Husband with TBI


#1

Hi. My hubby was injured when our car was hit by an 18-wheeler a few years ago. He sustained a serious head injury and was in a coma and went to rehab for months. He has recovered very well, but cannot work or drive.

I miss the way he used to be. Sometimes (not always) I feel like I have lost my companion and feel like a mother to him instead of a wife. I have to help him with a lot of things, as he gets confused and overwhelmed and his short term memory isn't great.

Otherwise he is loving and appreciative of me and is the same sweet man I married. But I miss the partnership we both have. I have to make major decisions, handle the finances, run the household, as he just can't do these things.

He is still improving and my hope is that we will find ways that he can contribute that will work for him. But we are still finding our way.

Before the accident we had a very traditional marriage. We had been married 15 years and he was the leader and decision-maker. He took care of me. I miss that.

I feel as if I am being a helper to him, as the Bible describes. And for years he was my leader and protector. But what is he now? How can we be a married couple again? We are far from traditional now. As I am the one who drives, works, pays the bills, and makes the decisions. He will probably never work or drive again. And his judgement will never be what it was. :(


#2

I am sorry for what you are going through. I am sure it is very difficult.

I suggest that you work on altering your idea of what a "traditional" marriage is and the roles in marriage. Read Proverbs 31. There is nothing untraditional about the wife doing the things you mention in your post. I know you do not feel you are on equal footing with your husband requiring so much care. Is there perhaps a support group you can attend?


#3

:hug1:

Sorry to hear about the accident.

This is where the "in sickness and health" and "for better or worse" comes in, unfortunately.

What does not kill you will make you stronger. :sad_yes: Some day, you will be very thankful to be so strong...:hug1:


#4

Thank you. I haven't gone to a support group. In the TBI world there is a strong assumption that post TBI marriages end in divorce. Many also believe that the person "died" and is a different person because they have a changed brain.

I do not believe this because I believe that we are both body and soul. Damage to the brain may change us, but not give us a new soul.

So, I am dubious about going to a support group for TBI. But perhaps I would find it helpful and be encouraged.


#5

I definitely feel I've gotten stronger. This happened when I was 36 years old. I feel like I was a child before that.


#6

[quote="Genovefa, post:4, topic:236048"]

So, I am dubious about going to a support group for TBI. But perhaps I would find it helpful and be encouraged.

[/quote]

Hmm, then maybe some other type of support or grief group. You need to work through the loss you are experiencing.


#7

that is a hard burden to bare.Read some more posts.


#8

I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV :D but I think some counseling (maybe with a priest) would do you some good. I think you have to have a certain sort of mourning for what you lost -- because it is a loss. It's such a blessing that he didn't die and is still a kind, loving man; but the fact is he is different and the life that y'all had together is different.

I liken it to my situation, sort of -- I always thought I would be married with a house full of children. Well, that didn't happen -- and may never. I went to a Catholic singles conference; and one of the ladies that spoke there said, "You have to mourn your loss of your dream." That was very eye-opening for me, and maybe it would be for you.

Just a thought. But let me say that your attitude is truly beautiful!! So many would simply walk away with no thought. Blessings to you!!!


#9

My husband was hit by an armored truck as he was walking across a street (in the crosswalk, with the light - driver error) 3 years ago. He sustained a mild TBI, quite a different thing than the TBI your husband has, but I kind of know what you are going through.

MTBI includes a personality change, and my husband lost the ability to parent, keep track of finances, etc. for some time. I totally felt the "mother not wife" thing like you do. It was really difficult, but I didn't even realize how bad it was until he started to get better. Now my husband is back in school, getting a teaching certificate. For the most part, he is back to running the finances, although every once in a while, it's like there's this tic in his brain and he misses something and can't get it right, and then that's hard because pointing out an error like that is VERY discouraging to him, so I sort of have to run interference quietly without letting him know.

Anyway, I guess I'm trying to tell you that with a brain injury, the recovery continues long-term. Your husband may regain a lot of his former abilities. He may never regain some of them. In the mean time, you are shouldering ALL the burdens, and you probably need some respite from that.

