caseworker here in Winnipeg. Finally we had someone we could sit down with and talk to. Someone who’s job was to oversee Hubs file. He can’t make the decisions on our claims, but we had someone who was going to advocate for us. Someone who wanted to see Hubs get the help he needed. Someone who was going to educate us on what our entitlements are. Someone who would tell us how to appeal the decisions we felt were unfair. Someone who could HEAR us.

We met with the caseworker for the first time in late August. He came to our home and observed. Finally I had someone ask me about Hubs mental health and how I felt he was coping. What I felt he might need. Imagine that. Someone asking me, his wife, his spouse, his support, the only one who sees him on a day to day basis. I felt heard. I told our caseworker about our day to day lives. I told him about how some days Hubs isn’t here. He’s here in body. But that’s about it. I told him that I KNOW my husband needs to talk to someone. I can see him going downhill. He told me about a clinic that sees veterans that Hubs qualified for that would enable him to see a psychiatrist for an evaluation and see someone on a regular basis if he needed it. And it wouldn’t cost us anything. I could have hugged him.

That was August. Hubs FINALLY had his evaluation yesterday. He was diagnosed with depression and chronic pain. The psychiatrist is sending in a referral to a psychologist, a referral to a pain management clinic and a referral to our family Dr to have Hubs put on anti depressants. Finally. I feel like a weight has been lifted off me. I feel like we are finally, finally moving in a direction towards something positive for him. I feel like maybe, just maybe, he’ll be able to struggle a little less and feel a little more like himself. I hope he can finally feel like he is being listened to and heard. That someone out there is taking him seriously and wants to see him heal. I want so desperately to have my husband back. I want so much for him to find a way to cope and not stress and obsess so much about everything going on. I know it might take awhile but I am still holding that hope that there is a better tomorrow out there for us.

Love, hugs and more to come later
Lynn

Advertisements

Falling out of blogging

I wish this wasn’t so hard. There are so many things I WANT to blog about, but I can’t seem to find the time to do it. I’m falling out of blogging and I hate it. I want to keep writing. I love the freedom to say what I want, without having to censure myself. Because, if someone doesn’t like what I’m saying they can move on!! I want to make time for blogging, I just need to figure out how. Being so much closer to my family is eating up my time (not that I am in any way, shape, or form complaining!) Ill find the time, Ill catch up on the things I want to write about (like Alex’s birthday party last month, and the very lovely blog award I received! Not to mention the New Years post I’ve been thinking about!) Bear with me! And if you have any suggestions on how to fit blogging BACK into my life, I’m all ears!!

Love, hugs and more to come later
Lynn

Gaining Perspective

A couple weeks ago I posted about the struggles I was having with Hubs. Last weekend I went to Edmonton to hang out with my best friend, M, and celebrate his birthday. M’s wife just left him. After 6 months of marriage and a 4 year relationship. For no apparent reason. The specifics aren’t important, but basically she caught him off guard. She was unhappy, and didn’t tell or show him that.
It got me thinking.
There are a lot of things in Hubs and my relationship making me unhappy. I’ve been choosing not to discuss them with Hubs because they are related to his chronic pain condition and he has little to no control over them. I figured since he can’t change them, why talk about them. He can’t help that sometimes he’s in too much pain to do much with the kids and I. He tries. I know he does. I see it. I see him overdo it and that frustrates me too. M’s wife chose not to express she was unhappy. I don’t know what was making her unhappy. Whether he could change it or not. But he didn’t know. And that’s not fair.
Now, just to clear it up, I am not considering leaving Hubs. But, when I am in a bad mood, he deserves to know why. He deserves to know what makes me unhappy. Even if he can’t change it. At least then he can help me work through it.
So I talked to him. I told him the things about his condition that make me unhappy. I expressed myself.
And at the end of it, he thanked me. He could tell something was wrong, but didn’t know what. At least this way, he knows. And maybe he can change it a little bit. We’ll see. But I know that I am happier then I was a couple weeks ago. And now, Hubs knows that I need a husband, not another child. And we are working on ways to help him stop making excuses not to do things for himself. So I can stop feeling guilty when things get forgotten or put off.

