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Off Topic :
I have always known it would come to this

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 betsy62 (original poster member #48022) posted at 5:02 AM on Thursday, October 7th, 2021

Just looking for some thoughts/opinions. About a decision that I recently made. Am I compassionate? Am I a doormat? Am I Co-Dependent? (a dear friend of mine is flinging that at me)
My X is a very physically sick man. Has been for years and years. Our M was very much centered around his illness.
He has now entered the testing phase to see if he can qualify for a double lung transplant. With everything going on with him, it is not a given that he will qualify.
But, it is looking like he will get the green light.
One of the things he has to have is a caregiver. Someone who can go through the whole thing with him. From pre-surgery to full recovery. Can be up to 2 years.
He originally told his doctors that he had a few people who could alternate coming in and being with him. They said absolutely not. It has to be one person. That has always been their policy (VA system), but with Covid, for sure it has to be only one person.
A bit of background.....for the last 10 years of our M, we were working our way to this transplant. I was obviously the caretaker then. We were all set to go. Then, his A happened. And, we D'd. And, the VA said no to the transplant.
Now, however, they want to get him on the table again.
And, he needs a full time caregiver. It has to be someone who can move if necessary, 6 hours away. ( 2 possible locations for this to happen. One in our city, the other out of state) Someone who can live in an extended hotel with him if out of state. For up to a year.
He has asked me to do it.
I have told him yes....if, and only if, I will be paid to be his caregiver. The VA does have stipends for caregivers. And, being it will be around the clock care, it looks like I can make it work financially. I would be moving back into the house with him. No rent. I could pocket much of the money. Plus, I will still get my alimony every month.
Of course, the VA can always say no to a caregiver. I find it hard to believe that someone getting a double lung transplant would not qualify for needing a caregiver.
So, this may not even happen. But, in case it does.......
Should I do it? I know only I can answer that. Does he deserve my help? By not doing it, can I just let him die. He has, at the most, 2 years to live without the transplant.
We have an adult DD. Can I look her in the eye and say sorry I am just not going to do this for your father?
I could go on and on here. But, I am going to stop yapping! There are so many variables that have to play out. It will be a couple months before he knows the VA's answer.
Having gone through all the years of this with him, I knew the moment we split, that at some point, I would have to make a decision about stepping back into his caregiver role. I think I have made peace with it. Or I am getting there.

Sometimes, you must forget what you feel, and remember what you deserve

posts: 477   ·   registered: May. 26th, 2015
id 8691910
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tushnurse ( member #21101) posted at 1:38 PM on Thursday, October 7th, 2021

I'm just going to throw out some questions for you to consider.

1. Is he respectful of you and kind? If you are wiping his ass for 6 months is he going to be appreciative or his he going to be a thankless jackass?

2. What is his life expectancy with transplant? What is the chance that he will actually survive the surgery? What does that life he has left look like with no surgery? How will hospice care improve his quality of life if he chooses to just let the disease take its course?

3. What does your Daughter think about you giving up 2 years of your life to care for him, when she may need her mom to be grandma and help with kiddos?

4. Why are you doing this? Why do you want to help him? If it's just guilt driving you do NOT do this. You will regret it, and caregiver burnout, and resentment is a very real thing.

Me: FBS
Him: FWS
Kids: 21 &23
Married for 28 years now, was 16 at the time.
D-Day Sept 26 2008
R'd in about 2 years. Old Vet now.

posts: 18985   ·   registered: Oct. 1st, 2008   ·   location: St. Louis
id 8691949
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EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 2:22 PM on Thursday, October 7th, 2021

This will perhaps sound unfeeling. But my xwh is also involved with the VA being a vet - TBI that causes seizures regularly. Pair that with the fact that he refuses to work with a neurologist or take medication appropriately, so his seizure disorder was a major component of our marriage. I worried about him when we were D'ing because I was the only person trying to get him into a good regimen of care and I worried what would happen to him.

