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To get frustrated with my husband sitting in his armchair for 14 hours a day !

(40 Posts)
vickymeldrew Mon 30-Aug-21 12:50:20

My husband of 51 years has never been one to go out much, go on holidays, entertain or have hobbies.
He has diverticulitis and dizzy spells. Two years ago he had a heart valve replaced. Since his surgery he has retreated to his armchair and spends most of the day either playing games on his tablet or watching television.
I have always tried to be sympathetic to his illness and have taken over most of the jobs in the house. Unfortunately this seems to have made matters worse as he enjoys being waited on and expects me to do virtually everything.
He will do some things if I specifically ask him to, for example, make a coffee or prepare vegetables but immediately sits down again when he has done that.
We have 3 adult children and six grandchildren. When they visit he enjoys seeing them, but is very much in his chair waiting for them to come to him.
I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with his lack of consideration . I would like us to be more of a partnership.

M0nica Tue 07-Sep-21 15:07:11

Cabbie you should have left him at home for a fortnight and with the food order to deal with. If he wanted to eat and/or not be surrounded by rotten food. He would have to do something.

DH had a heart attack, a triple bypass operation and then an extra three operations and six weeks in hospital to deal with an antibiotic resistant infection between November and January

We were worried that he would turn into a slug once dicharged and do as OP's DH is doing. Thankfully, for all of us, his idea of therapy was to finally get the builders in to build the extension we have permission for because he wanted it built before he died!

This meant that because he has always been a very hands-on person, he was soon struggling outside to check on progress, then he was working out if he could cut costs by doing some of the work himself, and now, while still with breathing problems, he is doing 2nd fit electrics and installing the guttering.

What the OP's DH needs is a project!

25Avalon Tue 07-Sep-21 09:53:40

Usually when you have had heart valve surgery you are encouraged to take it easy and do no lifting for about 3 months. Sounds as if your dh has fallen into a rut, got you waiting on him, and wants to continue. After 3 months regular exercise is recommended, gradually building up. If you get dizzy, however, you are told to stop - but not for ever, just for that moment! There are also heart rehabilitation programmes your GP should have offered.

I think your dh has lost confidence and is too scared to do much and this makes it worse. Loads of people have heart valve ops and live for years if he is worried about that. He should really see the GP as the inactivity is bad for his heart and being dizzy needs sorting too. Having said that I am in a similar but not as bad position with my dh. He works from home doing consultancy work so spends a lot of time sat glued to his mobile or computer. He does potter around in his polytunnel but beyond the occasional short walk with me and the dog takes no other exercise. He does absolutely nothing around the house and like you I find myself doing it all. If I get mad it makes no difference. His heart op was 5 years ago. I am sure you found that traumatic too. Maybe that fear is why we put up with it but it is not satisfactory. I do understand how you feel. It is very frustrating.

Cherrytree59 Tue 07-Sep-21 09:27:09

Cabbie thanks
Rearrange shopping for another time and go and recharge your batteries.

Cabbie21 Tue 07-Sep-21 09:09:46

My husband agrees to do certain jobs that he considers his, then procrastinates so long that I have to do them eg empty the rubbish, change a light bulb. The garden is so overgrown but he wont get help with it. He didn't get the outdoor furniture out of the shed this year and I can’t manage it by myself, but I don’t want to sit out in an overgrown garden.
I know he has no energy and often does not feel well. The latest is his feet. He thinks he has pulled a muscle.
There are so many things I want him to sort out and throw out before he gets any older, but it isn’t happening.
I turned down a short trip away with my daughter for several good reasons, but one of them was that we had an online supermarket delivery due and he said it would knacker him if he had to deal with it himself. All that bending and lifting.

Carenza123 Tue 07-Sep-21 08:44:08

My husband is exactly the same - it is so frustrating for me! He has not had surgery but is prone to panic attacks and is on a lot of medication. He has COPD and still smokes ?. He is very into himself and I have got into the bad habit of waiting on him. He does no jobs in the house and if I have asked him to help on the odd occasion, he flatly refused. I am stuck to some extent as he MUST use the car at all times (panic attacks) so I get to be chaperoned around - dropped off and picked up by him - which is so frustrating (and controlling).

M0nica Thu 02-Sep-21 19:38:04

Is it just men who cannot think forward logically?

