Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This material reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein

Also available in:


Training > Experiences

Personal Experience

back to the list

The strength of a wife

Language: English
Country: Italy
Typology: patients and relatives
May 22, 1989. It was a quiet Saturday morning, we went to the market, we had spent the day quietly, but during the night, towards 2 o’clock, I heard a noise. I switched the light on and saw my husband on the floor: since that moment, my life has changed a lot. I immediately called the emergency medical service and they immediately made him an injection and gave him a life-saving pill under his tongue. Then, they told me that if the pressure decreased, it meant he was out of danger, without explaining what he was going to face. They told me to please call the doctor on Monday. On Monday, there was the doctor’s substitute: she failed too to understand what it had happened and I insisted she prepared me a hospitalization sheet. Finally, after waiting for many hours, he had a CAT scan and was diagnosed with a cerebral hemorrhage. After a few hours, he went into a coma for seventeen days. I was always near him, day and night, I took care of him minute by minute and, after forty days of hospitalization, I brought him home. He had the right to undergo physiotherapy sessions, but nobody informed me about it and thus, little by little, he recovered. In the meantime, I tried to make him live in the best way possible but, unfortunately, in 1995 he was diagnosed with a colon carcinoma, so they immediately submitted him to an intervention and, after nine months, I realized there was something wrong: after some exams, we were told the carcinoma was there again, and he underwent another operation. At the beginning, he seemed to have recovered from it, but doctors suggested he should undergo five cycles of chemotherapy. After the third one, he had to stop, because he could not stand them. I was always beside him, to help him overcome those terrible moments. In the meantime, he made other examinations, and so we found out he had another polyp: they removed it through colonoscopy. I never told him the truth. I told him that he had only polyps, so that he could stay quiet. Then, on 21/11/2004, he had a stroke and, at that time, when I insisted he should practise a bit of physiotherapy because I thought he was in a very bad condition, they proposed me to send him to the Mayor Clinic in Turin for a month. But, to live a bit more decent life, these people do not need only a month, but much more. At the beginning, he seemed to get better, but my life changed a lot, to stand by him as much as possible, and to try to keep him quiet with regard to everything, both health and family matters. And, thanks to so much love and patience, he got on till 27/12/2008, when the second stroke hit him. But I told myself: “Let’s move on”. After having spent thirty-eight days in hospital in Chivasso, he should have left the hospital, because, according to doctors, he was ok, but I refused to take him home, because I knew it was impossible for me to take care of him alone, and, since I insisted I did not want to bring him home, I was proposed to submit him to physiotherapy for two months at the RSA Anni Azzurri in Volpiano. There he gradually recovered a little bit, but, believe me, these people need physiotherapy all days to receive some stimuli. Still today, I do not give in and I pay for the physiotherapist two times a week out of my own pocket and, this way, I can make it on my own. But, trust me, it is a very hard life, sometimes I do not know who I should blame. I have spent my life working in a factory bringing up a wonderful boy who has never given his family any pain, but with patient like this one to care for, even if I am a strong person, in some moments I do not feel like fighting any more. According to my experience, these sick people need constant physiotherapy to live a more decent life and there should be someone who cares for them weekly to give those who are close to them some relief. Over these last three years, fortunately I have never got sick, because, otherwise, I would not know how to solve the problem. I cannot go to hospital make some checks or even some visits, I must join my forces and think that tomorrow is another day and this way I can endure for weeks, months and years. Over these years, he had an operation due to cataracts as well as another problem, but he cannot be submitted to an operation, because he would not bear the effects of anesthesia. He suffers from hydrocele, so every three months we must carry out the emptying at home, and it is another expense, another concern in addition to all the others. In these years, I have noticed I had a problem with the right eye and, since it was difficult for me to leave my husband alone, I refused to go to the ophthalmologist and accept the diagnosis that at the beginning I did not want to take into consideration: I had a detached retina, and thus I had to be hospitalized. It was really difficult, because he was my first concern and, only in the second place, I would care for myself: they were terrible moments and I did not know how to solve those problems. In May 2009, he was discharged from Volpiano Anni Azzurri, and, at that time, another tough fight began: I was granted the ADI assistance, so that I could take advantage both of the bed, and of the wheelchair designed especially for patients like him. They have relieved me of a bit of this huge burden; since the beginning, there had been a person I paid all days for four/five months but then, with the help of your services, I managed to take care of him on my own, because I do not give in, I do not want to see him always lying on the bed. So, even if it costs me a great effort, I still raise him, three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon, so that he can live a life as much normal as possible, but I do not know whether to still define my life as “real life”.

Your comments are welcome.
Fill the form and click "Send message".

PASSWORD (*required)

NAME (*required)

COUNTRY (*required)

TYPOLOGY (*required)