Friday, April 15, 2011

Comments on comments....and then comments on health insurance and reform

Lilly - yes, I did enjoy my spa day.  Very much.  And my nail polish (which I never put on) hasn't chipped yet!  They did an excellent job on my hair as well.  It was a most relaxing day!

7 key components to relationships:

Sandy - I have the "voice", but not the energy!  LOL!  Especially right this moment.  I keep thinking, "maybe....when he is well."  and then I have to remember - he is not going to get well.  This is probably as good as it will ever get.

Lilly, yes, I agree.  It is better to remain together instead of being totally alone.  But at the very same time, I can be so alone even when he is in the house.  So I totally understand what you are saying.

tunnel vision:

Crazy wife.  Nope, we haven't found out anything.  The common agreement seems to be that it could be related to his ongoing anemia.  Everyone so far has said to discuss it with the cardiologist.  We see her next Wednesday. And boy! Is my list of questions for her endless!  I hope she has an hour set aside (yeah, right!)  LOL!

I'm starting to think there are no answers.

So, he got into the truck and drove today. And he made it home.  Tomorrow he is going to drive an hour to visit his grandkids.  I'm not going. I have classes to teach.  Am I worried about him getting too tired?  Of course I am.  And I asked him to call and make sure the kids are not sick....did he do that?  Of course he didn't!

Tom's wife - your comment is spot on - men are just stupid!  And was it you that received a not-so-nice comment from a diabetic? Oh....join my club!  I've been getting them for years!  I just hit the delete button.  Which pisses them off even more!  I had one reader who would start their comment with "I know you will delete this...." so I would literally delete it before I even read it!  LOL!!!  No idea to this day what they wanted to say and I finally started banning them from making comments.

There are idiots out there.  That's for sure!

Which leads me right into my next line of thought.  If/when hubby retires, his health insurance premiums will go from $200 per month to $900 per month.  Yikes!!!  He can be added to my policy for $200 per month - which is what we will do.  But it got me to thinking about something.  How many diabetics out there marry their spouse in order to be added to his/her health insurance policy?  It has to be a very scary thing to have a disease and not have insurance.  My hubby has mentioned it several times.  I know it bothers him.  It's enough of a reason that the thought I might ever leave him scares him to death.

And that got me to thinking....just how honest would a diabetic be?  Or how dishonest?  Single.  Needs health insurance.  Meets someone who has really good health insurance.  Might fall in "love" just to get the benefits?  Interesting concept, huh?  Desperate people do desperate things.  That is a fact. Is health care reform going to help this?  So far.....all it's done for us in cause and increase in premiums and a decrease in care/coverage. Our pharmacy formulary has shrunk.  We now pay increased fees for meds we used to get for $20 per rx and these very same meds are no longer on the formulary.

A good example.  His back brace was $1200.  Insurance paid $1000.  He had to pay $200.  I did not know this at the time, but I went on ebay and the exact same identical back brace was going for $35 and according to past closed auctions, that was about the average price people were getting for it.  Why on earth was it $1200 to start out with???  I really don't think it was lined with gold! LOL!!!

A rotater type walker is $100 and up most places.  But I found one for my mom at a garage sale for $30.  I told hubby I'm going to start looking for wheelchairs now. I found our adjustable beds - made by Posture Pedic - on craigslist.  One was $200, the other was just $75.  And these beds retail for more than $1000.  My youngest sister orders all of her Rx online through a Canadian pharmacy.  She rarely visits a doctor.  I'm getting ready to order amoxicillin the same way.  I always stock up whenever we go on a cruise and stop at a Mexican port.  First thing I look for is a pharmacy!  Quadraderm is a great product they sell that you can't get in the US. Use it for rashes and itches. It's amazing.  I still have a whole tube, but will order online next time.  (I don't think hubby is going to be up for a cruise in quite some time to come!)

I've had a discussion with hubby that if he plans to retire, he is going to have to cut his medical expenses in half!  Well, we just accomplished that by converting to mail order RX through our HMO.  He gets 2 months filled for the price of one by doing it online and via mail.  How about that!  So I am learning there are little things we can do to save money.

Enough of my comments tonight!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Doctor's update

We went to see his surgeon today.

Brought up the fact that he is still anemic.  That he will get up at 7 am and be asleep at 9 am.  That he is having tunnel vision with a feeling of passing out.

All the surgeon did was look at his back xrays, discuss the continuing numbness in his thighs, blame that on diabetic neuropathy and release him. We don't return til 1/12.  He can drive. He can start lifting things - as much as he wants.

