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.

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12 Comments on "Difficult Confessions"


Profile photo of Denise
Admin
Jun 4, 2014

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. :)

Profile photo of Casandra
Member
Jun 4, 2014

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!

Profile photo of jan
Member
Jun 4, 2014

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.

Profile photo of mieko
Member
Jun 4, 2014

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!! : )

Guest
Janet Willis
Jun 5, 2014

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.