The man had heard that the hospital would move a patient to a care facility if no one shows up to pick them up and hence decided not to.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on March 28, 2021. It has since been updated.
Looking after a sick spouse can be difficult, especially if they are going through something so terrifying as cancer. Abandoning them however is never an option. This man took to Reddit to ask other users if he was an a****le for not picking up his wife from the hospital as he was tired of her responsibility. His rationale was that the hospital would shift her into a care home if no one came to pick her up.
The man writes, "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, 16M) and a daughter (15F) 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."
He continued, "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 (74M) 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. 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. 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."
He was called multiple times by the hospital but nothing could change his mind. He writes, "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. 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."
While the exhaustion is understandable, abandoning your own wife isn't. "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," a user wrote while another said, "My heart breaks for his wife. Dying, unable to care for herself, torn away from her children... abandoned by the one person who swore to be there... guess he didn't actually read "in sickness and in health"...Caregiver burnout is real... I understand it logically. But emotionally imagining being her... laying there, knowing your husband is refusing to get you... I'm literally crying here.. I'm going to cling to my husband and hope to God he never turns into that." A third commented, "She also has to be in horrible pain. You can’t blame a sick, dying person for being angry. Not to mention OP(he) says she is “barely lucid.” In this case she probably can’t even control her anger. caregiver burnout is real, but how could you do that to your dying wife? OP is also stripping his kids of the last time they have with their mother. They’re almost adults. OP is going to be completely alone in a few years if he’s not careful.
OP I hope you get some help and realize that this is fleeting. It’s hard now, but, as you said, your wife is stage 4. Don’t let your kids miss out on any precious time they have left with their mother."