How do I help him help himself?

By Kiki_linda Latest Reply 2012-06-25 19:09:01 -0500
Started 2012-06-18 09:34:04 -0500

My husband is 28 and has been type 1 Diabetic for over 5 years. We are about to reachour 3 year anniversary. When we met he seemed to have a handle on things; he would exercise regularly, check his sugar levels, eat healthy, and went to his regular dr. appointments. since we've been married, he has slowly gotten lazy and almost apathetic about his diabeties care. "his normal" is about 200 (which is WAY too high!) there have been times that he's checked it after forgetting to take his shot and it was in the 400+ when it's high he get so irritable and snappy. and doesn't want me to talk to him, especially about his sugar.
what scares me more is the countless times that it's been too low. the first few times that I noticed something was wrong was when I was trying to have sex with him and he couldn't get it up…no matter how hard I tried to help. and then when I asked him "hun, what's wrong? don't you want me?" he'd say something like…"It's just that I can't really feel my face right now…" So I'd rush and grab the Glucose tester and it'd be in the low 30's. I'd run and get some juice or something and help him fix it. this has happened at least 5 times…the same story.
the worst of them all was one day when I was home and he was sleeping before he had to wake up and get ready to go to work (night shift). I was really missing him that day and wanted to spend some time with him before he had to go to work…Our son was taking a nap so I decided that even though it was about an hour and a half before his normal wake up time that i'd go in and wake him up.
I tried to wake him, I was gently kissing him and telling him I missed him and wanted to hang out…He rolled over and started talking non-sense. saying weird words and phrases. He kept repeating the number 4 and saying things like "and 4 and 4 and 4 and 4 and the number…" it made no sense. I started to ask him some questions.
-What is your name? he got that right.
-Where are you? "huh? where? um…in bed?"
-how old are you? laughingly he said "28"
-Who am I? he just stared at me blankly
-What's my name? "uh…uh…4 and 4 and 4 and the dog"
I then told him to get up that we were going to the hospital. I helped him put on some pants and ran down stairs to grab the glucose tester and called a friend to say we were going to the hospital and i was going to drop off my son.
I got upstairs and checked his sugar and it was 26.
I gave him some juice and by the time he was down stairs he sort of came out of the daze and refused to go to the hospital with me he said he was fine and that he just needed some sugar.
I didn't know what to do. If he refused to get in that car what else could I do?

I almost left him that night. I was so hurt and upset about the way he was treating himself and I just don't want to be left as a widow at 21 yrs old or with a severly disabled husband due to his lack of care for his health.

Yesterday it happened again. I was on the phone with a friend and when I came downstairs he was very pale and his speach was slurred…I asked him what was wrong and he said that he was just really really tired and a little dizzy. I checked his sugar levels and this time it was at 21! 21! how could he do this!? just not paying attention and giving himself 40 units of insulin for a small lunch! If was on the phone for a little longer I could have come downstairs to a dead husband!
I just don't know what to do to get him motivated to care about his health! I've tried everything I can think of and nothing has worked…

I would love some advice. I'm just tired of being the only one fighting…for his health, for our marraige, and for our family.

9 replies

mary, the diabetes lady
mary, the diabetes lady 2012-06-25 19:09:01 -0500 Report

I know what you are going thru. My husband has been a type 2 diabetic for over 30 years. He finally took responsibility for this disease in 2003. In the 10 to 15 years prior to 2003, I still loved him but didn't like him very much anymore. Irritability and anger were part of our day. It wasn't until I read a book, "Diabetes Solution" by Richard Bernstein, M.D. that I realized that what he was experiencing was low blood sugars. I also realized there was a way to beat this disease and the horrible effects that it brought to my husband's life.

That said, I want to give you a great big verbal hug! You need it.

It's important that you and your husband have a frank conversation about his diabetes. Pick the right time. Make sure you have a babysitter and you have a quiet place and time to talk. I would even read him some quotes from "Diabetes Solution" You don't have to buy the book - it's available at the library.

He must take responsibility - this is his disease and he must control it or it will as it has lately control him. You can not do anything about this! He has to accept what has happened to him and realize that life can be awesome if he takes control of this disease.

Now let's talk about somethings you need to know: There is such a thing as "hypoglycemia unawareness" The diabetic does not know they are going into a low blood sugar situation. It falls to a loved one or a colleague or friend to help when they see a diabetic going low.

It's important to have Dex4 or some other type of carbohydrate near your bed so that you don't need to go into the kitchen to get something to raise his blood sugar.

It is critical that your husband wears a Medic Alert bracelet. Again I have no affiliation with Medic Alert or Dr. Bernstein. If he should go into hypoglycemia while driving (like my husband did) or when he is out somewhere without anyone who knows about his condition, he could be in huge trouble without that bracelet.

You must ask your/his doctor to prescribe a medication that you truly must have on hand at all times. It's called a Glucagon Kit. look it up on the web . It enables you to give your husband an injection that will bring him back if he goes unconscious.