Xrays show that his back above the fusion is starting to curve.  No, he will never get it fixed. No matter how bad it gets.

Numbness in his thighs.
How does the surgeon think he's going to sense that he's pushing the brakes in far enough?

I swear!  Doctors are all idiots!  And I actually really like this guy.  He is a great surgeon.  But he has tunnel vision himself - he only wants to talk about the back...not the whole being.

We go see the cardiologist next Wednesday.  She is my only hope.

I'm sure he will drive somewhere tomorrow.  Just because he can!

Thanks to everyone for all of your kind comments.  I will get to them in a few days....when there is a lull in everything that's going on.

On the job front - his boss had a staff meeting today and said it was just a "fire drill" - to see how they would react. This is beyond stupid because the next time they ask hubby to give up an employee, he's going to think it's just a fire drill again.  Remember it brought him to tears?  Just so totally stupid.

Emotional day to say the least!  Time for bed!


the diabetic generational delima

hubby is diabetic and non-compliant
hubby's father is diabetic and non-compliant
hubby's grandfather died from diabetes, probably non-compliant
hubby's great grandfather died from diabetes, probably no drugs at that time

I have witnessed hubby's father yelling and screaming, angry as a bear, in a diabetic low. He used to get so mad at me and just scream his head off at me as I sat there in a stupor trying to figure out what it was I had done to tick the guy off.

I finally realized what was going on and now I simply inform him that he does not have the "right" to talk to me that way. Most often he backs off and goes into the other room. I also do not go visit my in-laws one second more than I absolutely have to. I do not encourage my husband to go visit them either.

Additionally, my father-in-law has no recollection of any of these outbursts of his. He will deny that they ever happen.

So here's the delima.

My husband grew up in a house with this going on all the time. Dad screaming his head off at him. Mom screaming at dad trying to get dad's sugar levels to "fight" back up. Dad not remembering it happened at all and denying everything.

Hubby acquired diabetes at the age of 22. He most likely was the same way around his kids.

But what I have witnessed in the past few years:

Father-in-law gets into a low, gets angry, screams at the family. Hubby is in a low at the same time....doesn't remember his dad screaming at anyone.

What an absolute merry-go-round! Father and son, both non-compliant diabetics....trying to make the rest of us slowly go nuts! LOLOL!

My mother-in-law has a very unique way of dealing with my father-in-law's lows.  She has shingles in her left face/eye area.  The moment that he starts to go low, she has an "attack". She will "take to her bed" letting our schrill screams of pain. I believe that this works to raise his glucose levels as his adrenaline kicks in because he has to "rescue" her from her pain. He immediately rushes to her side and starts to be her "nurse" trying to comfort her and get the screams of pain to stop.  It's an amazing scenario to watch...but it not only works on her husband, it works on her son (my hubby) to get him out of a low.

How do I know her "attacks" are fake? She has never ever had one when the guys are out of the house. But the minute they return.....her shingles flare up.  Maybe she's more brilliant than I give her credit for being!

All that screaming and yelling and no one remembers a thing....except the non-diabetic family members who were the victims of the diabetic lows of their spouses.

But in some sick, sad, twisted helps me. I can now talk back to hubby and father-in-law, stand up to both of them, inform them they do not have my permission to act like aggressive and demand they shut up because a) they will not remember what I said, and b) sometimes a shocking statement like that will truly make them shut up!

How on earth did I get so blessed to have TWO non-compliant diabetics in my life???

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

7 key components to relationships

I thought I would take a look at these from the view of a wife of a diabetic:
Seven Key Components

1.  Emotional.
One way to begin evaluating your relationship is to ask yourself whether or not you basically “like” the person.
Is he or she really your close friend? Do you share interests? Is the person a good companion? Is your partner romantic, and do you feel romantically toward your partner?

Before diabetes...we were active ATVers. This has ended. He built N-scale model trains. Due to neuropathy, this has stopped. We went to the movies every Friday, this has stopped. I can't think of any interests we have in common any more. He prefers to stay home 24/7. I love getting together with my art pals. 100% sexual realtions stopped 3 years ago due to impotence caused by all his meds. sex in 3 years. Sigh.
But he is a good companion....when he is not having a high or low.

2.  Intellectual
Long-term, positive and sustained relationships are most successful when both partners value being involved with a growing, caring and intelligent person. Is your partner interesting? Is he or she on a search for learning? Is it important for him or her to do new things and do them well? Level of education is not necessarily an indicator on intellectual ability.

