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DH has the flu and a nasty cough

(27 Posts)
Technical Thu 13-Mar-14 09:19:38

He's not generally a man flu type. He's very rarely ill and doesn't make a fuss when he is.

Today he has an awful cough and a high temp, sweat is pouring off him.

I am a terrible wife person when he is ill. I really don't want to be near him, it's probably not too strong to say I find him repulsive.

It all stems from the cough. He's an ex-smoker, it took him a long time to give up with numerous lapses and I suspect he still does on occasion. I hated him smoking, especially once Dc were born as (not being an addict) I struggle to understand why someone with dependants he loves would risk his health in that way. When he gets a cough it is always a nasty one, much worse than when I get the same bug IYSWIM and I feel that it's self inflicted. I hate to hear it as it makes me think about the damage he's done to himself and the implications it could have for him and our DCs long-term . I really don't know what would happen if he was really ill with something serious that could be linked to the smoking. I think I would hate him at a time he needed me to love him more.

Most of the time I love him dearly and we have a lovely life together but I really struggle when he's ill. How can I change?

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 13-Mar-14 09:28:55

Sounds like you equate any respiratory infection with his smoking. And you're clearly still not over the fact that he was a smoker, so your reaction to his having a cough is to feel anger and resentment.

Why are you still angry about it? He's quit, it's over, you should be happy he showed the strength to stop.

Do you genuinely have reason to believe he is lying to you and that he has not, in fact, quit? That could explain your continued resentment. Or, it could be a product of your resentment: that you still haven't let go.

Which do you think it is?

Nocomet Thu 13-Mar-14 09:29:12

I don't know, I'm crap at ill DH's no patience.

Always feel rotten, because he's great with me, I'm keeping him up all night coughing myself stupid at the moment and I've never smoked.

DDad did well into his 60's, it's a horrible habit, but a very very difficult one to give up. I think you just have to do the best you can to support your DH and explain to him sometimes it's hard because you worry, then give him a hug.

Technical Thu 13-Mar-14 09:34:15

Hot, I don't have any current reason to believe he's lying about the smoking but he has lied (sometimes by omission) often about it in the past.

It's practically the only thing (apart from MIL grin ) that has ever caused any tension in our marriage and AFAIK the only thing he has ever lied about. I trust him 100% in every other matter but know he can't be trusted on this one and lying is a very big thing indeed to me. I find it difficult to tell even little kind ones myself.

IsTheGrassGreener Thu 13-Mar-14 09:44:44

I have never smoked, never will, but I always get the most awful cough on the (rare) occasion when I've caught a respiratory infection. The cough can last for more than 4 weeks too. It might not have anything to do with smoking.

Technical Thu 13-Mar-14 09:55:13

No, it might not Grass but we both know the 30 plus years of on off smoking can't have helped the condition of his lungs.

MrsBennetsEldest Thu 13-Mar-14 09:58:58

Did he smoke when you met him?

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 13-Mar-14 10:03:20

Sounds like an unresolved issue. If it HAS been resolved on his end (ie. he has quit), then the onus is now on you to resolve it on your end (ie. stop resenting that he was ever a smoker in the first place).

Why do you still resent it?

Technical Thu 13-Mar-14 10:14:16

Yes, he did MrsB, he gave up to help save the money we needed to be able to live together - that came entirely from him. He was also out drinking most nights when I met him, surely it's not unreasonable to expect that to change once you have children? Lots of changes are necessary once you have a family.

I think that's it Hot. It should be resolved but I am never confident that it is on any kind of permanent basis.

I know my response is unreasonable but I don't know how to change it.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 13-Mar-14 10:16:05

It's entirely possible that your response IS reasonable, you know. It's one of two things, and only you can judge:

- do you resent him, because he is untrustworthy? or
- do you resent him, because you are mistrustful?

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 13-Mar-14 10:16:57

(is there anything else - eg. drinking - where you are also unhappy with his behaviour, and in your mind it's tied up to the smoking iyswim?)

Technical Thu 13-Mar-14 10:20:10

No, I am not mistrustful about anything else. He's always been perfectly free to come and go as he pleases, has full access to bank accounts, he works away a lot and I don't worry about what he's up to at all, unless I smell smoke on his clothes when he gets back.

I don't think he's untrustworthy either, except where smoking is concerned.

No, there's nothing else about his behaviour I don't like. He drinks rarely these days.

Raxacoricofallapatorius Thu 13-Mar-14 10:21:16

I think I understand where you're coming from with this. This is going to sound a bit off topic, but my Dad was (is? hasn't drunk for 10 years) an alcoholic. Now I 'know' a lot about his alcoholism. I know that it was caused by events in his childhood and undiagnosed bipolar. I know he was absolutely the best Dad I could ever have had. I loved and love him inordinately. I don't blame him. I don't want him for a second to think that he in any way let me down. This is all at odds to how I feel about alcohol and reminders of it. I despise alcohol. I hate being around it. I have emetophobia (fear of vomiting) because it reminds me of the effects of alcohol. I know that what I feel when confronted by alcohol is a deep-seated feeling of 'why did you choose alcohol over me when I was a tiny girl. Why did you give so many years of your health to it? Why did you risk your future and my future too? Why do I have to worry about every twinge or illness you have, convinced it's irreparable and terrible damage from years of alcohol abuse?' See, I know about addiction, I know he couldn't help it. I forgive him. But I feel in the shadow of it still.

I think you probably feel the same in some ways. The cough reminds you of all that anger and fear and that level of reaction is hard to switch off. It's galling because you know objectively that it's not what you should be feeling and you don't even want to feel that way. But we're pretty complex as mammals go and you can't help it.

