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Husband Refuses Medical Help - What to Do?

Started 1359843954.81 in Among Friends | Last reply 1360209398.4 by Rainbows and Roses

I have been married for many, many years to a sweet, gentle, kind man. I couldn’t have asked for more. He has always taken great care of himself and has been in good health. About a year ago, he started having some physical issues with dizziness, balance and walking . He made the doctor rounds, was tested, and was checked out thoroughly. No one had a specific answer for him, so he basically gave up and has just been trying to treat his symptoms. Lately he has been having temper tantrums for no good reason at all and most of them are directed at me which is certainly upsetting to me and sometimes frightening. I’m not used to being yelled at especially by him.

I’ve tried discussing this with him and he doesn’t want to hear about it and doesn’t want to go to any more doctors. He sleeps erratically through the day and night. His erratic schedule also affects me plus the stress.

As luck would have it, his health insurance plan has contracted an outside health company that follows up on particular patients who have been recommended to them by his plan. They contacted us last week and a physician’s assistant visited our home this morning to evaluate my husband. I had an opportunity to fill her in before her visit on some of my husband’s issues and his more recent volatile behavior. They would be able to offer him a social worker, a physical therapist, and other services I think he would certainly benefit from. After she left, I asked him if he is going to participate and he said he didn’t think so.

Every day is a challenge. I don’t mind helping him in any way I can, but his attitude and tantrums are what’s upsetting me. I don’t know if this anger is something medical, or if it’s just his frustration at everything he's dealing with.

I thought I’d come here just to see if anyone else has dealt with this kind of situation with a loved one who is resistant to help and what you might have done either to convince your loved one to get medical help, or if not, how you dealt with it. TIA.

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gig27501359845020.3872746 PostsRegistered 10/21/2007right here, right now....

sharibel, I can see why you would be so upset and stressed! Is it possible he has dementia?

I would allow the PA to come in (and maybe your dh would accept her, too) Perhaps she would be able to evaluate him better if she saw him more frequently.

Good luck to you (and your dh).

Bobbisue1359845041.68713744 PostsRegistered 4/25/2010

Did the physician's assistant say anything to you about depression or early dementia? Just a thought. He may need a therapist to evaluate him, but it's unlikely in his current state of mind that he would go. I hope others have suggestions for you. I wish you the best in finding help for this issue.

Bobbisue-Former nurse...
Buck- forever in my heart...

missy11359846326.30732591 PostsRegistered 3/4/2007

There was thread on here about this topic a little while ago. You can't force him, but encourage him to go to the Dr.

I have never heard of a follow up by and outside health company and having a PA visit my home. Could they have done this in a medical office instead? Not sure I would have want them to come out to my home. Learn something new.

DeltaOne1359846842.932204 PostsRegistered 12/19/2006

Would your DH listen to someone else, perhaps an adult child, a sibling, or close friend, especially if they have witnessed his change in behavior? It may even take getting some other people whom he respects and doing an "intervention" about his behavior and how it is negatively effecting you, and let him know he has no choice but to continue to seek medical help -- for his sake as well as yours.

Best wishes, and good luck.

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sharibel1359851685.58372 PostsRegistered 7/24/2011

gig and Bobbisue - I thought he was showing signs of dementia. He also struggles to find words and gets frustrated by that. The PA also suggested to me that dementia might be part of the problem, but she didn't say anything to him about it this morning. The PA apparently only does initial visits so she would not be returning herself. She mentioned to both of us that she is going to escalate the visit and that a social worker will be calling who would be the one to adress his moods and behavior, and also to coordinate any other facets of his care. That's IF he is willing. I told my husband that this seems to be a wonderful opportunity to have some really caring people make a coordinated effort and to take the time to help him as opposed to doctors' offices where appointments are always rushed.

MissyW - These home visits would be a blessing becuase my husband has so much trouble moving around even at home. He is a fall risk, he gets dizzy, I don't know what's wrong with his legs, whether they pain him or whether they're weak. He just won't talk to me about it. I didn't like the idea of having these medical people come to my home either but I think this may work to our advantage and it would be so much easier for my husband, so that he might be more amenable than having to travel to doctors' offices.

DeltaOne - My husband's siblings and adult children (by previous marriage) have all tried to talk to him. He doesn't scream at them like he does me, but basically tells them he doesn't want to talk about it. We're all kind of walking on eggshells right now. He's not the type who would take kindly to an intervention. I'm just hoping this home visit thing turns into something.

Thank you all for your kind wishes.

judgejudith1359852123.331202 PostsRegistered 12/14/2005Omaha

I bet your husband is really scared. Maybe, you could approach him from the stand point that there are effective treatments for certain conditions...and the earlier he gets a proper diagnosis, the more effective the treatments are.


