At what point do I say “Enough!” and let my gut take over, demanding action in place of my fear of doing the wrong thing?

That is my dilemma this morning. And it has been my dilemma for days, if not weeks. My concern is that my wife’s incarceration—for that’s what it is—in a rehabilitation center is having the opposite of the intended effect. Rather than getting better, I fear she is getting worse. I am afraid she is becoming severely depressed after more than six weeks in a lonely, sterile hospital-like environment. Maybe she is improving physically. Maybe. But I am afraid the environment is harming her mentally. Does she feel like I’ve abandoned her? Does she see no end to the dullness of days subjected to “therapy” that seems to be having no impact?

The question in my mind is whether taking her out of the rehab facility will lead to improvement or deterioration. Would I be able to take care of her, even with help? Would coming home do any good, or would it accelerate her depression? I don’t even know who to ask. I do not want well-intentioned opinions; I want reasoned answers from someone trained and educated and knowledgeable in such matters, someone with current expertise.

I will not go into more details in this potentially public forum. The pain of this dilemma is almost unbearable for me. I can only imagine these circumstances must be a thousand times worse for my wife.

The director of nursing of the facility has thus far failed to respond to my emails and my voice mails about matters that I think could be exacerbating my wife’s condition. I am growing concerned that my wife is being targeted for mistreatment in some form, whether psychological or physical, in retribution for her complaints about non-responsiveness to her use of the call button. I am angry and growing more frightened and more enraged by the minute. I don’t know whether I am equipped to deal with my own frustration, much less give my wife the support necessary to ensure proper physical and mental care.

The last time I spoke to her was Sunday morning around 10:30. I have tried to reach her by phone and text many times since. I called the facility and spoke to a nurse last night; she said “she is okay, just tired.” This, apparently, is the same nurse who did not respond to my wife’s urgent use of the call button last Thursday night until I telephoned the nurse’s station (in response to my wife’s panicked call to me) and demanded someone go to her room and remove a patient who had wandered into my wife’s room in a wheelchair and could not figure out how to leave.

I am at wit’s end. But it’s not my wits I’m worried about. My wife is the one who has to live with whatever constraints they place on her. Should I just extract her from that situation and hope for the best at home? Solutions abound. The right ones, though, seem to be as rare as diamonds.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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