A few weeks ago we had EP not leaving his house to be vaccinated in case he caught COVID, while running the much higher risk of having a heart attack/stroke/ badfall/ among many things at home. and nobody knowing and getting help, because no one has seen him to miss him.

Now we have all the men mentioned on this thread, worried by thoughts of their mortality, while adopting a policy - sitting down in a chair all day - that is only likely to hasten their demise by increasing their chances of a coronary thrombosis and other problems - like constipation - which men seem prone to, because of lack of exercise.

theworriedwell Thu 02-Sep-21 10:13:37

Has he had any physio OP? I had exercises to reduce the risk of falls, it seems silly little exercises sometimes but has made a world of difference to me.

theworriedwell Thu 02-Sep-21 10:11:37

I think a major illness or operation can have a bad effect on your mental health. I was rushed into the local cardiac unit a few years ago, it is very sobering being on a unit like that for a few days. You see emergencies, people going to theatre for life or death operations and maybe the same for yourself. I've got over it and I'd say I'm back to normal but maybe he needs some help to regain himself. Some counselling perhaps?

Grandmagrim Thu 02-Sep-21 10:03:10

I’m equally frustrated by my husband sitting doing nothing all day. It’s a year since he had a heart attack so I know part of his problem is fear but he seems to be totally unaware of the workload his abdication of living is creating. The only thing I can think of to improve things for short periods is to actually ask him if he will do XYZ for me. I honestly think he’s become so wrapped up in how he feels physically and mentally that with out these little nudges he’s simply oblivious. I don’t expect things will get any better but I do know that I can really only change how I feel or react to the situation.

grandtanteJE65 Tue 31-Aug-21 12:40:20

I am very much in the same boat as OP, so I have been reading the answers closely,

I have tried to tread the path between nagging and positive encouragement, and to a certain extent it is working.

I too suspect that OP's husband is scared and not liking this reminder that none of us live for ever.

Mine has admitted to feeling fairly useless and guilty about leaving so much to me, so I have already tried to suggest things I know he can do, and to ask for help with things I could manage alone, but which are within his capacity.

OP can you ring and make an appointment with your husband's GP about the dizzy spells? They can be caused by a variety of different, treatable and not dreadfully serious complaints, but until you know what causes them, you and he will worry about them.

Sounds to me as if your DH like mine deals with worries by ignoring them and watching mind-numbing TV instead of getting off his backside and dealing with the worry!

Caleo Tue 31-Aug-21 12:32:30

What is the reason for his dizzy spells? He needs to know, as he has to avoid falls.

What sort of dizziness? Does he feel vertigo i.e. the room swaying or turning round: Or is his dizziness a general weakness? Maybe too low blood pressure?

Whatever, he needs to stand up slowly from sitting or lying down.

Caleo Tue 31-Aug-21 12:26:58

Is your husband aware that he risks deep venous thrombosis if he sits for long without moving?

Also, is he aware of the need to drink enough water?

henetha Tue 31-Aug-21 11:25:30

Maybe stop waiting on him so that he has to get up and fix his own meal etc. He needs some gentle exercise really.
Just live your own life and let him get on with it if he really won't listen.

dogsmother Mon 30-Aug-21 23:06:27

As this is since the surgery perhaps he needs reminding that he has been fixed and now is supposed to build himself up again and not sit around........It really is very unhealthy and he probably needs a prompt. As others have suggested try not to enable this.

Luckygirl Mon 30-Aug-21 22:58:01

Perhaps get out and about yourself a bit more and leave him to his own devices. He may find he begins to have the confidence to do things for himself if he knows you are not there to do them. Dizziness is very scary.

JenniferEccles Mon 30-Aug-21 22:48:16

Apart from anything else, doesn’t your husband get incredibly bored spending his days just sitting?
As human beings we are supposed to be active. Yes I accept he has health problems and probably wouldn’t be able to walk miles each day but it’s so important for everyone to keep as active as possible within their own capabilities.

Sitting around too long inevitably leads to weight gain, which as we all know is bad news for our health.

Could he be persuaded to accompany you on a walk if you ended up, say, in a cafe for a coffee or lunch to break up the walk? He would obviously have to be careful if he is liable to dizzy spells, but that doesn’t mean spending all day and every day lounging around.

