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ask: I was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis. How do I speak with my wife about it?

By Anonymous
 
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I have trouble explaing to my wife, who by the way is a RN about how it is affecting me. When I tell her I am having a flare or that I am exhausted, she has nothing to say. I guess it's because I have had it so long that it doesn't affect her anymore. Do you have a suggestion as to how I can approach her with how I feel or is there a website that explains more about what I am going through?

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Anonymous

i am 51 years old ,have always suported the family but now i have been paralized with severe RA,,, now my wife has to start working at local gas station because i have no ins and we are broke ,and the nicese that i built houfor us 20 years ago is not paid off ,well now she is being very mean to me and wants me to nove out and let her stay here to raise her daughter ,since i cant work anymore ,,does my 20 years of supporting her and our other three kids not count for anything?? i suggested that maybe she try to get a little better quality job ,,but she says oh this job is not good enough for you ,,well shes 46 years old and could get on at phone company making 11.60 an hour to start but she says 22 miles is to far to drive ,,I GIVE UP

February 10, 2014 - 5:11pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Anon

I'm so sorry you are dealing RA and a bad marriage at the same time. 

Are you getting disability? You should qualify for this, will you check it out? 

Also, I think it's not so much that you are not working, it's that your marriage is in trouble, something that happens to many people. You have every right to live in your own home, do not move out!  I do agree that 22 miles (especially if one way!) is a very long commute and gas costs could negate the higher pay but she could try for a managers position at a nearby gas station, now that she has experience. 

Find legal aid and find out your rights.

Will you stay in touch with us?

Susan

February 11, 2014 - 12:19pm
Susan Cody HERWriter Guide

Hi Anon

Thank you for your post and welcome!I'm sorry about your diagnosis - RA can be really hard to live with.

If your wife is a nurse, then I am sure she's fairly well versed in RA and it's consequences so I'm not sure she needs an explanation from a medical point of view.

I get the feeling that the issue is that she's distant to you about this and not comfortable discussing it with you. Many people in the medical community are experts at dealing with patients with all sorts of medical issues but do far worse than "regular" people when it comes to having a family member or close friend who is dealing with a medical problem. Do you think this could be the case with your wife?

Is she open with you in general? Or does she tend to be closed off? Do you think she's in denial about things and is afraid that you'll end up completely dependent on her?

The issue is that she probably knows exactly how you are feeling and what a flare up can do to a person; the pain, the exhaustion and sometimes a consequent depression - but - she doesn't know how to talk to someone (you) very close to her.

I think it's time to ask her (gently) why she won't allow you to express your pain and fatigue to her. Ask her if she needs a little support too. Ask her if she thinks marriage counseling for you both might help you both come to terms with your condition. You have to keep the lines of communication open (sorry for that cliche!) otherwise she'll end up closing up altogether. You also need to be able to express your own feelings about things. It's not good for your to have to bottle things up either.

I hope to hear back from you!

~Susan

February 6, 2012 - 1:07pm
DonFreydo (reply to Susan Cody)

Thank you for your reply. I think that since I have had it so long that when I get flare ups, she does understand what is happening but she feels helpless as to what she can do for me. I do not think she is fearful of my having to become dependent on her. I was thinking that perhaps I suggest to her that she and I sit down with my rheumatologist and have her exlplain to my wife what and how r/a affects me and maybe even give her some suggestions. The last thing I want her to feel is that she has to take care of me. Although I have a severe condition, I am usually able to take care of myself. I just don't think she understands the severity of what this disease can do to a person. I guess not having it makes it even more difficult to be in touch with it. I have been going for infusions of Orencia monthly for several months now and I questions whether it is effective.

February 7, 2012 - 11:38am
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