I can’t win

Lately I feel like Hubs and I have been struggling like crazy. I can’t seem to find a balance when it comes to helping him cope.
There are things he needs help with. I get that. The medication he is on to help him with his pains affects him mentally.
There were days he was forgetting to take his pill, or unsure of whether he took them. He decided to text my phone whenever he took his pill. Which worked… Mostly. Except when he forgot to text me. I found that he was relying heavily on me to remember if he took his pill/pay attention to his every move. So I bought him a 7 day am/pm pill dispenser. Now there is a visual he can use to track it himself. Then the problem became that he would forget his pill and remember it when it was too late to take it. So again, Lynn to the rescue. His alarm now goes off at 845 am and pm to remind him. And again at 945 am and pm, just in case.
He and I got into an argument today. Because he was supposed to go enroll at the university and he hasn’t. When I asked about it, he spouted off his reasons for not going… I hadn’t told him how to get there (he hadn’t asked, and can use Google Maps without me) He forgot and I hadn’t reminded him. He thought I was going to email/call them.
I kind of lost it at him at that point. I’m his wife. I’m willing to help him. But I’m not his mother. I explained that he needs to take ownership for himself. But I’m frustrated. I’m annoyed. I’m saddened. And most of all… I feel guilty.
I love this man. More then I can possibly describe in a mere blog post. I want to help him. Care for him. But I want to be his wife. Not his care taker. Its so… Draining. I find myself getting annoyed more and more. I find myself surrounded by happiness less and less. I tell myself it’ll get better once he’s in school and productive… But… What if its not? I know the divorce rate for chronic pain sufferers is high. And I’m scared. I want to work on this with him, but I’m tired. I’m going to Edmonton alone in a couple weeks for a weekend. I’m hoping I find perspective. Because right now I don’t feel like I have it.

Love, hugs and more to come later
Lynn

Figuring It Out

Every time I think I might finally have a handle on being a mom to 4 young kids the universe throws me a curve ball as if to remind me I am absolutely clueless.
A few weeks ago I enrolled Alex into school. At first he seemed to be doing great. He loved going, he was happy and there were no issues. His teacher was sweet and seemed to have an excellent handle on things.
Then one Thursday I went to pick Alex up and she greeted me with a comment along the lines of ‘oh my goodness, is it Friday yet! These kids are making me crazy!’ Now, I want to state that I can only imagine that dealing with 20 three-five year olds is stressful and chaotic and I’m sure Friday is exciting… But it seemed like such an unprofessional statement. Maybe if I knew her better I would find it more acceptable, maybe I’m over reacting, but it bothered me.
Then there was the day I showed up a few minutes early to pick Alex up. A group of about 10 students were gathered around the computer watching Youtube. Without supervision. This bothers me because while I think Youtube is an excellent site for educational videos and kids songs etc, I also feel like it should be used under supervision. It only takes one click of the mouse before those kids are watching something totally inappropriate.
Then was the day that broke my heart. I dropped Alex off like usual, then picked him up again at 330. When we got home we were talking about his day. He told me the teacher made him sit on the blue chair during circle time because he was crying. I asked him why he was crying and he told me he cried because I left. Wait. What? Since when?
The next day when I brought him to school I asked his teacher about his comment. She told me he cries a bit almost everyday. This had never been mentioned to me before. Every afternoon I ask how his afternoon was and she tells me he was happy and cooperative all day. Now she tells me he struggles for the first hour or so, out of a 2.5 hour program.
Alex hasn’t been to school in a week. The last day I brought him he cried and begged me not to leave him. I left the school crying. I cried all afternoon, my heart breaking for my little boy who was miserable in this setting. I cried for me, for not seeing how unhappy he truly was. I gave it a ton of thought. Do I keep forcing him to go? Or do I listen to his pleas and pull him from the program?
I finally decided to pull him. He’s three. He’s not ready to be away from his brother, sisters and I. Why force him before he’s ready. I have the opportunity to have him home with me and I’m taking it. In the last week my 3 year old has been himself again. And his only comments about school were ‘Mom, when you leave me at school I freak out. Miss A tells me not to but I miss you when you leave me. I like to stay home forever’ and ‘I have to go to school. Miss A said she’s going to cry if I stay home forever’
I don’t think I am going to enroll him back into the school I had him in for Nursery (pre k) some of my reasons are listed here, but most aren’t. But, that’s not a choice I’m making today! Right now the only choice I’m making is what to feed my babies for breakfast!

Love, hugs and more to come later
Lynn