DEAR ABBY: My husband is in his 40s and permanently disabled from injuries received in a recent automobile accident. He is in pain, on pain medicine 24 hours a day and basically sleeps his days away. His pain and immobility make intimacy impossible.
He doesn't object when I go out with friends or participate in activities he is unable to do, like hiking, biking or kayaking, yet I feel guilty for leaving him home alone five days a week, and sometimes the entire weekend. His mother thinks I'm a terrible person for doing this, but I can't just sit home with him after I get home from work because he falls asleep watching TV.
We both know this will be the situation for the rest of our lives. This self-care is very important to my physical and mental well-being, as the financial stress is also overwhelming. How do I continue to live an active life and still be the wife he needs? -- SAD FATE IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR SAD FATE: If the situation were reversed, is this the way you would like your husband to treat you? This is an honest discussion you should be having with him. I will be frank. Leaving a disabled spouse five days (nights?) a week or for an entire weekend on a regular basis seems excessive.
You promised to love, honor and cherish this man in sickness and in health. Would it be possible to include him on an occasional outing -- if he can handle it -- so he can have some fresh air and a change of scenery? If you must go out to preserve your sanity, it would be compassionate to arrange for someone to stay with him so he's not alone in case there is some kind of emergency.