Saturday, April 26, 2008


Ever have one of those "ah......" moments? I'm having one now! Alone in my bedroom at my girlfriend's house. Quiet. Peaceful. No one next to me with restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea. No one snoring. No one wearing depends. It's just plain quiet.

How I have missed this! To the point where I almost forgot what it was. I can think. I can clear my head. I am just wrapping myself up in the peace, the quiet, the tranquility of all of this.

It's truly wonderful. Refreshing. Energizing. I may have to come back every 2-3 months and get my spirit refreshed! I still have 6 more days here and I plan to enjoy every single moment of it!



Thursday, April 24, 2008

The truly scary part of being the spouse of a diabetic

Dear Anonymous. Rather than go back to the other blogs, I'm going to respond to your comments in a new blog. It's the easiest way I know how. he still gone? I was a little confused on that one. Did he move out? If it were me, I would get an attorney. I can't begin to fathom and angry diabetic, moving out in a huff, leaving me with children at home. More on that below.

You wrote:
" I have had some issues in dealing with some of the things my normally loving husband said to me during one of his last outbursts. I've been really down. He attacked me on every level - being a parent, my family, my business, my housekeeping, my friendships, and finally my faith. Then he sleeps it off, doesn't really apologize (because I don't think he remembers anything or he's a expert on everyone else) and expects me to just pick myself up by my boot straps & smile & laugh"

That was me 2 years ago. And yes, the words hurt so much that I would cry for days on end. That old saying "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt" just is not true. Words hurt to the very core of your being as they are nothing less than abuse. And of course he sleeps it off and then expects you to forget just like he has forgotten all about it.

I think it's one of the hardest things a spouse has to endure. The tirades that occur during a low that the diabetic will never remember....but are like a fresh stab to the heart forever to you.

" I have 2 children, so I have to keep a good front for them. He expects the whole world to revolve around him - his day, his recreation, his needs. In my last post I shared I have no one to talk to. Well he stormed out this morning. I was in a wonderful mood - beautiful day. He packed up all of his clothes & he's gone. This was all because when he got up in the middle of the night I asked him if he remembered to take his meds. I ask him this about once a week. He yelled at me, Have you taken yours? I don't take any. Thankfully, our teenage children are oblivious."

You may think your children are oblivious. But they are not. In some fashion, their father's anger is abuse and they are growing up with that. If you read one of my recent posts where I was chatting with the adult child of a diabetic father...she knew she grew up with abuse but had not associated it with her father's sugar lows and was shocked when I explained that he probably had no recollection of it. Yet she remembers it so vividly.

You do have me to talk to now, and a lot of other spouses who are slowly coming forward. I think a natural evolution of abuse is to think it's all our fault, that we are the "imperfect" spouse, that we "deserve" this kind of treatment, or that there is something "wrong" with us. We tend to clam up. To "believe" it is all our fault. Trust me, I was right where you are 2 years ago. I just cried so much my hubby told me I was insane. Of course....he also blamed everything on "my midlife crisis" and to this day...he thinks "I'm better because menopause is over". He is so completely clueless. I am better because I have gotten therapy, I've done the research, I know it is HIM and not me, and I am making choices based on facts, not his emotional outbursts.

It was extremely scary for me to "stand up" to him the first dozen times I tried. But I was (and still am) ready to walk out in a heartbeat. And I think once he realized that, things slowly started to change.

But back to your children. I'm only beginning to realize the full impact of my husband's scenario. His father is a diabetic. So my husband proably grew up in a household with these sugar-low-induced-outbursts. Shall we call them SLIOs? My husband has had diabetes since he was 22 years old. So I am sure he then had the same SLIOs towards his own 2 children. His kids are now in their mid 30s and are both pre-diabetic. His son has 2 daughters. So can you see the pattern that continues throughout the generations?

The difference is that I have identified his SLIOs for the most part and have come to learn that I can either insist we immediately go out to eat (and feign hunger on my part) or I can have my own fight-to-get-your-sugar-high with him. (Laughing here as we need an acronym for that one, too!) But every once in awhile I totally space it out and miss one of his SLIOs.....but eventually I figure out what is going on. And at that point, I realize that it is NOT HIM saying those mean words. It is his body's way of trying to let me know that his sugar is down and I need to help him out.'s my way of staying sane. Because on some level, he must think those awful things about me if he is going to say them in a low. But I swear, he does not remember saying them at all, will deny he ever said anything that horrible to me and thinks I think them up in my head!

Most of my husband's SLIOs come when I'm at my happiest. When I least expect them. Hmmmm.......

