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Advice please: Should I stay or should I go? - Carers UK Forum

Advice please: Should I stay or should I go?

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Hi All,
I am new to the forum and have a question that I would appreciate some independent advice on please.
I look after my wife who is 54; she has Bipolar disorder (since the age of 20) and also Fibromyalgia; Osteo Arthritis and Ménière’s disease (dizziness / vertigo). She recently fell at home as a result of dizziness and broke her leg.

I am 52 and took early retirement at 49 to look after her and cannot get another job as she needs me around a lot. She does not have any care worker or support worker.
I do all cooking; cleaning; laundry. I take her to all appointments – she has agoraphobia so does not go out alone. I help bathe her and do things like cutting toe nails. Other than doing shopping and walking the dog, I too am always in the house.
My wife has two sons from a previous marriage. I did bring them up from a young age and did all I could for them but they both ended up making their own way in life; both got involved in drugs – not heroin but cannabis and speed.
One is 33 and was recently diagnosed with Bipolar and also a syndrome involving low testosterone – Klinefelters syndrome. He lives 300 yards away so I take him to appointments and shopping when I can.
The other son is 35. He has always been hard work with a bad temper. He was diagnosed with Diabetes type 1 at the age of 6. He lives 30 miles away so it is hard to do much for him. He doesn’t work and lives alone – every girlfriend he ever had left him within months as a result of his anger management issues.
We never hear from him unless he has a problem, usually he needs money for food (he plays on his diabetes) but he always has cigarettes.
He has just been told that he has Crohns disease and may need surgery to remove part of his bowel. He may have to have a colostomy for a year before the bowel can be rejoined. He told this to his mother on the phone. He is I feel, trying to get his mother to let him stay with us for a while after his operation (if he has one).
However, his mother is not in a position to nurse him. I refuse to do so as I feel that I have enough to do looking after her and I believe that it is for the medical profession to help him at his own home (district nurses etc)
Accordingly, this has caused a dilemma with his mother and I disagreeing on the right course of action.
The other issue is that I am due to travel to visit a friend in America in September. Our daughter is coming to stay with her mum and look after her whilst I am away. The trip has been arranged since January. I am going alone with my wife’s blessing – it was her idea. She cannot fly as she has had 3 DVT’s in the past. If an operation were to be scheduled whilst I am away, I get the distinct impression that it is felt I should cancel my trip and stay at home so he can stay at our house. We only have one spare bed so he could not be here at the same time as our daughter. Our daughter is 28 and has had to arrange with her employers to let her have some leave and to ‘work from home’ to facilitate this arrangement.

So, I believe that he should recuperate at his own home and I should not have to cancel my trip.
Any advice? Am I right to think what I do or am I being unreasonable?


I think you should make it clear that you CANNOT under any circumstances take on any more caring. He is an adult, and responsibilities go with this. If he needs help after an operation, the hospital and Social Services must arrange it. Go on your trip, vote with your feet. And make sure before you go that you arrange an up to date needs assessment for your wife and a carers assessment for you. You need a break and a bit of a life now and then too.
Obviously it is you Bald Runner, who has to make the final decision - or if you like, the "choice" based on all the facts. However, for what it's worth I agree with Bowlingbun.

Let me relate a story to you. Last year I was due to leave for a 2 week respite in Canada (where I was going to a wedding - so planned a long time in advance) - 3 hours, i.e. 6.45am, before I was due to leave for the airport all hell let loose. I won't go into details, but with MUCH encouragement from Social Services and a Paramedics team, I managed to spend that 3 hours, which was a Sunday incidentally, putting a complete, but alternative, care plan in place for the person I care for. After much soul searching, prevaricating and tearing out of hair, I went. Although I looked a state and my packing wasn't up to much, I still went. For about 48 hours I wasn't that comfortable with my decision - but with phone calls home every day, and a couple of days to get used to the time difference, I had a wonderful rest - and I appreciated every single minute of it.

I wouldn't say everything at home was completely wonderful whilst I was away - but nothing of any major significance happened, and anything that did crop up somehow got dealt with. And within a couple of days of arriving home, everything was back to normal. Well as normal as life ever is for a Carer.

After that experience, quite frankly, unless I felt I was leaving a life threatening situation, I will carry on taking a break whenever I can. In the main, Carers are a bit of a selfless lot, who to varying degrees, sacrifice a lot. A little R & R is the least they deserve.

It is always of vital importance that Carers look after themselves in order to remain physically and emotionally able to continue in their caring role. We owe it to ourselves, and to those we care for.
hi bald runner a warm welcome to the site
When we have children we feel always to care for them but your son is a adult not a little child he, must be accountable for his own responsibility and I am sorry he has to have an op but I am sure he has friends etc even social services who will care for him but just say if he came and stayed with you how long would it be before his temper starts? you and certainly your wife don't wont that, in fact it could put her in hospital and what then? or worse still you yourself could end up there and what about the wife who would care for her? YOUR SON ? somehow I don't think so? .Let him ran t all he wont's he needs to be in his own home.he will have help social services will see to that
You have organised your affairs so your wife will be looked after and she is pleased you are going to take a break also your daughter volenteered her time to look after mom its a blessing to have someone in the family to do that SO BALD RUNNER take the opportunity and go.
caring for someone is no easy task and does have effect on ones health and carers breaks are vital.so the question should i stay or go is not open for debate for a carer its A .MUST
Thank you all for your comments. Much appreciated.
Hi Bald runner - You have an excellent arrangement in place to take care of everything whilst you are away - so don't let anything make you change your mind.

Go to America in September and have a wonderful time!