Spouse of a diabetic and feeling frustrated....

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toasterstrudel79
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Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 3/26/2010 9:24 AM (GMT -7)   
I hope no one thinks I am a horrible person when I get through saying all this, but I am at my wits end. 
 
I have been married to a type I diabetic for 3 years now and he is the love of my life.  He was diagnosed when he was 7 years old, and is now 29.  He has had 3 retinal re-attachment surgeries in the past 2 years, was completely blind for 6 weeks while healing, and was told to get his diabetes in control.  I have been supportive, working 2 jobs while he was out of work for his surgeries and blindness to make ends meet.
 
Now, I am pregnant with our first baby, due in a week, on bed rest because my blood pressure is so high, and he can't even help himself.  It seems like every weekend I am having to take care of him.  He is always dropping low.  I can recognize the signs and try to politely remind him to go get some cereal or juice, and he gets upset with me, or worse, verbally abusive. 
 
How is he going to be there for me and our daughter if he can't even take care of himself?  I feel like I will never be able to leave her alone with him.  He has a 7 year old son who understands Daddy's diabetic and knows what to do in an emergency, but a newborn can't. 
 
He's always talking about how he wants to be a police officer, and he's working on getting into shape, and getting an insulin pump. However, I feel like it's all talk, and nothing behind it.  I was the one who finally got him into an endo 4 years ago. 
 
I want to be supportive.  Both my parents had type II, so I'm not new to the ups and downs of this disease.  I know it's not easy on him, but I feel like I can't handle taking care of myself, a newborn, and him because he can't or won't take care of himself.
 
Does anyone have any advice?  I love him so much, but I feel so angry at him right now and I feel like all I ever get from him are excuses and apologies later.  I can't do this and do right by my daughter. 

LanieG
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 5408
   Posted 3/26/2010 2:29 PM (GMT -7)   
You're not a horrible person.  You're living with a man who seems to be immature, not wanting to be responsible for his own health and callous and inconsiderate of your health and that of your soon-to-be-born daughter.  You or someone needs to kick his butt.  (Oops, I wonder if that'll be censored?)  Do you have family, friends, clergy who can help you and him?  You need some sort of support group, especially with the approaching birth.  You need to have a few people that you can count on if you need to call them for help before and after the birth.  Can you speak to your husband's doctor?  Your husband may have depression and not be able to even understand how this is affecting you.  As a type 1 who's unstable, he's very liable to experience lows, as you know, that could put him in a coma.  He needs an ultimatum.  I don't know why he's acting this way but there may be clinical reasons he's not thinking clearly.  Please speak to your own doctor, too, and explain what's going on.  Perhaps he/she can give you better advice.  Good luck and please let us know how you're doing.  I'm sorry I can't offer more advice but I hope more members will answer.
Lanie
 
forum moderator - diabetes
diabetes controlled so far by exercise and a low/no carb diet


Jeannie143
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Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 3/26/2010 8:03 PM (GMT -7)   
Don't mean to stir the pot but it sounds to me like he has maybe been "taken care of" for most of his life. 22 yrs as a type1, he should have learned something. You may want to speak to the mother of his son and find out how she coped when she had a baby and he was having lows. I wouldn't be telling him to get some juice, I'd be telling him to check his sugar! Can't argue with someone asking you to check your sugar.

If he's having lows then he isn't eating or medicating correctly. And if he is blind, who is giving him his insulin? And, he should know how to eat with his insulin so if he's not doing it... well he's waiting for someone to do it for him. I'm going to pray for you because I can't think what you can do... You need some friends, your mom, a sister, someone to help you manage. Maybe his mom is the one who needs to come and take care of him so you can take care of the baby. She knows him better than anyone.
~ Jeannie
Moderator for Fibromyalgia and Diabetes


daykin
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/4/2011 10:41 AM (GMT -7)   
I am married (23 years) to a spouse with diabetes (43 year) and am feeling very frustrated. My husband in general is a really great guy but has tremendous mood swings and takes it out on his immediately family. It is extremly hard to continually be supportive of someone that takes everything out on you. I always chaulk this up to his diabetes and am thankful he is still around. His reactions are terrible and does not realize what he is putting the rest of the family through. He is looking at getting a pump, but am not sure that will be enough. I truly believe there should be some sort of support group for spouses of diabetics. I was glad to see that toasterstrudel79 had a post that was similiar to my situation. I too do not want to sound likea horrible person......but am very stressed and frustrated.