SophiaMarie1359854366.226732 PostsRegistered 3/17/2010

sharibel - not knowing where you live, ie: large city or small town and/or what kind of medical "help" is available to you, maybe he's discouraged because he's just not getting the right kind of help??

Has he been checked out by an Otolaryngologist or an ENT doctor? Has Meniere's Disease been ruled out? That can affect balance and cause dizziness and nausea. Just a thought.

Which Specialists has he seen and what did they rule out? Hope things work out for both of you very soon. {#emotions_dlg.thumbup1}

Edited to say: From re-reading your post, I think a Neurologist/Neurosurgeon would be the first doctor to see, since they test for the problems he is experiencing. Could be some kind of "neuropathy".

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circles1359895856.9917687 PostsRegistered 5/11/2005N.J.
On 2/2/2013 SophiaMarie said:

sharibel - not knowing where you live, ie: large city or small town and/or what kind of medical "help" is available to you, maybe he's discouraged because he's just not getting the right kind of help??

Has he been checked out by an Otolaryngologist or an ENT doctor? Has Meniere's Disease been ruled out? That can affect balance and cause dizziness and nausea. Just a thought.

Which Specialists has he seen and what did they rule out? Hope things work out for both of you very soon. {#emotions_dlg.thumbup1}

Edited to say: From re-reading your post, I think a Neurologist/Neurosurgeon would be the first doctor to see, since they test for the problems he is experiencing. Could be some kind of "neuropathy".

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I was going to suggest this, too....as soon as I read he has problems with dizziness... I had that a long time ago...meds help...

qualitygal1359896206.8075536 PostsRegistered 11/9/2007

I'll bet it's his frustration. When mom was here, she had dizzyness problems and we saw doctors too. No inner ear imbalance, no scar tissue, etc. Did you say how old he is? I don't know. We never got an answer for her on that. So I know it's frustrating. I hold very little faith in doctors now after all I went through with her. I understand his frustration.

Adding: my dad has visiting doctors and they are wonderful.

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Maybe a little bit of chocolate will help.

sharibel1359896511.143372 PostsRegistered 7/24/2011

I just wanted to say I haven't been on these boards for a while, so I wasn't aware about a recent similar thread someone mentioned. I did a Search before posting, but didn't come up with anything. If someone can direct me to that recent thread, that would be great.

To everyone offering a diagnosis - I'm aware of the possibilities - dementia, hydrocephalus, Meniere's, orthostatic hypotension, compression of a cervical disk, the list goes on. I'm not really asking for what it might be. I'm just asking here if anyone else has had a situation like this with a difficult loved one. It's frustrating and extremely stressful. I'm asking how they handled it, if they were able to do anything or if they just let it be.

SophiaMarie - We live in the city and have access to very good medical care. Several months ago, he saw 2 or 3 specialists and their exams and testing were inconclusive. They all kind of shrugged their shoulders. One doctor told him to drink coffee to relieve his dizziness. That actually helps a little but he can't be drinking coffee all day and I don't think that's a good solution. They just didn't seem to care beyond their routine testing. In situations like this I think you have to keep going until you find the right doctor but I guess my husband doesn't agree.

I think he has just given up and is just waiting for the end. He said he doesn't want to go to doctors anymore and he doesn't want me running his life. I can't be too pushy about telling him he needs to see a doctor because that's what gets him furious at me.

luvpoos1359897249.4836137 PostsRegistered 5/3/2006Kingston Ma

It sounds like one reason he is refusing medical care is that he is scared of what the diagnosis may be. It could as simple as depression which can be treated with an anti-depressant. It is quite common as some people age. My father had alzheimers and about mid stage, he started getting moody was always ready to argue with my mother, and he was always a gentle soul. Your husband may have more than one issue since you mentioned his physical condition. If possible I would have him see a neurologist to begin with if he is willing. This eventually, if not already, will take a toll on you. When he is having one of his better days you could approach him on the subject. Just wondering if he is on any other meds and could be causing some side effects. I do hope for both of you that you get to the root of this asap.

you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime, well you just might find, that you get what you need...The Rolling Stones

happy hous­ewife1359897929.70732696 PostsRegistered 1/4/2007
I too agree it sounds like your hubby has dementia,sadly. I would go alone and talk to your doctor to see what he may have to offer. I would also stress to keep the nurse visiting as he may soften up after he learns to trust her, and then be more open to her suggestions.

When faced with senseless drama, spiteful criticism or misguided opinions walking away is the best way to defend yourself.To respond with anger is an endorsement of their attitude. -Dodinsky

sharibel1359898595.287372 PostsRegistered 7/24/2011

luvpoos - yes. I'm sure his fear of a diagnosis is a big part of his reluctance. I always try to reason with him on his better days but he still winds up yelling. I researched his 2 meds and I think it's possible it could be causing a couple of his symptoms but he has tried stopping them with doc permission and that doesn't seem to make a difference.

morning lover - We have different health plans so I don't think his plan would grant me a visit with one of his plan's doctors alone. Besides if he ever found out I did that behind his back it would not be good. :( That's why I think this visiting nurse thing could be good for both of us. I just have to convince him.

chickenbutt1359917943.28324675 PostsRegistered 1/16/2006chickentown

I am probably in the minority, but I'm of the opinion that any sane adult should NOT have medical care forced upon him/her.

