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Caring for My Wife Saved My Life: A Husband’s Story

Brooke Phillips, CWCMS
Editor | Shield HealthCare
08/21/13  4:57 PM PST
Man cares for wife in wheelchair

Caregiver Story Spotlight | Shield HealthCare “What Makes Caregiving Rewarding?” Story Contest

Story by Lynn P.

“My name is Lynn.  I am the caregiver for my wife, Lorraine, who has PSP (Progressive Supranuclear Palsy) and macular degeneration.  Her first symptoms of PSP were in 1999 when she was 54.  In 2003, she became wheelchair bound because of falling.  In 2004, I quit work to care for her full-time.  We sold our house in Salinas, CA and moved into a handicapped accessible house in Beaumont, CA. From 2003 on, I took over all of the household duties.  Her daily routine after getting up is to watch TV and try to swallow her liquid drinks.  After several years of caregiving, I began to see the benefits involved.  Recognizing the benefits has made it easier for me to accept my situation and lower the stress of totally caring for another person and the effect it has on my own freedom of movement.  These benefits are:

1.  My health has improved dramatically.  I was overweight with hypertension and marginal diabetes and in a high stress job as a financial controller for a public company.   I probably would have died of a heart attack if I had not had to quit work to take care of my wife.  My wife probably saved my life.  Even though caregiving is stressful, the stress is a lot less than work.  Because my wife sleeps 14-15 hours a day, I am able to take a 4 mile walk each morning while she is sleeping.  This walking has 3 positive effects:

a.  I have lost over 30 pounds, which lowered my blood sugar so much that my doctor has taken me off some of my meds.  My hypertension has diminished although I am still on all of my meds.

b.  The positive endorphins released make me feel better all day.

c.  The hour it takes for my walk gives me time to reflect on different scenarios for the future.

 2.  Because of my wife’s type of illness and because I have no trouble in moving her, we have been able to accomplish one of our lifetime goals — traveling around the U.S.  With satellite TV in our travel trailer, she had the same routine as at home but it was much more interesting for me.

 3.  After more than 5 years of taking care of my wife, I have come to appreciate what an extraordinary woman she is.  In the face of a terminal illness, she has never complained.  She has never criticized my cooking or housekeeping.  For the 33 years before she became disabled, she took care of me.  Now I can repay her and show her how much I love her.

4.  I find that I am more in touch with my feelings and that I enjoy watching chick-flicks with my wife.

5.  Overall, I find that my priorities in life have changed.  My life is not about money so much now as it is about connecting with people, so I am thinking about joining the Peace Corps after my wife passes.  I believe I have become a better person because of my wife’s illness.”

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Comments

1 Comment

  1. Posted December 2, 2013 at 7:27 pm PST

    What a great story! Thanks for showing what caregivers get in return for their undeniable commitment to helping others.

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