"I was so happy last week that he (after me insisting this was his sugar levels AND he wants to prove me wrong) made an appt to go to Mayo. He has been once before without me. (I didn't know he was going.) The doctor (I think) scolded him pretty bad & told him if he didn't drop 20 or more lbs & get in shape he was getting a pump. So he hasn't been back, just continues to eat and eat. Finally I took the initiative 2 weeks ago in desperation to visit my own doctor. I was really scared, and don't laugh, that he was going to check me into a mental health clinic to save face for himself. Now remember I have not shared what I have been going through with anyone for almost 2 years. He told me he called all of these places about me. HE HAS diagnosed me as bipolar because I "cry all the time". He has never taken 1 medical related course in his life! I admit his outburst the week before, the one I wrote about in my first post, that I really fell apart. I have never had anyone talk that way to me. It was all over me interjecting to suggest my daughter wanted a hard shell taco instead of a soft shell taco. He called me down in front of the waitress like a 2 year old. I just got up & went to the car. All the way home he screamed & screamed. I found myself retreating into myself. I was scared & I hated myself for letting someone talk to me that way and I've heard the same things so many times - stupid, crazy, not good enough, not religious enough... I think I was just about there! I stayed up most of the night just praying. Sad to say, I haven't done alot of that lately."

I really want to cry for you and with you. I can't begin to tell you how many, many, many times this happened to me. Like you, I really thought I was the insane one. My husband was forever telling me that I needed mental help. He could make me cry at the drop of a pin. I realize now it's because I was scared, I had no idea what was happening, I felt like our marriage was falling apart, that it was me...that I wasn't a good enough wife....everything you just wrote. Everything he said belittled me. Everything was my fault. Oh goodness....if he couldn't find an ink pen it was because I had taken all of them! And pray? knees had callouses! I was "weepy" for nearly 2 years. I NEVER talked about any of it to anyone....not even my sisters who I am very close to. I totally fell apart....with each outburst....and it even got to the point where I fell apart if he just looked at me with an angry look.

I didn't want to endure another outburst. I couldn't even handle the thought of it. I remember laying awake in the middle of the night thinking that if I get up to go to the bathroom and I wake him up, he will get so mad at me.....and I would just lay there until I was in such physical pain...and then lay there until he was snoring so loud I hoped I could get up without waking him up. You get to where your whole life is just eggshells and you have no idea what it is that is going to cause an outburst.

Someone asked me a couple of years ago why I had such black circles under my eyes. That was a turning point for me. I realized it was impacting my health and if someone else could tell there was something physically wrong with me, I had to get help. Well...the black circles were from stress and lack of sleep...NOT from him hitting me! Guess I should clarify that!

"The next day one of the people who work under him at his job approached ME & she said things had been terrible for her. I was put in a very awkward position. I told her to do her job and not argue with him. He guessed by something she said that she and I had talked. I have never lied to my husband. I explained to him how it came down and he said I was not to discuss anything else with her. The next day he made me an appt. to go to Mayo, too. After this morning's incident, I've thought about it, and I canceled my appt. and I'm going back to my own doctor here. I feel like the whole reason for me wanting to go with him in the first place was to be there for him & possibly get some information on helping him. I would never go behind his back, but I feel like he wants the docs there to find something on me to take the pressure off of himself."

Your advice to his employee was very good. Do your job. Don't argue. I have started telling my husband that he needs to call so and so back and apologize to them. Or I will ask, "do you realize you were just yelling at that person?" I think we are past the stage where you husband has started to realize that he does not remember some of these things. But I also have learned to tune in and listen to his work conversations (he works from home most of the time) around 10 am....when he seems to take a dive in his sugar levels.

And good for you for cancelling your appointment! Trust me, as women, we know our own bodies so much better than anyone else, so go with your gut feeling on that one.

My husband still will not allow me to go to the doc with him. He will even lie to me point blank about which appointment he is going to in order to keep me away. "It's just the eye doctor today." and then 3 hours later, "well, I messed up, it was the neuropathy guy"! Can you believe he LIES to me? Just proof that he does not want me to know what they are telling him., I won't let him lie to the doc and 2, I would then know what he's NOT doing! Such a child!

"I know I'm rambling, but this is the only outlet I have. I can't sleep. I am worried about him. I don't know anyone I can confide in that could talk to him. He is known for being a expert negotiator and a problem solver in our community. What kind of credibility would I have? I'm getting worried how this is affecting his memory, judgement, & decisions as it pertains to our business, too. When he left this morning, he yelled he had had enough & was calling a lawyer. I am heartbroken or am I just in a bad, bad dream."

