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I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost 10 years. He never wanted to get married because we are in our late 60s and he decided, we would not live together. Additionally, he didn’t want us to become a financial or medical burden on each other at this stage of life. Now he is having major physical issues and I have been with him, taking care of him through 3 back surgeries and now he has had an abdominal abscess and an open wound and has developed a condition called C-Diff, which is highly contagious. While he has his siblings, nieces, nephews and a son close by, I have no-one to take care of me if I get this infection. I am torn because I feel like I’m being a bad girlfriend if I say he cannot stay with me while he recuperates. Any advice??? Anyone???

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You are not a nurse or his nurse or a rehabilitation unit or a nursing facility. You are not his next of kin and you are not a licensed caretaker. There are legal issues with having someone like this in your care. His family/next of kin/healthcare proxy needs to arrange things for him if he is too ill. Do not deal with this. Get a nursing service for this.

has developed a condition called C-Diff, which is highly contagious. if I say he cannot stay with me while he recuperates.
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Since he has "decided that you will not live together" then do not let him live with you while he recuperates. Instead, why don't you look into home care options and costs for BOTH of you so that if anything should happen to you where you need support then you will have the knowledge of where to go to get it. There is also social services (most likely) that you can look into for help.

 

Either that ^^^ or you make a written agreement drawn up by a lawyer that he pays you for your services at a comparable rate as what any professional caregiver gets as long as you are administering to him so that you can save it to pay for someone should you need it.

 

You don't mention it but has he even asked you to care for him or are you just assuming you will or should?

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Do Not Practice Medicine/Nursing with something this dangerous Without A Licence

he pays you for your services at a comparable rate as what any professional caregiver gets as long as you are administering to him so that you can save it to pay for someone should you need it.

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Do Not Practice Medicine/Nursing with something this dangerous Without A Licence

I'm not talking surgery or doing medical procedures, OP ... I'm talking getting his meals, bathing him, doing his errands, the things any caregiver can do without having a medical licence.

 

There are plenty of caregivers here in Canada that are not licenced but get paid an hourly wage to do simple day-to-day caregiver duties and just being there in case of a medical emergency. His son isn't licenced either but he would/SHOULD be doing it if no one else will.

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When he went into the hospital, he listed me as his caregiver. The surgeon came in before surgery and I was standing with his sisters, the surgeon as who I was and he said my wife. I didn’t say anything at all. I am scared to catch this because I have no family here to take care of me and yet I feel guilty. His family keeps thanking me for taking care of him. I love him but I don’t think I can do this.

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Tell him what you've said here. That you can't be exposed to getting ill because you have nobody to take care of you when that happens. He can pay for in home care from companies such as Comfort Keepers if his insurance doesn't cover that. If he's okay with putting you at risk, why aren't you questioning if he's a bad boyfriend instead of if you're a bad girlfriend?

 

Sounds like he's called all the shots as to how he wants the relationship to go. Did you settle? Do you think he'd care for you as you've been doing for him if you were ill? Financial burden? Seems like you two could've saved a lot of money living in one place versus two. If it's worked for you, fine. If not, maybe this is a watershed moment that should get you thinking if you're giving more than receiving.

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When he went into the hospital, he listed me as his caregiver. The surgeon came in before surgery and I was standing with his sisters, the surgeon as who I was and he said my wife. I didn’t say anything at all. I am scared to catch this because I have no family here to take care of me and yet I feel guilty. His family keeps thanking me for taking care of him. I love him but I don’t think I can do this.

 

Of course his family thanks you! You've taken the burden of health care off of them! They are the ones who should be taking care of him, not you.

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He has asked me to take care of him, I am not assuming. He told me to read up on the ramifications of what that would entail and that he wants to stay with me.

Since he has "decided that you will not live together" then do not let him live with you while he recuperates. Instead, why don't you look into home care options and costs for BOTH of you so that if anything should happen to you where you need support then you will have the knowledge of where to go to get it. There is also social services (most likely) that you can look into for help.

 

Either that ^^^ or you make a written agreement drawn up by a lawyer that he pays you for your services at a comparable rate as what any professional caregiver gets as long as you are administering to him so that you can save it to pay for someone should you need it.

 

You don't mention it but has he even asked you to care for him or are you just assuming you will or should?

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His family keeps thanking me for taking care of him. For his other issues, it's okay to to help out when needed, but if it's so much you're getting burned out, do communicate with the family about dividing duties. It sounds like you're getting into doormat mode. You need to speak up for yourself.

 

And as I saw on a Dr. Phil episode where a woman took care of her paralyzed husband's duties all day long. Dr Phil said a partner cannot be both a romantic partner and a nurse/caretaker. That they needed to hire a professional.

 

It's of course loving to care for a partner in need, but if this is now going to be daily, longterm duties, it's best he hires help.

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His family keeps thanking me for taking care of him.
So you have been looking after him already so why now are you feeling put upon? Either that or they are just assuming you will look after him now. When they thanked you, Why didn't you take the opportunity to tell them what you've told us here? That would have been the opportune time to get all things ironed out. You can still talk to them about it but you'll have to be the initiator of the conversation unless they thank you again or somehow bring up his need for care.

 

Talk to a lawyer (most will give you a half hour of their time for free) about options.

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And as I saw on a Dr. Phil episode where a woman took care of her paralyzed husband's duties all day long. Dr Phil said a partner cannot be both a romantic partner and a nurse/caretaker. That they needed to hire a professional.

