Sunday, October 3, 2010

Homebound

Anita and I have been married for 46 years. I was a diabetic for 19 years before we were married in 1964. She was only 20 then, and knew nothing about diabetes. I rarely had insulin reactions back then. There was very little known about diabetes care. The monitors for measuring blood sugar levels were not available until the mid 1980s, and there was almost no useful advise given by my doctors. When I became more educated about diabetes, and had a doctor who knew a lot about diabetes, I started using tight control. Along with that control came many insulin reactions (hypos). When the hypos started in the early 1970s Anita was very good about it. She did a great job!!! I praised her every time she brought me out of a hypo.

Anita devoted most of her time to our two sons. Many years later the boys were in high school, and they demanded very little of her time. She was a stay-at-home mom, and had a lot of time on her hands. Later on, the boys went off to college, and  I was the center of her attention. She became a chronic worrier about so many things, including my hypos, which were not so frequent at that time. She would feed me glucose tablets when hypos occurred at night.

Fast forward to the new century. Anita is an extremely nervous person, especially concerning my diabetes, even though I have very good control now. She wants me to test every 2 hours, including nights, and once every hour when we are out traveling, shopping, etc. Every time I turn over at night she wakes me up and wants to know if I'm OK. I love her to pieces but she drives me crazy!!! She worries needlessly about my diabetes, even during the daytime.

Anita started to become overprotective after the kids left home. They have been gone for 18 years now. They live in NC and GA and we are in NY. We only see them twice per year. My wife heaps all her mothering on me. I have realized that for some time now, but there is nothing we can do about it. Our marriage is wonderful, and I understand she cannot help being this way. Is it possible to be loved too much? HA!

I started training on my insulin pump in May of 2007. Anita attended all the training sessions with me. She actually said that she thought that I would do much better, and she would not have to worry so much. It was a dream come true to hear her say that! The very next night after she said those words, I had a rather bad hypo. It was the first one since Jan. 5 of that year. She still seemed rather optimistic though. I was encouraged about pumping, and her optimism. I have not had any hypos that required her help since July, 2007. So why is she still worrying as much as ever??? I still have to test every two hours, and nothing has changed, despite the fact that my control is very, very good with no hypos that require her help. Her worrisome ways will never end. I am convinced of that.

After retiring I wanted to travel and see more of our country and Canada. The UK and other European countries were places that really interested me. Anita hates travel and loves staying at home. She even hates flying to Atlanta to see our kids and grandkids but she loves the visit once we get there. I want to travel alone, and am very confident that I would be perfectly safe in doing so. Anita says she will not allow this! If I go, she will go with me, even though she does not want to do so. Enjoying a vacation with her tagging along would be impossible. She would not enjoy it, and we would both be miserable. Staying at home seems to be the only option. This situation is so very frustrating!

I can tolerate Anita mothering me, and worrying about me, but I want to travel. I worked hard for 34 years and we have a nice savings that would permit the travel. The only feasible solution seems to be my running away from home. I would stay away for a few weeks and call her three or four times per day. She would probably, eventually, forgive me. She would be at home with her three cats, where she wants to be. She would be very angry but she would understand, or would she? This escape has occupied my mind for several years. So why don't I do it? My love for Anita is so strong that I cannot do this to her. She would worry so much, and lose sleep at night.

What would you do if you had this problem? It is not fair to me if I stay at home to make her happy, and it is not fair to her for me to take her along, or run away on these dream vacations. We are getting older, and something has to be done about this, but what? <sigh>

5 comments:

  1. Hi Richard...I have so much to say on this topic that I think you may have inspired another blog in me. But in response to what you have written I think you are stuck in a very difficult place. Do you stay confined to the "comfort" zone that you and Anita have become used to...part of which is born from the fear of the unknown. Or do you embrace the life God has given you and take a chance and follow your heart's desire? The one thing diabetes has taught me that I feel is a blessing is that we are given only one life, one body and it is up to us to decide how to live that life and use that body. There are so many wonders in the world to behold and it is just not the same reading about them or watching them in a movie. Observing other cultures, natural beauty and architecture, food, people and different geography is awe-inspiring.

