Spouse Leaving For Two Weeks--Need Suggestions On How to Survive.

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Fireball, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. Fireball

    Fireball New Member


    I know that many of you live alone and manage to get along from day to day. The problem here is that I work 7 hours a day, 5 days a week but I do nothing else. This means I do not clean, do not do dishes, do not do much of the cooking, do not carry in the groceries or packages, do not walk the dog etc. (You get the picture.) Occasionally I make it to a store but I usually get very tired shopping.

    The problem is that my husband is going out of the country for two weeks. I have to think about how I am going to manage. I need ideas of coping on my own such as organizing my work clothes in piles for two weeks, moving the dog's dish close to the sink to make it easier to fill etc.

    If nothing gets picked up for two weeks, things are really going to be a mess. I usually totally crash when I get home from work on the couch and/or the bed. My crash usually lasts until the next morning.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for me so that I can make it through these two weeks? Luckily, my kids are older and are on their own living in other states.
  2. sunflowergirl

    sunflowergirl Well-Known Member

    Get your husband to do the shopping to stock the pantry for when he is gone. You're going to need someone to walk the dog though.
  3. AnnG

    AnnG New Member

    * Have microwave dinners on hand. Eat out of the container - no dishes!

    * Make yourself do one little pick-up thing when you get home from work BEFORE you sit down (I'm lost after I sit too!).

    * Rent "girl movies" (as my hubby calls them) and enjoy your time alone. Make sure to have some chocolate on hand!

    * No matter what, greet your husband with a hug and a smile when he gets back!
  4. Mareeok

    Mareeok New Member

    Definately get your hubby or someone else to go food shopping BEFORE he leaves. Get easy food that you like that you can microwave or oven toaster instead of having to really cut up and cook and then wash pots and dishes. Get as many one dish meals that you can stand so you can toss the dish away in the garbage afterwards (tv dinners, frozen egg mcmuffins,etc). Do you have any pizza places that you can order out for delivery? They have a lot of other good stuff besides pizza... great chicken ceasar salads with garlic bread on the side, or subs, etc. Some take out places are not expensive.

    If you can get more than one day out of wearing the same work clothes take them off as soon as you get home so you can alternate with other work clothes. If you don't have to iron anything put them in easy piles. If you have to iron hang them up as soon as you take them off so they wont get too wrinkled. If you will have to wash clothes save a step by putting your clothes right in the washer instead of in a hamper as soon as you come home. If your husband usually seperates the whites from the colored clothes forget that. You can get away with mixing colored and whites for two weeks without the whites getting dingy. Do little loads instead of waiting to accumulate enough for a big big load. It's a lot easier and quicker that way.
    Also if you need clean sheets on the bed sometime before the two weeks are up have your husband put duplicate sheets on at once before he leaves. Then when you need to change the sheets all you need to do is pull the top one off when you want with a clean one underneath.

    If you carry things into the house from work stop and see what can you just leave in the car.

    If you know you're gonna get frustrated trying to remember things make a list and stick to it. Do NOT sit down first. You wont get up. rent some good movies you've been wanting to see and check to see if your tv has a timer you can set so it will turn itself off after you fall asleep.

    When will he be leaving?

  5. JLH

    JLH New Member

    Oh, come on, Fireball, think positive!! You can do it!!
    You can manage this for just two weeks!!

    Granted you are tired after working all day, as everyone here who works is, but just stop and pick up your supper someplace on your way home--then no cooking, no dishes, no grocery shopping. All you will have to do is take the dog out and then relax the rest of the evening!!

    I know it's rough, because I worked for 30 years, while raising 3 kids, and my job was 50 miles away from home. I had to do everything because my husband worked two jobs.

    I never did do any cleaning after work. I did all that stuff on the weekend. You can do that on the weekend, too.

    During the week, just relax and enjoy the house to yourself!! It sounds as if your husband stays pretty busy during the week--so you both can just relax and enjoy a little "mini" vacation!

    It's just my husband and me at home now, and when he goes off on a business trip, I rather enjoy the time alone!!