 

- Yes, but these are two different things. This is a temporary illness, correct?

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Agree with Andrina and please please do not risk any exposure to C-diff!
Some advice on that front:

How do people get C. difficile?

C. difficile bacteria and their spores are found in feces. People can get infected if they touch surfaces contaminated with feces, and then touch their mouth. Healthcare workers can spread the bacteria to their patients if their hands are contaminated.

For healthy people, C. difficile does not pose a health risk. The elderly and those with other illnesses or who are taking antibiotics, are at a greater risk of infection.

 

What can be done to prevent the spread of C. difficile?

As with any infectious disease, frequent hand hygiene is the most effective way of preventing the transmission of healthcare associated infections. Hand washing with soap and water is important during C. difficile outbreaks and is one of the best defences against further spread of the bacteria.

If you do not have access to soap and water, frequent use of alcohol-based hand rubs is encouraged. Most healthcare facilities provide alcohol-based hand rubs at entrances. Be sure to use them, but be aware that they are less effective than washing with soap and water as they do not destroy C. difficile spores.

If you work in or visit a hospital or long-term healthcare facility, wash your hands often preferably with soap and water, especially after using the toilet. Gloves should be worn when caring for a patient with C. difficile infection or if in contact with his/her environment. Use a new pair of gloves when caring for each patient. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water after removing your gloves.

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- Yes, but these are two different things. This is a temporary illness, correct?

Not only that... what ever happened to "in sickness and in health." Dr. Phil isn't always right nor does everyone have the financial means to hire someone... especially in the states where the health care is private and based on capital gain.

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I am interested to see how this plays out. It's a conundrum of sorts for the older generation and while it makes sense to not co-mingle households and finances, the health care issues do come in to play eventually.

 

You aren't legally bound to someone, but romantically. You put yourself at risk financially and health wise being a care giver to someone when you don't even have the medical directive to ask proper questions and be informed. Not to mention the toll it takes on the caregiver.

 

I don't have an answer for you, but it all seems to point towards a good enough reason to get married. After all, who is going to take care of you when you come of age?

 

The kids of course are happy with you in the picture!

But from a legal standpoint, they need to step here until things are otherwise figured out.

 

It's just c-dif at this point. Just wait until someone has a stroke and then see what happens.

 

I've had c-dif. Not fun. (too many antibiotics) But I just stayed home and took care of myself. There wasn't much to do but wait it out and watch t.v.

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So you have been looking after him already so why now are you feeling put upon? Either that or they are just assuming you will look after him now. When they thanked you, Why didn't you take the opportunity to tell them what you've told us here? That would have been the opportune time to get all things ironed out. You can still talk to them about it but you'll have to be the initiator of the conversation unless they thank you again or somehow bring up his need for care.

 

Talk to a lawyer (most will give you a half hour of their time for free) about options.

 

I just found out today about the C-Diff. I don’t think he has told his family. His nephew is an RN at the hospital he is at and his niece is an X-ray tech at that hospital as well.

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Why are his family fobbing him off on you? What happens if you contract this? He has healthcare/medicare, so you doing this makes no sense. He can stay in his own residence and get appropriate home care. This is mismanagement on his and his family's part. You are not married. This looks like a medical/legal nightmare happening for you. Just say you can't. Don't be manipulated. If something happens to him, his nephew, the RN could be the first to run to a lawyer. Do Not Do This.

His nephew is an RN at the hospital he is at and his niece is an X-ray tech at that hospital as well.
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I just found out today about the C-Diff. I don’t think he has told his family. His nephew is an RN at the hospital he is at and his niece is an X-ray tech at that hospital as well.

 

Then you have to speak up and tell them that you don't want to be exposed and they need to keep him in care until he recovers or... they make legal arrangements to have you cared for if you should be incapacitated and he's not able to care for you. Quid-Pro-Quo if you will.

 

Do what you're going to do WELL BEFORE they are ready to release him.

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Not only that... what ever happened to "in sickness and in health." Dr. Phil isn't always right nor does everyone have the financial means to hire someone... especially in the states where the health care is private and based on capital gain.

 

Except that they aren't married or even living together.

 

Staying with someone through sickness and health is not the same as being their caregiver.

 

Caregiver burnout is extremely common in these scenarios.

 

My grandfather in law was cared for by his wife 24x7 for many years without a break until his family finally put their foot down and hired someone to take care of him. You could see the impact this was having on her overall health and well being, and his as well as she was exhausted.

 

Not everyone has the financial means BUT.... if a person can find a way, shuffle expenses, find community resources, get family assistance etc. hiring a professional, even part time, is a must in these scenarios.

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Originally Posted by Gary Snyder

- Yes, but these are two different things. This is a temporary illness, correct?

 

Not only that... what ever happened to "in sickness and in health." Dr. Phil isn't always right nor does everyone have the financial means to hire someone... especially in the states where the health care is private and based on capital gain.

 

Well, I believe Dr. Phil was right in that instance on the show - you can't be both an effective lifetime caregiver and romantic partner, they are two different roles. The romantic love would probably die eventually and they would just have a caretaker-patient relationship. (But this thread is different, it's temporary illness).

 

I like Dr. Phil and he says some great things - but you are right, he's not always correct.

 

I do like your romantic view of "in sickness and in health".

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