Tuesday, January 31, 2012

a reply from batgirlnj

What I find so touching about your post and John's post is that you mention being a normal diabetes caregiver for your partners. Even when I was non-compliant my husband never allowed himself to be my 'caregiver'. As long as I am physically functioning and there are no other issues like you have had to deal with, then there is no reason for anyone other than myself to care..for myself. 

Other than complications, diabetes should not affect your lifestyle in many other ways. There is nothing that I depend on him to do for me. I should say that I am 44 years old, so that might make a difference, however I cannot imagine my husband needing to change even an iota of his lifestyle to take care of ANY of my diabetic needs. 

If I did not tell you that I was diabetic you would have no idea. Our relationship is one of married 'partners' and definitely not one of my dependence on him. He did go to the diabetes classes given at our local hospital so that he would understand the disease better, and what is going on in my body, my feelings, my actions, and what he can do in case once in a blue moon, I was incapacitated and he would need to administer a needle or something else. 

John mentioned that he has only found support groups out there and that's all that there should really be. In my opinion there shouldn't be groups for partners as caregivers, because most diabetics shouldn't ask their partners to be their 'caregivers'. But, I guess this all ties into the denial by the patient.

Dear batgirlnj

Are you saying that you don't depend on your husband to get you orange juice or a glucose tab when you go low? How do you manage that?  Or have you never slipped into a coma?

I think that's the problem.  When you have diabetes as long as my hubby has had it and have been non-compliant the whole time, there are bound to be other issues.  I'm not a caregiver for his normal diabetes. He handles that just fine.  But when he had a heart attack in 2009....for the next year, I ran up and down stairs, carried things, etc. He had his bypasses in 2010.....and because of the stenosis in his back and that surgery in 2011....I basically did lifting, driving, schlepping, laundry, cooking....everything for him for the last 3 years.  He still cannot lift more than 35 pounds and at my age, I can barely lift that.  

Very few people know that hubby had bypass surgery.  Just close friends and family.  But more know about his back surgery.  Primarily because of the way he walks.

So, while these other issues are not diabetes....they are brought on by neuropathy.  When nerve endings die, when you don't control what you eat and your cholesterol is sky high....all of hubby's problems are secondary to his diabetes.  And yes, he might have them even if he didn't have diabetes....but the chances that he has them at his age are higher because he does not control his diabetes.  

And now with neuropathy of the intestines.....I'm running around the house making sure all the plug in fresheners are full, that each room has a can of spray.....LOL!!!

He did not have any of these problems at age 44.  And if you develop any of them, I'm sure your hubby will have to increase his workload.  When your doc says that you cannot lift anything over 5 pounds, or that you cannot walk more than 20 feet, or that you cannot do stairs more than 1 time a day.....someone else is going to have to take care of those types of things that you are not allowed to do.  And that will probably fall on your husband.

I don't think diabetics ask their partner to take care of them.  I think it just happens.  There are support groups for caregivers.  Just not specific to diabetes.   But plenty of support groups for caregivers to people with cancer, altzheimers, elderly, etc.  And you may well be 1 in a million because I have received so many emails over the years from diabetics who tell me that it is my "job" to care for my husband, even to give him his insulin shots if he needs that done.  I think the spectrum of thought on this goes from one end of the earth to the other!

I think there should be support groups for diabetic caregivers.  OK, caregivers to non-compliant diabetics.  I could use fresh ideas on how to get him to call his doctor when he is vomiting for 3 days at a time and I know that his kidney meds need to be adjusted....but he won't agree.

I need new ideas on what to do with the horrid smells coming from the neuropathy in his stomach.

I need new thoughts on how to take a break to revive myself when my back is on fire from carrying all the heavy groceries into the house because he can't life.

I need to hear from other spouses and know that I am not alone.  And I think that is what John is looking for.

I do feel that my husband and I are a team.  I step in and do things when needed.  I try to let him do as much as he can.  But he is under so many different physicians and has so many different "orders" and is so limited as to what he can do physically - that I have to do things for him.  And because he is non-compliant, that increases the occasions when he goes low....and when he is low and non-functioning, I "have" to get him orange juice, glucose tabs, something to get him back into this world.  

One final thought.  Hubby has parkinsons brought on by neuropathy from his diabetes.  He shakes his hands so ad that a knife and fork will jump out of his hands.  He has taken to ordering sandwiches when we eat out so that he doesn't need utensils.  Every now and then, he just want's a good steak.  And I will happily cut it up for him.  Some people see that as love.  Others see it as an added workload.  To me it's part of being a married couple.  But in reality.....if you look at it literally.....he is depending on me to cut up his meat so he can eat. And he would not have this problem at this age if he controlled his glucose.

Again, your husband is very lucky that you can handle all this on your own.  Mine can't.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear batgirlnj -

I have different reaction to your letter than DW - but I am going to write in my own blog -- hopefully you will go there to read it. I don't want to take up DW's space.

DW is correct that over time, you have no idea what you will do for your spouse - when they are ill and you love them, you will do things you never imagined. But those things may be different for each of us......

Tom's Wife