AW Becoming a Disabled Child?--Now What?

Old 12-19-2012, 07:27 PM
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Exclamation AW Becoming a Disabled Child?--Now What?


Just as I was trying to finalize my divorce from AW after 2 years of insanity, she almost died of alcoholic malnutrition and had to be rushed to the hospital.

After 3 days of ICU and 11 more days of physical rehab, she's a mess. She has a head injury that may have complicated a similar injury from 2008, and I am shocked and alarmed, OMG, this woman no longer the same.

I have seen AW bounce back from many hospitalizations, but now I am starting to seriously freak out. She is like a child. She always had a magical fairy tale type of mentality, but now she is just really not with it. She gets stuck with her talking about every 1-2 minutes. She really can't explain at all, what is wrong with her, or what is the process to even get better.

She doesn't eat anything and no one really knows why. She is anemic, and she has a new slow thyroid condition.

When I walk in the room, she smiles and is so happy to see me. She is generous with thank you's and I love you's -- we are talking about the simplicity of a small child, probably 6 years old or even less.

OH MY GOD. I saw this coming, but I didn't see THIS coming. I want to throw up. I feel like my family and particularly certain friends, have been waiting for me to take AW out to the curb like a pile of trash -- wondering what's taking so long. I was finally getting to the long-awaiting threshold of freedom, when this happens.

AW doesn't have her own family in town (only mine, who have been rightfully distant while AW was engaged in infidelity and active alcoholism), only 1-2 real friends who are also my friends, and me.

I was seriously starting to get some good boundaries set up, we have been living apart since May and we are legally separated. So I was feeling about 85% of the way home, with the exception of the final paperwork, and also the sale of our house which we co-own 50/50. It is our only shared asset and AW has been living there. And she almost died there 2 weeks ago.

I am a co dependent MANIAC as I carry the load for everyone around with a smile on my face and below-the-surface martyrdom that says, "everyone in the whole world is relying on me and I'm the only one getting anything done around here!" I co-own a family business with my brother who is greatly distracted by his family, hence he has nothing to do with sales or customer service. My dad is now comfortably retired and as long as I work hard, he will get his payments. I am paying my AW $4,000 per month for another 5 years, in order to complete buyout of said business.

And now I have a helpless, lonely woman who is in a hospital, at Christmas, alone and confused because she is just beginning to realize . . . her brain isn't working right anymore. I can see that she is scared. And I am scared with her and for her.

This is the ultimate co-dependence, I am feeling her feelings and it is dominating my own life and my own thoughts completely. I am LOST.

God help me, I'm not looking for advice, mostly for prayers at this point. Or maybe I do need a slap in the face.

What I'm saying about this woman who I have loved for 18 years is, if she becomes some kind of simple, loving, brain-injured person, I might just have to take care of her. That is what is twisting me into a pretzel right now.
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Old 12-19-2012, 07:48 PM
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Sending prayers of wisdom, comfort and love your way! I am sorry you are struggling with, *what is the right thing to do?!* transition. I don't envy you.
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Old 12-19-2012, 08:12 PM
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I am so sorry! I am at a loss for words here! Thats rare for me! I am much like you taking everything/everyone on all the time! What I can say is that I will say a prayer for you tonight! I hope someone will come along soon and have some words of comfort. Try to breath and take care of your needs too!
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Old 12-19-2012, 08:20 PM
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Prayers for wisdom and guidance.

If you're a prayerful person, pray for guidance and a sign as to what to do.
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Old 12-19-2012, 08:26 PM
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I am sending encouragement and support your way.
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Old 12-19-2012, 08:30 PM
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May God hold your hand and guide you through this difficult time. God tells us to be anxious for nothing and trust HIM with all our hearts. Take one day at a time and keep leaning on God for strength and wisdom.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:02 PM
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Djayr - I don't have words of wisdom but I did know/watch someone go through this last year.

Married 30 years - a divorce, he a womanizing alcoholic. Last time I saw the wife before the accident she was excited because she expected to be divorced within a month after a very nasty process.

Then last year about this time he (drunk) hit a tree and snapped his neck. He is quadrapeligic now.

She was with him in the hospital everyday he was in for 6 months between the hospital and rehab. He was released, and then she finalized the divorce.

Take a deep breath. You don't have to decide anything right now. Will pray for you and your wife tonight.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:27 PM
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Sending you prayers.

You don't have to decide everything right now.

Is there a social worker at the hospital you can speak with? They may have some resources for you.

I am so sorry.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:36 PM
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I cant even say this is unhealthy. I cant .
I feel for you and I am sad for her.
Her disease has been is killing her ...shes in the hospital and
That beats you up. I understand.
Regardless she is someone you loved and she is a person.
You are right to feel the way you do....take care of yourself though and I will
Pray for her
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:49 PM
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This is a very difficult situation to be in. I will pray for you both, and I hope you find the clarity you are seeking and an answer you are comfortable with. What a difficult time for both of you.

I did want to point out that if you are paying her $4,000 a month for five years to buy her out of your company business,she is not helpless and without means to help herself. She can live comfortably, if she chooses to do so.
That said, I also recognize how difficult it is to walk away from this woman you love, even though you were ready to do so before this whole thing started. You are a human being with a good heart, and she was once a large part of that heart, and it doesn't feel right to walk away from her when she needs someone now. You can stay, as long as you feel it's the right thing to do, no matter how long that is.

You don't have to make any decisions today. You don't have to make any decisions until you are ready, and you can change your mind and course at any time. I will confess I do not envy your position right now, and I sincerely hope that you find the answers you are looking for.

