Nurses with spouses with chronic illness


Sigh. My SO was recently diagnosed with Hep C, as a result of the indiscretions of his youth. When he was young and in the Army back in the 70s, he did some stupid stuff, and now it's coming back to haunt him. He just had an abdominal ultrasound, which we don't know the results of yet, and I'm hoping there are no masses or cirrhotic changes. They say his strain has a high response rate to therapy, which he hasn't started yet. I really didn't want to be taking care of someone yet, and had hoped we'd have time to travel and see the world together. Just wondering if anyone else is dealing with anything similar, guess I feel I need a shoulder to lean on. :crying2:

Jo Dirt

3,270 Posts

Has 9 years experience.

My husband is 18 yrs. older than me but has always been very active and trim. He was into vitamins and healthy foods and such, and I'm the fat overweight one. One morning last spring he woke up and couldn't urinate. I took him to the ER and he was admitted after a scan found a huge mass in his right kidney. He went in and had the kidney removed but on a checkup they have found a cyst on his other kidney that wasn't there before. He has an appointment for another scan in a few months to see if it has changed, but this roller coaster is sucking the life out of both of us. Everytime I talk about any plans my husband has to add that he probably won't be around much longer so the plans can't be made to include him.

So, things can't just run smoothly. It seems there always has to be a stressor looming overhead. I notice my husband has aged so much in the last year or so and so have I.

Remember that song by the Grateful Dead when life looks like Easy Street there is danger at your door...

Wish there was something I could do to help. Just know there are countless others in similar predicaments. And though we haven't gotten along very well in the past I can't bear the thought of him dying. Even still, spouses die and leave widows or widowers all the time. Sometimes, I just want to hang everything up and call it quits, life is so difficult and painful sometimes.

Specializes in ER, TRAUMA, MED-SURG. Has 22 years experience.

Virgo - Hello - I was glad to see your post on the subject. Not because of what you are going through, but it made me feel a little bit better about our situation. My dh and I are both RNs and have been for more than 17 years. We both have always been in good health, and I in my late 30s and dh is 10 yrs older than me.

Almost 3 years ago, one of our doggies passed away. I have no children of my own, but my hubbie has 2 boys that we have full custody of, so my dog, Sam, was like a child to me, if that makes any sense to you. The same month that Sam died, I started having a lot of CP and bigeminy, along with some other funky rhythyms, and a lot of SOB, even on mild exertion. This just really tore me up, because I have never been limited to a certain level of exertion.

I started seeing a new PCP and cardiologist, and had to start on a bucket load of meds. Never had to take anything more than the occasional OTC and now if we go out of town, the bag I carry them in would be just full to the brim. Since getting these conditions, my level of exertion has diminished, and along with that, my frame of mind at times. Mh dh and I have only been married for 5 years, but he has been so supportive, I wouldn't trade him for anything. Some days I can't even completely vaccuum a room, or go outside to the mailbox w/out getting short. Now that it's been more than 2 years since I could work, I don't have many friends except for the nursing co workers that I don't see anymore.

Like I said, I was glad to see your post, not because of what you are going through, but it gives me a little more hope at times, sonetimes I just feel like I'm the only one having to deal with something like this, even though I know I'm not. My HR can get up to 180 bpm, or as low as 30s. My BP has been as high as 240/150, even taking my meds faithfully.

Feel free to pm me if you would like to, I'd be more than happy to offer anything I could. Good luck with your family, we will keep you in our prayers.

Anne, RNC

Ruby Vee, BSN

67 Articles; 14,023 Posts

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

my husband has ulcerative colitis -- triggered by c. diff he got from a patient. although he's healthy right now, there are flare-ups. during those times he tires easily, cannot go anywhere there isn't a bathroom immediately available and has abdominal pain that makes him surly and negative. it's no picnic being married to someone with a chronic illness, and there are times i feel incredibly sorry for myself. but then, he's the one who's sick. i just thank my lucky stars for the periods of time between flare-ups!


1,304 Posts

Specializes in psych. rehab nursing, float pool. Has 30 years experience.

Oh how I can relate. We have been dealing with declining health since darlins stroke 1 1/2 years ago. He is 16 years my senior and the love of my life.

I have changed my shifts to every weekend and mondays so to be available to take him to his various doctors appointments during the week. Last night got home at 8:30 pm as that was the earliest they could get him in for his latest MRI. Today I spent my time on the web looking for an affordable mobility scooter for him.

We both know he is on the downward slide. There are no cures for the various chronic end stage diseases he has at this time. Yet though it is hard, though I get exhausted working, running, fetching. I would not trade this time if it meant he was no longer with me. Somedays I would love to run away, then my better self takes over and reminds me I can do this.

husker_rn, RN

417 Posts

Specializes in med-surg 5 years geriatrics 12 years.

Virgo, you are not in this alone and yes many of us can sure relate. My husband hasn't worked in 10 years; first COPD, now colon cancer with liver mets. I'm in healthcare 24/7. I'm tired and tired of being tired...having said that I am lucky to have family, friends, and coworkers who understand. And I know that it's even tougher on him...he has to live with these health problems. Hang in there and know you are in all our prayers.

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