I think hubby is very interesting when not dealing with complications from diabetes. He has a brilliant mind - one of the things that attracted me to him. I love when he finds new computer gadgets and shares them with me. But I am truly concerned about his short term memory abilities since surgery. Only time will tell if they have been impared.

3. Physical and Sexual
 In most new relationships, this area usually gets a very high score. As couples fall into a sexual routine, however, their romantic and loving behavior often is replaced with a contest to see who can help the other person reach orgasm fastest.

The physical aspect of a relationship requires work, attention to detail and an open, positive attitude. That attractive person you fell in love with 10 years ago may be now be bald, overweight or developing crow’s feet or other signs of aging. Your attraction to your partner needs a basis more than skin deep to last through a lifetime together.

Because he can no longer perform, he has no desire to even cuddle. He says the neuropathy in his arms makes it uncomfortable for me to touch him. We occasionally give each other a peck on the lips, zero passionate kissing as he says it depresses him. ;I tried to explain that there are numerous ways we can take care of this and he said he has no interest whatsoever. I have given up trying. It really is sad.

4.  Communication
If the problems are minor and a couple communicates well together, the couple can often find solutions that prevent further deterioration of the relationship. Good communication requires being willing and having an effective style of communication. One method that works well is known as active listening. Sit down with your loved one, hold hands, look each other in the eyes and ask your partner to tell you what he or she needs to say. You then summarize and repeat back what your partner said before responding. Then your partner remains quiet and listens closely as you express your attitudes or feelings about the topic. He or she then summarizes what you have said before responding to your comments.

Well, you cannot communicate with a diabetic who is having a high/low. And because his diabetes is still out of control....that's most of the time around here. I don't think we have communication according to the above at all.

5.  Timing
Sometimes people who are well matched do not stay together because the timing isn’t right. One person might be willing to make a total commitment but the other person will not because of issues related to school, finances or family

Timing is a major factor that can determine whether or not a couple will commit to marriage. Within a marriage, the couple’s daily schedule and whether they spend much time together, or, more important, enjoy spending that time together, are important influences on the relationship.

This one is interesting. We probably spend too much time together since he works from home and I am retired. Yet at the same time, we are not really "together". Do we enjoy being together? I think at this point is is more an alternative to being alone and we prefer being together than the being alone.

6. Attitudes About Mother or Father

Many experts believe that one of the major predictors of whether or not a couple will sustain a long-term relationship is the woman's attitude about her father and the man's attitude about his mother. If the woman's father was physically, sexually or verbally abusive, it might be very difficult for her to trust or respect men. If the man doesn’t respect or trust his mother, his ability to respect and trust women could be greatly diminished.

;I think we meet the above statement. But I think they completely left out how the woman feels about her husband's mother! LOL! That alone would be enough cause for me to end this marriage!

7.  Miscellaneous
Other important aspects of a relationship that you should carefully consider are:

If you marry someone who is passionate about saving money and you love spending it, you are likely to have serious financial disagreements that could even lead to ending the marriage.

Many couples have conflicts about child rearing. Others fight about whether or not to have household pets or go camping, or about food or smoking. Think about what’s important to you and to your partner, and see if there are major differences that could result in conflict.

We have no financial arguments as our finances are separate. Our kids are grown. We have 2 dogs that I tolerate for his sake....I have never had indoor pets in my life and will not have them again.Neither one of us smoke. We are at opposite ends of the earth when it comes to religious beliefs.

These questions were presented on a diabetes website.  Interesting to go through the process of applying them to our relationship.  But I think the website left out so much.

1.  Most of us are "blind" when we fall in love and would answer the questions much differently than we would after being married for 5, 10, 15, 20 years.  Take into consideration as well that diabetes would have progressed over that same 5, 10,15, 20 years and the partner with the disease would no longer be the partner who first entered into the relationship.

2.  A "close friend" at the beginning of a relationship could be a complete stranger after 20 years of marriage due to complications of diabetes, neuropathy, memory loss and more.

I could go on forever, you get the idea! So, I decided to look up information about the author.  I doubt it's been written by the spouse of a diabetic!!!

R. Keith Campbell, RPH, CDE.  Part of the dlife advisory board.  Associate Dean and professor of PHARMACY Practice.  an "intellectual"leader in the field of diabetes.  Recipient of the American Association of Diabetes Educators Distinguished Service Award. Author of ADA/PDR Medications for the Treatment of Diabetes by Physicians (wonder if he knows about Humulin R-U 500 in hospitals???)

