Spouse as martyr

  1. I know most of you are familiar with this -in acute and LTC.You know the type of couple I'm talking about.That sick co-dependency in which one spouse is ill and trying to literally suck the life out of the other one...Staff and other family members waste so much time trying to convince the "suckee" to go home-get away for a few hours-take care of yourself-TO NO AVAIL....They need to be sucked-it's what they've done for years-we are simple not going to change that behavior at this point...I got sucked in to the vortex today -the entire dysfunsctional family was in the room (including one of our head mucky mucks who is part of the extended family-not a good thing) I got drawn in to the conversation and found myself offering my support....Later on today it hit me-they are perfectly content feeding off of one another-it's the kids and grand-kids with the problem and I am not going to get sucked in any longer...It's clearly a dance that this clan is VERY familiar with and it can be very disruptive to the unit....I picked up on a few things that seemed to point this out-Like the "suckee" seems to revel in all of the attention she is getting from the rest of the family....The "sucker" says "Just take a gun and shoot me" after an incontinent episode -the wife's response is "Believe me-I WISH I WAS dead"(believe me-we got to him in less then 2 mins-along with all of his other problems he has prostate isssues and for some reason can't seem to guide his peter into the urinal-maybe because his wife has been doing it for him for the past 3 weeks? ) The "suckee" seems very proud to say over and over that she "has been putting up with this for over 40 yrs" And she bawls and snots...and then mumbles to a family member that "He said they made him wait for 30 minutes" after I had well documented and told them all that we got to him right away....I think this is going to be a bad scene..Give me strength..........My approach will be -see to the resident's needs-offer him support and stand back.....I can handle him-it's the rest of them that need to get a clue......
    •  
  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   highasthesky
    i dont think i was supposed to be laughing....sorry. i'm not yet a nurse, only a cna enrolled in ma program, but i worked in ltc a long time. i didn't really encounter exactly what you're talking about, this is a little different. i've seen this happen twice. we had this one little resident, couldn't speak or feed herself, we had to do everything for her. i thought she had no family at all because of no visitors at all until she got very sick one night and the nurse sent her out to the er, she came back the next day but still wasn't doing well, they expected her to pass away anytime, so they started calling family in. the room and hallway was packed with crying people....."i was her favorite you know, she was my favorite aunt, no one has ever had a mother like her, and to top it off, that lady did more for any of us than anybody ever has". i was appauled that she was all of a sudden getting all this attention now that she was on her death bed and we had never seen any of them there for visits. the little lady recovered and had a couple of visitors a few days the next couple of weeks and then they just stopped coming. she once again got sick months later and her organs were just not functioning properly, they called the family in again. halls and room packed again, same people with the same comments crying over her.....made some of us so irate.....it wasn't her they were there for, they were there to get the attention for themselves! almost the exact scenerio with another patient we had. so sad. sorry if this offended anyone, your post just made me think of these incidents.
  4. by   Hopalong
    This is a good thread, reminds of the one by the dutchgirl on M/S called "my most difficult patient". Difficult families, spouses and others are much more difficult than a patient can ever be.

    Pet peeve - our administrators have an unspoken policy to believe those idiots and their "complaints". We lowly M/S nurses are quilty until proven quilty. No matter how ridiculous those people are.

    For example, a few weeks ago I had an elderly alzhiemers lady who had been admitted during the night because her daughter, who had just arrived at the home in a very infrequent visit found her to be abusive to her husband (frequent flier with CHF) of 61 years. During my initial assessment the lady wanted me to let her call home, knew the phone number and so I let her call her hubby. About an hour later here comes hubby with loving daughter screaming "it's your fault, now watch her get violent." The hubby and wife sat quietly holding hands and talking to each other, while I had to listen to the dtr tell me over and over how violent her mother was becoming. None of which I observed, so I finally and firmly told her that we would watch her but that I had other patients to give morning meds and that maybe it would be good for her and her husband to go get some breakfast. Damn, I should have realized you have to go by administrion to get to cafeteria. Shortly here she comes with the risk manager in tow.
    You all know how it went from there. Risk manager said "Why did you tell this lady you were to busy to watch her mother?" and on and on. Lucky for me the social worker had overheard the whole deal and interceded on my behalf. The end result was OK but my other patients were pretty much neglected for way too long.:angryfire
  5. by   Thunderwolf
    Quote from Hopalong
    Difficult families, spouses and others are much more difficult than a patient can ever be.
    Amen, brother.
    Last edit by Thunderwolf on Oct 24, '05
  6. by   Jessy_RN
    Oh wow, sorry to read this. This is mentally draining

    and yes, don't get sucked it!

close