Caregivers get sick too.

Monday my husband had oral surgery. That morning I woke up with a scratchy throat.

His surgery went well and he was put on 5 days of quarters. (Sick leave.)

I will honestly admit I was concerned about his reaction to anesthesia and the fact he had never been put under before. They used propofal and he doesn't even remember going to sleep. That's good. I just didn't know the residual effects of anesthesia on his dementia. Click here to see why.

What "normal" people do at this point is go home and rest and take Percocet that the doctor prescribed for pain. Yep. My husband's not normal. He didn't relax or lay down or go to bed. He didn't take his pain medicine. For 55 hours after surgery!

By Monday night I knew I was getting sick. I just didn't know what kind of sick or to what degree. I went back in my mind and remember someone sneezing a few days earlier because I said "Bless you." Just about the perfect incubation period.

I tried and tried to convince my honey to go to bed. I was not nagging at him. I would encourage him every few hours to get some rest. All that did was aggravate him. I dozed on and off taking cold medicine when I could no longer stand it.

At 48 hours in I told his nurse case manager during a check in that he had not been to sleep. She asked to talk to him. He tells her he's fine and he's just tired of me bitching about it. (That sentence comes into play soon.)

Later the squad leader stopped and it distracted him enough for long enough that he finally went to bed. He read the pain reliever bottle and it said take up to 2 Percocet.

Let me tell you this, he is extremely sensitive to any medication especially narcotics! He fell asleep sitting up and I finally convinced him to lay down although at the time he wasn't happy. I'm sure his neck thanks me today. I was so glad I could now take as much cold medicine as I needed and sleep soundly. He slept 14 hours straight.

The dogs woke me up at 5am. They knew he was awake. I went in there and at some point during the night he had fallen. He had a nasty red mark on his left cheek. I thought at first it was an infection but it was more of a blister from probably a carpet burn.

But he slept, and slept hard. He woke up feeling much better and so did I.

The plans for the day was to complete his leave packet which required seeing the social worker and getting her signature. He had an appointment at 3pm but the squad leader wanted it done earlier. No one could reach the social worker so we decided to try around noon. I took off at 10am to get urgent errands done that should have been done days before but I was too sick to do. I finished the first errand and my phone started to ring. It was the squad leader asking if I was tracking an 11am appointment with the Battalion and Company Commander. No I was not tracking that. I rush home and get my husband and head to the Company.

The GREAT news! Leave is approved. Hooray! We are not going anywhere but we have family coming for the Easter holiday. They are still going to do face to face checks everyday he is on leave but at least we don't have to do anything else. Compromise. We'll take it.

Then the Battalion Commander wants to know what happened to his face. He tries to explain about his sleep disorder. The Commander said no, "What happened?" We both told him there is no way to tell. That this is not unusual and has been going on for two years. He then said he heard I was having a hard time taking care of him and should we put him in the barracks. Um, NO. I didn't say no emphatically but said I was fine and wouldn't consider not taking care of him. He went on to say that he heard I was having a hard time "this week" taking care of him. I said he didn't sleep for 55 hours after surgery and I was sick, yes it was hard but I am fine.

I was dumbfounded that they would even think that. I played everything in my mind. Then it dawned on me that it was my husband's comment about "bitching at him" that the nurse case manager took as a sign I was having a hard time. Ah ha! A language barrier. My husband was joking and she didn't know that. I suppose not everyone gets his sense of humor. I remember when he first got there that he playfully said to me in front of the squad leader "I'm going to beat you like a redheaded stepchild." I knew he was playing and I could hear it in his voice. The squad leader almost snapped his neck to see my reaction, which was a smile and telling him he was silly.

I told him later he shouldn't say things like that because these people don't know him and they might take him serious.

And........they do. Sadly he doesn't necessarily contain the filter to determine that anymore because of his dementia. I hope they can see it soon.

Next week we are going to meet with the Brigade Commander for a follow up. Yes, while he is on leave and we agreed to that because we want things moving forward. I'm looking forward to the meeting.


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