Saturday, July 07, 2007

I'm going to die in that car of his!

Hubby has a powerful little sports know the type. It's the car that is always zooming in and out of traffic and you swear some inexperienced teenager is behind the wheel.'s my 50 something husband.

One day, he got a ticket for going 93 in a 65 mph zone. All I heard for months was that there is no way he was going 93. I happened to have been in the car with him that day and am pretty sure he was going 103 and the cop was being quite nice to him.

I have taken to driving more and more in my SUV, offering to drive wherever it is we are going. And I have started refusing to ride with him when he drives the sports car. I've used every excuse in the book from being blunt, "you drive that car too fast and I'm not ready to have a heart attack" to "I feel like driving today".

I've been researching and studying more and more about end stage renal failure. But it was a discussion on sleep apnea and driving that really got my attention this week! People with sleep apnea are more likely to have or cause a car accident while driving. OK....that's more than enough information to prevent me from getting behind the wheel of the car with him!

But I also think some of it goes back to my earlier discussion about him giving up and deciding to die, deciding to live his life like a mad man. It's like eating all the sugar that he wants, driving as fast as he wants, weaving in and out of traffic as much as he wants.

Could it be that a diabetic has no control with what is going on in their body.....and transfers that lack of control to "control" over other elements in their lives? He can control the sugar going into his body by eating everything that he wants. He can control his driving by speeding as fast as he wants.

My youngest sister lost her husband to an unexpected heart attack over which she had no control. Since then, she has turned into a cleaning freak. She will run the vacuum cleaner while we are visiting her house. She cleans non-stop. I think it's because she has control over that. And until she can give up the lack of control she had over her husband's death, she's going to clean because she has control over that. Make sense?

Hubby is also the angriest driver I have ever known in my life. Even when I drive, he yells at the other guy "it's the big peddle on the right, dummy". If there's not a wide open space in front of us, hubby gets angry. Heaven forbid a semi passing another semi in front of us on the freeway. And anyone who actually drives the speed limit (including me) is a complete moron.

For the most part, I either ignore his comments, say soothing little things "it's great that we left early and don't have a deadline" or pray. Man! Do I pray when he is driving! It's the only way I arrive alive most times. Not because we didn't have a car wreck....but because I didn't have a heart attack!

Does this have anything to do with diabetes? Only if it's from the control aspect. No control over diabetes.....control behind the wheel of the car. But it seems to me that in the last 10 years, the more complications he has had from diabetes, the more reckless his driving has become.

I worry when he takes the car out without me because I "know" he is going to be in an accident. But I'm starting to think that type of "worry" is better than riding in the car with him!


Jean said...

Interesting theory about the control issues. Personally, I've found myself drifting towards more activities where there is control vs. chance since dealing with my husband's disease. I used to like more games, sports, etc., but now prefer crafts, schoolwork, etc., where the output is pretty much guaranteed if I provide quality input.

In regards to hubby's driving, I don't know how much is recklessness and how much is related to vision or perhaps not processing things fast enough. He has a big problem with signs. He'll go speeding around curves, completely ignoring signs that advise a speed of 35. When I say something, he'll say he didn't see any sign. I used to think he was lying, but we were out for a drive one day, and he blew through two stop signs and I could tell he didn't see them or the "stop ahead" signs. He would have blown through a third one a few minutes later, but by that time I was aware of the problem so could yell, "Stop!!!"

He's also had close calls on the interstate because he'll pull out to pass someone and completely miss the fact that there's a car approaching from behind on his left. I think that is due to a blind spot from his retinopathy surgery, but whatever the reason, it's dangerous behavior!

He is disgusted with me because I won't ride motorcycle with him. Hello???? Thank goodness this past week he sold his big cycle (the one he thought I should ride on with him). When I followed him over to deliver it, he nearly tipped over because with his flexibility problems, he couldn't get his feet off the pegs and down to the pavement in time to steady the bike safely at stop signs. Yet, if I hadn't pushed for him to sell it, he'd still be riding it.

I'm fast approaching a time when I won't ride with him in any vehicle, and of course he will be furious. Unlike him, however, I have a strong survival instinct!

Anonymous said...

