Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving day update

I know I have not posted here in ages...I just have not felt like it. Interesting. Sometimes writing can be such great therapy...at other times it can be the hardest, most difficult thing to do. Probably because writing forces me to face truth....head on.

A few days ago I walked into this house, was walking up the stairs and thought, "I smell death". It was a total awakening. It shook me to my bones. So it is time for me to write here. But first, thanks to those of you who have posted worrying about us.

Hubby has severe chronic tophasus (sp?) gout on his 2nd toe. I had never seen anything so horrible in my entire life and when I saw it....I made him call the doctor. They put him on an antibiotic and it is improving, slowly....but my goodness! I do not understand how he could ever let it get to that point. It just happened overnight. I had been traveling for work for about 3 weeks...home 3 days a week, gone 4 days a week....and had not had a moment to look at his feet. Ok...I will not let that happen again! But my never ending question....why does he not take care of himself?

On a side note, I have been working on my certification in Art Clay Silver....following the therapist's recommendation that I get a life of my own! ACS is clay that you shape and fire in a kiln. The clay burns off and the remainder is .999 fine silver. I went for my senior certification...3 fun filled days up in a cabin in the mountains, with my sister....and one of the items I created was a pendant with a backwards question mark made of hammered, heated brass in the center of it. The instructor informed me that my question mark was in backwards and I needed to start over. I said, "No, I want it that way." And when she asked me why, I replied, "because the question cannot be answered!"

And yes, I was thinking of the question that never ends for me....why does he not take better care of himself?

I have 2 thoughts on this and please, feel free to chime in with your thoughts.

One...he has decided that he is going to die and he just wants to live the rest of his life the way he wants. He has accepted his course, is not going to try to improve or prevent deterioration, and is just going to do what he wants from here on out. As evidenced by the cheesecake, pumpkin pie, chocolate muffins and who knows what else that I did not see him put in his mouth today. I often wonder if I had this disease, might I make a similar decision? It is WORK to eat healthy, force an aching body to exercise, deal with pain....and it's often easier to just not work at getting well. So you give up and just do the best you can with what you have.

Two...he is still in denial. I wonder about that. We had a discussion just yesterday where he is blaming his HMO for the deterioration in his condition the past 2 years. He said, "3 years ago we did the ......marathon and I was in the best shape ever. I have just gone so far downhill since then. It's all their fault because they switched all my meds." (and that's about when he switched to his current HMO). But I said to him, "No, sweetie, your kidney function was down to 30% when you switched HMOs. They HAD to take you off the meds and put your on insulin as your kidneys could no longer handle the pills. Your health was deteriorating with the old HMO....and they never let you know."

Dead silence. He KNEW I was factual.

That sort of told me that this guy is still totally in denial...trying to put blame on someone, anyone, and not dealing with what is happening to his body.

Sexual dysfunction? Oh...we are so there already. And it just doesn't seem to bother him. We constantly say that we "should" make love....but every time either one of us initiates it, he is too sore, too tired, sick....the list is endless. I have come to accept it as part of what this disease does to a person. I've done the research.

I've also learned that the huge lumps on his feet that 2 different doctors at 2 different HMOs told him were due to his gnarly Scottish ancestry are in fact related to the gout. And that the white pussy boils on his feet are probably uric crystals due to kidney failure. But you know...who am I? Just the wife....not the doctor....so I'm not listened too at all!

In my research, I read that he should be on a low purin diet....so I have started that in a very subliminal way....fixing pasta without meat....stuff like that. Purged the kitchen of a lot of stuff! Oh...we wives...we can be so devious! :o)

Part of me is torn between me finding a life of my own and me wanting to help him get well. But slowly, I am coming to realize that the decision has to be his alone and I can't have much (if any) input into it. I know he is probably on a path of self destruction. I know he will most likely be dead in 5 - 10 years. I honestly think in many ways I have started to grieve the loss of him in my life. I know I grieve the loss of our activities together as there are so many things that we cannot do. At the same time, I am seeking out things that we can do together.

We purchased a new ATV in August and did manage a few weekend rides. Something he can do and he enjoys, even though he got tired quite often. Changing his shots to 3 per day (6 am, 6 pm and 10 pm) has helped some of the really "lows" that he was having. And I know I am getting better at identifying the lows when they start to hit him and offer him a snack.

There are many nights when I get up and go sleep on the sofa as he thrashes quite harshly....to the point that I cannot sleep. I lay there and just cry. Again...part of my own personal grieving. I love this man dearly. And watching death is not easy, nor anything that I welcome in my life. Longing to do the things that I love, but unable to do them with me....it's my greatest heartache.

Today, we drove 3 hours to have Thanksgiving with my family. I am so glad that we went and everyone got to see him. I am so thankful that he is here with me this year and that we can still do things like drive 3 hours to visit family. Even if he wore socks and sandals.....and we kept all the little kids away from his feet....it has come down to enjoying the simple things in life with him....as long as I have him.

Note to self...reread this the next time he totally pisses you off!!!

I think with the daily business of diabetis, as his wife, and a person who does not have this awful disease, I do forget to be thankful that he is still here with me. In the middle of a sugar low, when he is ugly and yelling....I'm not really thankful for much of anything!

For anyone reading this who does have this disease, I hope you will read this and know that I am just one spouse....there are probably millions of us out there that have to deal with this disease on a daily basis. It is not easy. There are days when I think I can't stay with him another second. But then, there is Thanksgiving, when we pause for a moment, and even in the midst of all that we do not have, I can be thankful for what we do have.

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you!

5 comments:

George said...

I am glad to hear from you. I was wondering what happened but I understand.

I have to tell you, you are such an amazing person! I really wish your husband would take charge but as you said, it is up to him.

I am glad that your Turkey Day went so well! I hope tomorrow is even better!

Judy said...

I've been reading your blog since June or so. I am in a similar but not as severe situation. Thank you for your blog. It has helped me in many ways. You seem so strong and I hope I can be like that some day. Keep blogging if you can -
I've been emailing with another spouse recently and we are looking to start a virtual support group for spouses - you'd be a great addition

Diabeteswife said...

George. Thanks! I guess I have no idea how many people read what I write. I had sort of thought I was a voice all alone. I promise to do better at blogging.

Judy, I would love to join your group....if you can handle someone so open. I do tend to spill my guts when it comes to this disease.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I randomly came across your blog, but was struck by the similarity it has with my life. My mother was diagnosed with type 2 and absolutely refuses to take care of her health. I've watched her eyesight virtually deteriorate, and have seen a doctor practically refuse to operate on her due to her high BS. Like you, I cannot understand why this person, this loved one, who is so influential in my life and so important to me, will not take care of herself. Although my mother and I are extremely close, it is the one topic we cannot discuss. As soon as I bring up her health, she closes up. I'm only 25, and can't bare to think of why life would be without her, but don't know how to get her to start caring about herself.

Diabeteswife said...

Dear 25 yo annonymous. I really know how you feel as my own dad had 7 major heart attacks the year I turned 25. It is very scarey to think that you might lose a parent that you love so much. What if you print my blogs? Do you think she might read them? Or at least open up to talk?

I wish I knew the answers. My husband has 2 grown children and on our last visit to his son's home, I told his son and daughter-in-law how serious "dad" had gotten. When the son inquired, my husband just said, "oh, it's nothing."

Oh sigh! In my book it's "something" when you go a whole summer only walking when you absolutely have to, not wearing shoes, and being just plain miserable! But to him...it's "nothing".

Once again...you cannot change your mom. She has to want to make the changes herself. If I have learned anything...I've learned that. Now....do I accept that? Well...there are days when I just can't seem to do that!