Feeling guilty

I've been watching this site for awhile and decided it's time to post. My fiancé suffered an asthma attack and basically died on the bathroom floor. Ha which actually appears to be a common place to die... Who would guess? I did CPR for 8 very long minutes and the aftermath has been devastating. He has a severe ABI. 6 months out and I would guess his recovery is going quite well in some respects. Long term memory in tact, short term not so much. Rigidity plus heaps of other things. Had his first of at least two foot surgeries this past week. Hopefully when we get those done he will be able to walk properly.

I took guardianship of him and once he came home from rehab hospital, he's my responsibility. This is where the guilt comes in. I love him to much to even describe... My actions have shown it over and over. He is my world, and I will love him they this. I feel guilty for doing CPR and had I known how he would have suffered I wouldn't probably have done it.

I'm wondering if there is anyone else out there that is just mad. I'm mad our lives have turned out this way... He would never wanted to live this way... And yet he doesn't get the full grasp of how bad it is I believe. At times he's the 48 year old I have love for 5 years and at other times he's two years old and loves me the way a two year old would. I know it's early in his recovery, I know it's a long road ahead of us. I'm up for that. I'm just so angry.

I'm angry his family has left everything up to me. His kids don't visit, I'm mad their mom hasn't helped them adjust and shown them how important it is to love him, even in this state. He's still their dad, and very much wants to see them. I'm mad at the medical world and all of their idk's. I know, I know each brain is different and there are no definitive answers. I'm mad I'm trying to take care of everything with work and taking care of the kids, and am completely exhausted. Where did all his friends and family go?

And ultimately I beat myself up because of how I feel. I'm blessed because he finally does understand there is a God, and he knows the extent to how much I love him.

Guilt eats me up inside.

10 Replies

  • Please please don't feel guilty. This is not your fault. Anyone in your position would have tried just he same.

    Yes, your lives are going to be forever different but you have each other and life now is just different but just as precious.

    My husband was told that should I survive I would be in a permanent vegetative state and to put DNR on my notes in case I had a heart attack or my kidneys failed. But he still wanted me back under any circumstances, I feel that was a selfish act but I'm forever grateful that I am still here even with the issues I have to deal with. And I am also forever grateful that it demonstrates his love for me too. So when I feel a bit down and that its too much to cope with I remember how lucky I am really.

    So don't feel guilty please.

    Keep us updated and come back to us soon.

    Love Janet xxxx

  • Hi Imagine,

    What a powerful storey.

    The day you resucitated him was the day his God took matters into his hands. We all would have done the same and you should not feel guilty. Would you have felt guilty if you hadn't?

    Its tough this change and we have to accept it, get on with it and truly there is hope.

    Thoughts and prayers are with you both.

    Nick XX

  • Imagine

    Love the name. Please don't feel guilty. Remember that you must make time for you so that you can charge your own batteries.

    I can only imagine what it is like for you. Te way I describe it is that after any bi we all become babies to one extent or another. Like babies we need lots of sleep and help making sense of things but luckily for most of us we still have bits that work and use them to make as much progress as we can.

    Have you been in touch with Headway or found out if there is a group near you? Please give them a ring all the details are in a pinned post.

    Sending lots of great big virtual hugs to you OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    And love and hugs to you both.


  • What you are going through is a form of bereavement - you have lost the man you were planning to marry. Anger is one of the steps through the process. So don't feel guilty about it. You do need help through this. Your life has been turned upside down. Have you been offered any counselling?

    I think if had you not done CPR and he died, you would be left thinking could I have done more? And you would still be going through the grieving process so might even be angry!

    I'm glad you have a faitH. Turn to the people within your church for help - both spiritual and practical.

    I'm sad for you about his children. How old are they? 6 months is a very short period of time so hopefully they will change. They'll be going through their own issues so just be there for them.

    I hope I'm not coming across as too bossy! Good luck - you sound like you're an amazing lady! X

  • Oh, how I understand what you are going through! My husband had carbon monoxide poisoning and has similar problems to your fiancé. I too wonder if keeping him alive was the right thing to do now I know the result. Life can be so hard at times, he doesn't believe there is anything wrong with him and believes everything must be my fault, even when the evidence of daft things he has done is right in front of him.

