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Sleeping and eating

ruthelizabeth
Posts: 146
Joined: May 2009

Is it normal to have difficulty eating and sleeping after a death?

In the last few months of Don's life I dropped 22 pounds. That's what happens to me when I'm upset; I can look at a lot of food and not eat it. I'm forcing myself to eat something so I haven't lost any more weight lately. It fluctuates by a pound up and down.

However, sleeping is something I put off until I can't put it off any longer. I do a lot of work very late at night, dead tired. Have tried various things that have been recommended like warm baths, etc. Don't want to try meds because I can get hooked on aspirin so I avoid anything stronger. ON good nights I get five or five and a half hours' sleep. Other nights, not that much.

I'm hoping that "it came, it'll go" as my mom used to say about a lot of things. It's only been nine weeks. I suppose it will take a lot of time to get things back to some kind of normal.

bingles
Posts: 120
Joined: Mar 2010

I really don't have any answers for you...other than I too dropped weight during Bill's illness and after his death...certainly not a good thing to do....I am trying now to just eat when I am hungry and eat as healthy as I can..I found myself reaching for quick processed foods..which are super high in sodium...and my blood pressure took a major hit....but cooking for me is hard....used to enjoy cooking for Bill and now that he is not here...cooking brings back memories...so I try to just keep it simple and move on.
The sleep thing ? That is not a huge problem for me....because when I am sleeping I can turn off the thoughts....I do take an over the counter sleep aid when I do need something....its nothing more than Benedryl so its not a big deal...but it does help.
It has not been long enough for either of us to be looking for the end of the grief....we are only in the beginning...be gentle with your self.
I had a rough day yesterday...first day on a new job...in a nursing home....everyplace I looked I had triggers....not that Bill was in a nursing home....but just being around folks that are ill...seeing wheelchair...frail men...oxygen...all of it just sent me over the edge...I thought I could handle it and maybe I can...but its rough right now..I missed him something awful..actually thought about not going back...but I need to get back out in the world...and nursing is all I know....so I am going to keep trying to handle it and get though it.
Again be gentle with yourself....we have time...my thoughts are with you.
Pat

ruthelizabeth
Posts: 146
Joined: May 2009

Have you tried stuffed baked potatoes? I make them up in large batches (like 8 at a time), some with minced ham and onion and others with chopped chicken (you can get foil packets of cooked chicken that are low-sodium), onion, celery, bread crumbs and a little thyme. I add country crock and low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth to both kinds when I stuff the potatoes. YOu do the initial baking in the microwave, freeze them individually and then nuke them when you want something.

You could also do fish in foil which is easy and good and fool-proof. I slice onions and lay them on a large piece of foil, lay a piece of fish on top, then add .... sometimes lemon juice and pepper, sometimes, sliced garlic, sometimes a scallop and shrimp, sometimes sliced mushrooms. Seal the foil thoroughly. At this point you can freeze the packets or you can just do one at a time. Bake the packets on a baking sheet at any temperature you feel like. The nice thing is that the fish stays moist, no matter how long you cook it.

I haven't done much cooking myself (no fish in foil since Don died), but the local diner is like home, great people who care (they walk past and say, Eat! Eat!) and large portions so I tend to eat there and reheat the leftovers. No, it's not great, but it will do for now.

The wonderful thing about your job is that you're able to help people. Maybe that thought will carry you through. I know just how good the nurses were to us.

I know that lately I've been better at booting myself out of the house, especially on the weekends which are really tough times for me. Things just seem to fall on me, beginning Friday night. I don't mean just feelings, but things like the cell phone company not cancelling his contract and sending me the bill for his daughter's use. It made Friday night so memorable. But I did have a list of things to do on Sat. I can't say I was in great shape, but I did most of them. Sometimes you just have to channel a very large, determined bulldog, I guess.

God bless you, Pat. Hang in there!

bingles
Posts: 120
Joined: Mar 2010

Thanks for the food ideas....its just rough sometimes...I do eat though...and now with working its better yet...for now while I am on orientation I am gone from 6am until 5pm....long day, but when I get home I am famished and look foward to eating something and I have been either cooking something healthy or getting take out Sushi...my favorite...let just say that I am a work in progress.
When I get on 3-11 things will shift again...but planning on beachin' it during the day...and brown bagging for dinner.
I too was feeling a bit overwhelmed a few weeks back....had a brain flash and suddenly became overwhelmed by the fact that I am responsible for everything...I am the captain of my own ship and truth be told I preferred being second mate...can't change it just have to work with it.
Bummer about your cell phone issues...that daughter of his sounds like a piece of work...lucky for me that Bill's daughter has not caused me any grief...once we got things sorted out...her and her daughters have really been a good support for me...and the girls make me laugh with their silliness...I am actually going to my very first teeny bopper concert this coming November..I brought the younger one tickets for her 16th B-Day and of course I had to get myself one too....so she and I and 15,000 of our "dearest friends" will be rockin' down in Atlantic City..and I am looking forward to it.
Keep The faith....this is going to sort itself out eventually....hang tight to the memories and show Don that your going to ok...
Pat