But you know? That's not my problem anymore. That is (and always has been) HIS issue. And he will either figure it out like a grown up (like every other grown up on the planet does), or his lackadaisical attitude about his seizures will kill him eventually. That is sad and tragic, but it is what it is.

Your ex-husband's medical issues ceased to be your problem when you D'd. If it was a simple matter of writing a letter or flying in to go to a hearing or something, I would say yeah. But moving and uprooting your life to go and take care of him 24/7? I just don't see how that's healthy for YOU in any capacity. Plus sorry, but your ex is a grown-ass man and if he has reached a point in his life where he has NO other people in it but his ex-wife.... That sounds like a him issue, not a you one.

Like I said, I know that sounds unfeeling, but you don't owe this to him or to your daughter. You sound like a really sweet and compassionate and caring person, and it is WAY too easy for caring people to violate their own boundaries in the guise of 'taking care' of others. IMHO, your first thought now should be what is best for your own mental health and well-being.

"No, it's you mothafucka, here's a list of reasons why." – Iliza Schlesinger

"Being weird is just a side effect of being awesome."– Unknown

posts: 3181   ·   registered: Nov. 22nd, 2018   ·   location: CO
id 8691956
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Bigger ( Guide #8354) posted at 2:23 PM on Thursday, October 7th, 2021

Being Bigger my questions will be totally pragmatic:
I’m guessing you already know you could do it, it’s more a question of if you WANT to do it.

Double lung transplant, experimental treatment… this sounds like his options are definitely die or maybe die… If the marriage was non-abusive and tolerable (except obviously for the infidelity) then I would consider doing this
Is the divorce finalized?
Does he have a new partner or spouse?
What about kids?
Would he be willing to ensure that if this ends in his death that you have some benefit?
As is – if he passes – I’m guessing your alimony stops. Could you have ownership of his estate, rights to an ongoing pension or life insurance or anything of that nature?

Frankly and brutally – I would probably use this as leverage to ensure YOUR future, like maybe with some legal documentation ensuring your rights if he passes, and maybe for some years if he survives.

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

posts: 9933   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
id 8691957
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Jeaniegirl ( member #6370) posted at 6:45 PM on Thursday, October 7th, 2021

This is a tough one but as usual, Bigger said what I would have said.

I have a decent relationship with my EX and I might consider doing this but I'd sure have to give it some thought. After taking care of my Mom on home hospice, it's a HUGE job and I'm not a medically minded person and even with hospice it was HARD work. Two years sure seems like a long time to be so closely tied up to someone who betrayed you. Good luck with your decision.

"Because I deserve better"

posts: 2865   ·   registered: Feb. 1st, 2005
id 8692012
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number4 ( member #62204) posted at 8:30 PM on Thursday, October 7th, 2021

You wouldn't be the first person to take care of an ex. When I worked in hospice, I saw several family situations where an ex became the caregiver, and the caregiver was glad they did it. Now, there's a difference between someone on hospice who likely has less than six months left to live, and someone who will require a caregiver for two years. But it's not unheard of.

I guess my question is, let's say you commit to the two years, but some sort of crisis in your life, or your DD's life arises and you aren't able to care for him... what happens then?

Is your financial situation so dire that you need the money and ability to live rent-free? I wouldn't do it unless you met with a social worker or someone who could help you generate a list of boundaries. How are you given respite from caregiving? If he becomes emotionally abusive, what are the consequences? This kind of commitment can't be a license for him to treat you however he wants.

I have a cousin whose husband had a double-lung transplant, and it damaged his diaphragm to the point of him having a very restricted lifestyle. What if your husband has some sort of similar complication?

Lots of questions, and you need some professional help (I'm guessing the transplant team has a social worker you would be meeting with, who could take your circumstances under consideration) to navigate your situation.

Me: BW
Him: WH
Married - 30+ years
Two adult daughters
1st affair: 2005-2007
2nd-4th affairs: 2016-2017
Many assessments/polygraph: no sex addiction
Status: R

posts: 835   ·   registered: Jan. 10th, 2018   ·   location: Southern California
id 8692028
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13YearsR ( member #58259) posted at 8:39 PM on Thursday, October 7th, 2021

I'm curious about what you'd be giving up if you do it.

