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Widowhood health disasters
Posted: Tuesday, October 11, 2016 11:58 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 269

Am I the only one who has fallen apart at the seams as a widow?  It has been seven months today. 

Just thirteen days after my husband's death, I had an appendectomy.  A month after that, I was working full-time again but sleeping and eating very poorly and feeling exhausted.  I broke a toe and had to hobble around with a surgical boot for several weeks.  About the time that got better, I had several episodes of wildly swinging blood pressure and fainting.  Then traveled cross country to sell our big house (after 4 years on the market) and came home with a virus.  My fibromyalgia pain has been out of control since hubby went on hospice last February so I had a trigger point injection for that in September and the needle accidentally punctured my lung.  I spent a week in the hospital with a tube between my ribs to reinfalate the lung and came home with chest pain and no voice. Both of my vocal cords are paralyzed now.  I had to cut my work back to half-time because I have so much trouble breathing and communicating.  I am pretty strong but my body just seems to be shouting, STOP!  I had a few weeks of decent sleep with sleeping pills, but once I started weaning off of them, sleep eludes me.  And I am never ever pain-free. I do yoga, massage, acupuncture and psychotherapy plus I eat an extremely healthy diet and lots of supplements, but I am still a wreck.

I am 61 and thought my health was decent before but I wonder now if I will live long enough to retire. I seem to have a "kick me" sign on my back.  I know mortality is higher after we lose a spouse but I sure didn't expect a long series of unrelated medical disasters on top of pain, fatigue, insomnia, nightmares and crying jags.  

Have you had health problems, too?  Did you have to quit work?  How are you coping with your own frailty?  My beloved hubby was a doctor and he was my health care advocate until Imhad to become his and now I have no one.  Feeling SO vulnerable and frail...

Posted: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 5:21 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 21237

No, I too sort of fell apart and ended up in the hospital shortly after my husband died. I think it is a long pull to get back.
Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2016 10:22 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 269

Thanks for letting me vent.  And thanks for validating how long and hard this journey is.  

I thought once my husband no longer needed my full attention, once he was physically gone from this world, I would be able to somehow find my own life again.  I didn't realize the many years of doing everything for both of us while working full time would leave me so exhausted and vulnerable.  And I sure didn't expect to be a patient myself.  

I heard people remind me to take care of myself during the care giving years, but there just wasn't much time for that.  I hope I will eventually recover enough to get another chance at life.  But there are no guarantees for any of us, I suppose.  

I thought I had done so much anticipatory grieving before he died that it might not be so bad.  I was truly ready by the end for him to be relieved from his suffering. But what I miss now is not the sweet and sickly and trusting man/child I lost a few months ago; I miss the strong, brilliant man I lost years ago.  The one who would have protected me and comforted me and shared my heavy load.  The one who knew how to make everything all right.   

Sea Field
Posted: Saturday, October 15, 2016 8:57 AM
Joined: 8/5/2012
Posts: 1872

The day after DHs memorial service I was diagnosed with strept throat.  Then the muscles in my pelvis collapsed and I was in physical therapy for 7 months to correct this. 

My thinking and memory were shot.   First time I drove after DHs passing, I took the side mirror off my car.  I lost my car keys the parking lot at the grocery store.  I left the moon roof open during 2 days of rain.  Couldn't bring myself to begin the many needed house repairs that I had put off during the caregiving years.  There is a good reason they advise not to make any major decisions during that first year after their passing.

Eventually my physical health and my memory began to improve.  Thank goodness.  I was surprised at just how much of our being it takes to grieve.

It has now been a year and a half since DH passed.   Yes things are improving.  And yes, I still miss him.

Blessings to you as you navigate stage 8.


His Daughter
Posted: Saturday, October 15, 2016 10:40 PM
Joined: 6/25/2014
Posts: 2270


   I just replied back to Still Waters on her thread "I don't know how to live anymore."
I think the important thing we all need to remember, is that this life altering experience of grief and losing someone who was our world, takes it's ugly tole on every part of our bodies.  It's not just sadness.  This thing we call grief effects our brain chemistry, as well as our physical body.  
I was extremely close to my mother.  She died when I was just 36,  yet,  I didn't have any strength, couldn't function, physically felt horrible, would walk into a room and forget why I was there.  It was awful.  Even my periods got all out of whack.  I lost weight at a horrible rate.  (And I'm not a big woman to begin with.)  
So is it any wonder that at our ages, this grief does a lot of damage?  I'm tying 60 in another month.  And boy can I feel it.  I'm trying to do everything to keep myself physically healthy right now.  But boy this is a chore.  And I've been so busy with finalizing the estate, that at times I don't know which end is up, or if I've even had the time I need to grieve Dad's death.  

PS I know your question was for widows.  So hope you don't mind me chiming in.  But I think our age group, combined with this whammy of grief, really does a number on us. 


Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 9:57 PM
Joined: 9/4/2014
Posts: 418

It's been a year and a half since I lost my dear wife, I have been a health nut most of my life ,after losing Gerda I went to pot, can't seem to get it together, feel bad, colds and flu , pain everywhere, I was one of those who never got sick, I don't know who I am any and out of Emergency rooms. Lots of infections,

I sort of know how you feel as I'm walking with that same cloud over head, I have never used drugs but I sure wish I would.

Please know we feel for you, your not alone, my prayers are with you,it is so hard when you are alone.

Please take care.       Joel

Still Waters
Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2016 7:50 AM
Joined: 2/6/2012
Posts: 1092

I am not a widow either. But as far as health disasters go, quite honestly I pray for them. I pray to my mother every day to take me off this earth and bring me to her, to give me a terminal illness so that I can join her. I don't want to be here anymore. This life is hell without her. So I am not concerned anymore with my health. If I get sick I will consider it a blessing, do the cheese burger dance and get out of here.