So nowhere did I find that he has diabetes or is married to a diabetic.  Yet he is writing about the relationships of spouses of diabetics.  Interesting, huh?

Hard for me to fathom how anyone who has never experienced this can write about it.  :o)


So, I think there are so many things that website left off!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Continuing with my learning process. I did not know what this was. OK, I did not even have a clue. But I googled diabetes fruity putrid smell. Why?

About 3 years ago, hubby had this strange smell about him. I thought it was during the period when he was incontinent and I just assumed it was coming from the depends he was wearing. But he got past that, past depends, and still had this strange smell. Sort of fruity. A bit like sweet pickle juice maybe. But it was strong enough that it made me feel sick to my stomach.

Then there was an episode of NCIS where the young guy in the morgue who has diabetes said that he had that order when his sugar was high. And that episode stuck with me.

Today, I walked into our bedroom and definitely smelled that smell again.

Hubby's last A1c was 7.3. That's down from 9.2. He's been high for at least the last 3 years on his A1c.

A fruity odor to the breath occurs as the body attempts to get rid of excess acetone through the breathing. This is a sign of ketoacidosis, which may occur in diabetes It is a potentially life-threatening condition. Usually in type 1, but in rare cases, it can occur in type 2 diabetes. The body is uable to process and use glucose properly. High glucose levels.

The body burns fat for the cells to use for energy. Results in production of harmful acids called ketones. High levels of ketones can poison the body leading to diabetic ketoacidosis.

Hubby's phosphorus levels are normal. As with all of his labs, they tend to be inconsistent with anything required to make a diagnosis of something else.

If the fruity smell remains, I will have him ask his doctor about it.

Once again, today, he said that he just wanted to die. He is tired of being tired. I don't thinkhis anemia is improving at all. And that can't be good. I asked him to call his doctor and ask him to run newlabs. We'll see if he does that or not.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Hubby's staff gifted me with a full day at a local spa and the day is tomorrow! Can't wait! My "reward" for taking care of him the last 2 months.

But I wonder, can you make yourself too busy....trying to escape caregiving, the illness?

I taught all day Saturday.

Yesterday I attended a genealogy meeting in the morning, then taught a little girl how to sew in the afternoon.

Today, we got puppy food, groeries, went out to lunch

Tomorrow is my spa day

Wednesday I teach one craft class in the morning

Thursday, we go to the surgeon's office and hour away, then over to assist an elderly couple with their computers

Friday I have a playday with another artist

Saturday - I teach again all day.

Hmmmm.....and I wonder why life is flying by.

So, update on him. I can't tell, but I'd bet his labs are now going in the wrong direction. For whatever reason, when we were in the pet store today, I had this bizzare thought go across my mind. What would I do if he passed out on the floor right there? He doesn't want me to call 911 and the store isn't going to want him on the floor and I couldn't begin to lift him up. And then I imagined myself smacking myself across the face and told myself to stop the nonsense worrying!!! LOL!

We went to lunch next and here's the kicker. He said, "I had another one of those spells where I get tunnel vision when we were in the pet store. I had to really concentrate to keep from passing out."

WOW!!! How bizzare is that? I was thinking about him passing out at the very moment he was focusing on trying not to pass out.

Spooky if you ask me!

So we were talking about it and he tells me that this is happening several times day. It's not getting any better. He feels like he is getting weaker, not stronger. That was evidenced this morning when he got up at 6 am, got on a business call at 7 am, came out and laid down on the sofa at 7:30 am with his headset in and the phone on..and fell asleep. He was snoring! Thank goodness for the mute button. But how on earth can he keep working when he can't stay awake???

Next, he confesses that not only is he having regular episodes of tunnel vision, trying not to pass out, he has episodes where he is so weak, he cannot move.

I suggested that he contact his physician to discuss it with him. Think that's going to happen???

This evening, he was lying on the sofa and looked at me and said, "I don't know if I can get up." He did manage to get up, but I could tell it was very difficult for him. He says his glucose is running around 160 which, for him, is really low. He said, "I just do not want to go on if I don't have the energy to go on." And that totally makes sense to me.

I'm truly praying that he will bring all this up with the surgeon on Thursday. But he can be so vain at times and he wants everyone to think that he is recovering just fine. I do not want the surgeon to release him to drive if he is going to be having these spells where he has to concentrate in order to not pass out. Oiy!!!