    Is it fair of Anita to ask you to give up your dreams just to make her more comfortable? I would say that is something you two would need to discuss. But life is short and you have lived with an incredible burden for most of it. If your heart and mind want to explore, I don't think using the diabetes as an excuse is the right thing. I have travelled a lot since being diagnosed and though I do admit to some worry about 'what if" I still forge on. That is what you do in life...forge forward.

    Richard...step out of the box and do something wild and crazy! Ask Anita to accompany you. But if she refuses, l remind her that it is her choice not yours. I think if you go to Europe the first place you should go is England. they speak English, have decent medical care and the food is not too bad!

    Don't sneak away...be forthcoming with your wishes and desires. but more importantly...act on them. Don't wait for someday...it already passed!

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  2. Excellent reply Susie, thanks! We are planning a trip to England in June, 2011. I did not mention that in my blog because we have planned trips in the past, but they never happened. I doubt this one will happen. There is always something. For example, one of our cats gets sick (Anita dearly loves her three cats), the weather suggests rain while we would be there, etc. Except for flying to Atlanta to see our grandkids each year, the only trips since I retired in 1997 have been to Maine and Niagara Falls. Two trips in 13 years. They were day trips, by car. I may sound selfish, but I think I deserve more!

    No, I will not sneak away, but taking her with me and visiting my online friends from the diabetes sites would not be fair to her, She does not know any of those people. I desperately want to meet them. It also costs $54 per day to board three cats. Anita does not trust any neighbor to care for them. The trip would be much more enjoyable and more affordable if I travelled by myself.

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  3. Richard thank you for inspiring my latest blog. I would love you to take a look at my daughter Katie's blog of her adventures in Florence, Italy. She is living there until next March. She is posting pictures of her adventures and all the beautiful places she is so fortunate to explore. If you go to my page you will see her blog posted on my blogroll. It is called "You kinda had to b there." This may further give you the push you need to come out of your "box" and see the world!

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  4. Richard,
    I LOVE to travel, but have gotten to the point I cannot travel alone (lost in airport last flight alone,security was helpful and got me to my flight/ and couldn't drive all the way home on 4 hour trip, my children had to meet me 2 hours away and drive my car home). So the outcome is I will not be traveling alone for now. I have had opportunity to travel, and it is great, but tiring and I find now I just cannot keep BG up when traveling. Also I am so unaware of drops it is still amazing to me (I am a nurse and still believe I should just know it is low). I wear a Dexcom, and though it is right on when things are good. I drop too fast for it to catch, so I just get ???, well that still doesn't trigger my brain to check BG. Enough of that, anyway I am a Reactive Hypoglycemic and stay in the lows 3 to 10 times a day, yes it is scary for all those who care for me and have to watch it.

    Back to your travel, have you thought about looking for a "Meet Up" group in your area, google and put in zip code. They are great, I was retired out on disability this Jan. at 49, I found a group of ladies called "Senior Ladies" on the internet and they are very active. When I am unable to drive they pick me up, it is great. There are other groups that meet and travel, that is their common interest. Possibly even other group travel, then she would know someone was with you that knew your "condition", and could just have a crash course on what to do for you, without overreacting. You may even make a new male friend that just is laid back about the whole deal. It seems you have a great hold on your care.
    Another thought is one of your children traveling with you. I went to Japan with my son, we had a great time. Plus he got a paid for trip LOL, what difference does it make, you would have paid her trip fees.
    I am in a relationship now and I know it is scary for him. My husband died 6 years ago in his early 40's, thank goodness we went and did some of the things others wait for retirement to do, or he would have never seen the sunset over Key West southern most pier in the United States!!
    Good luck,
    Beverly

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  5. Bev, thanks so much for your reply. I understand your situation with the BG problem. I had that problem too, until starting using a pump in 2007. I have been a type 1 for 65 years and my best control was finally achieved by pumping. You use a CGM, but do you use a pump too?

    Anita and I are now planning a trip to the UK in June. I am not getting my hopes up. We have planned several other trips that never happened. We have paid for our passports. Anita was nervous about applying for the transports, because she then realized this trip was actually going to happen. If this trip does occur, and is successful, then future trips should be much more likely to follow.

    If the trip is canceled, then I am going to look for a senior group, like you suggested.

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