What’s it like when a partner or close family take on a carer role?

What’s it like when a partner or close family take on a carer role?

Does a family member or partner help with any aspect of your care since stoma or stoma related surgery?

I ask because there are many ways in which you might need help for example, wound care, help with the stoma change itself or maybe even TPN and naso gastric feeds and I have spoken to people whose partner or family members do help.

I think it is worth taking into account how you feel about someone close having to possibly help with personal care issues. Do you take it in your stride, or do you feel embarrassed that you need care of any kind by someone so close? Is it a case that you both just get on with it and don’t have any thoughts about it?

My husband has been involved with my care quite a lot and in various ways. I do feel lucky that he is more than willing to take on the role of ‘nurse’ and I am also happy for him to do this for me. Even before stoma surgery I remember him helping me with foam enemas because of how awkward a place it is to do myself, particularly when unwell.

After stoma surgery he had to agree to empty and measure my rectal drain twice a day in order for me to be allowed home. My abdominal scar had wound dehiscence and needed to be packed for about six months, and there was a point where we were going to my sisters for a weekend and again I could only go if Jon agreed to do the dressings.  I very nearly had to come home with my NG feeding tube from hospital but managed to have it removed before discharge, otherwise I am sure I would have needed his care then too. Jon was also there when I was shown how to do my first bag change (I was not very good at cutting the hole so he did that for a time).

Fast forward to the last couple of months and my last major surgery of muscle transfer and flap surgery on my bottom, and again the wound has opened up a bit. Every other day he does the dressing and I then go to the GP practice on the alternate days.

There are probably more things that he has had to help with but my memory is pretty shocking so I can’t list them all!

In sickness and in health has been very one sided and I am very grateful that I have such a great person who is willing and able to do all these things for me when I need them.

Do you have help with care? What do they do for you?