My husband had a heart transplant on December 7, 1998, and since then my life has been hell. He was sick in bed for three years before this and I worked full time and waited on him hand and foot. I was offered an early retirement package and I took it because he wasn’t going to the doctor appointments because I couldn’t take him. We have been married 33 years, and I can barely stand to even look at him. The reason being he is so negative and doesn’t follow the doctor’s orders as he has the heart transplant and think that he knows more than the doctors. He has been told that since the transplant he is a manic depressant, but when they put him on antidepressant’s he doesn’t take them long enough for them to work and then he won’t go back to the shrink. I am so stressed and don’t have a clue where to turn. He has no desires and doesn’t do anything except lay on the bed all day, unless I will take him somewhere, I can’t continue to live like this so what are my choices?
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December 7th, 1998. A day that will live in Infamy (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!) Let’s look at your situation. You are the full time caregiver for a man who is either not able to care for himself, or doesn’t want to (which for your purposes amounts to about the same thing). You aren’t working (out of the house I mean) and so don’t have any respite or outside social activity away from his illnesses. You can’t influence his behavior too much because he won’t or can’t follow treatment instructions. You’ve got all the worries here and life is not fun. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest support group you can find for persons dealing with family members who have serious illnesses (of any sort). Call your local hospital or mental health center. They may be able to point you in the right direction. You may also wish to seek some counseling or therapy support. Essentially, I think you need to get some outside activity and support going at once so as to lighten your load at home. Don’t make the excuse that you can’t leave him to do this. Find a way to get to one or more of these groups and keep going. Groups or therapy like I’ve suggested won’t solve all your problems, but they have the potential to help you feel quite a bit better. No one can function as a caregiver all the time without support and respite.