I agree with others who say you should get out and do what you want to do each day, but that would only work if you know that you will come back to chores having been done, including the evening meal prepared.

It’s a good job you don’t decide to also do nothing all day isn’t it?!

vickymeldrew Mon 30-Aug-21 22:46:55

Thanks everyone for your sympathetic and practical responses. My DH’s surgery was open heart and I appreciate he may be scared to exert himself. I feel justified in coaxing him out of his armchair and letting him fend for himself more.
A frank discussion is needed.

sodapop Mon 30-Aug-21 20:40:19

I agree with MawBe your husband is afraid and has lost confidence. You need to talk to him and reach some compromise. Small amount of exercise to start with, help in the house for you. Talk to your Dr or cardiac nurse about how much exercise your husband should be doing,. Have some time away from the house doing things you enjoy as well.

MawBe Mon 30-Aug-21 20:27:01

I have such mixed feelings about your predicament. Without knowing the extent of your DH’s heart surgery - open heart or TAVI? His age and the extent of the dizzy spells, it is hard to criticise. Heart surgery can cause a massive loss of confidence but gentle exercise is clearly better than sitting in a chair all day.
Did he undergo cardiac rehab after the valve replacement? That is supervised and carefully adapted to those with heart issues.
But on the other hand, many (older) men do not cook, prep vegetables or do much in the way of housework. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Get a cleaner and reduce the pressure on yourself.

Cabbie21 Mon 30-Aug-21 19:45:52

This could almost be my DH! Different health conditions, but he spends most of the day in his chair, either watching TV or snoozing, or at his desk in his study. He does have lots of interests and hobbies but only does the sedentary ones these days. He does prepare all the veg, and helps to dish up. He gets his own breakfast and salad lunch, but that’s it. No housework of any sort. He is responsible for the garden but rarely does anything. It is a mess.
I have my own interests and social life, Covid permitting, but i do worry. I accept that health conditions can be debilitating. Pain is invisible, and so is dizziness, and should not be belittled. But it can also be an excuse.
Sorry, I have no advice to offer.

Redhead56 Mon 30-Aug-21 19:28:04

He does need exercise I would definitely go out more and would make him have to do things. Don’t leave lunches or snacks before you go out tell him what’s on offer. He will have to get up and prepare it himself and tell him to clean up after him. If you became ill the house would come to a standstill. Yes he has been ill but now he is in a rut and he needs to snap out of it.

HolySox Mon 30-Aug-21 17:19:39

I agree with wildswan16 and think his heart op has affected him. Probably scared if he does anything too physical his heart will fail. Talk to your GP. It may be sitting doing nothing may be the more dangerous thing to do! Gentle exercise might be more beneficial. Are there things you used to do you could do again, together ... like walking to a cafe?
Has COVID been a factor? We've done short country walks to avoid people and are still wary of public places.

M0nica Mon 30-Aug-21 17:13:51

Sitting all day, is just about the worst thing you can do if you have a heart problem, it is more like to hasten death than delay it.

After DH's bypass op during lockdown, the rehabilitation people were on at him daily to check how far he had been walking and encouraging (hectoring) him. His op was followed by a hospital acquired infection, resistant to anti biotics, three more operations and six more weeks in hospital and he only had one fully functioning lung, but they weren't impressed, still wanted him to do more and more walking, preferably at a brisk pace aand kept talking about the dangers of inactivity.

wildswan16 Mon 30-Aug-21 16:46:54

Having any kind of "heart" problem can really scare people and make them ultra-cautious about doing anything at all.

I think you need to accompany him when he next visits the GP and just start a conversation with the doctor about how little he is doing, and would it be OK for him to do more??

I don't think he is necessarily being lazy at all, but his character sounds like he was a fairly laid back kind of person even before his illness. So some gentle persuasion and encouragement might be called for.

DiscoDancer1975 Mon 30-Aug-21 16:36:47

I would be worried about the dizzy spells. As annodomini says, is there a diagnosis for these? If it’s vertigo would be impossible for him to do things during the attack. If they’re frequent, then you’re not over one before the next starts. Diverticulitis also can be very debilitating.

If these things don’t impact on his life as much as that, one dizzy spell a week for example, then you need to stop waiting on him. As others have said...go out and do something for yourself. He’ll soon learn then.