What a frustrating and heartbreaking situation. :-(

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Old 12-19-2012, 11:31 PM
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Sending a hug and a prayer buddy, so glad you didn't ask for advice because I'd be stumped.

The other day I suggested that maybe doing nothing for a little while would be a good idea. One thing that comes thru loud and clear is that it's ripping your guts out and I still see that awful image of my wife in the hospital after her self detox ended with a seizure and heart attack.

I'm glad she is in the hospital where she can get help and you can sleep at night.

Is there any hard deadline for figuring this out right now? Doesn't sound like you could be at peace with engaging or withdrawing right now. Hurts to think about. Thanks for sharing, will keep following and praying for you both
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Old 12-19-2012, 11:56 PM
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Many thoughts, prayers, and much encouragment coming your way.

I think you can't go wrong by remaining true to yourself and your needs and remember - making sure someone is taken care of (or given the chance to have their needs met) is a different thing than taking care of someone.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:26 AM
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Sending you positive thoughts.

Take care.
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Old 12-20-2012, 03:44 AM
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Oh my,

If she truly is that out of it one of her family members could possibly have her court ordered into long term treatment. But if she has zero interest in stopping drinking that is just taking a bed from someone who desperately wants to get well.

Obviously she has suffered brain damage but some of it will be reversible if she stops... but she may never be the same again.

This may all be unrealistic for your situation but as a fellow codie I am always looking for some silver lining and some magical ending for these incredibly sad stories of lives destroyed by this evil disease.

Prayers your way... what are you doing for you this Christmas? Please take time to indulge yourself and enjoy the people in your life that love and care about you. Stay on the path....
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Old 12-20-2012, 07:32 AM
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I am so sorry that you are in this almost incomprehensibly difficult situation.

What doesn't change is that you are always free to, entitled, in some ways required to take care of yourself, whatever that means. That is the path to wholeness and you are always welcome on that path, no matter what someone else does or needs or wants.

A lot of people around you - your comfortably retired father, your distracted brother, your AW - have taken from you whether or not it was good for you. You don't have to be Atlas and shoulder the problems of the world.

Your AW has family, even if they are not in this town. She may have been planning to go to them anyway when your joint house is sold. She knew that she had a year to change her alcoholic behavior and she chose not to, so she was aware of the consequences of her continuing alcoholic behavior.

Thumper said

"I think you can't go wrong by remaining true to yourself and your needs and remember - making sure someone is taken care of (or given the chance to have their needs met) is a different thing than taking care of someone. "

I think that is very perceptive to point out there is a difference between acting with kindness and compassion and taking on someone else's problem as if it were our own.

Starcat is right that your AW does have resources from your $4000/month payments. If, after some more recovery time, she is truly disabled, she will be eligible for Social Security Disability and either Medicare or Medicaid - I can't remember which, so she will not be destitute.

Maybe it is time to think about asking others to step up to the plate and take some of the weight off of your shoulders. It probably is time to see what the doctor's prognosis is, and let her family know so that they have a heads up on a problem that they will need to be involved in, whatever you decide. The not eating is concerning, and it may be helpful to get her family involved before the doctors decide on a feeding tube or any other long term medical intervention without the full family's accord. And, this is still early days in recovery from a brain injury, so she may get much better.

This isn't to say you should choose one path over the other; that's your decision, and you'll get a lot of support here whatever resolution you come to in this impossible situation. It is to say that health for all of us comes from putting our own needs first, and we hope that you'll factor that into your thinking.

All the best, come back often, we're here for you.

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Old 12-20-2012, 07:52 AM
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Thinking of you. Take your time and don't forget to take care of yourself also.
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Old 12-20-2012, 08:11 AM
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One piece of advice. If she does not make a full recovery from the brain injury and if she will need long term supports and disability that needs some specific thought in terms of how to handle the divorce. $4000 a month may not be in her best intersest if she has a permanant disability. It will exclude her from getting SSI or SSDI. There are protected trust funds that can be establishd for people with disabilities but the lawyers need to know about them and know how to advocate for people with disabilities. This is what I mean when I say that you don't have to take care of her personally to make sure she is taken care of.
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Old 12-20-2012, 08:32 AM
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Prayers djayr. This is tough. And I can relate to that feeling of needing to solve everything. I fight it in myself everyday. When my now-deceased best friend was facing homelessness, I offered her my couch. Didn't matter she was drinking a 5th of vodka a day. I put on my superwoman outfit and stepped in to save the day. It only dawned on me after the fact that it wasn't my responsibility; and I was setting myself up for some real resentments.

Just because you love(d) this woman doesn't make you her automatic caretaker. That's a choice you get to make, and one you should make if it works for you and you are willing to take it on, not out of some sense of obligation.

However, for now, you don't have to make this choice just yet, so I'd gently suggest waiting to see what happens. The body is very resilient, even under the worst of circumstances. But you are right - she may have pushed it beyond the level of tolerance this time. Only time will tell - more will be revealed.

Hang in there. Lean on others to help you through this (again, easier said than done for me, but I am working on it!) and wait before making any big decisions.

Take good care,
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Old 12-20-2012, 09:02 AM
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Keeping you in my prayers and sending positive thoughts to you.
I'm so sorry for this terribly difficult situation you find yourself in.
Remember, you still must take care of you.
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:42 AM
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Sending prayers your way - for guidance, and for some peace.
I'm guessing everyone around you, as well as your higher power agree that you have fulfilled any obligation to her long ago. Take care of yourself, and have a HAPPY Holiday!
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