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1613
Joined: Aug 2009

I have the opposite problem. Everytime Doug went on cemo, I gained weight. The dr started me on lyrica for my fibromyalgia, and I gained weight. I did lose some right after Doug died, but not much. I know I am not eating right much of the time. Cooking for myself has been a challenge. I think I am doing better, but still not losing. I have been with family a lot, two granddaughters are here now, that helps. I have to feed them. I was also proud of myself for not gaining on the cruise. Sleeping has not been a problem most of the time because the lyric helps me sleep. I think we all find escapes for ourselves. One of mine seems to be snacking. Hang in there everybody. We will find our way. In this fast paced world, I think we all expect things to happen to quickly. I, too, preferred to at least share responsibilities that I now find are mine alone. It is amazing how many of those there are. It seems like every day I find new ones I hadn't thought about before. Life really does go on. Take care, Fay

closs86
Posts: 85
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Ruth
I know the feeling of not being able to eat, I lost so much weight in that 6 weeks, especially the last 3 when he was in the hospital, whatever I would eat just wasen't registering. my clothes were falling off, after johnny passed, everybody started bugging me to eat, so I would just eat to eat, and now it is a little better, I do get hungry, but I don't cook for myself, I just eat whatever, I just can't see me cooking for myself, I miss him so much, I hope that we can find our way, everyday is a challenge.
Take care
Karen

bingles
Posts: 120
Joined: Mar 2010

Sorry to hear that your still strugging so much...not unlike the rest of us here....this is truly a road I for one would have preferred not to travel...but its beyond my control.
I was and still am having trouble with actually cooking for myself...the only thing that I came up with is to try some different things....I still can't handle cooking the meals that Bill and I shared...I just go a different route.
I try to keep it simple...and minimize the memory factor until I get it done and eaten...we need to eat and we need to move forward.
Everyday is a challenge for sure....I am now in the midst of a huge bunch of triggers for me...with going back to work...seeing people in various stages of illness..brings back alot of memories....yesterday I encountered a another male patient who is in the last stages of life...his wife was sitting along side of him....looking so sad and alone....it brought me right back to the last days with Bill....only good thing that came to mind was that Bill did not linger like that man was doing....he did not suffer...that gave me some solace....but still...my heart just broke in pieces....its a process!
Be kind and gentle with yourself....it is afterall what our guys would have wanted....right?
Blessings...
Pat

ruthelizabeth
Posts: 146
Joined: May 2009

I know Don is cheering me on and telling me to take care of myself. I do try.

Yesterday evening I spent a lot of time talking to his oldest. She's taking it harder than any of the others. And unfortunately her 17-year-old is telling her she shouldn't be sad because Don is in a better place. (Ryan is going to a very fundamentalist church and I suspect he's drawing confidence in himself by criticizing his mother.) Lisa tends to become a mother hen for everyone who has problems and is spreading herself way too thin. I did all I could to support her, but I'm frankly very pooped. If I were good, I'd go up to her area this weekend and spend more time with her and the kids, but I know I desperately need to be alone and quiet so I'm not going to do that. I am going to write her kids and ask them to give her extra love and support.

I'd be grateful if someone did that for me.

It's good to know that others are feeling the way I am. It helps a lot.

Bless you all!

Ruth Elizabeth

closs86
Posts: 85
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Pat,
I think going back to work is the best thing you could do, although in your line of work, it will bring back memories, but like you said thank god they did not suffer to long, my Johnny also did not suffer long, if he had it would have certainly have been the end for me, as I was losing weight as fast as he was. The 6th of July will be 3 monthe that he is gone, I just can't believe it i feel like he is going to come through the door any minute, yet it feels like I haven't seen him forever. so weird. I have that anxiety in my gut and chest again tonight,
I wish we could turn back the clock, I just can't believe that I will never see him again in this life, It is just not something my brain can process, that is why I am going to go to a therapist, maybe they can help my get the mental block off that is there, I just can't accept it, although I know that he is not here.
I don't know what we are going to do, or how we are going to get through this, but I hope we all find peace, that is what we need some peace in our hearts and minds.
God Bless
Hugs
Karen

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1613
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Karen and all. It has been a little over 8 months for me. I am having problems processing that. It just doesn't seem that long. Time is helping most of the time. I am taking more steps forward and fewer steps back. I have rough patches, but they don't last as long. I still count the months when that day of the month comes and it hurts. Yesterday, I spent about an hour on the phone with one of our recent widows from the church. Her husband of over 50 years kissed her good night and never woke up. She sounds just like us, trying to find her way, trying to live with the loneliness. I think we need to do whatever we can to put one foot in front of the other whether it be talking with friends, counseling, meds, etc. We need to keep reminding ourselves that it is ok to grieve and it takes time. Our fast paced world may think we should just be able to brush ourselves off and get on with our lives, but it isn't going to happen overnight, in three months or probably not in a year. We will learn to live with our hurt even though we can't live without it. We are those strong, independent women we assured our husbands we were. Take care everyone, Fay

