Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Caregiving For Bill Update

I probably shouldn't be writing about this but I will anyway because it is bothering me so much.

Since February 5th, when I picked up Bill from his two week stay at the rehabilitation center in Dover, I've been caregiving full-time for Bill. 

I've left my job at the hotel, which I loved.

I no longer make my quarterly trips to travel with Pat for the foreseeable future. Of course COVID has had a say in my travel plans but COVID is now receding as an impediment to travel. I won't be able to travel as long as I'm caregiving for Bill.

I help him dress. I help him shower. I cook for him. I clean up after him after his accidents (and he just had a really messy one a few days ago). 

I give him his pills twice daily. 

I take him for a ride at least once a day. 

I take care of maintaining our home including mowing the grass and performing small handyman chores that Bill used to do.

The one thing I have asked Bill to do is not to pee in the sink.  

I didn't realize he was peeing in the sink until he first came home from the rehab facility. At first he was using the guest bathroom on the first floor. After couple of days I noticed "that smell" (urinal) coming out of the guest bathroom. That's when I discovered Bill was peeing in the sink. I confronted him about it. He said, "What difference does it make? It all goes the same place."  Uh, actually not. When one pees in the porcelain toilet one is not peeing in a sink with a metal pipe. That's why the metal pipe of Bill's sink in his basement bathroom is all corroded. 

Bill, because of his failing eyesight couldn't do a stand up pee so we agreed he would pee in the hospital jug. He did that for about three months. Only problem there was he wasn't quite getting all his pee in the jug requiring me to clean up the tile floor. I talked to him about it and discovered he couldn't hold the jug the way it was supposed to be held because of his reset broken arm wouldn't permit it. Don't ask, but that's what he tells me.

He said he would use the toilet. He would sit, thus saving me the daily chores of wiping the tile floor three, four and sometimes five times a day and also emptying his urine from the jug.

Tonight, on a hunch, I opened the bathroom door to his bathroom because I had a suspicion he was using the sink again. He was.

Now, I don't want to hear from a blog reader about "He's just an old man and let him do this."  I say no. 

It's not just the cleanliness issue but its a respect issue. He tells me multiple times during the day how much he loves me and appreciates what I am doing for him. I told him tonight "You can tell me you love me over and over again but you have to back up your words with actions. Show me you love me by showing respect for me and pee in the toilet like any civilized person." 

He said he was sorry and asked me to forgive him. Yeah, right. Here is  the truth folks, Bill is lazy about his personal hygiene. He always has been. That's why he came home with fungus medicine from his two stays in the hospital. That's why I insist on washing him with Dial anti-bacterial soap every three days. He complains, and complains but for the first time in years he doesn't have body odor and is clean. 

Maybe the problem is me. From the time I was nine or ten years old I remember being concerned with the cleanliness of myself and place were I lived. Growing up in the Fifties one took a bath once a week. No shower, a bath and make sure you clean the ring around  the bathtub once you get out. I remember my father mocking me for wanting to at least wash my feet daily (me and my brothers didn't wear shoes in the summertime). Then in 1958 when he moved to a small ranch house with a shower, he mocked me for wanting to take a shower more than once a week.  Oh I had a "loving" father, he speciality was to mock me whenever he could. Not a whole lot (actually NONE) of encouragement from dear old dad. By the way, I never called him "Dad". 

I cleaned our apartment, I washed the dishes. I cleaned myself. That's just me. 

My biggest problem here is literally keeping the shit out of this house. And the pee out of the sink.

I probably should apologize that this blog post wasn't one of my uplifting, happy and joyous posts. One good thing about Bill's recovery is that the edema of his legs has settled and we're in a routine of appreciating each day we have together. Except for his bowel accident a few days ago, all has been going well even though he's getting weaker by the day. But he's happy and I was settling into a routine of caring for him. 

Today was a setback. So discouraging. I feel betrayed. Lied to. I've sacrificed so much to make Bill's final days comfortable and happy and he can't do this one little thing for me? It's not only about the cleanliness issue it's about respect. 

