Having a dying loved one is incredibly difficult. It puts stress on all members of the family, especially the dying one whose well-being is out of their control.
It inspires a lot of emotional trauma for the rest of the family as well, and people are generally not in their right mind.
Reddit user throwawayctas found himself in the unfortunate situation of having his wife dying. Crumbling under the pressure, he made a very rash and very large decision.
Unsure if he was in the right, he went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for some perspective.
“AITA for refusing to allow the hospital to discharge my wife to me?”
Our original poster, or OP, helped us understand his and his wife’s awful situation.
“My wife now has stage 4 colon cancer. For the past year and a half, I have had to work and then come home and do the majority of the household chores and I was also treated as the nurse.”
“We have two sons (18M[ale], 16M[ale]) and a daughter (15F[emale]) that help out, but it became expected of me to be their go to parent on everything.”
“A year ago, my wife pretty much stopped being able to do anything for herself.”
“She’s exceptionally rude to me, and pretty much screams and cries hysterically all the time and sometimes mutters on about people who haven’t been in our lives for some time.”
“She also blames me for not being ‘kind’ to her when I am putting my entire life on hold when I’m at home and I felt like I didn’t even have an identity anymore.”
Nearing the end of her life, OP has been weighing some options.
“Over the summer I have talked to doctors and they told me there was a lot of red tape regarding getting my wife into a nursing home.”
“I talked with my dad (74) and he told me that from his understanding hospitals if you didn’t pick up a patient after discharge three days later the hospital social worker would have to place them into a specialized nursing facility.”
OP felt some relief.
“Last week, my wife had to be rushed to the emergency room.”
“For the week I didn’t have to be her nurse, I realized how much of a strain taking care of a barely lucid, and angry when she was lucid woman had become to me.”
“I realized that I was basically being mom and dad around the house and I was so tired of doing this every single day and then waking up at 6 to go to work.”
And then from this relief, he made a snap decision.
“When I found out my wife was set to be discharged, I ended up making up my mind.”
“When the hospital called to say that they were going to discharge my wife and I needed to be there to receive her, I told them that I did not want to take care of her anymore.”
“The hospital continuously called me back and the person on the other line would beseech me to bring my wife home.”
“However, I stood my ground and said that my wife needed to go to a professional nursing facility and said that the hospital’s social workers needed to figure that out.”
OP is now unsure about his choice after being yelled at by his children.
“AITA for finally realizing I had reached my limits? My daughter in particular is very upset that her mom is not coming home.”
“My sons screamed at me that they would take care of their mother 24/7 if they had to. However, I knew that the hospital social worker would do his/her job competently and help my wife into a facility.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors all agree OP did the wrong thing here.
“YTA – OP, I feel for you. Taking care of someone who is very sick as well as three kids and a full-time job…I can sympathize that this is very draining and difficult.”
“However, the way you are going about this is not right and not fair to your wife or your kids.”
“First off, you need to admit that you need help and ask for it. This just seems like you spent the last year taking on more and more until you burned yourself out.”
“Caregivers burnout is a real thing and as you’ve experienced, can hit hard. How about asking one of your parents to come help? A sibling?”
“Or perhaps hire a nurse to come and help you out during the day? Find some way to allow yourself to relax.”
“Making a decision to force your wife into a nursing home isn’t fair to her and it isn’t fair to your kids. This needed to be a conversation that you had with your wife and your kids.”
“Not something that you all of a sudden decided to force happen. I understand you are burnt out, but throwing your hands up and giving up isn’t the right call here.”
“Even if you agree on finding a nursing home, perhaps choose one with your wife instead of forcing her into whatever the system will provide. Spoiler alert, it’s probably not going to be very good.”
“Your kids are probably going to hate you for this, so if you are ok with your entire immediate family being very upset with you for a long time…well, kudos I guess.”~dookle14
“He also refused additional in home care for her because he doesn’t like having people in the house, and I guess he didn’t like his wife’s social workers, so it kind of sounds like he deliberately cut off/rejected the help available.”
