Monday, May 14, 2012

I'm A Prisoner In My Own Home

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 since my blood sugar was undoubtedly high so much of the time. 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 more 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 am using an insulin pump, and have very good control now. She wants me to test every 2 hours while I am awake,  every 3 hours  during the night, and once every hour when we are out traveling, shopping, etc. She rarely drives our car because of her nervousness. 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 23 years now. They live in NC and GA and we are in NY. We usually see them only once 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 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 many years and we have a 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.

We planned a trip to England in 2011. When I made out our scedule, we bought our passports, and I was about to purchase our plane tickets, she came unglued. She could not make that trip, she was so frightened. What if I had a terrible hypo while we were in another country, so far from home? What would she do?  I had to put all the plans away. We have planned trips like this before, but they never happened. We went to Minneapolis in October, 2011, and I had a great time at a diabetes expo. We met so many of my online friends there. It was wonderful!! Anita had a "grin and bear it" time. She did it for me. Now I am more hungry for vacations like this than ever before. Anita says we took a nice trip, and I should be satisfied. She thinks we should save our money for the future when we are in a nursing home. I would be sitting there in the nursing home and regretting I had never taken the trips I so very much wanted.

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>

9 comments:

  1. That is a really hard situation to be in Richard. I am not a big traveler because i am afraid of flying, but don't mind going places by car. If my husband wanted to fly off somewhere, I would tell him to go as long as he promised to come back! I know that isn't going to happen for you though.

    Could you leave a note like you did run off on a vacation but come back in an hour just to see how she reacted? I know she will worry about you, but maybe she wouldn't be as upset as you think she might be.

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    1. Oh Kelly, lol! that would be cruel. Anita would be hurt if I played a trick on her like that. I would not do that.

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  2. Very hard. I say let her read this and see what she says. If she loved you as much she may be willing to give you one trip a year beyond seeing the kids? It would seem fair - you would get one good trip a year? Very hard indeed and so good that she is so good with the diabetes. My husband did not know much about it when we started dating but life took over and he did. He learned the bad when my twin passed away from diabetes complications back in 1993 at the age of 19...so at times he worries but I think I am so on top of things and such a Type A over worrier - he let's me be....We will hit 27 years married in August - not sure what will happen a few more years down the road, but for now we travel for soccer yet I wont go overseas as I am afraid of being stuck somewhere where I may not get the same care....call me crazy. Till them we travel to all the soccer tournaments in the US.

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    1. Sue, you are very kind to your husband. I hope you like soccer very much. Don't you get to take trips to places you really want to visit?

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  3. It might be a good idea to look at why she is an extremely nervous person, as you mentioned. Is there a way she can find some peace? Does she drink a lot of caffeine? Is it hormones (like thyroid) or some other medical issue? Someone in my family was having panic attacks and anxiety and it turned out to be a matter of simple hormone replacement. That might be something you guys can look at to make life more peaceful and enjoyable over all. All of us who care about someone with a condition like diabetes are nervous at first. But for me, I finally realized after a year or so that my child is fine. We check bg and take insulin and he is all right:)So perhaps if she is still that concerned after so long there might be something else that can be done to help her feel better and have a more relaxing and enjoyable time in her Golden Years. Later life is a time to enjoy the fruits of ones labors and do all the things you did not have time to do when you were taking care of kids and working for all those years, after all!

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  4. Thanks for those ideas. I believe there is something we should look into here. The problem is that she refuses to recognize that there is anything wrong. If I bring it up she is very upset for the rest of the day. She never loses her temper, but it is easy to tell that she is upset with me. So I just leave it alone, and peace reigns supreme.I believe she needs a counselor, but don't dare mention that.

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  5. Hi Richard,

    I am new to your blog and am very touched by your story. I shared this post with my husband and he suggested that you might try a trip to the Friends for Life conference in Orlando, FL. It could be like a 'baby step' for her letting you go on a trip by yourself. You would be surrounded by thousands of other diabetics who would know exactly what to do if you had a hypo. Also FFL is an amazing experience on it's own, though it's not Europe. ;)

    Just a thought.

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  6. Yes, Shannon, I have been wanting to go to the FFL meetings for several years now. Jeff Hitchcock, creator of CWD, told me I should go. I wonder if I could be a speaker there? Flying there, and not driving, would keep my wife from becoming so nervous. I think she would enjoy it, I know I would! The only reason we have not already gone is the expense.

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  7. Hi Richard! I just read your comment to my husband and he and I agree that we would both LOVE to attend a talk by you at FFL. I say contact Jeff Hitchcock and ask him if that would be possible, no harm in just asking, right?

    Either way, I hope you can make it there one of these years. I know they have financial assistance available as well, so you might look into that. Good luck and keep us posted!

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