Monday, January 11, 2010


The definition of staying:

You continue to live with your spouse. The one who is not following their medical treatment plan. You continue to support them. You fix their meals. You cook and clean for them. You keep all the sugar, sweets, treats out of your life because they don't need them in their life. When you both go out to eat, you tell them that they can't have dessert because you are on a diet . You are always on a "diet" because you are trying to keep the sweets away from them. You go without cake, pie or cookies for weeks/month/years.....while they continue to eat everything they can get their hands on. When you find candy wrappers in the side pocked of the car door, you know it wasn't yours.

You become a nurse, a parent, a coach, a mind-reader, a researcher. You worry if you are doing too much or not enough. Do you let them go low or do you force feed them? You give up any hope of a sexual relationship because all of the medications they are on have brought that to an end. You don't have too, you can always have an affair....but you won't behaving that kind of a relationship with the person you married.

When neuropathy attacks the intestines and they no longer can control their bowels, you become the cleaning person you never knew existed.

You live through their lows. You make sure they are getting enough fluids. If they happen to pass out, you call 911, you get them the medical care that they need. You worry. You fret. You pray. You go to counseling. You ask them to go, too. And even when they refuse to go, you still go knowing that you can't force them to change. You exercise in the hopes that they will join you. When they get sick, you are there to care for them. As their disease progresses, you give up more and more of what used to be your life in order to attend to their needs on a full time basis. You deliver meals to them in bed. You clean up the bedding after them. You assist them with their shots. You take their blood sugars for them. Your own personal time dwindles down to a bare shred of what it once was because most of your time is consumed taking care of them.

You come to learn that counseling is simply an expenditure you no longer need. Your spouse won't go with you. Your counselor finally advises you to find something else to do with your life, so you get a job, get a goal, have something to work towards which you find exhausting because you were still have to go home and be their primary care giver.

Your friends stop inviting you to join them because they have learned that you are really only free between breakfast and lunch, or lunch and dinner. You don't invite them to your home because you are spending too much time defending the horrible mood, rants and raves the diabetic might burst forth with at any time in the presence of your house guests. And as their ability to move decreases, you become more and more of a recluse as you become just as housebound as they are.

The definition of leaving:

All that ends.

Anyone who is the spouse of a diabetic, the primary caregiver, already understands these definitions. We don't have to itemize the things we know we have to do if we are going to remain in this relationship. Apparently those with diabetes need to be told in a very systematic fashion everything we already know we have to do for you!!! We don't need to be told that counseling is an option. Most of us have already been there, done that. It almost becomes mandatory as part of the process of making the choice to stay or leave. But when you exhaust all the counseling and the diabetic is still determined to stay on their own path of self destruction.....when the new year tolls and you suddenly realize that you have been doing this for 10, 15, 20 years or more, when you look in the mirror and see the person you have become being the primary caregiver for someone who doesn't care for themselves..... there are still only 2 options:

Do you stay?

Do you leave?

1 comment:

Pam said...

I wish I had read your blog BEFORE i got married!! It would have told me what was instore for me and I could have made the "stay or leave" choice when it was easier. Now I've been married for 4 yrs (together 10) and it is certainly a roller coaster. DH is 45 and getting worse every day. I didn't know much about being a diabetic, so when he was at an "angry" low/high i simply thought he was just being an A$$hole!! :) He was just put on insulin, (finally got a Dr that had a clue) and you would have thought the world was going to end the way he moped around for 2 weeks. I try to tell him, if you can't do it for yourself at least do it for your kids. We have 4 kids(2 2.5yr and 2 3 months) that don't understand Daddy really loves you, he just doesn't care to take his medicine, that's why he's mean. He looses his patience too quick with them, and i simply rush in and take them away. Talk about tiring. I've tried to explain that he NEEDS to take care of him self if he wants to see his kids grow up. Yet he still chooses to eat whatever whenever, not take his med and expect ME to do EVERYTHING. I work full time, have 4 kids to tend to, i cook, clean, etc... and he does...yup nothing!! When i found your blog (and Tom's wife) it makes me happy to see i'm not the only one. I am only 32 and still want a full life. I'm not sure how much more of this roller coaster i can take. Thanks for writing!!

Don't you wish our spouses were like a prescription bottle and came with some kind of SIDE EFFECT LABEL... will ruin your life, suck all the happines away, yell at you for no reason, fall asleep at the wheel.... etc? LOL!!