I have an order of 'no forced medical care' and I think it is perfectly sensical that I should be the one to make those kinds of decisions about my own body. I don't think I have that right with the bodies of others, nor should I.

My husband once said 'what if I (he) decide to not go to the doctor with a condition?'. I told him that I know that I have to respect his wishes because I don't have any right to own his body. It really doesn't matter if I might wish he thought otherwise and I think that would be selfish.

But that's just me. Unfortunately, unless you force him by getting some kind of court order proving him incapable of making his own decisions, it probably will have to be left up to him.

Best wishes to you both and I hope you find the solution that works for both of you. I think that sometimes we just plain get tired of it always being about 'What about everybody else? Why not do what is best for everybody else who will miss you if you die?'. Sometimes you just get tired of it always being about everybody else and you have to think about yourself for once. I do understand that.

Bippity boppity BOOYAH!

10grands1359921254.6272143 PostsRegistered 12/3/2005

Chickenbutt - I tend to agree with you. Maybe constantly harping on the subject is making him withdraw even more.

It is a good thing that someone came to the house - I have not heard of this in my area. Rather than trying to talk to the Dr. ahead of time, you could speak with his nurse on the phone, and she could post something in the chart.

He is probably scared, but only he can make the decision to go to the Dr. They say sometimes people with dementia have entirely different personalities than before. Perhaps if and when a visiting nurse visits, it would be a good idea to allow him to do the talking (maybe you did and I am not criticizing).

sharibel1359928433.843372 PostsRegistered 7/24/2011

chickenbutt - I do not think you are in the minority. I also believe that each person is the custodian of his own body and his own life and that should be respected. I would also expect my choices about my body and my life to be respected so I would never force medical care upon my husband. However I think we are in a situation where we don't even know what we're dealing with yet and wouldn't it be a crime and a shame if his condition was not so dire and something easily treatable, but he chooses to do nothing until there were dire and irrevocable consequences. Once we establish what we are facing, if it is my husband's choice not to receive treatment of course I would understand and abide by his wishes.

10grands - When the physician's assistant visited yesterday for the initial evaluation I made it my business to let my husband talk. She needed to hear him and even see his speech patterns which included losing some words now and then. I only interjected twice when what he was telling her was not so and it was important information. It was because she watched him and listened to him that she was able to escalate his case to a social worker who we expect to hear from soon. I only hope he agrees to let the social worker into our home.

Again just so this thread doesn't get too derailed, I just wanted to know how others of you who might have been faced with a difficult loved one in this type of a situation dealt with it.

Thanks to everyone.

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Bobbisue1359929368.68713744 PostsRegistered 4/25/2010

Early dementia requires some testing and frequent interviews with a therapist and/or social worker. There should be some cooperation on his part to complete the testing. I hope he builds a good relationship with the social worker. May I suggest that you have a private interview or conversation with the social worker ahead of her interview with him and let her interview him privately. A working relationship with the social worker in important for him. He needs to trust her completely and that takes time.

Bobbisue-Former nurse...
Buck- forever in my heart...

sharibel1359930274.68372 PostsRegistered 7/24/2011

10grands - One other thing I forgot to respond to. I haven't been harping on this issue at all with my husband. In fact exactly the opposite is true. I couldn't keep discussing it even if I wanted to because he is that volatile. He rants and raves even if I make the most innocuous remark having nothing to do with his condition. Just about everyday stuff like what I'm making for dinner so I walk on eggshells. His anger is the most recent development and for me the most upsetting. I would have to say it is verbal and emotional abuse and I'm trying to be strong enough to take it, realizing that it's not my old hubby talking. :(

Bobbisue - Thanks. That's exactly what I did with the PA. I was lucky that she called while my husband was napping. I had a chance to really fill her in on everything. I even left the house with her after the appoiintment as she needed directions and she said that it was so helpful that she had all this information going into the visit. Of course if my husband wishes to speak to any of these health professionals alone I respect that too. I think he will actually prefer my being present but we'll see.

4KICKS1359931574.3572088 PostsRegistered 11/11/2006Sunny AZ

Sharibel, in reading your responses one thing comes through very clearly to me. You are afraid of your husband and his response to things.

I am sorry, but if that alone does not warrant you visiting his doctor BY YOURSELF, nothing does. Your husband needs to be on some medication to control his change in behavior, particularly his losing his temper. You have said this is totally unlike him and something is causing this.

