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Topic How do you say "No?" Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By parkinit On 2010.05.21 21:57
How do you say "No, I can't do anymore" when your spouse makes you feel like he expects you to pick up all the slack. I feel such a burden at times. Today it was "there are so many holes in the lawn" (I think I've mentioned his yard is/was his pride and joy). SOooo, I get out, mix the soil up and haul it around in the wheelbarrow and fill all the holes that he pointed out.

I was really tired tonight (he knew it, too), but he decided he needed he needed to go to an event at the last minute, so I helped him dress in a suit, unload a set of ramps and get the motorized wheelchair down. I want to give him as much freedom as possible to continue to be active, but it's really dragging me down - I'm tired. Am I being ridiculous? Should I quit whining. I really want your honest opinions.

I've been on call waiting to go pick him up. It's 9:00 here and I'm going to go pick him up now.

By lurkingforacure On 2010.05.21 22:31
IMHO you say "No I can't do anymore today". Blunt, clear, and direct. If you don't, you are going to break and put your own health at risk, if you haven't already (although we all know we put our own health at risk the minute we become a caregiver anyway...) this just makes it all the worse.

The more you do without complaint, the more he will believe you CAN do it without a problem, and expect it. This is just human nature. I believe it was Emma that I posted a comment to about being superwoman 24.7, people think we can do it all the time if we never complain....and then when we've reached the breaking point and say something, they are like "oh, what, is that asking too much?" because you have always, always, always handled everything perfectly fine and without complaint.

The sooner you let him know you have reached the limit, the better, I say. You can be very kind and diplomatic about it, you are only one person after all, but you have got to let some things go, or at least postpone them so you dont' have so much to do in one day. Just my two cents.

By LOHENGR1N On 2010.05.21 23:52
parkinit, A question from a patients view........Couldn't you mix the soil up, put the wheelbarrow at the edge of the driveway or middle of the lawn, hand him an old coffee can and say here, it's all set you can fill the holes now? That way He can dump the amount of dirt in them and won't have to inspect the job after you do it. It will give him something to do. It will let Him keep hands on in the upkeep of the lawn. It will bolster His feeling of self worth. It may also get the gray matter engaged.......(you know if I put a handle on this can I could get closer to the hole and control where I put the dirt better).

I know caregivers don't want to us struggle or get hurt but sometimes it might be best if we were left to a job we could do even if it takes longer or the caregiver could do it easier.

Maybe it's because I live alone and have help 20 hours a week but many times when I read posts I can't help but think we humans seem to rise or sink to function at the level that others expect of us. I'm not saying that we should be expected to do everything, G-d knows we can do real harm to ourselves attempting many tasks, I'm saying some are probably able to do things they now let others do for them. Just one more hint to the caregivers out there if you do make your charges do more for themselves and they are grumbling about it, I'd think twice if they want you to steady the nail while they swing the hammer! Stay safe. Take care, best of luck and hang in there.

By Pearly4 On 2010.05.22 05:57
And if even that much (mixing soil, etc) is too much, you simply go back to "No" -- you have yours physical limitations too. You're only human and can only do so much -- it always comes back to the same thing -- take care of yourself first or there won't be anything left to take care of anyone else! You have to be your own caregiver first.

By Emma On 2010.05.22 05:59
Saying no is a hard thing to learn. I'm still working on it. My husband is now at a point where there is very little that he can do either because of cognitive or physical limitations (or both), but even earlier when he could do some things he seemed to prefer ordering me around. He still does that. You feel like he has so little control over his life that if something is important to him you want to do it for him, but you can't do everything. You are in this together and you both have to make some sacrifices. Last year, when my husband was still able to get out and do some things, he decided that he wanted to take a class at the senior center in the morning and then play cards there in the afternoon. He expected me to drive him there at 10:00, pick him up, take him home, then bring him back at 1:00. I actually did that for a while but I finally had to tell him, gently, that I was not his personal taxi service and if he wanted to go he had to stay there the whole time. You do have the right to say I can't do that right now, or even just no, I'm not going to do that. lurking is right, you can create a monster if you are always Super Woman. We have to learn to change our standards too because one person can't do everything. The house probably isn't as clean as it used to be and the lawn might not be as good as he would like but that's the way it is. As hard as it is, learn to just say no and encourage him to do what he can for himself. Talk to him about it at a time when he's not asking you for something. Let him know that you are just one person and have limitations and you're both going to have to learn to let go of some things and that you can't always do what he wants when he wants it. Easier said than done I know. Take care of yourself, no one else will.

By caregivermary On 2010.05.22 10:38
I will add this to all the good advice so far-the situation for me is that my husb doesn't remember we had that good conversation about I am just one person. So saying no when it is appropriate is a good thing. Making the decision as to when saying no is appropiate is a tough one.

Remember, take care of "YOU" or things will definitely change and probably not for the better.

CORNHUSKER? I bet you could give us some advice/wisdom on this topic.

By Lotsapies On 2010.05.22 21:52
LOHENGR1N thank you for your perspective. Sometimes I forget to look at how my husband may feel when I mow the lawn and weed. The yard was always his domain. It seems that I have taken over all aspects of what he enjoyed. I like your suggestion of just finding a different way so that he can at least try to do his favorite things.

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