LanieG
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 5408
   Posted 3/4/2011 11:30 AM (GMT -7)   
daykin, his mood swings may or may not be related to his blood sugar.  It's true that sometimes very high or very low blood sugar may cause a change in personality but there might be something else going on.  If you cannot have a 'reasonable' talk with him about these problems and how they are upsetting the family, then try to talk to his doctor.  Your husband might need a different kind of therapy or medication other than for diabetes.  Good luck.
Lanie

diabetes moderator
diabetes type 2 controlled so far by diet and exercise
very low carb way of eating

Jeannie143
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 3/5/2011 8:38 AM (GMT -7)   
daykin,
In my early days of diagnosis I tried to beat this beast with just diet and exercise. I was not successful. Before I was medicated for my diabetes and depression I was a monster around 4:30 PM when my sugar was lowest and I was most busy trying to get dinner finished and on the table. My youngest daughter took it upon herself to become educated and would quietly bring me 1/2 an orange or apple and set it down in front of me. I would immediately recognize what was going on, eat the fruit and take a deep breath. Then I'd count to 10 and start again. If you could tell your hubby about my experience, preferably after a Sunday breakfast when he is fed and calm, you might find him listening and willing to try it. 1/2 a piece of fruit should certainly fit into his food plan and might be the salvation of your family.

I personally feel that my low sugars contributed to my depression and feelings of overall anger. I have been on Zoloft for the depression and it helps tremendously but I still get cranky when my sugars are low. I wish I could explain how the feelings build when you are experiencing a low... and how everything looks so much better after a meal! This was part of the way my daughter knew I needed fruit for a quick fix. BTW, I'm assuming he's a Type2. I have no experience with Type1 mood swings. Hope this helps.
~ Jeannie
Moderator for Fibromyalgia and Diabetes

Into each life a little rain must fall... followed by large hail and damaging winds!

daykin
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/7/2011 8:38 AM (GMT -7)   
He is a type 1 and also a major factor in this is that he works 3rd shift. I know he is tired, your body is just confused and then to add diabetes to it just adds another straw to the camels back. We are working on getting a pump as I mentioned earlier, hopefully this will get his bloodsugars more even. I wish that they would put him on a depression medication, but they have not (not sure why as it has been mentioned). Thanks for all of your thoughts and concerns. We will just hold on for the ride and grit our teeth!

LanieG
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 5408
   Posted 3/7/2011 11:47 AM (GMT -7)   
Good luck with getting the pump.  Do you think he would like to join our little group here on HealingWell?   
Lanie

diabetes moderator
diabetes type 2 controlled so far by diet and exercise
very low carb way of eating

Irish Babe
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1371
   Posted 3/7/2011 6:40 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi daykin and welcome to the family!
 
I am also married to a Type 1. We will be married 34 yrs later this summer. He has been a diabetic for almost 28 yrs, originally dx a Type 2.  A yr later when he almost died, the drs discovered he was a Type 1.
 
He also worked the 3rd shift for most of our married life. That does throw off the whole flow in your body. Especially, if he switches to a 'regular' schedule on his days off.   1 1/2 yr ago, he almost died from a massive low sugar and as we now believe, a heart attack. Shortly after that he went on the insulin pump.
 
Most times my DH is a very laid back guy, very easy going. When his sugar is 'off', he gets very confused, digs his heels in. Stubborn pain in the *** comes to mind.   smilewinkgrin      He had a tough time trying to get all the details of using the pump. His dr and the trainer were/are very patient w/ him and very supportive of me.
 
We go w/ each other for dr appts. I would prepare the papers to present to the drs, so all information was there. (List of meds, doses, allergies, all drs, and specific questions for this visit) My DH keeps his records of all his readings. The regular times the dr wants, and all the times when he goes low or high. He also keeps a record of anything out of the ordinary, if he gets sick, etc. My suggestion, dr encouraged.
 
I went basically to keep track of what the dr said, I would write the notes on my copy of the report. My DH didn't want to 'bother' the dr w/ somethings. Finally, I said, 'I'm talking to the dr.' DH didn't always remember how something was to be done. He 'Remembered' the instructions differently from how they were given. My DH was told the right way to do each step, again. I wrote down everything.
 
The past couple of yrs have been very difficult, I well understand - hold on tight and grit your teeth. Oh Yeah!
 
Do you go w/ him for his dr appts, would he accept your going w/ him? If not, I would suggest you speak w/ his dr. by phone. If you go for the visit, write down everything you notice, what is happening at the time. Hopefully, this will help to get him on track and your family life a bit more settled. My prayers are w/ you.
 