    Remember--don't worry about the house after work, or anything else!! It will wait until the weekend! Just enjoy yourself--pamper yourself with a nice, long, hot, bubble bath and stuff like that!

    And, I agree, make sure you have some chocolate to nibble on! Or better yet, some ice cream!!

    Take care,

    Edit - if you are too tired to walk your dog, can you hire a neighbor child to do it for you?
    [This Message was Edited on 09/16/2005]
  6. Jeanne-in-Canada

    Jeanne-in-Canada New Member

    You have some practical suggestions already. the best one I can think of is stockpile easy but healthy food before he goes and have a major cleanup done first. See who you can arrange to have drop in on you, or maybe stay a night or so.

    I'm more functional and domestic, mostly because I don't work. I'd be the working dead like you if I even attempted part time.

    I've also had to cope w/ this all spring and summer. I feel like me and fiance are dating again because he's at our house renovating every second night or so. since it's an hour away he usually stays overnight, sometimes a few days. For morale purposes, it's important to remind yourself you know where he is and that he's coming back.

    Bless you, that would be hard.

  7. rileyearl

    rileyearl New Member

    I would definitely call in sick a time or two to just rest and regroup. I work from home now, but when I had a job I commuted to fulltime+++, I slept all day at least one weekend day and the other day I did one thing--cleaned or shopped, not both.

    Can you call a maid service to come in for a 4 hour big cleaning a couple days before your husband comes home--laundry and everything? Maybe 2 hours twice would be better, then your work clothes for week 2 would be done for you. It might be the best money you ever spent!

    Yes, and pay a neighbor kid to take the dog for a walk.

    Cold cereal and bananas would be my mainstay with whatever you like that doesn't make dirty dishes.

    I know if I was alone for 2 weeks, I'd save all kinds of energy just not having to boss anyone around or stay awake one minute longer than I want to. That sounds terrible, but true at my house.

    Best wishes!


  8. Fireball

    Fireball New Member

    It is nice to get suggestions from others that understand that my energy is limited. Most people have no idea how difficult it is for us to cope with everything that we are expected to do on a daily basis.

    I probably should have added that I usually carpool a good deal of the way with my husband to work. He drives the car until he gets to his job and then I take the car and go another 15 min. So usually I only have to drive 15 min. each way instead of 50 min. The rest of the time I can close my eyes or relax. So obviously when he is out of town, the drive is going to be a challenge too.

    I like the suggestions of eating on paper plates and/or take out food. I will make sure that I have all the food I need for two weeks so that I really won't have to go to the store.

    It is true that once I sit down when I get home, I never get up again. So if I am going to do anything it would have to be right when I walk in the door.

    On the weekends, I can usually manage to get out one of the days and the other day I spend resting.

    I guess that I am going to have a new appreciation for how much help that I get on a daily basis from my husband. I really doubt that I could work if it wasn't for his assistance.

  9. ckk

    ckk New Member

    do a little cleaning, than rest, do a little cleaning than rest you get the idea. you will do great! i have faith in you! we all have to make adjustments somehow and it will probably surprise you how well you will do!
    good luck.
  10. Bambi

    Bambi New Member

    something maybe. Sounds like a real request for ideas to me! I know I would be LOST if my husband was to leave for two weeks or even got "down" for that long. I do all I can but I CAN'T do some things, heavy things mostly. I'd probably be asking for more than ideas myself, I'd be asking to come stay on someone's doorstep! LOL! Or out in their dog house even, just throw me a cooked meaty bone now and then. Haha.
  11. Fireball

    Fireball New Member


    I don't post here too often but I visit this board as much as I can. This is the only place that I can be honest about my health issues. Most of my friends and family do not have any idea that I am this sick. I also get a lot of support by reading the posts of others. I have been to a number of doctors over the years to try to get my fatigue and pain under control but all the meds that I have tried have side effects and so I only take over the counter meds to deal with my severe problems.