Posted: Saturday, October 22, 2016 7:39 PM
Joined: 12/18/2011
Posts: 14652


It's been 21 months since I lost Charles.  I know I let my health go while caring for him but that's what caregivers seem to do.  I've done pretty well with some aches and pains but the thing with me was hitting my head- you'd have thought it was the size of a bushel basket. I had headaches for weeks, they'd improve and I'd hit it again.

 A Few weeks ago I began to feel tired all the time, sore throat , fever and diarrhea.  My doctor and the urgent care doctor thought it was the stomach flu.  It didn't get better so my doctor tested for EBV and CMV and did a tick profile.  Blood tests were positive for EBV and CMV.  I'm one month into this.  Still no energy and sore throat off and on.  No medicine to help so will have to wear it out.  I'm told it can last for months, get better and maybe recur.  All I do are the necessary things, then either sit in my chair or recline in bed.

My doctor's nurse told him I was falling apart and I feel like it.

Very stressful to not be well and to be alone.

Mimi S.
Posted: Sunday, October 23, 2016 6:51 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027

Portia, I'm glad you got some answers.  Wish you had help on the farm.
Posted: Monday, October 31, 2016 11:36 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 269

Oh my goodness.  Aren't we a mess?  EBV and CMV sound dreadful, Lorita - and don't you take care of acreage and animals?  I am so sorry to learn of the toll this has taken on so many of us. And yet, it helps to know others are suffering, too, and that some are even starting to feel a little better.  Maybe we still have a ninth life left in us.  

StillWaters, I am very close to my mom and can only imagine the depth of your despair in losing yours, but I hope you will find your way past the depression that grips you.  Depression is a very serious illness on its own. 

Take care, everyone.  Thanks so much for writing.    

Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2016 10:30 PM
Joined: 12/18/2011
Posts: 14652


It is good to know what's wrong but awful to know there's nothing to help cure it.  Also can last a long time, then recur.  Jo is on her third episode.

I do have a ranch and cattle to care for.  Thankfully, it's not time to feed yet.  It's so hard for me and others who have this.  I think about walking a hundred yards to open or close a gate and wonder if it's worth it.  You feel a little better at times and kind of tend to overdo, then you're down and out for hours or a day or so.  I may be into my third month and don't know how much longer it will last.  Being alone and like this is really hard. Just thankful it didn't happen while I was care giving.  But maybe the reason it did happen was because of the prolonged stress and being tired.  Who knows?

Posted: Friday, November 4, 2016 8:20 AM
Joined: 5/21/2016
Posts: 2012

My mom is now a widow. She does not like technology and so she cannot post here. I offer her as much support as I can muster. But yes, she is falling apart. It has been just over a month now.  My dad would have wanted her to keep on, but the grieving comes in waves and yes, she is now battling bronchitis. Grieving wrecks havoc on the immune system. Please wish her well. I wish all of you well too, all of you on this thread!
Posted: Friday, November 4, 2016 12:43 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 21237

I so wish her well and please tell her that it was probably 3 months before I did more than merely function. I was totally broken.  At one year I do have a peace that surprises me. I am still lonely and miss so many things. I am different, life is different but no linger filled with raw pain.

Please give her a hug from me and share with her that I still do not check the widow box.

Posted: Friday, November 4, 2016 6:06 PM
Joined: 1/23/2012
Posts: 781

Lots of hugs to your mom, healing takes time, tell her to be patient with herself. try to get her interested in technology, it opens up a whole new world. I am 83 and holding, love my I- phone 6, looking forward to 7, love my computer. Hoping to start the next phase of my life, my DH passed July 4th 2015.Life is for the living and it is short.
Lots of hugs for you and mom


Posted: Thursday, November 10, 2016 8:46 AM
Joined: 5/21/2016
Posts: 2012

Regarding health woes and mourning, thank you for the sentiments of feeling better to my mom.  Frankly she would not understand why I am talking with people I don't know via the computer. She is very suspicious of people in general and thankfully listens to her doctor.  I have just put her on an antibiotic to hopefully kick this bug out of her system. She is right now sitting on her bed looking at photos of her husband, my dad and yes, we both still miss him terribly.  It has been 45 days. I am sorry for all of you who have also suffered because of ignoring your health due to caregiving.  My mom was not caregiving, I was. My dad was my mom's primary caregiver. I miss him terribly but I am more afraid of becoming sick because who will take care of my mom?
Lorena K
Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2016 1:49 AM
Joined: 9/1/2014
Posts: 87

I lost my husband 3 weeks ago , and I am having a hard time adjusting o widowhood . I don't want to leave my house , I stay on the couch all of the time

And the worst of it all is that I can not cry.I have no appetite and do not want to see anyone.The inability to cry is painful . I sleep ok,but it is not good sleep . I am hoping that when I get all of the business taken care of ,that I can finally release my emotions . 

Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2016 2:28 PM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 21237

I was the same way. I felt like a wounded animal that needed to withdraw to heal. I was like that when my father died too.

This is just the way some of us handle grief. 

Agent 99
Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2016 12:46 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 2166

Fell and broke my ankle in June.  Recovered now.  Put on tons more weight.  Can't stop eating.

One thing that I understand now is that during the care concierging years I was so worried about getting sick or injured or dead.  I really coudn't come up with a plan for his care and that also was a major failure.  My profession involved emergency plans for industries but I couldn't figure it out for my sweetie.   It was a major stress on me.  WHen he passed I believe that the relief I felt was the lifting of that weight of worry.  I'm not reckless now but I'm also not taking care of myself well.  I also don't have much care if it all ends for me.