Sunday, March 06, 2011

Maybe it's for us.....not them

I really started writing this blog because I thought it might help diabetics realize how their disease impacts their spouses and families.  And as a place to vent my own frustrations.  But after all this time, I'm thinking this is more about simply helping spouses survive.

I read somewhere that over 80% of the spouses of diabetics leave them over time.  I wonder if that's a valid statistic.  It seems high to me at times.  But there are days when it wouldn't surprise me if it were 100%!

And maybe that's why not many people are writing about it.  They leave.  They don't have to deal with it.  So they don't write about it.

Seems to me the 20% who stay need some kind of support.  And maybe this is it.

Over the years, I've been to 4 different therapists.  Not because I wanted to change.....but because they left the HMO I belong to and I got "assigned" to a new therapist.  There's an ongoing theme to each one of them.  Well, ok, several themes.  None of them have had any personal experience with diabetes. All of them said that you simply have to grieve the loss of a healthy life, healthy thus, this is just like any other loss, so they are perfectly capable of helping me through the process.  And all of them said that it IS my disease.

LOLOL!  Just take a moment and imagine where those conversations went from that point in the discussion!

I will go to my grave contending that this is NOT my disease.  And for any therapist to be so narrow minded as to think it is.....let alone 4 of them agree that it is....tells me there is something horribly wrong with the educational system today!

Oh....the other common factor....all 4 of them were under 30years old. Which made me realize that HMOs hire the young and the cheap.  Anyone with a lick of experience has probably left and set up their own practice.

A couple of years ago, I gave up on therapy.  Completely.  I know the process of grief.  I understand what each of the steps are and how to go through them.  I also know that with age comes experience and wisdom and I can do better on my own than anyone who is under 30 with no experience trying to help me through a moment.

But how pathetic for spouses who really need help.  Who haven't learned how to live with the day-to-day rollercoaster ride of diabetes.  Who still think that when he yells obscenities at you...he really means them.  How sad that women can't get support and leave a realationship.  How brave of those who do.  Yep, I know....I just argued it both ways, huh?

I think that each one of us has to decide what to do. When to stay. When to go.  How long to stay.  Do we stick it out to the very end?  Obviously, after what I've just been through, I'm asking myself that very question all over again.  How many times do we ask it before we go?  Do I want to be here for the next round?  I did not marry into this.  It happened after we were married.  I had no clue. I would not have married him.  But then, he had no clue either.  Do I love him enough to do a single one more dialysis?  At the moment, with the recurring, continuing nightmares....I'm not so sure.

Do I simply allow myself to ask these questions over and over and over.....and that allows me to stay?

I know many diabetics who read my blog think I am absolutely horrible.  But I think they don't understand the sheer, utter needle/blood phobia that I have. If you have that phobia....and you go through what I just went through, it simply leads to all night long nightmares.  You would think therapy would cure that.  But hardly!  It comes from being raised by a nurse practitioner who did not want any of her kids to go into the medical professions.  She truly did a number on all of us.  I think perhaps my brother is the worst.  So it's not something that I think I will ever be able to overcome. I just have learned to live with it. And I did have to leave his room for many of his procedures.  Hubby completely understands.  And I think he truly understands when I say to him that I cannot go through this again.  He is quite sympathetic to the ongoing nightmares I'm having right now.  I'm hoping that the more I write the experiences, the less they will happen.

Had you told me 10 years ago that last night, I would have woke up at 2 am with the image of a dialysis machine tube breaking and blood from my husband spewing across the room.....I would have told you you were beyond insane!  LOL!!!  But that was my nightmare last night.  Which I think is quite justified considering that TWO of the dialysis machines they brought into ICU BROKE in the middle of the treatments!!!

The amazing thing is that I was able to find the strength to be by his side when I needed to be there.  Yes, I was right there each time the machine broke.  I held his hand.  I said soothing things to him.  I told him everything was going to be ok.  I came home at night and cried my heart out.  But God got me through those moments.  And now, while I know that God will get me through my own recovery.....I wonder if any therapist could begin to relate, could offer counseling, could give me any advise.

My thoughts are that you take it slow. Allow yourself to feel everything.  The pain, the fear, the grief, the loneliness....suffer as long as it takes.  But at the same time, set a deadline.  I'm giving myself 4 weeks.  I figure that he was out for 4 weeks, I can take equal time to process what I went through.  But then I'm reminded that for every 4 hour outburst, it takes us 4 days to maybe I should extend that deadline to 4 months!  :o)

I'm writing today because I think it's important to point out that if you are seeking counseling, you probably aren't going to find a therapist who has been through this.  And yes, they can help you with the grieving process.  But somehow, I think what I just went through is a bit beyond grief.

So to each of you, may you have a blessed day.  May you find an ounce of sunshine in just one thing this day.  May you have joy for just 1 moment.  Sometimes, that's all we need to get us through to tomorrow.



Lynn Barry said...

I had a similar experience on the message board when trying to find support as an adoption mom (adopted one, gave birth to three)who was struggling with her adopted one reuniting with birth relatives and abandoning us for them. The pain of coping was unbearable and I sought out others...well, I found some but the birth moms and adopted people who wrote on the thread were so nasty at times i stopped going we just email each i get it...and yes, I think this blogging is for US...because we get it...we get each other...we have similar experiences in that we can't always have on the smilie face...sometimes we have to vent and rant and commiserate because we don't have it is challenging to live with someone who has diabetes.

Lilly said...

Here's hoping and praying that your nightmares will eventually stop! This can't make for very good nights for you. I went through many emergency room visits with my hubby, almost a year of dialysis and all the side effects, and then the kidney transplant/donor surgeries. I feel very fortunate that I did not dream about these things when I went to bed . . . don't know what I would have done! Really hope it gets better for you.

As for yours and everyone else's blogs: I think it is more for us, as we "get it" in a way most diabetics are incapable of. As you said, at first you got nasty messages from pissed off diabetics! The medical profession is focused on the diabetic patient (although they don't know how to treat them half the time), but how often do they ask us how WE are doing? And how can we possibly find a therapist who can actually understand and really help? I can't believe that everyone told you it was your disease. WOW. YES, we really do need to support each other, in every way possible . . .