When your spouse is going through a health crisis and particularly one involving the hospital, it can be challenging, to say the least. It’s overwhelming for many spouses because they want to support their significant other, but they may feel that they lose their own support system in the process.
The spouse who has the health crisis may feel frustrated and may even lash out as their husband or wife tries to help them, further creating a challenging time.
There are different reasons your spouse could end up in the hospital, including acute or chronic illnesses, or because of an injury, such as one resulting from an auto accident.
Regardless of the reason, the following are some ways to cope during your spouse’s hospital stay.
Start Preparing Yourself For Ongoing Changes
Depending on the severity of your spouse’s illness or injury, it’s possible that your life could change quite a bit in the coming months or perhaps years.
Once the initial shock of a hospitalized spouse wears off, start mentally preparing yourself for how your life could change in the future.
You have to realize that your life may change, but that doesn’t necessarily mean for the worst—life is full of changes.
If you’re experiencing feelings of guilt or anger, talk them out with your spouse if they’re able, because they’re likely feeling the same way.
Don’t necessarily try to sugarcoat or hide your feelings. Build a foundation of communication during a difficult time.
At the same time, while you want to be honest, you don’t want to shame your spouse or make them think you’re frustrated with them. Instead, emphasize that you’re frustrated with the situation.
Empower Yourself with Information
While the initial days of your spouse being in the hospital may be shocking and might emotionally and mentally paralyze you, once that wears off, start to regain control of the situation by learning all that you can about their condition, whether it’s an illness or an injury.
When you learn more, you can be an active participant in your spouse’s care.
Learning as much as you can will allow you to be part of decision-making, and you’ll be armed with the information needed to ask the right questions.
If you ever have questions when speaking to health care providers, don’t be afraid to speak up. If you need clarification on terminology or anything else, ask.
Know Your Limits
If your spouse is in the hospital, you may feel like you have to constantly be at their side, or maybe that you need to be superhuman. You don’t.
When our loved ones are hospitalized we sometimes feel like we have to sleep there with them and we don’t. Doctors aren’t going to be discussing anything major in the middle of the night, and sometimes it’s better to go home and get quality rest so that you can be a better caregiver.
It’s okay to go home and also to take care of yourself.
You’re only one person so be easy on yourself.
Depending on the situation, make sure that you’re taking time out to do things that relax you or that you enjoy. You might also think about joining a support group.
Ask For Outside Help
If your spouse is hospitalized, you may not be able to do as many things around the house or prepare meals. You may also have children and you find that you’re struggling to balance that.
It’s good to ask for help from friends and family and you should.
This will allow you to focus your limited energy on the most important things.
Consider Speaking to a Therapist
While it’s good to communicate with your spouse honestly, if they’re in the hospital, you may not be able to.
You need a support system, and you need to be able to share your thoughts and feelings because you’re affected heavily by your spouse’s illness or injury.
It may be a good idea to see an impartial therapist. You may find that this works better for you than opening up to a family member or friend, as a lot of people do.
A hospitalized spouse, particularly for a long period of time, may be one of the biggest challenges you face in your life. Deal with the present and plan for the future, rather than dwelling on the past or what was before this situation. Give yourself what you need, just as much as you’re giving your spouse what they need from you.