I don't have much advice tbh. I have found that in lieu of actually being cool around people drinking, I have learnt to fake it. I temper the way I feel by my actions. I remind myself that my feelings aren't indicative of reality. Sometimes, I even feel that it's working. I used to have no alcohol in the house ever but now when we have friends over, I try and get something in for them. I pour it for them, I try and see it as normal. I suppose when your dh is ill, you need to do the same thing. Swallow down the way you feel and make him a drink/sit with him/fetch pills. Sometimes doing things can undo the way you're feeling. I have got better about it and I'm still working on it.

Don't be too hard on yourself.

Perhaps your dh can invest in a private health check. Would that reassure you? I think it's a sensible thing to do anyway.

Tough isn't it? Sorry I rambled and if it's not all that relevant but your op struck a chord.

Technical Thu 13-Mar-14 10:32:30

Thank you Rax, that's exactly how I feel.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 13-Mar-14 10:37:19

He's given up or so he says so it's not like he can do much more other than live healthily from now on. Your DCs might experiment later on but at least their dad isn't puffing away in front of them. My DF and DM's parents all smoked as did much of their generation so at least the tide has turned. Whether you see it as a vice or not you aren't able to turn the clock back for DH.

I know as a non-smoker it seems crazy anyone could voluntarily take up a habit that affects health and even life expectancy.

Lots of people can't bear to around someone who is poorly but give him a break, he isn't unwell to annoy you. If this is virtually the only thing that bugs you focus on the rest and keep up the stocks of vitamin C and lem-sip.

whatdoesittake48 Thu 13-Mar-14 11:28:05

My mother died of lung cancer and was a smoker most of her life - she quit 10 years before she died.

I wasn't angry at her for smoking - but was angry at the manufacturers who designed a product which is addictive, hard to give up and made so easily available.

I know that she wished she had never started smoking, but i can't blame her for her own death. No one brings that on themselves - no one chooses to live in agony for months because of something they did. People just don't think of the long term consequences because they are addicted.We are all guilty of short sightedness.

OP - I ask you? do you eat sugar, refined carbs. white flour - junk food. Do you drink alcohol, are you overweight, do you lead a sedentary lifestyle, a stressful lifestyle?

We are all guilty of not looking after ourselves - yet all of us deserve compassion, care and love despite the mistakes we make in life. I am surprised you cannot find it in your heart to love your husband, who is a good man who has done his best to overcome something very hard. You married him after all.

What do you think you would feel if you husband got lung cancer and died. Would you still blame him and feel anger or would your anger be misplaced.

If we all had to answer for the mistakes of our youth - we would all be very guilty people. I expect you didn't lead an entirely unblemished life and that something may come back to haunt you one day. You need to stop blaming him and start caring for him.

BTW - I am not a smoker and never would be. in fact I hate it with a passion.

Technical Thu 13-Mar-14 11:33:45

What does, your "OP-I ask you" line actually made me laugh out loud.

No I don't do any of those things. I haven't eaten refined sugar in years, I am a healthy weight and always have been, I exercise 6 days a week and am generally active in between times, have junk food maybe 4 times a yeart, a drink at Christmas. I used to have a stressful lifestyle but made some deliberate changes which mean all of us are now much more relaxed.

Yes, I would be angry at him if he had lung cancer and that scares me. I don't want to be that person.

HellonHeels Thu 13-Mar-14 13:55:43

To be blunt Technical you are coming across as possibly rather hard work, being so perfect. Could anyone live up to your expectations?

FabULouse Thu 13-Mar-14 19:59:56

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Finola1step Thu 13-Mar-14 20:31:36

I don't smoke. I have had pneumonia for the past 4 weeks. I have had a horrible, hacking cough which makes me sound like a 40 a day smoker. My DH has been fabulous and has juggled everything at home, the dc and looking after me. I would do the same for him.

Just because he has smoked in the past does not mean that smoking is the definite cause of the current illness. Your DH sounds really poorly. I feel sorry for him and not just because he is ill.

sexypantsformum Thu 13-Mar-14 20:52:49

Must be nice up on your pedestal.
Give him a break Ffs.

Technical Thu 13-Mar-14 20:58:54

Where did I say I'm perfect? I posted specifically because I know I have a problem.

Thankfully Dh's cough is much better but he's really not very well. Hasn't moved from bed all day, nor eaten anything and the only way I can get him to have a drink is to feed it to him by slowly moistening his lips, which I've been doing often. I've been keeping my feelings to myself and taking good care of him.

SonOfAradia Thu 13-Mar-14 21:40:20

My DW is a bit like you, OP, but good to see you're overcoming it!

When she's ill I look after her, give her some TLC and make sure she's warm and cosy in bed with hot drinks and medicine until she's better. OTOH if I have the temerity to be ill, then I get short shrift. A couple of years ago I had a hernia op, released the same day and was at home in bed feeling pretty poorly after the anaesthetic and in pain and sipping morphine. Did I get any attention and care? Did I buggery - after a perfunctory kiss when she came home from work she was downstairs on the laptop Facebooking and I didn't see her until she came to bed hours later. But that's just the way some people are, and it's part of her character. I never really wanted a 'wife' in the sense of someone who'd do all the caring stuff anyway as I'm an independent bastard who can bloody well look after himself, thanks. But that one time it would have been nice...

Technical Thu 13-Mar-14 21:42:45

Thanks Sonof, I don't think I'm that bad actually. It's only when DH is coughing that I can't bear it. The rest of the time I'm quite normal grin

SonOfAradia Thu 13-Mar-14 21:45:31

Ha! You can upload pics now? So THAT's why they did the server restart! ;-)

DW and DS

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