Difficult Confessions

riverbed-261250_640I have kept this bottled up for a very long time, but I think it’s finally time to get it out. For whatever reason, I had a little internal meltdown yesterday. It started because my husband wasn’t done with dialysis on time and I had to make two trips through bad traffic to get him. Even though it wasn’t his fault, I was mad at him. (His blood pressure was too low, and they wouldn’t let him leave).

The thing is though, it is kind of his fault. He continues to drink too much water, so they have to pull more fluids, and that causes a bigger drop in BP. I have told him over and over that he has to be careful, and all the risk factors of too much fluid in the body, but he won’t listen.

Here is the big confession…I blame my husband for getting sick and ruining our lives. People can’t control getting cancer, or Alzheimer’s, or being born with some other disease, but my husband’s illness was preventable. He has been a diabetic since he was 10 years old (he’s 30 now), but he didn’t keep his blood sugar under control. He said he would “forget” to take his insulin. How do you forget to take something you have been taking almost your entire life?!?! He has been in the hospital five times in the four years we have been together. Every time they told him he had to get his blood sugar under control and every time he didn’t. If he had, he wouldn’t have kidney disease. At least not at the age of 30, maybe by the time he was 60 or something.

When he was diagnosed last January, I worked as hard as I could to make sure he was eating right and taking his insulin, I would even text him from work to remind him. He did really good for most of the year, but then he stopped. And now he seems to be back into a lot of his old habits. I tell him that he needs to be walking several times each day, not far, but something. He has to eat right and take his insulin. He has been good about taking it, but he won’t do the other things. His blood sugar has been high the last few months, and I think it’s because he just lays around at home. High blood sugar is soooooo bad for his already not working kidneys. I can’t seem to get him to understand that this will kill him if he doesn’t take control now. I don’t want him to die, but I can’t force him to take care of himself. I have to work, we don’t have a choice. I can’t be at home with him 24/7 to make sure he walks or eats right. (Unfortunately, we live with my parents, so I can’t limit what is in the house). Do I just let him slowly kill himself? What do I do?

I know it sounds dramatic, but I do feel like our life is ruined. My only dream in life has been to become a mother. I don’t see that happening now. How can my husband care for a child when he can’t even take care of himself. How can I care for a child when I’m already stressed to the max taking care of my husband? Money is a big issue also, but more importantly, I don’t want my child growing up with a parent that is too sick to take care of them. What kind of a life is that? My heart aches so badly every day over this loss. I don’t know how to deal with it, so I try to keep busy and just ignore it. If I have too much free time on my hands I just get overwhelmed with sadness.

You may be thinking, well Meghan, what did you do to take care of your husband before last January? I got that question from my brother in law while my husband was in the hospital. He basically said it was my fault, because I should have been taking better care of Jordan, that it’s my job as his wife to look out for his well being. While I agree with some of that, I didn’t sign on to be his mother. I have no desire to mother him, or treat him like a child. We are partners, equals, and if he chooses to put himself in an early grave, I have no control over that. But could I have done more? Could I have been a better wife? Should I have educated myself so I knew what could happen if he didn’t do the things he was supposed to do? Yes to all of the above.  But he did know what the consequences were, and he made those decisions anyway.

As you can see, I go back and forth between being angry at my husband, and feeling guilty. Maybe I could have prevented this. Maybe I should have been more controlling where his health was concerned. I know I can’t change the past, but how do I move forward with all of this? How do I forgive my husband and myself? Especially when this will continue to haunt me every day of my life. Diabetes isn’t going away, kidney disease isn’t going away, dialysis isn’t going away. All I have is constant reminders of our short comings. I just feel so defeated.

12 thoughts on “Difficult Confessions

  1. Profile photo of DeniseDenise

    Hi Meghan,

    First, your brother-in-law is simply wrong. He’s blaming for you for something that’s completely out of your control. You can’t make your husband make better choices. If you could, then he would be making better choices.

    I completely understand how you feel. It’s almost like he’s sentenced both of you to jail. It’s awful to be affected by someone else’s choices. Just awful.

    I wonder if you have any ideas on what changed for him that he stopped taking better care of himself?

    I imagine you both have much in common in this situation–you simply process it differently. He doesn’t want the disease as much you don’t. He’s still resisting it by not taking care of it. It’s a form of denial, I think. He must be overwhelmed with his own sense of guilt, much like you are.

    Given that you both have these emotions in common, I wonder if there’s a way to use these emotions to become a bridge that you both meet on?

    Would your husband consider going to a counselor with you? It’s a huge adjustment to manage a chronic illness within a marriage–huge for the spouse for the diagnosis and huge for the spouse who becomes the caregiver.

    This is a wonderful blog post, Meghan. It’s incredibly courageous. I understand how defeated you feel. Know that we see you winning. :)

    Reply
    • Profile photo of MeghanMeghan Post author

      Thank you for your kind words Denise. I know my husband is dealing with a lot of guilt, because he has told me that. I don’t want him to feel guilty, I just want him to move forward and learn from past mistakes. I honestly have no idea why he went back to his old ways. For the most part, he refuses to open up to me or talk to me about his feelings. Maybe he’s in denial or something, I’m not sure. So often when I call him out for doing something he shouldnt, he just makes a joke and laughs it off. I’m not quite ready to tell him how I feel. I want it to come from a loving place, but right now all I have is anger and bitterness. I realize I have to deal with those issues before I can move on. I’m working on it, one day at a time.