God bless you.

irishbear 2012-06-22 16:17:01 -0500 Report

Well you certainly have gotten a lot of wonderful advice already, exactly what was running through my head as I read your post. The hard part is over…asking for the help. So I will just add that I wish you the best of luck with God's blessing's and bear hugs from me.

forsakes alive
forsakes alive 2012-06-20 21:58:24 -0500 Report

the only things I can say, I have had diabetes for a long time, always to be active and try to stay in control. At my 35 year mark I started to experience complications, the worst is not being able to tell if I am high or low,causing me to have a few strokes"starving the brain with low blood sugars" which in turn has caused other complication factors to arrise. Now I am at my 40 year mark,still trying to saty somewhat active and in control. Its harder to do when I cant remember what I have done yesterday or a week ago,even trying to keep notes is hard … I do hope he snaps out of his mindset,being he has so much going for him. keep everyone here that has put their thoughts on here about his well being.

red flower lady
red flower lady 2012-06-18 18:05:33 -0500 Report

Hi and welcome. I have been a type 1 for almost my entire life and only know insulin. I would suggest that you get a glucagon kit prescription from his dr and learn how to use it, it's an injection for emergencies, the pharmacist can help you. Also keep glucose tabs or gels on hand as they raise the bg faster then juice, they are fast acting carbs. Juice, milk, soda, candy, etc takes longer. I have to say 40 units of insulin is insane no matter how big the meal. You may want to check into using a pump with a cgm. This will require that he follows carb counting, etc, but does a real good job of control.

I also would ask the dr to send him to a dietician to help him learn the how, when and why of following a meal plan. He'll learn carb counting, portion control, and they will work on making the plan for his lifestyle. Most can give recipes or refer you to a website. This is something you can benefit from as well and learn how to cook for the both of you and also, be a helping participant and not feel helpless:) You can both exercise together as there are so many things to do, swim, bike ride, dance, walk, jog, sports, gym, videos, kickboxing, you get the idea. Depression is associated with diabetes, so he may need a boost from his dr and I suspect this is where he may be?

He is blessed to have you and needs you now so please don't leave. It is extremely frustrating to be in your position and feel like there is nothing you can do. Hang in there and work on the above and it will get better and easier for the both of you, then you will be able to enjoy your life again. Also, know that we are here for you as well when you or your husband needs help. There are alot of great videos and such on the left hand side of page to help you become more familiar with diabetes and become empowered to be an even better wife/caregiver:)

You have just taken a huge step, be proud of yourself! HUGS

Nick1962 2012-06-18 10:22:38 -0500 Report

Hi Kiki_linda,
Welcome to our little club. So sorry you qualify, but we’re glad you came.
I’m a T2 for about 5 years now, and have been married for about 23 years (over two wives), and I’m in no way a doctor or therapist, so I’m just throwing ideas out. Hopefully others will chime in and offer other possible suggestions.
This does not seem like the behavior of a happy 28 year old male. I get the feeling from your description that he may be experiencing some depression. I know after I was married for a few years (both times) I let myself go because I “had the prize” and felt I didn’t need to work so hard. I don’t think that’s solely what’s going on here.
He’s 28, works night shift, has a young wife and child he’s now responsible for. That’s a lot of responsibility to shoulder for a 28 year old and that realization may have just hit him. He may be overwhelmed by the thought, and the thought of having to be the responsible provider for the next 18+ years may just be freaking him out a little.
He knows exactly what he has to do to manage. This is a simple task for most men, no more difficult than changing wiper blades. For whatever reason, he’s choosing not to do it.
When you both have a period of calm time to talk, explain to him this is scaring you and you need to understand why he suddenly is not taking care of things. If he can’t offer suggestions why he’s behaving this way, maybe some counseling might be in order, because it seems like this is more than just a simple case of laziness. Best of luck and I hope it gets worked out.

Winks61 2012-06-18 13:53:29 -0500 Report

First off it would be good to go to a Dietitian who could remind him and help you. I went from type 2 to type 1 diabetes and almost lost my life last year from not paying attention. I got bronchitis and paid more attention to that than my diabetes. My A1C level was 8.9 and my daily sugar test was 1200. I was in the hospital for 3 days and almost went blind. Now I do much better but it shouldn't have taken that to straighten me out.
I went to a dietitian who helped me get my eating habits back in control and reminded me about my body needing protein and less Carbs. I also power walk daily for as long as I can to help with my weight. Family counciling is a good idea but don't forget to go to the dietitian and perhaps a Diabetes support group for you to go to together. He should take his A1C at least every 3 months to keep tract of it as well as check his sugar at least twice or more a day.
By the way now my A1C is 6.0 and my regular sugar never gets higher than 159.

Kiki_linda 2012-06-18 12:17:47 -0500 Report

Thank you Nick1962 for responding.
I will look into getting some counseling…there really might be something more going on that I just can not help with. sometimes we all just need someone to open up to, and as much as I wish I could be that person for him he may just need some one with an outside viewpoint.
And I'm sure I could benifit from seeing someone aswell.

thanks again,

Nick1962 2012-06-18 13:33:23 -0500 Report

I hope it works out. Being a guy, I can tell you I don't understand what motivates me to do things sometimes, so he may quite innocently not either. That age period for me was just mental turmoil. Having to let go of the irresponsibility of youth, looking forward to what seemed then to be an insurmountable amount of years of being responsible. i think it took me until 40 to really get my head straight.
Again, best of luck.

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