bingles
Posts: 120
Joined: Mar 2010

Work is going very well....only the first day was hard....now I have managed to put it all into context.....and focus on only good memories.....not those associated with Bill illness or death...its a process.
I too still have those snippets of time when I think it all didn't happen and that he will be walking into the room at any time....I look to the places where he sat and think he is going to be there....but I know he is not and I move on.
I have some concern that for me....I have managed to move on too fast....I really have way more periods of inner peace now than moments of saddness....but I think that all those years of sharing our feelings really helped to prepare me for this....he always said that to go into a prolonged grieving period was not good....for me to grieve and move on....he never thought that the details of anyones death should be the focal point of the surviors lives....this has given me the strenght to move on...my happy calm moments far out weigh my sad moments now.
Those times when I feel the grief start to surface...I actively strive to redirect my thoughts....its got nothing to do with my feelings....I will never forget him....or ever stop loving him....but I will go on and I will find happiness and contentment in my new life...and this I do for him.
I think that all of us are incredible women....we have fought the battle of our lives....we stood fast and faced the death of our loved ones...and yet we are all still here living our lives as best we can....we are all strong....and we will always have those men in our hearts..no matter what we do or where we go....those men will always be with us...but we will live!
Keep fighting the fight ladies.....Pat

closs86
Posts: 85
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Pat and Fay,
I haven't left the house today, very hot, and nowhere to go, or want to go. I stood home trying to go through some videos 8mm movies and slides, I want them to put them all together on a disk, so I had to watch them all, so that i could decide what to put on the disk, very hard, felt like he was right beside me, I am trying to be strong, I am, but it is so hard
Hugs
Karen

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1613
Joined: Aug 2009

Holidays are the pits. I'm sure that eventually we will be able to take them in stride, but these first ones without those special guys here are hard. We used to have a big barbecue at one time. In recent years, we haven't been able to do that, but we did celebrate in a quiet way. I am sure there are some wonderful memories on those movies and slides. Hang in there! Fay

halsons's picture
halsons
Posts: 76
Joined: Apr 2010

Fay,
You said it all when you said " Holidays are the pits." Especially all the firsts we have to deal with. I just am dreading my aniversary on the 14th of September. It will be our 25th and I don't know how I am going to be able to handle it. It has almost been 6 months and still doesn't seem to be getting any easier to handle. The littlest things make me break down and of course still having lots of problems with my youngest not eating. I just hope it starts to get easier for all of us. Haley

halsons's picture
halsons
Posts: 76
Joined: Apr 2010

I had the same problem at first Pat. My husband was on a ventilator for three weeks after his esophigectimy and it was very hard to watch the love of my life just lay there and not be able to talk or anything. One of my clients at our adult day health care got really sick and ended up on a ventilator. My oldest son and myself went to visit him and I didn't think anything of it until I walked in and I took one look at him and almost passed out. I wanted to throw up so I went right over and started talking to phil. After about 10 mins I felt better. I think after that just taking care of others helps me keep my mind off of all my pain. I still have a hard time sleeping and late nights are the hardest for me. Tonight was very hard being the first 4th of July without Sonny. I cried the whole way through the fire works. I wanted to stay home but my 10 year old and 17 year old made me go. It will be 6 months on the 12th and seems to be getting harder at times. I just know the one thing that makes me feel so much better is my love is in no more pain. He was in so much pain for much too long so at least that part is calmed down for him. It is just dealing with everything without him is what is killing me. You are right we have time. We all are experiencing some of the same things which we can help each other at times. Keep your chin up and good job going back to work. I don't know what I would do without work. Haley

ruthelizabeth
Posts: 146
Joined: May 2009

Well, it sounds as if my notes to the grandchildren have had some effect. The youngest is being nicer to his mom.

I met two other widows this weekend and they said, Welcome to the club! One had been widowed 8 years and the other 16 and I just thought how horrible to think that it might be that long for me. Just struck me so weird.

The weekend trip was satisfactory. I felt accomplished that I made it alone up and back and made good choices about the route and the timing. I'd driven it all the way before, but never alone. Weather was too rainy to sketch and walk as I'd planned so I ended up resting more, if itchily. I am usually doing something all the time. Have to work on resting and relaxing more. Don't know how.

Ruth Elizabeth

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1613
Joined: Aug 2009

Well, we take off tomorrow in my motorhome. There will be six of us, 3 adults and 3 teens. We will be taking a car as well, and going from CA to PA. It's a little scary. A year ago I would never have believed that I would drive a 26 ft. motorhome across country. It was Doug's encouragement that allowed me to step outside my comfort zone. I'm sorry we weren't able to take more trips in the motorhome, but I know he would be proud of me. Two of our granddaughters will be with me. I keep you updated when I find the time. Fay

closs86
Posts: 85
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Fay and Ruth
Fay I commend you for going on this trip without your husband, I hope that I can find strength like that to do things, Have a great time with your grandchildren and a fun safe trip, keep in touch.
Ruth
I can't even imagine saying he is gone 1 year never mind many years, that is very strange i agree with you, I just hope and pray that we find peace every day that we wake up
God Bless
Hugs
Karen

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