I'll go on. I love Bill and want him comfortable. Tomorrow he gets his near hearing aid. He lost his other one two months ago. He doesn't know what he did with it. Even though I told him not to touch his hearing aid when he had it on his side table to change the battery.  Again, he lied to me and tried to change the battery even though he can't see the battery. And you remember the projects?  He said he wouldn't do any more projects? He's still doing them. I gave up on that one, figuring it's best that he doesn't something besides sit all day and doze off. I try to keep and eye on him that he doesn't do too much damage during one of his projects.  

There, I've said it. I'm not trolling for sympathy or confirmation. I'm venting. As I have said many times in this blog, this is my therapy. I don't need to go to a therapist. This blog is my therapy. 


Breenlantern said...

You are doing a difficult job and have sacrificed so much for Bill. You put your love in action, not just in words. But you have the righty I get tired, angry, frustrated, and resentful. You have the right to want or need more from him despite his age and challenges. You have the right to vent. You shouldn’t have to pretend things are alway easy, or that none of this bothers you. That’s unfair and unrealistic. Although I am far more capable of participating in most of my medical and physical challenges that come with my chronic disease, I know all to well the impact and burden it puts on Jeffrey when he cares for me and my home during the times I’m layer up or hospitalized. The “patients” get all the sympathy and concern, and the caretakers often receive little of either. I see what you do for Bill. I understand your struggles. And I believe you are being completely reasonable with your expectations. I hope Bill will come around and cooperate. It’s the least he can )and should) do for all you do for him. Wishing you continued strength, endurance, and patience. You’re good people, Ron. And a loving partner. But you’re also human, so take care of you, too!



Anonymous said...

I can sure understand and appreciate your frustration with this one thing that bugs you the most. It must be difficult for him to bend to get down to the toilet level to sit, easier to pee standing up, and easier to ‘hit’ the sink than the toilet when standing. Or maybe it’s just an old, bad, habit. One thing that might help would be to have the sink drain in his bathroom replaced with all plastic pipe so there is no metal to be affected.

You sure did have a rough life with the father you unfortunately had when you were young. Since then you want to have control of things around you and are disappointed when sometimes you can’t. You are doing a great job taking care of Bill in his waning time but of course it is a burden that is sometimes difficult to bear. I admire your sticking with it the way you are and I hope you can bear with it.


Ron said...

thank you so much for your thoughtful and understanding comment on my situation. I understand it's hard for Bill now to do a simple thing like sitting down and using the toiled instead of just peeing in the sink. What really got me was his dishonesty to me and lack of respect. I just talked to him and he says he is truly sorry and I have to say I believe him. Of course I could be like the abused wife and be constantly forgiving. What I have a hard time accepting is that I don't ask that much except to use the toilet (while he can) like a normal civilized human being. It would help me so much. He knows what a clean freak I am. That's one thing I love about Pat, he's even worse than I am about being a clean freak.
I felt guilty for complaining about Bill using the sink but I had to vent. That's the only way I have found in my life from going crazy, just to vent. That was the original intent of my blogging. Over time I came to the realization that I couldn't have a blog that was totally negative and thus I tried to right that ship of attitude and post positive things too. But yesterday I was just so disappointed in Bill. Hopefully he will cooperate with me now. It looks good because he was totally contrite this morning and thanked me again for all that I am doing for him. I'm not looking for thanks from him or anyone else, I like/love Bill and want his final days to be pleasant and stress free. I am so thankful he's not in pain and still knows who I am. Today we get his new hearing aid so that will take a lot of burden off of the both of us. I won't have to keep shouting and Bill can hear what's going on.
You know how it is Sean, one day at a time. The good and the bad. I can handle the shit (literally) but I can't handle the dishonesty.
Thanks again for your honest compassionate comments.

Ron said...