    Yes, I do rely on my husband a whole lot to manage every day tasks but it is the only way that I can work full-time. My job is a very high stress job and I am serious when I say that I can barely walk in the door every day after my commute home. Like others, we need the money to pay for the roof over our heads and to pay for other expenses. Retirement is not in my immediate future. Since I work, my husband does not have to get another job and so he does not mind (most of the time) helping me out.

    So far I have not asked for formal accomodations at work. I have just tried to figure out how I can take breaks and do other things that help me get through the day. When I am at work, I do not even use a handicap parking place because very few people that I work with know the extent of my illness. I guess that I am afraid that this information can be used against me. I usually can document most of my absences with doctors notes.

    I am not sure if you were thinking that I should be doing more to help myself. Believe me, I do what I can but working full-time and commuting a long distance is really tough when you are ill.
  12. sues1

    sues1 New Member

    You have side affects from various meds? Talk to your Dr. and try some others. Get samples from him to try. I bet there is some that you can take and even if it only partly helps.......that would be a blessing.
  13. JLH

    JLH New Member

    Fireball--your name is exactly the opposite on how you feel, isn't it!!

    I can understand why the other poster, Holly, asked if this post were for real or not. To be honest, I felt that way somewhat when I first read it.

    I understand that you work 7 hrs a day and when you come home that you are totally exhausted. I've been there, done that--for 30 years with a long commute, children to raise, and a hubby that could not help me because he worked 2 jobs. I used to collapse the minute I walked in the door, but after a 1 hr. rest, I had to get up and do a certain amount of things to keep the house going--as the children got older, the less that I had to do for them, which helped!

    To me, it sounds so unreal for you to say that you do not clean, do not do dishes, do not do much of the cooking, do not carry in the groceries or packages, do not walk the dog etc., and only occasionally make it to a store! It does make a person wonder what you do do. I don't mean for this to sound so harsh, but hon, you are putting a heavy burden on your husband who also works the same hours that you do.

    You would actually have a little more energy and feel a little better if, AFTER you rest from your day's work, if you get up every 30 minutes and do just something minor. The more you keep moving, the better you will feel. When you come home and do nothing, you quickly become very stiff. I only mention this because I think it is in your best interests.

    You also have to think about how you would handle things around your house if your husband were not always there to wait on you hand and foot. How could you do it every day? I think it is important, even though we are in a lot of pain and are very fatigued, that we make a commitment to ourselves that we aren't just going to give up--we can't do that--we have to make ourselves still be productive--for our own mental health!

    It is tempting to close down the minute you get home, but it's not a good road to take. I know because I fought it for 30 years. I have a multitude of ailments (see my bio). Granted, I am retired now, but all the housecleaning, grocery and WalMart shopping, errands, clothes buying, cooking, laundry, etc. is still my job. (I have to ride those motor carts at the grocery and WalMart, though.) I currently have a pinched nerve in my back between L4-L5 and S-1 that is causing me horrific pain, and have had it since May of this year. So, I really have to pace myself in order to be able to stand up long enough to get my work done.)

    I know the pain can be overwhelming, as well as the weakness. But, if you give in to this, it has won, you have lost. As I already said, this does get worse with inactivity. For example, maybe after you have helped your hubby with the dishes, you can go soak in a nice hot bubble bath to relax you and your muscles -- and it would make you sleep better.

    Do you take any type of anti-depressant? I take Cymbalta--it also helps on the nerve pain. Neurotin is also another good fibro med that helps cut down the pain. And .. Zanaflex, a muscle relaxer, might also help you the minute you get home.

    Your husband won't always be there to take care of you. I think you have to start HELPING HIM help you.

    I really don't want to sound mean, I just am worried about you that by depending upon your husband to do everything for you and the house, that you won't be able to handle things when he is gone. The prime example is your panicking when he is leaving for a few weeks. Worrying about picking out your own clothes for work for two weeks should have never entered your mind when he said he was leaving. When I was working and my husband had to go on long business trips, I was secretly glad because it gave me a little break of worrying about taking care of him and less work for me to have to do in the evenings after work, but what I worried about was really missing him while he was gone, and worried for my safety here in the house without him - but I never worried about the things that you listed in your post. I did have one big worry, I guess, it was about being afraid that our cattle would get out on the road in the middle of the night and I didn't have the know-how to chase them back inside the fence as well as finding where they got out in the middle of the night!!! LOL

    I'm just a very independent person and I don't think it's that good to be so dependent upon someone else for your personal care and needs.