Also, I agree with Bigger.

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. ~ Gloria Steinem

The grass is greener on the other side of the fence because you're not over there messing it up.

DDay 2004. Successful R. 33 years married

posts: 570   ·   registered: Apr. 13th, 2017   ·   location: TX
id 8692030
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WhatsRight ( member #35417) posted at 4:35 PM on Friday, October 8th, 2021

Wow. Life really throws us some curveballs, doesn’t it?

The bottom line, of course, is whether or not you are willing to be of this kind of service. You seem to have thought of all that it will entail.

I know that you know this already, but it will truly be difficult. Although I am not divorced, I am my husbands full-time, round the clock care giver. I have to admit that it is difficult sometimes for the whole betrayal issue to rear its ugly head. But I’d rather just put my head down and keep in mind that it is a choice that I have made, that I would actually make again. I get that many peopleAre critical of such a decision, or at the very least feel that it is a poor one. But we all have to do what we think we should do.

I really like what Bigger contributed to the situation. It is totally not unreasonable to get paid for helping him, and for expecting that in exchange for putting your life basically on hold for a couple of years, that you could benefit in other ways such as being cared for through his estate in someway or another.

There are just so many things to think of.

I guess I don’t really have any words of wisdom, just wanting to tell you that you’re not alone. I have days when I can hold my head high because I believe that I am doing "what’s right". But honestly, I also have days where I feel that my life is being robbed from me. Of course, there is no time limit for my husband. For him, it will be the rest of his life. But I think you also have to consider that you have no idea what may happen as a result of the surgery, and your ex husbands situation may become more long-term if something unforeseen happens during the surgery or during his attempted recovery. And you need to think of how you would feel about a decision you would have to make at the end of two years, if you found out that it was going to be more permanent.

I think I’m just rambling here. Please PM me if you would like to ask me anything about my situation and I’m more than happy to share with you. There are certainly ups and downs involved, but when all is said and done each person needs to choose to do what they feel is right.

I wish you luck in trying to determine that for yourself. Hugs!

"Noone can make you feel inferior without your concent." Eleanor Roosevelt

I will not be vanquished. Rose Kennedy

posts: 7214   ·   registered: Apr. 23rd, 2012   ·   location: Southeast USA
id 8692233
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 betsy62 (original poster member #48022) posted at 12:58 AM on Saturday, October 9th, 2021

I thank everyone who responded with their opinions, and even the 2 X 4's.

I have no illusions(or delusions) about what I am stepping back into. The two of us went through the whole work up to this transplant. That was about 10 years ago. I met with social workers, psychologists, etc. They knew I was ready to handle things.
Someone asked if I was desperate for money. And, needed help paying my rent. I find that an odd comment, but whatever.
I support myself. I have a full time job.(that I will take a leave of absence from, and return when I can....no worries there)
What I meant about rent is instead of paying rent, I can pocket that money. And my alimony. And, hopefully, my stipend added to that will be enough to come close to my income now. Might not, but with no living expenses (rent, electric, etc) it might be okay. If not, I can't do it.
I am the beneficiary of his life insurance policy.
Will he be appreciative someone asked. Another bit of background.....he has been, for the most part, housebound during Covid. I have brought him his groceries every week. His doctors insisted he could only have 1 person coming into the house. Someone who lived alone, and worked from home. That was me. And, he has been grateful.
Again, no delusions about this, and what it means. There will be no R between us. Just in case someone is going to throw that into this.
He is a dying man, who really has no other options for help. And, I just don't have it in me to say too bad asshole!
I have lived the 12 steps of a recovery program for over a decade.(Not something I talk about here) That was one of my rocks during the fallout of our M. It is also the principles by which I live my life, every day. It has helped me make this decision. And, I am at peace with it.

Sometimes, you must forget what you feel, and remember what you deserve

posts: 477   ·   registered: May. 26th, 2015
id 8692319
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