    I am sure, like me, you find it hard to have lost your equal partner (or at least lost the essence of him) and be left with someone needy. We have children and, although they say they will do things to help, they don't want to know about the problems involved. Families just don't understand how it really is. Maybe his children find it too hard to see their father this way?

    Please don't feel guilty, you did what you thought was best at the time and that is all one can do. With hindsight I am sure we would all make different choices throughout our lives but hindsight is an amazing thing! Life is how it is right now and guilt makes things harder to cope with. Put it away, it's happened and cannot be changed.

    I'm mad too - mad about how things have changed, how other people have the life I should be having. Get mad - it's much better to let it out than let it fester inside. Then afterwards, carry on doing the best you can.

    Very, very best wishes to you. I have only just found this site and am so delighted to meet others who feel like I do and have similar problems. Do keep on here, it willhelp you greatly.

  • First, I am sorry for your loss, the loss of how your lives used to be. I know I miss mine too. Yes, I am mad about my post brain injury life too. I can relate to how you describe feeling. "had I known how he would have suffered I wouldn't probably have done it." Bless you for caring so much about your fiance. Know that you did what you felt to be the best thing you could do at the time, given everything else that was going on in your life at that time. If you could have done anything else better at that point in time you would have. Hindsight seems to sometimes make us second guess ourselves. For me had I known I was going to have my life like it is now before I sustained the brain injury, I would have surely have chosen DNR. Since I didn't, now I make the best of it, at least the best I can. Sometimes I think, well there must be some reason I am still here and hopefully I can find and do whatever it is that I am still here to learn and/or do. Wishing you receive whatever you need to make your lives better going forward.

  • Good Morning! Thank you so much for the support... was a long week. I have a lot of decisions to make about his employment, tax issues his ex created, court because ex is trying to raise his child support. I went to my besties yesterday and we sorted some things out, and I am meeting with my attorney tomorrow... he should be able to help me sort some more things out or at least tell me where to go. And I got my nails done! Sent him to his dads yesterday and got some things done for me! Amazing what 12 hours of me time can do! Yes I did check to see if there was a Headway near me. I live in the US, and the distance reader told me the closest member on this site to me was over 750 miles. I believe, a compariable program here is the Brain Association etc. Closest place like that to me is about 3 1/2 hours away. I could at least touch base with someone there and see if there is anything locally. It's on my list of to-dos for tomorrow.

    I'm going to touch on everyones replies because I think the more we share, the more we learn from each other. That, and I didn't even introduce myself, I just verbally vommited on all of you lol... ;)

    In my heart, I do know this is not my fault. It isn't anyone's fault. It just happened and I can only try and pick up what pieces are left one day at a time. My head is desperately seeking the logic behind it and there isn't any logic. Russes heart stopping was nothing more than a chemical reaction. He had a chemically induced asthma attack, his CO2 level was 110 and his heart stopped because of it. Seems logical... nothing is as it seems anymore however lol...

    We are blessed in many ways, Russ could be so much worse than what he is. He should in theory, be a vegetable. The second time he went back to ICU because they overdosed him at rehab, (and he had NMS... anyone familiar with that?) we were asked about a DNR. At the time of the DNR question, I had already seen the essence of the man I love in there. (He devented himself and after he came up from some of the sedation, he laughed at a dirty joke... I knew HE WAS in there! Everything about him may be broken, but the same onry, sweet man was there.) We decided that giving him a year or two to see how he recovered (big promises were made about his recovery from some doctors) and if he was going to be a vegetable with no improvement, then we would visit a DNR later. I don't think I could ever have put a DNR in place, but you don't know about choices you have never had to face before. I have learned there are no questions too big/small in this situation and there is definitely no guarantees. And a DNR is not in question now, he's made heaps of progress.

    I do have a lot of faith. God has always provided for the kids and I. I always said that God takes care of kids and idiots and I have both bases covered... No matter what happens, I will get thru this. I agree I do probably need some counseling, this is a lot for one person to deal with on a daily basis. God did know what he was doing when he sent him back. Russ is one of the kindest people I have ever known. I believe God has given us miracles, we are living little blessings every day in an essence. Gratitude is important as well.