For your safety, I have to ask if you have guns in the house. If you do (from my law enf background), I would be remiss if I did not tell you to immediately hide them where he cannot find them, or give them to someone else you trust for safekeeping. When someone you know this well has a drastic change in behavior, it is cause for alarm, and I can tell you are alarmed, as you certainly should be.

I assume you have spoken with your husband about his change in behavior and he refuses to discuss it. This would be typical. You can take my advice or not, but I could not live with myself if I did not give it to you.

Please take this advice in the manner it is intended. I write this because I care.

People seldom change.
They just get better at what they do.

10grands1359933049.6832143 PostsRegistered 12/3/2005

sharibel - Please do not think I was criticizing you in any way. If it were me, I would be adding my 2 cents, when I shouldn't.

My Sister in law has Alzheimers, and it is true that their personalities change. 4KICKS mentioned putting guns away - also Knives. As scary as that sounds years ago my Mother in law had Alzheimers before it was recognized as a disease. She tried to attack her Husband with a knife. Your husband may be suffering from something entirely different, but that comes to mind.

You are in a tough situation, hopefully you will find answers soon. Your husband probably isn't totally aware of his actions. It is a blessing that someone came to your home about this.

Truthfully I wish I hadn't responded to you earlier - it is just something that is so close to my heart. Please look after yourself also - it would be hard to constantly think about what you are saying so you do not make him angry.

sharibel1359937688.997372 PostsRegistered 7/24/2011

4KICKS - Thank you for your thoughtfulness and kindness. I read your post as being very caring so not to worry. Yes I am somewhat afraid of his temper. This behavior has been going on for about a month. Again I don't know if it is part of a medical condition or whether he is just depressed, angry and frustrated about his state of being. I did call him on his behavior because I am not a dishrag by any means. He has been aware of his behavior kind of after the fact and is very remorseful. He has promised on two occasions now that he will make an effort to change his behavior but then he reacts again. Maybe TMI but he is even very touchy feely at the end of the day almost like he's very appreciative for my putting up with him and that I am sticking by him. No we do not own guns but thank you for that important advice. I'm hoping and praying that this next encounter with the social worker will be the thing to turn this issue around. I can't force my husband to take meds for his moods though. I'm hoping the sw can get through to him.

10grands - Don't be sorry you responded. I appreciate your input. After these few weeks of his temper I have learned that it is best right now not to even communicate at all with him unless he asks for and needs my help with something. Then I just help him and he does thank me. So at least for that. The less I interact with him the more peaceful the day is so that's my MO for now.

4KICKS1359940189.882088 PostsRegistered 11/11/2006Sunny AZ

Sharibel, I think you are correct in that he is likely "depressed, angry, and frustrated", as you have stated, and unfortunately since you are the only one there, you will likely bear the brunt of most of that.

Hopefully he will come to the realization that this is not normal for him and, like you, will want to find the reason for this change in him. There is probably a part of him that would like to know right now, but a bigger part of him is afraid to know.

It took a MAJOR incident for my DH to realize that he had changed from the person he used to be. We both went to the doctor and he was prescribed something to help smooth out his moods. He realized at that point that it was VERY NECESSARY.

In the meantime, Keep Looking Up!

People seldom change.
They just get better at what they do.

elated1359954162.547615 PostsRegistered 12/12/2004

I am concerned that you do not care for yourself. To live with someone that you have to walk on egg shells everyday is very stressful and you could have health problems soon because you are bottling up this hurt inside of you. I know you love and care for him but if it was me I would tell him that if he does not seek medical help for this problem that you will not be able to continue the marriage. That may wake him up.

You can not make any one do something they do not want to do but you can take care of yourself. I would be scared that he may hurt me in my sleep---even though you say he was a gentle man. You should find a safe place to live until he gets help.

I hope you do not see this as being cruel but god forbid that something should happen to you. Trying to change someone never works. They have to want to help themselves. I would seek a counselor.

JamicaJamm­er1359979242.5372350 PostsRegistered 1/14/2013

Brain tumors can sometimes be difficult to see yet large enough to cause the dizziness, etc.

I'd as the MD for a neurologist referral, and take him there. If you think he'd balk, lie and say it's an appt. for yourself.

Just get him there.

Good luck!!!!

MaryKateDa­naher1360208511.5831611 PostsRegistered 11/15/2012Wrigley Field Chick
Sharibel, the girls here had really great advice and honestly...I agreed with almost all of it. And Elated had the right idea, while you may have huge concerns for your wonderful husband don't forget to put your needs somewhere in the equation! If you get too stressed out get to the doctors. There are many meds that can help you! I'll be thinking about you and you will have my prayers tonite!

Arguing with a fool only proves there are two! But often you get answers!
~Eamus Catuli~

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