Feeling a bit trapped

My wife is recoveing from a severe stroke that took place in mid-January. She has been home for just over a month now. She is right-side paralysed and so is in bed, although she is now being hoisted out into a chair every so often. We get plenty of support from our NHS physio/OT/speech team, and carers come four times a day for personal hygiene, etc. I do the rest: meals, laundry, general care, entertaining her as far as I can, listening out for anything at night (she was suffering from nightmare dreams, which thankfully seem to be passing), etc.

But I have a particular problem. My wife is very anxious about me leaving her side, even for five minutes. I can hardly even get out for a short walk or anything, let alone a shopping trip. Often she will call for me when I am a nearby room, doing something for her (I don’t have time to do anything for myself any more …) I do nip out sometimes when her therapists or carers are here, but other than than I am feeling pretty trapped.

Has anyone else experienced this? Any tips or ideas on how to tackle it?

@Chris_Baker hello Chris, your wife has suffered a really awful brain trauma. I know this will be very hard for you and her. It is early days and room for lots of improvement for her. I’m glad you are getting help from NHS.

I’m not in a position to give you proper advice but I know after my stroke 13 months ago I was very scared and wanted my husband near me as much as I could. It will be really difficult for you but I’m not sure if this is what I should be saying but here goes! Patience is all you can do at the moment! There I’ve said it. Things may get easier soon for you and you can get out when the therapists are visiting her. I think your wife needs reassurance your around. Do you have any family that can help you out a couple of hours a week? If so that would give you breathing space for yourself.

I hope someone on our forum can help better than me. I wish you lots of luck and hope your wife starts to recover well soon. Best regards Loraine

@Chris_Baker my mum went through something similar when my dad was terminally ill. He didn’t like my mum being out of his sight. I used to go & sit with my dad somedays so mum could get out for a short time. Dad was always a bit uppity about it but we just told him that mum had stuff to do & she’d be back soon. I always found it hard as dad would get a bit shirty at times but I knew it was the illness not him so would just suck it up & cry later. Do you have someone who could sit with her for a bit now and again? It’s important that you have some time for you. Maybe explain to your wife that it’s important for you to have a bit of time for you else you won’t be able to help her when she needs it or be able to spend some “quality” (not the right word but hopefully you know what I mean) time together.
Hope it all goes ok. Take care xx

Hi Chris. Sorry to hear about your situation. You have my sincere sympathy. I had a severe stroke three years ago. I don’t know what problems your wife has now. Could she use an iPad with her left hand? I am still unable to use my right side but I now manage with my left. I was right handed before my stroke. I gain lots of support and company from this site. I hope this may help. Lilian

Hi Chris. I can understand her anxiety, but you need space too. I am lucky because in the early days I insisted my partner had ‘me time’. Do you have anyone who might sit with her while you are out? I wonder if you might benefit from any Carers group in your neighbourhood where people might have similar problems and issues?

Hi Chris hopefully you’ve got someone, family or a close friend who can sit with your wife so you can have a break.

Of course your wife will be feeling anxious and possibly frightened, having a stroke is very traumatic. It’s difficult to say how you should handle the situation but I can say you will need a break and regular ‘me time’ (all carers do) or you’ll burn out yourself.

Best wishes

I’m male, suffered a similar stroke and know how much someone else can be useful or even essential at times.
My wife and I bought a cheapy second hand iPhone each off the Internet. Now we can be in different places but the other is only a Facetime call away. It does help.

@Bobbi welcome to our forum and your right new technology is great for keeping in touch. Doesn’t matter where you are in the world or house :joy_cat::joy_cat::joy_cat:. Best wishes loraine :blush:

@Bobbi it’s wonderful you and your wife have embraced technology to keep in touch, take advantage of all it has to offer.

My hubby doesn’t have a smart phone, he still uses an old Nokia and never sends a text, in fact more often than not his phone is switched off, it’s a nightmare trying to get in touch with him lol.

Best wishes

I’m afraid I was also stuck in my ways. It took something as drastic as a stroke to pursuade me to look at the smart phone. I’m not pleased to have had a stroke but it has opened my eyes somewhat.

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@Bobbi pleased to hear you found some sort of up side :+1:

@Chris_Baker, from a stroke survivor’s perspective, for the first three or four months, if my partner went out to the shops, I would feel very nervous being on my own. The reality for me was exposure therapy, she just went out and I was left on my tod to feel anxious. After some time, I gradually became confident on my own, and now look forward to when I have some time by myself. In the early months, I would like to know where my partner was, even which room. I would always keep an ear out for noise, and that would mean I could relax a little. Using a little mindfulness, like stepping stones can help. Tell her you are going to be away for five minutes, then as she becomes comfortable with this, tell her you’ll be away for ten minutes, and so on. About six months in, post stroke, my partner went and stayed with a friend over a weekend. I was a wreck, but the experience then allowed her to go away to London for four days! It was originally arranged that I would have a babysitter (friend) stay with me, but in the end I told her that I would rather try it alone. In time, hopefully, things will settle in this respect, but at the moment, I imagine fear and anxiety are conducting her lifestyle.