I remember frequently feeling like I just wanted somebody to take care of me for a change. But the thing of it is, other people didn't know I needed the help, and there were people I could have told who would have jumped right in.

What I'm trying to tell you is that it's okay for you to get out for a movie night with your best friend, no worrying about home or work. It's okay to get help making a decision from your priest or a close friend or trusted relative. It's okay to call up a girlfriend and tell her that you've just HAD IT for the week, and is there any way your friend can just cook one supper for your family in the next week at her convenience (but on your dime) so that all you have to do is sit down and eat. It's okay to ask your sister or sister-in-law or the altar society at church to come help with the spring cleaning because your husband isn't up to it. It's okay to ask your church youth group to come mow the lawn in return for a small donation to the group.

The Bible says we're supposed to carry one another's burdens, and that means that you get to have people help you carry yours, but you have to tell somebody what you need. Please figure out a way to get a little extra help.


#10

Thank you Nanny. We also were unable to have children. We even went to counseling through the Natural Family Planning services. We finally just gave up. We do not believe in IVF or anything like that. That was really tough. We were going to be just happy being a couple and then we had this. :( We will have been married 18 years this May.

I teach at a religious school. The staff, students, and parent have been very supportive. We had to move to be closer to family, which puts me about 40 minutes from this school/church where I could get a lot of support. But family (although fewer in number) are more reliable. But I don't want to burden them either.

This brings me to another question. Because of the move, we do not have a faith community to help out. I am not Catholic, but Anglican. However, we have (me especially) have always felt a strong pull towards the Catholic faith. When I really need spiritual guidance I refer to its teachings (which is why I am here on this board).

I am unsure about going to any church (Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, or whatever) and suddenly asking for help, when I have not been a prior member. Also, up until recently, I have not felt that my husband could handle attending services due to his disabilities. We went through some very difficult periods where he had a mouth like a sailor, could be violent, disruptive etc. He doesn't have those problems now and would probably be just fine. However, he might be a bit eccentric, like read something aloud when he shouldn't. (He reads everything aloud).

So, I don't know what to do. From past experience, some congregations can be less than understanding. And brain injury is not something that many people are familiar with.


#11

In 2010 I was in an abusive marriage anyway. Three months after my own TBI accident my xh left me. It was not nearly as severe as your dh's but the trauma was bad and going through it on my own was terrible. You are an amazing woman and you need to remember how special you are and how many Graces are given to you in your vocation.


#12

Thank you so much joanofarc. Your nice words brought tears to my eyes.


#13

[quote="Genovefa, post:12, topic:236048"]
Thank you so much joanofarc. Your nice words brought tears to my eyes.

[/quote]

Anytime and if you need to PM - I will answer you as soon as I can. And it does get better if it can. I am back in school going for my Masters. It just sometimes takes time. I had to do it on my own which well I don't want to use that word.


#14

[quote="Genovefa, post:1, topic:236048"]
Hi. My hubby was injured when our car was hit by an 18-wheeler a few years ago. He sustained a serious head injury and was in a coma and went to rehab for months. He has recovered very well, but cannot work or drive.

I miss the way he used to be. Sometimes (not always) I feel like I have lost my companion and feel like a mother to him instead of a wife. I have to help him with a lot of things, as he gets confused and overwhelmed and his short term memory isn't great.

Otherwise he is loving and appreciative of me and is the same sweet man I married. But I miss the partnership we both have. I have to make major decisions, handle the finances, run the household, as he just can't do these things.

He is still improving and my hope is that we will find ways that he can contribute that will work for him. But we are still finding our way.

Before the accident we had a very traditional marriage. We had been married 15 years and he was the leader and decision-maker. He took care of me. I miss that.

