Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Memory Loss and lethargy in diabetics

Jean wrote: I've noticed for the past year or so now that my husband completely forgets entire conversations. As with most things with this disease, it's not a consistent symptom so I too wonder if he's really forgotten or just "conveniently" forgotten. He's had double-digit A1c's for most of the time I've known him, and one of the docs I transcribed for told me memory lapses and ultimately dementia were more common in diabetics and of course elevated even more in those who don't care for themselves.

I've noticed a lot more lethargy with my husband lately. He goes to work as normal but really lets things go with the lawn, car care, etc. Lots more sleeping and laying around during the day. So I wonder . . . is it just a normal phase of being tired out or is it depression, problems with the heart, failing kidneys or ???? It's to the point that I sometimes tiptoe to the side of the bed or sofa and just stand there til I see the rise and fall of his chest that lets me know he is still alive.
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I find these comments amazingly interesting. One of the reasons I decided to blog was to write down things that my husband says because he denies making some comments that I know he made....and it was driving me nuts. I got to thinking that maybe I was the one who couldn't remember things or that I was making things up that he had never said. I agree, it's not a consistent problem. But it is a problem that bothers me. When is it a lie, when is it a convenient forgetfulness, and when is it memory loss?

How high or low, and for how long of a duration does it go, before there is memory loss? I think I have noticed a distinct pattern that when he is low and says something, he will not remember it at all. It's more like a short term memory loss. But I can almost guarantee that he will not remember anything that is said or done when he is in a low. And for some reason, I notice it more with a low than with a high.

I have also definitely seen an increase in his lethargy. I do think it is partially due to depression. I also think his body is simply wearing out. He cannot do the things that he used to do. However, I also think it's a partial excape. If he's watching TV, sleeping, reading.....he can escape the reality of what is happening to him.

What bother's me most are his comments like, "just take me out to the desert and leave me" or "why don't you just shoot me and put me out of my mysery". That's when I know he's most depressed. And although I don't think he would take his own life, one never knows.

I've also noticed that he doesn't want me to go away. I just spent 48 hour at my moms and he called me 6 times. And all he could do was tell me that he missed me. I don't think he misses me so much as that he is afraid when I'm not here.

I wish more spouses who were experiencing issues like this would post, but I have a feeling they have left, or are too frustrated, or too busy taking care of their spouse.

I had a lovely 48 hours away and am just delighted that prednisone is bringing down the pain in his foot.

7 comments:

Megan said...

OMG, he's on prednisone? I have taken prednisone for asthma many times. I triple my insulin dose and still run 300-400 the entire time I'm on it. Any diabetic who has ever taken it will tell you it is the worst thing to happen to diabetics, and I know of doctors who avoid prescribing it to diabetics all together. I'm so sorry your husband has to be on this. I bet his blood glucose is hideous at the moment.

As for memory loss, I don't know. Before I was diagnosed I was definitely fatigued. I slept a lot. I couldn't do much besides school. I would carry a liter bottle of water with me, and pee every half hour, including during the night. I would drink a half liter of water, take a shower, be so thirsty in the shower I would start drinking the shower water, then drink more after the shower. I had to get out of the shower sooner than I would have liked because I had to pee again. I had a constant headache. I don't remember memory loss.

When I'm VERY low I'll have brief periods of "black outs" I won't remember, but that's rare and just temporary.

Jean said...

Hopefully this link will work, as it has some really good information on how highs/lows affect the brain and memory:

http://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/article.cfm?aid=367

Our husbands do seem to share a similar outlook on life and their disease. It is so ironic that you should discuss the suicide issue because although I don't think my husband will commit acts that the public recognizes as suicidal, he is consciously committing suicide with his fork. Here's what I mean: Last night we went out to eat at an Italian restaurant with my parents. My husband, who does not take his insulin, decided to get the all-you-can-eat spaghetti and consumed FIVE platefuls plus breadsticks. Afterwards, we went grocery shopping and he bought a tub of chocolate-covered mini donuts, which he ate most of on the drive home. Later, he went to work a midnight overtime shift, riding his motorcycle even though his vision was blurry. If that isn't suicidal behavior (let alone dangerous to other people on the road) I don't know what is.