    Doing CPR was a natural response to a life threatening situation. I would do it again, and I have to remember I did my best. Nothing prepares you to do CPR on a 195lb man. (I'm not so big lol) I do wish when I learned CPR the instructor was more clear on the actual outcomes of CPR. I never knew only 3% of people that have CPR done to them walk back out of the hospital the same way they came in... you were taught, do what we tell you to do and you are saving a life. They left out the part where the life may not be the same.

    His children are 13 and 16 years old. I have 6 kids myself, 4 of which live with us at different times of the week (blended family)... they help out quite a bit. My kids are 12, 13, 13, 17, 19, and 24. His kids' mom doesn't like me, hasn't ever liked me, isn't going to ever like me because while she didn't want Russ, no one else should either. And I've come to peace with that. His kids are old enough to make their own choices. I don't have the time or energy to fight over them coming over. It makes me real sad for Russ, but I can't change it. I only hope in time they will learn their dad loves them with all his heart and he is doing the best he can.

    Yes, I get blamed for things as well. It's part of the injury and part of what makes things difficult. I seriously got scolded for not blowing the correct nostril for him. I had the tissue on the wrong side apparently haha... it is definitely a good thing I have a good sense of humor. Most situations are laugh or cry and I don't have time to sit around and cry all the time.

    Families mean well I believe. They are all coming to terms with the fact he is probably never going to be the same. My frustration comes in because they just stay away. Unless I call and ask for scheduled, in advanced help, none is offered. I do have to say, my work has been fabulous... and they have become his new source of hope. He goes to work with me every day and is allowed to go to most meetings, etc with me. He is just part of the group now and everyone is absolutely fabulous with him! We are very blessed that way. I'm not as productive as I should be, but we are working on that, and as he progresses, he won't be so needy.

    Now that i have written a book, you know a little more about us. I can't say how much I appreciate the responses. I was very hestitant to post because I sincerely don't want it to appear I'm feeling sorry for myself. I am a strong woman and I will see that we overcome this to the best of what can be overcome! It is going to be a very long process, but just having your support has made my bounce in my step today a lot lighter! Have an awesome day everyone! Be blessed and be a blessing!

  • Imagine

    As soon as you mentioned attorney I guessed you were not in the UK.

    biausa is where you need to look. I can't remember whether it is .com or org or what.

    It stands for brain injury association of the USA.

    I believe that there are individual state organisations

    Hope you can find them and get some more help.

    We will always be here if you need or want to chat.

    Love n hugs


  • My mum was a nurse and Marriage Guidance Counsellor (now Relate) and always told me that guilt was a waste of time and never to go there. She died suddenly of a heart attack and my family immediately dumped me - not even sending my children birthday cards and presents. Nowt as queer as folk... Btw Jesus, with all that pondering and drawing in the dust was surely trying to figure out how best to tell us dopey humans that the whole point is that Love is God? Quite a few others have done the same as it is obviously universal. When people or events erect walls we do have to navigate life as best we can and at some point we can decide that it is not worth it and buy a cylinder of pure nitrogen and a mask and Bob's your uncle!

  • My mother - a nurse and marriage guidance counsellor - always said that guilt was a waste of emotional energy. What's done is done and we can only learn and move on. But as others have pointed out we cannot know the consequences of our actions - especially where brain injury is concerned so the watch word is undoubtedly, as you recognise, Love. How could you possibly have done otherwise? If you had let him die how would you now feel?

    Re the family opting out, I wanted to say that it does happen. Many years after my severe head injuries, recovery and deterioration, my mother died suddenly and immediately my father, brother and sister and their children wanted nothing to do with me. They arranged her funeral without consulting me, cut off all communication - even not sending my children birthday and Christmas cards/gifts (except my father who does send them money and writes to them). They will not give any reason but I suspect that it is really to do with my brain injury issues with which they do not want to be bothered. It grieves me a lot and I use 'happy' pills but I know that they are the people that they choose to be and there is no point in grieving over it. They are all now very rich and seem to be in another world whereas we are in debt and life is a struggle. I will end it when I choose - using pure nitrogen of course as any other method is untenable - but for now I soldier on.

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