Marriage and Traumatic Brain Injury: A couples’ journey

Posted by Ginger Bristow Gaitor on 4th Dec 2010

My husband Bill has a traumatic brain injury, associated with medication adverse reaction in combination with major depressive disorder.

Since January of 2006, after he entered the hospital, and was deemed lucky to be alive 5 different ways, I have been by his side. That is almost five years. Hospitalizations and crises concern our friends and people we know. But they look at this in small doses: three days here, four weeks there, etc.

Husband and wife caregiver and survivors are rare, but becoming more common daily. And with the aging population of baby boomers, Medicare and Medicaid funding problems, society is in for a big surprise.

As a wife caregiver, 24/7, I can tell you that this is a huge commitment, not to be made lightly.

My counselor is working with me to look at the losses both my husband and I have been through. She uses the grief method of Elisabeth Kubler Ross, whose ideas on grief in dying and loss are well accepted these days.

I should say my counselor would like to have me focus on these stages and this process but I am very resistant. I will be honest here.

I would look at this if I had a problem, none exist! (Stage 1: Denial)

Besides, what business is it of hers anyway, and it really frustrates me! (Stage 2: Anger)

I’ve already made a deal with God if He will just let Bill get well, we’ll be fine! (Stage 3: Bargaining)

Big sigh and swallow. (Stage 4: Depression and sadness, both of which are repressed constantly)

Who knows where all this is going, anyway! (Stage 5: Acceptance. This does not seem to be too much involved in the picture just now.)

I would like to go through each of these stages with you as a blogger, and share my feelings, and hope to come through it as both a better caregiver and wife. And to offer each of you some insight into what I am doing right, and where I am going wrong.

To tell you the truth…that’s twice so far in this short article, I am scared to death. What if I am not up for the task of caring for a man with a severe brain injury? For you to understand I will have to fill you in on his losses before I give you mine.

Please join me next time, as I do just that. Ginger