      Reply
  2. Profile photo of CasandraCasandra

    Meghan,

    I just have to say… I have been through every emotion and asked myself EVERY question you have asked yourself in this situation. My husband’s condition wasn’t something he could have controlled… THE FIRST TIME… all it took was regular follow-ups with the doctor and taking his medications to keep it in check. The second time he got hit with his illness everything went insane and we have added issues that we now have to deal with worse than before. And now I am sitting here, barely in my mid-thirties, and thinking… how did I get here so quickly? I feel like I should be having babies or out having fun and doing things that normal thirty year-old couples do. But instead, I am on a schedule that mostly involves taking care of him, being home at a certain times because he can’t do too much activity, etc. I mean the list goes on.

    But there is one thing that I remember when I start thinking that way… Doesn’t matter. We may be married but I have free will. I DO NOT have to do any of the things I do for him. I do them because I love him. I do them because I want to help keep him around as long as possible.

    Forgiveness is a tricky thing but so necessary. My father dealt with the exact same issues as your husband. He could have been on the donor list if he had quit smoking but he never did. I was his caretaker too and what I learned from dealing with him was you can care all day long, you can be supportive, you can give reminders, you can put the pills in their mouth… but you cannot make them swallow. That is their decision. The day before my Father died I told him he was having heart failure because of how he was acting… I begged and pleaded he go to the ER. He refused. I did everything I could but pick him up and put him in the car and force him to go. And I got off the phone with him and called my mom and said to her, “I’ve got to just accept that I can love him but I can’t live for him. If it’s his time to go then I have to be okay with his decision.” Little did I know it would happen the next day but I had to have that moment to free myself from the responsibility of thinking it was my fault. It didn’t take away the guilt of me thinking, I should have yelled louder and fought harder but now that I am caring for my husband again and going through some of the same things, I realize I am not here to keep him alive. I am here to support him as long as he is alive.

    Some of us never get to that place of forgiveness or understanding and even when we do, we are human. We teeter back and forth on that line. You need to start by admitting you are human and then forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for ever believing you’ve done anything less than what it was possible to do… then all else will follow.

    The feelings may resurface now and again but overall, I promise you will feel much better when you can do that. It sounds like you are doing an AMAZING job… so I will tell you THANK YOU for being you and caring for him. Thank you for being an example for others because that is what you are… a wonderful example of a loving, caring wife.

    Blessings!

    Reply
    • Profile photo of MeghanMeghan Post author

      Cassandra, thank you for posting. I’m so sorry for what you have been through and continue to go through. Its nice to have someone close to my age understand. Its so lonely.
      I will be spending lots of time mulling over what you said. I have to accept that I did/am doing my best. I can’t force my husband to take care of himself, I can only give him the tools to do it. I hope I can get to a place some day where I can let the rest go and let my best be good enough.

      Reply
  3. Profile photo of janjan

    Thank you for sharing honestly what you are grappling with today. I am not in your situation, but I am hearing your struggle as you try to do what is right. I support you as you work your way thru this.

    Reply
  4. Profile photo of miekomieko

    You are a really strong and brave person for sharing such a difficult and personal journey in your life and I really admire you for that…as for myself I have not quite been able to do that yet. Just reading about your brother in law’s response kind of made me angry… he has no idea what your situation is like and he has no right to judge you..I am in a totally different situation than you are but I can understand what you are going through..My thought’s are with you and I hope things get better. Stay strong girl!! : )

    Reply
    • Profile photo of MeghanMeghan Post author

      Thank you so much mieko. I was very angry with my brother in law for a long time. But until he walks a mile in my shoes, he has no right to judge. Hindsight is 20/20. I did MY best. He wasn’t ever here helping out or doing anything for his brother, none of his family was. He was and is solely my responsibility. If they don’t like how I care for him, maybe they should take over for a while. I could use the break!

      Reply
  5. Janet Willis

    Meghan be proud of yourself. My heart feels for you about wanting to have a child, I know how much I wanted to have a baby but ended up adopting and older child who now is 33 years old and has his own family. My husband is the one who helps with me when I having a day of not feeling real good, he helps with my 89 years old mother. Keep blogging it’s better to write what you are feeling instead of keeping them to yourself.

    Reply
  6. Profile photo of carol

    Thank you for sharing your feelings. I was just feeling the same thing as my husband is one number away from being diabetic, but when I tell him I don’t do shots (insulin), he tells me not to worry he’ll get a pill first and then he eats the high calorie dessert. His other comment is everyone has a set time to die and you can’t do anything about it. He is over 400 lbs. and gets upset that public places have chairs that are too small or he can’t fit into cars and he says everyone can’t be small. It makes me angry, too, but I don’t need that, so I smile and let him run his own eating habits. I suppose eventually I will even give him his shots. Love will conquer my fear of having to go it alone. I am going to run the race that is set before me.

    Reply
  7. Profile photo of MeghanMeghan Post author

    Carol, I’m sorry you are having a rough time too. Have you sat down and talked openly and honestly with your husband about how you feel? About how his poor choices make you feel? I plan to do another blog post about that later today.
    You would be surprised what you can do when you don’t have a choice. I’ve had to care for wounds for my husband, one of them very large, and I didn’t think I could do it. The only other option was for him to stay in the hospital while he healed, which was about 5 months. We don’t have insurance, so that wasn’t an option. I was really scared the first few times I had to change his bandage, but I got used to it really fast. Now, I’m a pro at wound care and can handle just about anything. I think you will adapt, especially because you love your husband and want to take care of him.
    Is there a reason he can’t give himself the shots? My husband takes insulin shots, and he just puts it in his belly. It’s really easy and the needles are so small they don’t hurt. I have faith in you that you can do this if you need to. Keep your positive attitude that love and conquer all. You are an awesome wife and doing a wonderful job taking care of your husband. Keep up the great work!

    Reply

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