He has received excellent diabetic education and had wonderful doctors - some supportive and encouraging and some of the not-pulling-any-punches variety. Clearly, he knows what he is doing. In the state where I live, if your spouse is exhibiting suicidal behavior you can have them committed for psychiatric treatment and observation for 72 hours. In my husband's case, however, it's considered a "lifestyle choice" because it's related to a disease so there are no such options.

Some days this is such a painful, sad, and horrific journey, but I let myself experience the emotions lest I develop neuropathy of the soul. Difficult though it may be, I choose life and will embrace this place I'm in, learn from it, and live to tell the tale.

Diabeteswife said...

Megan, your comment touched me. I can't fathom wha tyou have been through with the water and the peeing. I have heard this is how some people learn they have this disease, but I get upset if I wake up just once in the middle of the night and need to go to the bathroom! I can't begin to know what it's like to be so thirsty you want to drink shower water.

But I'm so glad you are sharing this with us. As for his prednisone, I'm sure he's in a high at the moment...he's irritated about everything!

Jean, I know exactly where you are coming from. Either consciously or unconsciously, he has made a decision to commit suicide, one piece of himself at a time. He has given up on living. Now, if you were to talk to him, he would just say, "well, if I'm going to die, I'm going to be happy and eat what I want" and in some way, I cannot blame him for that. But on the other hand, he is still so young and could live quite some time if he would only cut out the bags of chocolate, bags of potato chips, and all that soda.

My husband seems to be a speed demon when it comes to driving. He doesn't think twice about cutting someone off in traffic, or tailgating, or speeding. He once got pulled over for doing 93 and all I heard for months was, "there's no way I was going that fast!" when in fact, I think he was probably doing 103 and the cop cut him some slack. I was in the car with him and I KNOW he was doing at least 95. I pray a lot when I'm in the car with him and lately, I've started doing all of the driving....or refusing to go with him. I've decided that I want to live, and my heart just can't take that!

I LOVED your comment that you did not want to develop neuropathy of the soul. Oh! That is so true, but I find it a daily (sometimes hourly) struggle. I want to block it all out, wipe it away and not experience one more ounce of it. But I'm still here, and I will journey together with you and other spouses as we survive this disease. Hopefully there will come a time when we can help others who are following in our path. But mostly, I hope for a cure so no one else has to know this journey.

fictionalpoet said...

Thank you for posting this blog, I was looking for some information about my boyfriend, who is a Type 1 diabetic since he was 4. He has developed periods of blackouts, where he is lucid but he is not there, he loses motor function to a point. He also has developed short term memory loss from one day to the next. He has a history of running high, yet he isn't when these occur. So he may be running low this time. Thanks for your words, you have truly helped me.

Anonymous said...

I have only ever blacked out once and to this day I still don't know what I did or didn't do while blacked out.

I was at a "friends" house and had been drinking. At the time didn't know I was diabetic; I didn't find out til many years later that I was; but because of the diabetes and a large amount of alcohol I had unwilling consumed and the illegal drugs that were slipped into my drink I blacked out for over 3 hours.

I woke up on the floor and because of what I was told I did my now husband who was only my boyfriend at the time didn't speak to me for three days. To this day I don't know if he believes that I don't remember or if he thinks that I'm faking the memory loss.

I worry all the time that I will never get that three hours or so back to clear my name. Its frustrating.

Rain said...

Sounds exactly like my significant other. He nods off on his computer chair, he has gained weight, and can never stay awake. His levels are so uncontrolled and he doesn't care. He won't get up and move around, and all he does is sit or sleep. I dont know what to do anymore.

He seems to be getting worse and worse and his docs just wont listen to me. I cant leave him alone for m ore than 15 minutes at a time, and yes I tip toe around to, to see if he's breathing.

This takes a huge toll on our health as well. (The worrying and stress)

yamahonkawazuki said...

I deal with these suicidal thoughts myself. and the lethargy. GOD help me :( but im afraid to act on them so I guess that is good Eh?, the neuropathy is a ( curse word lol) I am glad im not the only one having to deal with this. could voluntarily check myself in for an eval. but am afraid to do so. afraid I may lose my job. which is the only way im able to pay for my doctor since I cannot get Medicaid. this really sucks lol. anyhoo folks I am sorry ive wasted your time but am greatful that you've posted this blog ande given me the chance to let my story out. many thanks. GOD bless you all.
Sincerely
Aaron