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 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?

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.

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.

1 Like

@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.