Yes, Bill does have a hard time using the toilet (pulling his pants down, sitting down and getting up.). I personally installed grab bars around his toilet so it would be easier for him to get up. I know Bill (one tends to after being together 56 years). He will almost always take the shortcut when he can get away with it. This is one "shortcut" that is not acceptable. He was very contrite this morning and asked for forgiveness so I won't harp on it (which I tend to do, I know I'm not perfect in this area) and I have forgiven him. I just hope I'm not playing the roll of the abused housewife by being abused and always "forgiving" the abuser.
Thank you for your comment.

Jon said...

You're doing an extraordinarily good job of caring for Bill, and you are making enormous sacrifices. The love and dedication that you have shown is truly remarkable. Venting your emotions in your blog is necessary and extremely beneficial.
Unfortunately, Bill is at an age where his bad habits will probably never change. Perhaps he doesn't fully realize how annoying and detrimental these annoyances really are. I realize how extremely sad and frustrating this is for you.

Your father was completely heartless - - like mine. Ironically, I could never call him "dad", either. I never felt comfortable around him - and I hated him too much.
Take care, Ron - and try to find some special time for yourself (I know that's much easier said than done). You have many friends who care and who understand your troubles. Jon

Ron said...

=Your comments are right on the mark. /bill is set in his ways but he has said he will "sit down on the toilet" when he takes a pee if THAT's what I want. I told him "No bill, that what a civilized person does." He understands. I realize that getting up and down is difficult for him but I installed grab bars next to his toilet. When I injured my left leg, bill installed a grab bar in my bathroom that I use to this day. I don't think I dan stan up on my own I've been using it so long.
Oh my father was a beauty, that's for sure. He didn't want kids. He was selfish and had a mean streak. Thankfully I didn't have to witness or undergo physical assaults like you did and he never argued or mistreated my Mother. But he was scychologically abusive to me, constantly. Leaving home at 18 to join the Army and get away for that first eighteen years of negativity was the best thing I ould have done at that time even though I didn't know it then. I did know I had to get away from home. There was no way I was going to continue to live there.
thanks for your supporting comments Jon. I am taking time for myself like now when Bill is sleeping. Although I am very tired now.

VRCooper said...


Just checking in.

Glad to see that you are plugging along.

Yes, Bill is cleaner than ever. I could not bathe once a week. I have to feel clean. Even growing up we had to take a shower at least once a day. And no peeing in the sink. I give you a standing ovation for putting up with Bill's hygiene habits over all these years. That would be a deal-breaker for me. I don't care how nice and loving one is. I am out of here. That to me speaks pride about oneself and the love for others that you live with.

The projects that Bill does are fine but please don't let him burn down the house. I don't know what projects he is doing with his failing eyesight and the satisfaction of not seeing a completed project.

Yes, caregiving can be hard and exhausting. That is why it is always stressed for the caregiver to take care of themselves. You are no good to Bill if you exhausted, cranky, and just at wits end. Carve out time for yourself. I know having sitters over at the house is a no-go. But try to get out if only for a short while for a change of scenery. Grab an ice cream or a cup of coffee. I don't know how long you can leave Bill alone but find the sweet spot and do something for you at least once a week and more if possible. It will make caregiving so much easier.

Continue to give us the Bill updates AND how YOU are doing.

Be well dear,


Ron said...

Bill wasn't always this way with his personal hygiene. He's evolved over the years. Just lazy. When I was young, I hated that I could only bath once a week, and this was in the summertime without air conditioning or even electric fans. I must have gotten used to the body odor stink in our second floor apartment in the white trash section of Downingtown. Ha!
I know taking time for myself in my caregiving is important. It's actually vital if I'm going to continue to caregiver for Bill. Could be years that I'm doing this. Today his hospice nurse was in for Bill's weekly checkup. Bill's doing well. No doubt because of the excellent care he's receiving here at home!

Ur-spo said...

he is lucky to have you
It is exhausting care taking another, especially 24/7.

Random Observations on a December Morning

Late yesterday afternoon sun on our cozy home (in the background).    What? Yet another selfie of yours truly in a hoodie on his property in...