Sunday, September 30, 2007

Would someone ask me what "I" need?

Kim posted on my 9/25 blog:

"I am so ready for someone to ask me about my needs.Instead I am making sure he has....." and my heart just skipped a beat. I think this must be the cry of just about every spouse of a non-compliant diabetic that I've met. We just want someone (anyone) to ask us what we need....while we spend our waking moments providing for the needs of our diabetic spouse.

That got me to thinking. The less my personal needs are met because I am spending so much time taking care of him...the more I am going to NEED to have my needs met in order to survive. It truly is a catch 22 situation...a no-win place that I really don't want to be.

Hubby joked this week that someone told him his "lifeline" on the palm of his hand is that he will live to be age 90. I quietly said, "you will be blessed to live to age 60". To which he replied "You can live a long time on machines!"

OK, so I KNOW that he was just joking....but there was an element in what he said that put the fear of I-don't-know what in my deepest soul! I can't fathom being his caregiver for years and years and years on end if he thinks he is going to survive that long on dialysis. I met someone just this week who knows someone else who has been on dialysis for 40 years. I'm telling myself right here and now...I will not live like that.

Imagine...3 hours....every other day....YES!!! I FEEL SORRY FOR THE PERSON HOOKED UP.....but WHO take care of their caregiver? I'm starting to think this has nothing to do with has to do with survival. And IF I determine that I cannot survive as his caregiver...then I will leave.

But what about a spouse who has young kids at home? Do you walk out? Once again, I'm referring only to a diabetic who intentionally and knowingly makes a choice to NOT take care of themselves.

Lets face it. My husband came on a 10 day trip and did NOT bring his testing kit. He doesn't know if he is high or low. He QUIT giving himself his 6 pm shot of insulin because he doesn't like taking 3 shots a day. He has probably had some type of beef at least once a day on this trip....when he knows his uric acid levels are sky high. He has made these decisions.....and then he thinks I'm going to stick around and be here for him when he can't walk? When they amputate his feet? When he has to go on dialysis?

If he did ever ask me "What do you need?" I would simply state, "A husband who loves me enough to take care of himself."

I doubt I have much to worry about...I doubt he will ever ask. But there is great comfort knowing there are other spouses out there who, like me, would just like him to ask, just once.

Thanks Kim! By the way, what do you need?



Christine-Megan said...


I know this is hard for you.

Laura said...

What a poignant message! I'm sure it is easy to get absorbed in the needs of anyone who is sick (either because of lack of effort on their part to stay well OR due to natural circumstances) that we often bypass the person who is caring for that person! I consider your blog such a wake up call to myself - I do take care of myself, but it reminds me that while I may be taking care of myself for my own well being, I'm also doing a big favor for my family too!

Does your husband ever seem concerned with what you need/want? Maybe if you told him (because men are not always as astute as we might hope!) point blank what you need to be happy and to have your needs met, he might come to the realization that he's not being the husband that he could be for you. If you're like me, you would rather that HE thought to ask you what you need rather than you coming out and just telling him, but that is neither here nor there when you're getting to the end of your rope! :) I certainly hope that you have a time for the peace, joy, and relaxation that you much deserve in the near future.

Sending good thoughts your way!
Laura :)

Jonah said...

If he gets on dialysis, maybe he should have to take care of himself while on dialysis. Can you live with him without taking care of him?

Anonymous said...

Hello, DW

Its me -- Anonymous. I haven't read your blog in quite some time. But perusing this one really hit home. My husband, the non-compliant, angry, I'm gonna do whatever I want to do so I have every complication that comes with the disease, diabetic guy, was on dialysis, too. When he first went on, a nurse said to me, "quickly get him on a transplant list. Diabetics don't do well on dialysis." I didn't quite know what she meant at the time. Now, I do. They just don't handle the stress well and the added things you can and can't eat will drive you nuts...even though they'll eat whatever the h3ll they want...and then pay for it by frequent trips to the ER via ambulance because they've drank too much or their chemistry is unbalanced and their lungs are full of fluid.

Not to paint a picture...but a non-compliant diabetic will not 'live a long time on machines.' Quite the opposite.

And, yes, as the long-suffering spouse of a diabetic 'bad boy' I stayed because I had a small child. Ironically, the small child, now 22, says "why in God's name did you stay and take all of that abuse. It was his dumbass that chose to ignore everyone...if he knew so much, he should have taken care of himself." Ah, the wisdom and truthfulness of a child.

and finally, I actually hated being asked, "and who is taking care of you?" probably because I wouldn't let anyone in to see how ridiculous he was.

Face it - being the spouse, while not being sick, is also a physical, emotional and intellectual strain - there's just not a pill or shot for it.

I'm still too young to retire and just now 2.5 years after his death beginning to feel like I know who I am. At 48 I now live my life and watch our son become one fantastic man and hopefully husband and father!

Take care, god bless and remember you are worth everything!

Julie said...

I can understand what your going through although with me it is a little different. It's my father and im his daughter. We just lost my mom in november. He wasnt taking that great of care for himself when my mom was around but now that she is gone it's like he just doesnt care. I got a letter from the doctor today that said he needed to go on insulin because his blood sugar is to high. It's the way he eats and takes his meds. He doesnt do either to the doctors orders. If you find a way to make your husband start caring about his life let me know maybe I can try it on ym dad.