God bless.  Alice.

Jeannie143
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 3/9/2011 8:42 AM (GMT -7)   
Excellent advice, Alice. You certainly are a peach! Your hubby is very lucky.
~ Jeannie
Moderator for Fibromyalgia and Diabetes

Into each life a little rain must fall... followed by large hail and damaging winds!

Miss Blossom
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 27
   Posted 3/19/2011 7:07 AM (GMT -7)   
My insulin pump changed my life!!!

I know that everyone has a different experiences - amazing, liberating, life changing freedom was mine.

For the first 23 years with diabetes I was pretty difficult to those who tried to help me with my condition. Aside from the impact the condition has on your mood from sugar fluctuation, I was also angry - very angry. I didn't take very good care of myself because I figured diabetes was going to kill me anyways, I might as well enjoy life. Nice attitude I know, but it really made sense to me at the time. In addition to the pump I did see a therapist to help me come to terms with my diabetes. I was diagnosed when i was 8 and had to endure the teen years with diabetes. It wasn't until I was in my mid to late twenties that I really had the maturity to start coping.

The reason why I was so resentful to those who tried to help me was because they always expected me to adjust my lifestyle to my diabetes. I wanted my diabetes to adjust to me. I was young, a student and paid my bills by working as a waitress. I wanted to party, stay out late, eat what i wanted, work the busy shifts etc.

Although there is a lot to learn when switching to the pump, it gave me so much more freedom in my life style. I could waitress the long shifts with no breaks because I had a basal dose insulin constantly running. I didn't have to worry about my insulin wearing off mid-shift and feeling sick because my sugar spiked. I had insulin programmed to meet my specific need during the night, so no more highs in the morning making it difficult to get out of bed.

Also when I go out with friend I have more flexibility in what I can eat. I just tell the pump the carbs I am eating and it suggests a dose based on how I have programmed it. I test 2 hours after eating and the pump will suggest a corrective dose if i have miscalculated the restaurant food. It takes into consideration the active insulin, so there is minimal risk of stacking and lows.

You aren't awful for having concerns about the people you love. And you certainly aren't awful for not wanting to endure abusive behavior. What I needed was to feel a sense success. That came to me through the pump. I never could get the needles to work very well for me, even when i was on 4-5 needles a day. It just didn't suit my lifestyle and I was resentful about having to change my life for this stupid condition that I did nothing to deserve.

Ultimately your spouse has to want to change. If they want to there are resources. If they don't want to change that is a larger challenge...With that said, you need to do what is best for you and your children. Only you know what that is. By talking to people and hearing/reading yourself it will help you sort out what you are feeling.

fishingirl
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 11/17/2011 8:17 AM (GMT -7)   
daykin,

You took the words out of my mouth when you said there should be a support group for spouses of diabetics. My husband was diagnosed with diabetes seven years ago. In the beginning, he was doing well and taking his medication and eating better. When that didn't work, the doctor switched him to insulin by injection. He did well with that for a while but now he has gotten off track. He isn't using insulin at this point and hasn't seen the doctor in a very long time. I've talked to him several times and he says he will get to the doctor and use his insulin but he isn't. It is very upsetting and I am terrified of all of the possible complications that can happen from him not keeping his blood sugar under control. I try not to nag him because that only has the reverse effect. He is very defensive whenever I bring the subject up. This has given me countless hours of worry and tears.

Has anyone else been in this situation or have any suggestions? I'm not sure what to do at this point. For now, I have come to the conclusion that the only way that I can deal with this emotionally is to know that I have done what I can do and that it is ultimately up to my husband to do what he should be doing to keep his diabetes under control. I will be there for him no matter what but I can't think of anything else I can do.

LanieG
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 5408
   Posted 11/17/2011 8:30 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm really sorry for you in this situation.  I can only imagine the frustration!  Would he have the same blase attitude if one of your children had diabetes?  Could your child just stop treatment like that?  What about if you were the diabetic?  Would he be ok if you decided you didn't want to follow any kind of diet or take diabetes med?
 
If no amount of talking, arguing, convincing works, read him the riot act.  Uncontrolled blood sugar will eventually kill him.  The heart, eyes, kidneys, liver, circulation, nerves can all be damaged.  Uncontrolled blood sugar over time can lead to blindness and amputations.  All because he doesn't want to take meds or eat better?
 