“I’m not sure what jurisdiction he’s in, but in a lot of parts of the US (depending on his wife’s health insurance status), if his wife ends up in a long term care home, he will get billed for it whether he chooses the facility or not.”
“Then again, due to things nobody can mention, the turnover in long term care facilities is higher than expected. Also, patients experiencing certain complications may not be able to have visitors.”
“So…because he didn’t like the help options available to him, he’s having his wife placed in a facility that will almost certainly preclude his children from visiting their mother while she’s dying.”
“I’ve been a caregiver for multiple relatives, including ones who got super mean while they were sick, so I get it. Burn out is real. It’s horrible.”
“However, OP has painted himself into this particular corner by refusing available help along the way.”
“When his wife dies and his children are old enough to leave the house, he will probably find out that he is alone in that corner. And then the corner is going to get repossessed to pay the bills.”
“I’m still voting YTA, but this is one of those weird situations where OP’s actions have gone far enough that they’ve bent around until he’s also being TA to himself.”~CaptainBasketQueso
“This absolutely broke my heart. Yes, I feel for OP, but this is a YTA for me.”
“OP, this is the worst part of your wife’s life. It is also the end of her life. It’s very likely that she cannot control her responses right now.”
“Your narrative suggests delirium and a loss of cognitive functioning.”
“This is hard on you. Harder than I can imagine. Ask for help, as other commenters have suggested.”
“But if you abandon your wife at this terminal point in her life, that makes you a bad person. I’m sorry, it isn’t fair, but that’s the truth.”~predatorandprey
“There are studies about people in nursing homes. Statistically, people with at least 3 daughters or DILs are less likely to end up in nursing homes than people without.”
“My grandfather had 7 kids. One died before he did. When my grandfather’s health (mental and physical) began to decline, one by one, the men just noped out.”
“Except for one, the youngest who had lived at home the longest.”
“The sisters (3 of them) and the one uncle took care of him until it was no longer possible because his medical needs were too great to handle on their own and they just had to put him in a nursing home because of his medical needs.”
“Also, is this guy taking advice from an armchair lawyer/social worker?”
“Just did some light reading, and unless she is mentally or physically incapable of having her needs met at home (medically, not just that the caregiver is tired), she can’t be forced into a nursing home against her will.”
“This guy is an AH. I get that caring for an angry, dying lived one is hard. I was there. My grandfather was docile, hut sometimes he was very mean as well.”
“Maybe it was because he no longer has freedom of movement, or because he could never remember that his wife had died, so he was mad that she was always ‘out.’ IDK. But that’s why you hire some help.”
“Parent hire sitters to give them some time off. It’s ok to do the same with your parents or spouse, too.”~NotSoAverage_sister
And former social workers and medical professionals are wondering why OP took the advice from his father, and not a medical professional.
“As a former hospital social worker, I have absolutely no idea who he’s getting this advice from, and also definitely gets a YTA from me.”
“You can’t just call up a nursing home after someone’s family won’t pick them up for three days and set them up to go there.”
“Healthcare, including nursing facilities, need to be consented to. Either by a parties who can for themselves or their next of kin.”
“If someone has no next of kin they need a legal guardian. They also need to be PAID for, and long term care is not covered by most insurance, including Medicare.”
“The level of pulling nothing out of thin air and ‘just make it work’ that social workers are expected to pull off by patients, families, and other healthcare workers is just insane.”~SwifferSeal
“I agree this guy is TA, but the way he writes doesn’t sound like caregiver burnout.”
“His main complaint is that he has to be Mom & Dad around the house (the youngest child is 15), that his wife is not very friendly, and that he ‘is putting his life on hold when he is at home’.”
“To me he sounds a lot like somebody who used to do nothing at all at home and is now upset that his wife is no longer doing all the work around the house.”
“My guess is that the wife has every reason to be upset and angry as he is probably making a huge deal about each little thing he has to do now that she used to do before.”
“The absolute heartless way in which he talks about his dying wife solely as inconvenience to his comfort really speaks volumes.”
“I used to care for my increasingly helpless mother in the months before she died, and the least of my worries was ‘putting my life on hold when I was home’.”