    I hope you manage OK while you are on your own.


    P.S. Still friends, I hope.
  14. pgfnch2

    pgfnch2 New Member

  15. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    The reason why is this is the only place I could read it and everyone takes it seriously!

    Once a year, my husband is usually out of town for a week to 10 days. All the comments I would make have already been covered -- let's just say, I've found out there are MANY resources in my community that I'd never even thought of before this. (I've discovered the wonder of sending out laundry!)

    My extra variable is that during these times, I've got an elementary-aged son to take care of as well. I stock up on books and computer games and some movies we haven't seen. We end up having a nice, quiet routine most of the time -- even getting to bed early most nights.

    You mention that you work outside the home. Would it be possible for you to take a day or two off of work during this time? If you work 5 days a week and could take off Wednesdays, even just leave early for each Wednesday 1/2 day -- you could spend some extra time doing a couple of critical errands that you wouldn't have energy for later OR you could give yourself more time to rest up at home. It would split your 5-day week into two 'mini-weeks'.

    I'm an introvert, so I like my down time. I do like watching movies, but I've learned to be really careful with that. It is too easy to start staying up later and end up even more tired when I could've been using the opportunity to get lots of nice, uninterrupted rest!
    [This Message was Edited on 09/20/2005]
  16. SoxFan

    SoxFan New Member

    Sometimes the fear of what will happen is worse than the reality. Try not to worry.

    Look at the positives. You will have the house (and the remote!) all to yourself. You can watch chick flicks in bed while you eat (take out) dinner. Take bubble baths. Read a good book or some trashy magazines. Paint your nails. Go to bed early.

    You'll get through it, kiddo!
  17. achy

    achy New Member


    I COMPLETELY understand....really. I have severe FM AND CF AND 4 disks are putting pressure on my spinal canal.

    I Relate to cripling pain and fatigue...AND an absent hubby.

    My hubby is gone for 2 weeks stretches regularly. He is a forest ranger - he fights forest fires whereever, whenever they need him. He is also on an incident management team for Fla....Where there is an emergency, he's heading that way.
    The day after Katrina he left for MS. He was gone 2 weeks, just got home last Tuesday. Last night the phone rings, he leaves today for S. Fla., (thank's alot Rita) !!!!!!!!!!

    BUT...and I say this with as much Love as I can send your way.

    Little by little, baby step by baby step you HAVE to take back your life.

    GOD forbid what if DH was gone tomorrow...and NOT coming back in 2 weeks?? It's a possibility I understand all to well.....

    How do I do it? my motto is LIFE HURTS - KEEP IT SIMPLE

    Frozen foods are pretty good these days...weightwatchers, stoffers, nuke those babys!! Buy bags of ready-made salads.
    Fruit requires little effort. Have friend help you go to store, use the buggies if you have to.

    On the positive side...My house stays cleaner without DH here...I don't have to cook, or make bed (who's gunna see it?) I watch what I want, whe I want. Go to sleep/wake wheh I want, etc...

    I miss my hubby, my life so much when he's gone. BUT I make it like a spa week for me. Since I don't have to cook I use energy to work on craft, or read, or lay in bed and watch birds play in garden. (I'm easy)

    I didn't realsie this was so long...sorry. But You can't let this DD take over. You can't give into it and let your life slip by. Get up off your a$$ and do something -
    Even if it's just make a cup of tea and sitting on the porch!! Please.

    Curse me if you want, it's ok.
    I've been there, Done That and survived.
  18. SoxFan

    SoxFan New Member

    Has your husband left for his trip yet? I just wanted to check in on you and see how you're doing!

    - Susan

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