Sad to say, this is not a bad dream. This is very real. The good will survive. IF IF IF YOU take steps to protect yourself! Get a lawyer. Go see a psychiatrist. Go through the entire battery of exams to PROVE YOU ARE SANE as he is most likely going to accuse you of being insane. Find a diabetic nurse who will provide you with some counseling. Join a diabetic support group. Even though he may leave you.....he is still the father of your children and a support group can help all of you deal with him and his outbursts even when he is not living with you.

Uncontrolled sugar levels WILL destroy ALL of the nerve endings in his body. So, that is not just the nerve endings that go to his fingers and will attack the nerve endings in his intestines, his heart, his brain. He will forget things, make bad decisions. It will eventually (if it remains out of control) impact decisions, judgement, driving...everything. He may slip into a coma and not even know it if he is lucky enough to just "wake up". The first time, if like my hubby, he will just deny it happened...even when it happens with a house full of people. And when I called 911 to a neighbor's house when non of us could revive him..he still got pissed at me for doing that! But at least he couldn't deny it happened because the EMTs made him go to the hospital, his levels were so low.

You know, it doesn't matter how good of a negotiator he is, or how important he is. Uncontrolled diabetes will take him down. He needs to do what the doctors tell him to do and he might be able to correct or stall the progression of this disease. But if he refuses to do that....just like my husband is refusing to make any changes at all....then you have 2 choices. You can stay with him or you can leave him. If you stay with him, you have to step up to the plate. I have told my husband in no uncertain terms that he no longer has permission to talk to me in a negative way. And when he starts in, I just say to him in a very loud, stern voice (like I were yelling at a 10 year old) "YOU STILL do not have my permission to talk to me like that". And if he keeps it up, I will get my jacket and keys and walk out. I got that from a therapist and it has worked. Yet I know that any day I may have to leave him permanently. So far, it seems to be working. I just no longer allow him to talk to me in that manner. But I am the one who had to tell him that he could not do that.

What do I have to lose? Anything I say to him in a true sugar low...he is not going to remember.

Think about the example you are setting for your daughter. If you allow your spouse to talk to you in a demeaning manner in front of her, if you clam up and "take it" are teaching her that is what she must do if it happens to her. And/or you are teaching both your son and daughter that it is proper behavior to talk to other human beings in that manner. I have learned that it is up to each of us to stop the cycle of abuse....even when it is SLIO related.

Shall I end by repeating, I am not a counselor, therapist, doctor. I only tell you what has worked for me and each situation is different and it could be disastrous for you. I cannot give you advice. Only tell you about my life. Just know you are not alone. There are hundreds of us, probably thousands of us....but I think very few who stay with a non-compliant diabetic until the very end. A choice that I will continue to negotiate every single day.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


He seems to be doing much better tonight and on the mend. He even went out if he can drive he is OK. I wish he would not drive when he is taking such potent drugs, but he said he only took them before he went to sleep last night and he did not sound nearly as groggy this morning.

So I give him til Saturday before the next crisis hits! Have to wonder what it will be. LOL!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Almost funny

He is on such potent drugs than he just sounds high when I call him. I was a little worried that he's not eating, so I called my neighbor and she took him some chicken soup and checked in on him. She said he was pretty loopy when she got there this afternoon after work, but that after eating, he seemed to improve a little. I'm sure she will continue to check in on him now that she knows I'm gone and he's got 3 cracked ribs.

He called just a little bit ago and said he had a bout of hiccups and it nearly killed him. So I suggested that he take his last dose of the pain meds today and just go to bed.

I've never heard him sound quite like he does with these meds. They must be knocking him for a loop. His voice is all slurred....wish I had a tape recorder. I doubt he will remember much of this at all. Heck, he may not even remember that I'm not at home! LOLOL!

3 cracked ribs

from coughing. Well, at least it wasn't a heart attack! The doc gave him some pain meds and a cough suppressant and sent him home. He is supposed to stay in bed. Well...I'm sure that since the cat (me) is gone, that mice (him) will play! Hopefully he got some sleep last night. Our last call was around 2 am and I told him I'd wait til he called me today so he can sleep in.

Maybe next time his mom calls him crying, he will think twice about jumping on a plane to go rush to see her. Maybe he will remember how sick he got on this last trip and now this. But most likely as soon as he's well, he won't even remember this!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

He's at the hospital

and I'm sitting here waiting for him to call. He said he had some kind of coughing attack about 2 pm today. He called me then and he said the pain was so severe, he felt like something "popped" and he could hardly breathe. I told him to call his doctor. He called back and they told him to go to ER. But he said he wasn't going.

