Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's in his ballpark

I know that many people do not go back and read prior post's comments and that's why I like to bring them forward - to make sure the world understands that this is a very common thing for spouses of non-compliant diabetics. Here's a post from yesterday:

I too, have a diabetic husband (type 1). He's been diagnosed since he was 19, and is now 62. His overall health is good..no neuropathy, eye, or kidney problems. He watches closely what he eats, and tests several times a day. I am thankful for this, however despite all he does, he still has insulin reactions several times a week that leave me drained and anxious. He hates my suggestions, and interventions. Like many of you say, he doesn't remember how he behaves during a reaction. When I suggest looking into an insulin pump or going to a "real" diabetes Dr., he gets angry, and this usually ends up as an argument, where I am the bad wife, and all is on my shoulders. I had no idea I was not alone in this battle! Whining doesn't help, but knowing that there are other spouses out there that might be able to help each other with solutions, moral support, and just an "I know what you're going through" is wonderful! It is very hard to feel as though you sometimes hold your mates life in your hands. I have decided dto explore every avenue I can to help him, then, when I've done that...I'll try my best to let go, and it's in his ball park.


Trust me, you are NOT alone!!! I should have kept a log of all the comments over the years just to this blog alone! We are "alone" only in the fact that the medical world does not acknowledge that this disease has a HUGE impact on the entire family. It affects how children are raised. It affects divorce rates. (I have to wonder how many spouses simply walk away quietly - my husband's ex did).

And I honestly, really do know what you are going through. No, whining won't help. Being argumentative doesn't help. OK, not really much of anything "helps". LOL! But it is sure nice to know we are not alone. It's nice to hear how other's cope and survive. It's heart breaking to hear when the spouse dies. Or becomes abusive.

My wish in all this is that the medical world would wake up, start to listen, and somehow offer help. I think I had my best period when the doctor/nurse asked my husband to track and write down his blood levels 8 times a day and then she actually took the time to chart out his highs and lows. He was conscious of the impact on his mood as I was tracking them at the same time.

And I wish someone in the medical arena would actually start to acknowledge the memory loss that occurs as blood sugar levels drop or go sky high.

All that being said, If my husband was not going to a "real" diabetes doctor, I would be beyond livid. There is simply no excuse for that. So are we back to the question here.....is he in denial? Because if he is not seeking proper medical attention, then he must be in denial on some level. And if he is, then all we can do is acknowledge that is where he is and understand that yes, it really is in his ballpark.

Letting go is impossible to do because as women, we want to nurture and heal. As men, I think the general concensus is that we want to fix and make it all well. Same thing. We all love our spouses and want them to be well, or at least be on a smooth level of care with no highs and lows. Research and information do help. But bottom line, it's their disease.....not ours....it's their ballpark, their ballgame. We can pitch the ball.....but they have to decide whether to hit a home run, bat out, bat it foul....or just drop the ball altoghere. Not much any of us can do about that!

1 comment:

VPJanetL said...

So, we women, it is so hard for us to love people when the setting is not the way we learned it to be. I'm having trouble putting this into words, but I'll try. Most of us learned that its hard to tell your children no sometimes when they look at you with tear-stained eyes, but we do it anyway - because it is the right thing to do.

But, we never, in our wildest dreams, expected that we would be put in a position of having to show the same type of "tough love" to an adult man, whom we married, expecting it to be a sort of an "equal" relationship. And not just tough love about taking out the garbage or changing diapers. But about his life or his health.

Here is my life-changing story. A number of years back, I was getting ready for work one morning, and I received a phone call from the state police asking if I knew where my car was (not my husband - my car). It had been involved in a hit and run accident, going the wrong way on an interstate highway entrance ramp, hit a few cars, and then was driven away. Everyone assumed the driver was drunk. And they were angry! There was a pregnant woman in one of the cars. No one was hurt, but they were looking for the car and the driver -which had to be my husband at 6:30 in the morning!

You can imagine my horror! I explained that Tom is diabetic, was probably low, not drunk, and hopefully he would stop and call me. (this was in the days before cell phones!)

I'll cut to the end -- He did not lose his license nor did he go to jail, but he did lose his insurance and the accident in total cost us about $5,000 plus having to buy a new car. Together we lost about two weeks of work between court dates and doctors appointments.

To top it all off, his mother blamed me for the accident, because I didn't make sure that he tested himself before leaving the house and I didn't force him to go to counseling.

I tell you this long story, because it was then that I finally learned that I am not his mother, and I truly have no control over his disease or his actions. No matter what he does or does not discuss with the doctor (or his mother) is completely out of my control.

If his sugar dips dangerously low and we are awake, I will suggest he take some juice, or a beer, or that he test himself (because he never believes me). and then I leave him alone. If it happens in the middle of the night (as it often is), I'll try to give him some of those glucose gel things. I never give him a shot. the one time I tried, he hit me so hard I had a black and blue mark on my arm for weeks.!

As you all know, nagging and whining don't work. If he gets worse, I'll offer again. But if I can't tolerate watching him decline, I'll leave the room or leave the house. He either takes care of himself, or gets so bad, he eventually will take some juice from me, or I call 911. The emergency people know me now. Its not that I call often, but I do what I have to do. Tom absolutely hates it when I call them, so I only do it as a last resort. But you know what? He is stronger than me, and I can't force him to do anything he doesn't want to do. Even save his life.

when these events happen, I do feel like I have to be tough. but I don't think its "not caring". He put me in this situation. I often cry. Those 5 or 6 minutes waiting for the ambulance to arrive at 2 am is horrible - I can't tell you how many times I pace like a crazy person. they show up and test his sugar and its down to 30! How can he do this to his own body? much less to me?

but of course, just ask him, its never his fault.

maybe you think I'm hard-hearted, and maybe I am. I don't think so, its just that after 25 years of living with this, I'm coping the best way I can. I have my own issue and try to deal with them with as little impact on others as possible. why can't he do that also?

Tom's wife
(sorry this got so long)