“My main worry was that I was barely able to leave the house and was starting to neglect my 4 yo.”
“But never would I have dreamed of simply not getting her home from the hospital … Instead I hired a caregiver for her and looked into short-term nursing homes to give myself a break.”
“This guy must be the biggest, most callously selfish a**hole I’ve ever seen on this sub.”~Rokkoschamoni
“YTA. Medical Social Worker here. This may get taken down for violating that which will not be named.”
“People in nursing homes are 1000% more likely to catch that which shall not be named, and 40% of the shall not be named deaths in the US got said illness in a nursing home.”
“Additionally, by not having the conversation and shutting down means you are lacking information on other options.”
“And that you don’t know how the nursing home will be covered/paid for. In the US you need a skilled need for insurance coverage, a long term care insurance plan, medicaid or to private pay.”
“You also haven’t done any research into the facilities available.”
“For the record, not picking up someone from a hospital may be seen as a sign of abuse. It is possible that they would have called adults protective services.”~MindlessRooster
“YTA. My mother died of stage four lung cancer a little over a year ago, but we had three years with her.”
“Three years where I also had newborn twins, worked from home and STILL took care of her until my dad came home.”
“Then he did everything in his power to be there. It’s ok to admit that you need help, my dad did. My brother, myself and my husband all came together to help when he asked.”
“You didn’t ask for help though, just sloughed your burden to someone else in the laziest way possible.”
“Burn out is real, but you don’t just drop your wife like that. You’re the person who she’s looking to for help. And anger is normal when one is facing death. Painful death.”
“Because cancerous death is f’king painful. My mom was never an angry person, until she reached the end.”
“I never once got upset because it was absolutely normal for her to feel all kinds of bitter and upset.”
“I simply supported her how I had to, so that the last of her life wasn’t in total misery and loneliness. You owe your wife that, too.”~TeniBitz
Also, folks are noting OP’s tone and how cold and calculated it is.
“The fact that OP discussed this with his father means it isn’t an emotional, quick response to a situational change – this is cold, premeditated and mean.”
“Even not being able to physically take care of her anymore does not excuse this – a delicate problem needs a thoughtful solution, not the quickest way out. YTA”~enzovrlrd
“I read the statistics once about people who leave their partners when they are severely ill or dying. They are staggeringly high for men. But women, almost none existent.”
“You are the epitome of selfish. You have put your own happiness above that of your dying wife and your three children.”
“This is the time for a little self sacrifice. Sure you’re not legally required, and sure, I know it’s tough. But yeah. YTA.”
“Your wife will suffer for the last few months of her her life because of you. Your children will likely never forgive you.”
“If I was your eldest son I’d be driving to the hospital, legally collecting my mother into my care and returning her to HER LEGAL HOME.”
“I hope he does. I hope he realizes he can. Because with an a**hole for a dad like you, god knows your family needs a new father figure.”~Daytripsinsidecars
“YTA. Your wife is dying, in massive pain and you expect her to be Mary Sunshine?”
“Did you even consider getting help or looking into hospice?”
“Either is cheaper than what you just set yourself up for (because you WILL be getting a bill) and if you think she’ll be in some top rated care home I have a bridge in NYC to sell you.”
“Being exhausted and overwhelmed isn’t what makes you the AH, btw.”
“Not looking for help at home (there are whole businesses devoted to this) and not asking doctors or social workers for referrals for such help and then dumping her in a facility is what makes you the AH.”~JakBurten
“Your wife has STAGE FOUR CANCER and you’re tired?! When you married her you said in sickness and in health, didn’t you mean that?”
“Your wife is not only battling stage four cancer but she’s probably absolutely terrified and scared because her husband is refusing to bring her home.”
“Your relationship with your children is never going to recover from this and you’re going to end up alone. YTA unequivocally.”~stargazecwtch
If OP doesn’t change course as soon as possible, he’s in for some serious long-term consequences.
Though caretaker burnout is real, OP has other resources and options for seeking help; it’s difficult to see how he get through this by making excuses.