So I checked in with him about every hour this afternoon and about 9 pm....he couldn't even breathe, so I insisted that he take himself over to ER. He can be such a pain sometimes. He called and he is there and he's just having his little hissy fit about being there. But at least he got himself there. I imagine he cracked a rib coughing....but he does need to be checked out. I checked and I can get a flight out in the morning and be there by 10:30 am. So I'll jsut sit tight and wait til I hear back from him.

In the meantime, I had a totally fun day today, teaching art. Great stress relief!


Dear Anonymous,

You wrote this:

Thank you for taking the time to blog. I am really struggling. My husband is a diabetic. For some time now he has had me convinced I must be going crazy because I would cry, and still do, when he has his angry outburst. I have no one to talk to. He is a very public figure, who has been convinced by his peers that he is on top of his game - perfect life. He receives numberous community and church awards and honors. He's a good man and I dearly love him, but when he's angry he can be so cruel. I have never seen him check his sugar. I have bought him several testers. He has an answer for everything. I even went to my own doctor the other day and asked her if the things he says to me could me true. I am in menopause, which makes me even more sensitive. Can you suggest any good literature to help me out? I have thought about counseling, but he told me not to go without him. I said okay, let's go, but then he changes the subject. If I bring it back up... then here we go again. I am so tired of feeling bad about myself and walking on eggshells.

And nearly brought me to tears as this is just so much of me and I just want to wrap my arms around you and hug you. I completely and totally understand every single moment of your life. I hear my crys coming out of you in so many ways.

And I'm sad to say that there is not good literature out there. The best I have found is what each of us write in our blogs online. Just knowing there is another woman going through what I am going through makes that loneliness a little less alone. Reading that someone else is walking on eggshells, makes them a little less tender.

YOU ARE OK! IT IS NOT YOU! That is in caps for emphasis. This is one horrible, awful, terrible disease and those who have it have absolutly no idea the pain they inflict on their spouses. How can they? They don't remember what they say or do when they are in a true low or high. So if they don't remember....they also can't know. And yes, when he is angry, his cruel treatment of you can actually be totally intolerable. It is a form of abuse. Yet the abuser has no idea they are doing it and will have no remembrance of doing it either.

The thing that really scares me is that I have read of diabetics in lows who will actually strangle or physically harm their mates. So I say, first and foremost, that you have to protect you. If he becomes physical or violent....walk away. Keep a cell phone on you at all time and have it programmed so that one button gets it to 911.

Next, when he starts with the verbal barage or garbage....there are 2 things that I will do. First....get him food. Anything. Fake that you are starving and insist there is nothing in the house and get him to a restaurant. It's a public place. If he gets verbal, you have witnesses. But also, getting food in him does help. It's amazing.

Second, I will literally yell at him that he has to stop talking to me like that. I threaten to leave. I will go to great lengths to get his fight mechnism roaring....because then his blood sugars will increase and his anger will dwindle. Besides....99% chance he is not going to remember a single thing I say! But fighting with a sugar low is a very risky thing if he turns violent towards me.

I believe that most of us spouses just clam up and eventually leave. There is nothing written about this, nothing to support us, and a world of angry diabetics out there who are more than willing to jump on a blog just like this and tell us that we are the nuts, that we are the angry ones, that it is all our fault because we don't love our spouses enough, we don't care enough, we are not sufficient caregivers....oh, that list goes on and on and I'm sure I'll get plenty of anonymous comments for writing this.

But you know what? I have a growing body of evidence that I am right! I have been talking to not just spouses....but children of diabetic children of diabetic parents....who are telling me the horrors that they endured as kids growing up in a household with this disease. And how it has impacted them as adults and that they still live with the constant nightmare of what an angry parent might say or do to them. And I very quietly sit and tell them, "it's not you. It has nothing to do with you. And your father/mother/aunt/uncle will most like have no recollection of what they said or did to you."

I blame the professionals and the medical field for not doing more research. But it's the same thing as the heart attack problem. Nerve endings die off. Connections are not made. Diabetics often die from heart attacks. The death certificate will list heart attack as the reason for death. Doctors do surgeries to try and "fix" the problem. NO ONE out there is doing the research to get the word out that it's the nerve endings dieing off from diabetes that causes these heart attacks. No one makes that stupid are our physicians?

And then you have diabetics like my hubby who will sit in front of a doctor AND me and lie point blank to them about his diet, what he is doing, his physical activity. So you can't really blame the doctors because the patients are in such denial that they can't fess up what they are really doing to themselves.

Find a diabetic nurse that you can go to and simply tell your spouse you are going to a nurse because you need help through your own menopause and they are making suggestions to you for diet and exercise. My own diabetic nurse has been a godsend to me through all of this. She has no problem telling me that I am normal and he is a diabetic. I know that. I really know that. But it is nice to hear it from someone else every now and then!