Then, tell him to draw up a will. 
Lanie

diabetes moderator
diabetes type 2 controlled so far by diet and exercise
very low carb way of eating

fishingirl
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 11/17/2011 10:05 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you, Lanie. I have thought about trying some type of "tough love" but I'm afraid it might make things even worse. I think about the possible complications all of the time - I sure wish he would. I think that is a good you had that I can ask him how he would feel if the situation was reversed.

LanieG
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 5408
   Posted 11/17/2011 10:16 AM (GMT -7)   
You know, I was mad when I wrote all that!  And frustrated.  What can you do when the other person is that stubborn?  Will he listen to a doctor?  Does he really understand the complications that can hurt him?  And, yes, what if the situation were reversed?  And after all that, he still won't see the 'light'?  I don't know.  A family intervention?  A doctor intervention?  I suppose you could call it tough love but tell him to make sure his insurance policy is paid up and tell him to pick out his plot! 
Lanie

diabetes moderator
diabetes type 2 controlled so far by diet and exercise
very low carb way of eating

fishingirl
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 11/17/2011 12:02 PM (GMT -7)   
I have thought about all of those things that you mentioned. Since he hasn't been going to see a doctor, I asked my family doctor about it yesterday. He said that he sounds like he is in denial and that much like an addict it is something that the person has to come to realize on his own. It is beyond frustrating! Since I do the cooking, I thought that I would start being stricter about what type of meals we have and what food we keep in the house. At least then I will feel like I'm doing something. I know that he understands the complications - I think he is just ignoring that.

jujub
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Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10392
   Posted 11/17/2011 1:23 PM (GMT -7)   
Fishingirl, I really think the only thing you can do is let him work it out. He has all the facts he needs to make a good decision, but just can't admit to himself that he isn't invulnerable. I know a bit about that, it isn't easy to face the fact that you'll never again be what you've always considered "normal." Not keeping foods that aren't on his diet is a good start, as is cooking meals within his plan. It's really the only help you can give when he won't accept any other help from you.

You might tell him you won't be able to afford some treat - eating out, vacation, whatever - because you're spending the money on a huge life insurance policy on him. My brother-in-law followed the same course your husband is on and died of a massive heart attack at 50. Would your husband really like to leave you and your family to fend for yourselves?

Good luck to both of you, and I hope he resolves it before there are serious complications.
Ulcerative colitis diagnosed in 2001; symptoms as early as 1992. In remission since 2006 with Remicade.
Inflammatory osteoarthritis; osteonecrosis from steroids
Grave's disease successfully treated with radioactive iodine and now on Levothyroxine.
Type II diabetes induced by steroids.
Meds: Remicade, Colazal, Levothyroxine, Mobic, Metformin

Moderator, thyroid forum

fishingirl
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 11/17/2011 1:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you, Judy2. Hearing about your brother-in-law reminds me just how important it is to keep diabetes under control. I'm going to try to have another rational talk with him to try to convince him to go see the doctor and get back on his insulin. I find it hard to keep my emotions in control when talking to him about this because it makes me so scared. Maybe a comment like you suggested might help show him the seriousness of this. I just know that this can't go on because each day it is taking more of a toll on his health.

LanieG
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 5408
   Posted 11/17/2011 1:58 PM (GMT -7)   
I understand about denial.  I was in denial when my doctor first ordered a blood sugar meter for me and had me take a GTT.  You're right that he has to come around by himself and realize this is a condition he must face.  Yeah, no one wants to face a health-related problem but at least this can be managed and pretty much controlled with some lifestyle change along with meds if needed.  We eat fairly healthy food in our house but I don't eat any rice, potatoes, pasta or bread.  I do eat most kinds of meat, lots of vegetables (but no potatoes, carrots or other root vegetables).  You can peel zucchini into strips and saute them and they can be a substitute for noodles.  Boiled and mashed cauliflower can sub for mashed potatoes.  So there are lots of ways to get around the food issue.  Check out the stickies at the top of our forum for some food suggestions.  Ask him to read some of our threads here and come and asked questions if he wants.  We promise not to bite!   wink
Lanie

diabetes moderator
diabetes type 2 controlled so far by diet and exercise
very low carb way of eating

Jim1969
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 11/17/2011 5:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Here is an idea.

Don't say a word about seeing a doctor or taking his insulin, etc. When you set the table just load up a syringe with the proper dose, put the cap back on and set it on his plate with a alcohol pad. Also place his meter and test strips on his plate as well.

Before starting this be sure the insulin you have in the house is still good as well as the test strips. If need be call his doctor and let the doc know what you are going to try and that you need a script for fresh insulin and have him call it into your pharmacy.