I wish I had found you or someone like you years ago. My husband was a diabetic..Type I. When I met him, he had only been a diabetic for four years (he was 22 when he was diagnosed). We were young and in love, so we married. My mother warned me about people with "sugar" and how hard things could be. Even his mother asked if I were certain (his father died of diabetes when he and his brother were 11 and 9, she was a young widow). I went forward with stars in my eyes - after all, he was on insulin, right? Four years later we had a son and four years after that, he had his first foot ulcer -- it was then that we went slowly, painfully, frighteningly downhill.

We were together for 25 years - 9 of which, he was 'healthy'. We were a team for the most part, but the more things went wrong, the more depressed, withdrawn and angry he became. Most of the anger was directed to me - I was both a safe and convenient target.

In the end, he had a laundry list of complications and was in either a nursing home or a hospital the last two years of his life.

I wish I had been able to talk to someone who knew what I was going through. I wish there had been someone for our son - he can't recall a time when daddy wasn't sick. He's 21 now and I'm so scared that he will become diabetic and his father, grandfather and great grandfather did.

My advice to anyone who is married to a diabetic...fight with them, make them listen, show them the worst case scenarios (my husband had multiple foot ulcerations and multiple surgeries, multiple strokes, two heart attacks, retinopathy and eventually became blind, was on dialysis, had bilateral pedal amputations above the knee and contractures of both arms/hands and legs), [he was on over 25 medications in addition to the insulin], threaten to leave, do counseling and, most importantly, take time for yourself. I know sometimes it feels like you can't, but you must. The ill effects over time are dangerous physically, mentally and emotionally.

Also, learn to be a fierce advocate. Don't be afraid of interns and residents - they don't know it all - they are still learning - question them if it doesn't sound right, they'll ask their attending. If you don't like a nurse at the hospital, tell them you don't want them near your spouse. Find the patient services department...they are unbelievable allies for you. Track your medical insurance and do not hesitate to question. If it comes to it, fight for a kidney transplant...diabetics do not do well on dialysis. You have rights, excercise them...remind hospital personnel that healthcare is a huge service industry and YOU are the customer. Be nice until its time not to be nice.

If you find a good doctor (preferably a primary care), hang onto them with both hands and always keep them in the loop - there is not as much conversation between these healers as logic would suggest.

Its been two years since he died and it still hurts -- I miss him and am so angry at him for not caring enough about us to try to behave, do the right things, stop smoking. And then, the guilt of not doing more. Friends dropped away from us - it was hard and unsettling at times for others.

Our son missed out on so much (daddy's sick, we can't right now OR we can't afford it right now). His father didn't see him on senior night at the HS football game and was not permitted a day pass to see him graduate high school - on Father's Day (how's that for a kick in the head?).

Bless you all. Say the serenity prayer. Much luck and may the powers that be look upon you with favor and guide you well.

Diabeteswife said...

So Jean, we know that nerve endings in the fingers and toes die off. We know that they die off in the intestines and bowels. And I have read that they can die off in the heart causing a heart attack.

Why would they not die off in the brain and thoughts and reactions not trigger in a normal way?

Makes perfect sense to me.

Diabeteswife said...

Annonymous, thank you for posting. Your journey is amazing and I would love to sit and chat with you more about it. I feel like you have been down the road where I will be heading.

My problem is that I cannot fight with a man who does not want to fight. He will not let me go to the doctor's office with him. He lies to me about what they tell him. I cannot help someone who does not want to do anything different from what he is doing right now.

All I can do is take care of myself, which I am working on.

Jean said...

anonymous, when I read your comment I felt like I was looking into my future -- a future where I'm a widow way too early.

The other day we were having severe thunderstorm warnings here. Hail, rain, and wind were headed our way. It was time for my husband to head to work and, rather than waiting out the storm or at least taking the car, he hopped on his small cycle and headed directly towards the black, looming storm clouds. To me, this visual image summed up his response to diabetes -- ignore all warnings and head full speed towards disaster.

This is such a difficult path to travel as a spouse, but being able to share the ups and downs with others who understand makes a huge difference. Thank you for sharing your story, information, and encouragement!

Anonymous said...

maybe park that car of his down the block and buy him a bicycle. Or better, sell the car. Then if he wants to go out for chocolate NO PROBLEM! right? :)