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!

Feel free to vent here!

Yes, Jean, and anyone else who is the spouse of a diabetic, feel free to vent here. I blog to vent my own frustrations with this disease and it certainly helps to know I am not alone in all of this.

I was reading about caregivers the other day and one of the websites said that a caregiver should do just, vent, journal. So somehow, I figured this out way before I read it's a good thing to do.

It's sort of like....if I write it down, then I can quit worrying about forgetting it, and I know I need to keep a record of this journey. I need to be able to go back and look at the progression of this disease. I need a place to vent my frustrations and my fears so that I do not vent to him.

I need a way to get through the stress of the day.

So whether your spouse has had this diabetes for a day or 30 years or more, join me in my journey with a man who is refusing to take care of himself, who is near end stage renal failure, who is in denial that there is anything wrong with his body.

Or start your own blog and send me a link....I will add a links section to the side of this. As spouses, we are all in this together and need the support of one another, maybe more than I realize at the moment.

Thanks Jean, for telling your side of the story. I do not feel near as alone as I did a year ago.

Friday, July 06, 2007

It's a bit like cancer

OK, I "know" diabetes is not cancer. But it is a bit like it in that it creeps up on you and consumes the body. The sore that is on the side of hubby's right foot is starting to heal. But when I looked at the big toe on that same foot tonight, I just gasped! It is all engorged and purple. Completely deformed and misshapen. And when I looked at his other foot the whole thing is swollen.

He said it's because he went into the office today and wore shoes all day long. I think it's because he's just getting worse.

So we sat down to watch a movie and I went to hold his hand and on the sides of his index finger, there are now lumps like on his feet. They've never been there before. I'm sure it's tophi gout. I'm sure it's because he's back to eating meat and such.

When cancer mestatises, it spreads everywhere. Just like his gout it. And I know the gout is from uric acid which his kidney's can't process anymore due to his diabetes.

I just wonder where it's going to spread next. So sad.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Diabetes Denial

Thinking outloud again, but feel free to chime in if you have thoughts on this one. Just for fun, I looked up the word "denial" in wikipedia. Here's what it says:

Denial is a defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that is too painful to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence. The subject may deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether (simple denial), admit the fact but deny its seriousness (minimisation) or admit both the fact and seriousness but deny responsibility (transference).

Types of Denial include denial of fact: of responsibility: of impact: of awareness: of cycle: and denial of denial.

It also classified denial as a mechanism of the immature mind, because it conflicts with the ability to learn from and cope with reality.


My husband was in his early 20s when he was first diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I think he denied it then and got stuck in denial.

Today, I don't think he denies the "fact" that he has diabetes. That would be rather difficult with all the ongoing problems that he has. Yet he freely lies to me about what the doctors tell him. Hmmmm...interesting.

He definitely has "denial of responsiblity". But I do believe this is brought on by his doctors. He is with an HMO and I know that they are instructed to keep their patients as positive as possible. The doctors in this HMO are not allowed to give a negative forecast as the "current thought" is that it will bring on a depression and make the patient worse. Thus they keep telling him that he is doing just fine....while prescribing more and more drugs to relive his current symptom/problem.

He has "denial of impact"....but then I'm not sure he can even remember some of his behavior when it occurred during a low.

I believe he has had denial of cycle for 30 years now.

And obviously, denial of denial is definitely an issure here.

Reasons why I think he's stuck in denial:

He won't test his blood sugars. He says he knows what they are based on how he feels.
He won't stick to any kind of a meal plan. He did quite well with a low purine diet until his levels started to go he's back to eating anything he wants.
He doesn't take care of his feet, doesn't wear socks, ignores them until he gets an open wound.

I think I have learned that I cannot help him get past this stage of his mental issue with diabetes. But it is certainly sad to see it. I often wonder how different he might be had he accepted this disease in his early 20s and made life changes back then. I often wonder if he is too old now to make the changes. And if being in denial so many years has increased his propensity for depression. It's sort of like, what came first, the chicken or the egg? I will never know!

I found a website I like for caregivers:

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Diabetes, Depression, & Sleep Apnea

My current research shows all 3 are inter-related. Hubby went to the sleep center a few weeks back and got his results yesterday. Now, I knew he quit breathing at night. I thought maybe 2 or 3 times throughout the night. My problem was that when he started breathing again, he would flop so hard on the bed it would wake me up.

The results of his sleep study show that he quits breathing 60 TIMES AN HOUR! And that was an average! OK....I was completely shocked over that one!!! Thats once per minute! I am amazed the guy is still alive!

He got the machine and put it on last night, but had taken it off sometime before 1:00 am when I woke up to his flopping once again. He said this morning that the machine shut off and he will try it again. I didn't bother to ask why he didn't try it again last night!

The research I've read shows that Sleep Apnea can cause weight gain which can cause diabetes and depression. Diabetes can cause depression. Depression can cause weight gain. Seems like a vicious cycle.

But here's my question (and I can't find anything on this, maybe I'm not searching right). Hubby has been a diabetic for years and has nerve damage. Could it be this damage that causes him to stop breathing? Something doesn't "fire" correctly within his central nervous system. Could it be possible that the CPAP machine will not work for him?

And what about all the long naps that he takes during the day....he still quits breathing during them.

Once again, observing the progression of this disease, combined with the aging process and the loss of kidney function is an interesting journey.