If he just moves the syringe off of his plate just let it go, and at the next meal do it again.

A lot of men can't stand verbal reminders...aka nagging....from their wives, but will respond a lot better to non verbal, but plain, reminders.

BTW: Go ahead a work on making healthier meals. If need be start small and build up slowly from there. A starting place could be something as simple as using Splenda instead of sugar in a recipe or when making sweet ice tea, or putting it into the sugar bowl if he like to sweeten his coffee. If he is the type who insists on rolls with dinner substitute whole wheat or whole grain rolls for white ones. Try making mashed potatoes with sweet potatoes instead of russet. While this may not be a good as eliminating taters all together it is A LOT better than using russets.

Look up Low Glycemic Foods on the net. It can help a lot when planning meals.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

fishingirl
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 11/18/2011 6:43 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you all for the good ideas. Jim1969, that is an idea I never would have thought of to put a loaded syringe on his plate. One of the many reasons I am asking him to go to the doctor is that the insulin that he does have is all expired so even if he did decide to take it, it is probably not any good anymore so I will have to call the doctor to get a new prescription. Since the verbal stuff sure isn't working, maybe the non-verbal will.

Will-Sandy
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 633
   Posted 12/4/2011 3:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Wow what a thread, after close to 30 years of marriage my wife and I are on rocky terms to say the least, all to do with my Diabetes and my Heart Attack, I have only read parts or all of some of the posts here be carefull with the tough love, I am still suffering from lows 2-3 levels, sometimes a couple of times a day (Fridays ???) but not all the time usually it happens when I am trying to figure out my carb count mad but it will be a fight to get me back to normal and if she still here when that happens who knows but remember it is fustrating on both sides 

jujub
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10392
   Posted 12/4/2011 3:41 PM (GMT -7)   
WillC, you have a good point. Note, however, that this wife indicates her husband really isn't doing anything to help himself. Also remember that we're all diabetic also, so we know the balancing act that is required.

Congrats on 30 years. My hubby and I have 44 years in, and we have to accommodate a number of health situations. It's not fun and it's not easy, but I guess what doesn't kill us really does make us stronger, eh?
Ulcerative colitis diagnosed in 2001; symptoms as early as 1992. In remission since 2006 with Remicade.
Inflammatory osteoarthritis; osteonecrosis from steroids
Grave's disease successfully treated with radioactive iodine and now on Levothyroxine.
Type II diabetes induced by steroids.
Meds: Remicade, Colazal, Levothyroxine, Mobic, Metformin

Moderator, thyroid forum

Will-Sandy
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 633
   Posted 12/4/2011 5:00 PM (GMT -7)   
I agree Judy, as i said I only read bits and parts of certain posts and I guess I missed that one, I was commenting more on the theme of the thread that i got from what I read

ForBetterOrWorse
New Member


Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 5/29/2012 7:21 PM (GMT -7)   
I just stumbled onto this thread from a general internet search for "spouses of diabetics." I am so glad to have found all of you. It's so good to hear replies from people who have diabetes and also to have a place to voice concerns and frustrations as a non-diabetic spouse. I vent most of the time to my four adult children and that isn't fair to their dad, but I need someone to talk to about the craziness of this disease or I'm going to explode! Our story is similar to many of yours. We've been married for 37 years by the grace of God. I've told him (when I'm really mad) that if he were merely alcoholic I would have been gone a long time ago and no one would think less of me, but since he's diabetic....I would be the horrible person abandoning him. He was diagnosed at 35 (and I think he probably had symptoms at 25). He was in denial for 15 years....piddled around with pills, diet...never exercised. Started insulin 13 years ago. Had a silent heart attack. end stage kidney failure, kidney transplant, one toe amputated, osteomyelitis surgery on the other foot, PAD, leukemia from transplant drugs and cataract surgeries. I've been very involved in all this medical drama and supportive through each procedure. What is really getting to me is the way he acts at home.... I don't know how much more I can take of the mood swings, apathy, lying and just watching him waiting to die. It's really depressing ....BUT, if I can manage to blast him from his chair and we go somewhere, he is the life of the party. Funny, friendly, cheerful. He's driving me crazy. Sometimes I think he is trying to MAKE me leave (which I offered to do, if that would make his life easier.) He goes to the doctor regularly---he really likes to go to any kind of medical facility. When I've insisted to medical personnel that he is depressed, he is assessed and "Mr. Happy Guy" always passes the test with flying colors.

Has anyone else experienced this Jekyll/Hyde type thing?
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