I feel as if I am being a helper to him, as the Bible describes. And for years he was my leader and protector. But what is he now? How can we be a married couple again? We are far from traditional now. As I am the one who drives, works, pays the bills, and makes the decisions. He will probably never work or drive again. And his judgement will never be what it was. :(

[/quote]

first of all i want to say im sorry for all that you and your husband are going through:console:

and i want to suggest to you to take a different view of the situation

firstly your husband may be injured/disabled to the point where he cant work or drive...but be thankful you still have him and thaat he's alive, the outcome of that accident could have been so very different...there must be countless men and women who have lost their spouses who would give anything for them to be alive again even if it meant they'd be disabled and require being cared for...

secondly in your wedding vows didnt you say that you'd take your husband for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health etc?...

thirdly you say your husband was the leader, decision maker, and that he took care of you?...you are in a partnership,,,so now its YOUR turn to do those things for him, i bet he did it for you lovingly and without a murmur of complaint so do the same for him

and lastly, remember he is doing the best he can, its not his fault hes disabled, im betting he didnt ask to be in that accident..the best thing to do is treat him like a normal person, speak to him like you always used to, show him lots of love and affection...alot of people treat disabled people like they are a child and its not right...dont do that with your husband

god bless you

crystal


#15

I must sound horrible for complaining. I am deeply grateful that he is alive. And I show my love and compassion for him every day.

But it is more difficult than many can imagine and I just need to vent and need support sometimes. When tired, my husband, can become very mean and nasty. It is not his fault. It is the injury. He has gotten much better, but I have had to endure things that are to imagine and I generally keep to myself.

It just feel lonely sometimes.


#16

On March 9, 2011, my husband was in a motorcycle accident and suffered a broken ankle, two broken ribs and TBI (moderate). He was on his brother's motorcycle leaving work at 8 am after a late night shift. He came around the curb too fast and jumped the curb and hit a thick light pole and was thrown off the bike approximately 150 feet.

Because of his broken ankle he was sedated, so his time frame of unconsciousness we will never know. And the fact that the hospital had to wait for the surgery until the next morning because they did not have the titanium screws is even more disturbing (when the time frame they are under is important in determining the amount of brain damage).

Once the sedation meds wore off he started to come around. When he tried to get up and would moan I knew there was something wrong. He moaned and fought to get up. It was like he didn't know what was going on.

The ventilator was removed two days later and he was moved to the Neuro Critical Care Unit four days later. After being at the hospital for a week they told me he would need to be an inpatient at the Rehab Center (for acute-post care).

From March 16, 2011 - March 31, 2011, I stayed ever day & night by his side never leaving unless it was important and he was in therapy. At first I had to feed him until he slowly started to on his own. He barely could right his name or read. It wasn't until one day (March 24, 2011) he woke up and realized that he was in a hospital and he was in a motorcycle accident and he was able to retain that memory over to the next day without forgetting. He still has moments where he goes on and on about a certain subject. He doesn't show any affection towards me but will sometimes towards the kids as response to their hugs. He doesn't say I love you unless I do. And will never suggest anything specific for us to do or eat. He is not the same man I married and I am scared to death of losing him forever.

It will be 7 weeks since the accident on Wednesday. He has regained most of his memory except those leading up to the accident by a week. He has short term memory issues but refuses to admit it.

The dreadful thing about this is that we were separated before the accident (which happened on Wednesday). The Sunday before the accident he asked me to go on a date with him. By the end of the date he wanted to come back home and take care of me and the kids. He didn't want a divorce or to live apart any longer, he wanted to start over.
On Monday night, he came over for dinner (his fav chicken marasala) and brought my favorite wine. On Tuesday night we both went for a pedicure and then to our son's literacy night at his school. After literacy night I assumed he left and my son and I went to KFC for dinner. He texted me asking where did I go, and I told him we went to KFC. He pulled up in the motorcycle while we were in the drive thru. I didn't kiss him good-bye or tell him I loved him before he left us. That was the last time I saw my husband before his accident the next morning. :crying:

I responded to your post only to let you know there are more people out there like you and me going through the same "loneliness" and pain.

I have cried, prayed, and begged God for guidance, answers, strength, and to help my husband and our family through this difficult time.

I have not only had to deal with his accident and the problems we had but also that of his family who have tried to influence him to stay with them and not me. They constantly are reminding him of all the bad things he told them and of course he never shared the good times.

I could go on and on...but it won't solve or change anything.

You ARE a great person to be there for him and hopefully he sees it. I pray that God will bless you and keep you strong during this trying time for the road to recovery may be an uncertain one but your FAITH will always be certain.

God Bless,

Sarah


#17

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.