Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A wake-up call DH can't ignore!

Well, if you remember from my post regarding the Wellness Walk, DH was supposed to go but he had a "health issue".  Well, that issue has turned out to be bigger than we thought.

(Warning--slightly grown-up material ahead--and not for the squeamish)

DH had a rapidly growing lump on his inner thigh.  He thought it might have been from his pants rubbing his leg or something, he could walk, but he didn't do the Wellness Walk because he was afraid it would make it worse.  As usual, I didn't pay too much attention, as he always has a reason not to do something that requires a little effort....

Anyhow, the lump continued to grow, so DH went to the doctor.  What the Dr. said has caused DH to sit up and take notice like no other health problem he's ever had.

Basically, the lump was a cyst.  They had to cut it open to drain it, and the doctor said that he had seen bigger ones, but not too many.  DH has to go back to the hospital to have it "re-packed" with cotton/gauze because it is draining really bad.  It will recur, and since diabetics are more prone to infection, especially if the diabetes is poorly controlled, eventually, the recurrence will almost certainly become infected.    This particular kind of cyst becomes more difficult to combat each time it recurs, can cause scarring and "tunnels" under his skin.  Once the infection is present, because of the extremely close proximity to DH's "manly parts", and the increasing difficulty in treating the cyst, it is likely that those parts would become infected/gangrenous and require amputation.  The Dr. was absolutely serious about this and said that unless DH starts controlling his diabetes, it was almost a certainty.

DH has suddenly decided that it is time to take control of his diabetes.

He's been buying diet pop, considering the sugars in what he eats, and has decided to attend a "control your diabetes" class.

Priorities, priorities  :-)

I guess all those times I "reminded" him that if he didn't start taking his diabetes seriously, he'd lose his legs and maybe his arms too, and end up in a nursing home because I can't lift him.....I was threatening the wrong parts!  Sheesh.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Precious day

Today I took the day off (but I'm at my other job right now typing this)....

The nursing home where my mom is had their first ever Walk for Wellness.  Family, friends, volunteers, nursing staff and nearly all the residents took part in a one mile walk, including my mom and me.  The goal was to raise money for new exercise equipment for the Wellness program that they have at the nursing home, which helps residents with strength and balance, enhancing their quality of life.  DH was "supposed to" come too, but he had several health concerns that may or may not have been as troublesome as he made them sound....anyhow, he didn't go.....

When I got there this morning, I could tell it was going to be a "good" day.  I asked my mom if she wanted to go on the walk and she did.  Not only that, but she was ready to get out of her wheelchair and REALLY walk! :-)  (but I told her she could ride!)

It was a warm summer day and everything went off without too many snags.  My mom said it was nice to be outside.  We did the entire walk, then went back to the nursing home for hot dogs, beans and watermelon.  I couldn't believe it, my mom ate the entire hot dog (but only a couple of bites of bun)....and all of her watermelon and a couple of small spoons of beans, too!  I asked her if she was tired and she said "No, this is fun!"

There was a bit of a lull, which was filled by a very talented 14 year old girl who sang songs from many eras--she started off by singing "We Will Rock You", and I wondered about the choice of music for all these elderly folks....then....I noticed....MY MOM WAS SINGING ALONG AND TAPPING HER FINGERS!!!  When she noticed I was watching her and smiling, she said "I don't even know this song!"  I've been smiling all day just from that memory....

We sat for quite a while in the sun, and I frequently asked her if she wanted to go inside, and she didn't.  Then they had an auction of donated "goodies" with a real auctioneer.....my mom loved it, and I loved seeing her so happy....and judging from the prices that some of the donated items brought ($7.00 for 12-packs of pop!), they raised quite a bit of moolah.

I do have to mention that at least twice she said to me, "You've been so nice to me, what is your name again?" :-)
I only minded a little, because it really doesn't matter to me at this point who my mom thinks I am, if I can make her smile, or if I can get her involved with something that she enjoys...

It was a precious day, full of memories, made so much better by the fact that my mom had such a "good" day....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

DH is now down to 3 days a week

He hasn't gotten fired yet, but I know it's only a matter of time.  They've cut him down to 3 nights a week, which, after gas expenses, pretty much pays for pop and cigs and not much else.

He has another PDoc appointment on Monday, hopefully he is able to express what he feels has been happening--it seems like this could (and should) be better.

He still has no initiative at all, and his thinking is funny, lots of "all or nothing" stuff, like the dryer broke down and he says "Why does bad stuff always happen to us?" and then "We've GOT to have a dryer....." (I'm fine with a clothesline, at least until winter.....)

But I am trying to look on the bright side as much as I can--we have so much more than lots of people.  We have options.  We (both of us, amazingly, especially in this economy) have jobs....and the bills get paid.  Despite the fact that things aren't easy, we've been blessed.  And I'm trying to remember that, so that when DH says "why does it always happen to us?", I can look past that.

I can't believe I'm considering this but....

Nothing huge.  In the grand scheme of things, anyhow....

I told one of DH's friends that I would pay him to cut our grass.  I cut about half of it last week and it took forever, because the grass was just that long :-(  And the weeds along the fences and close to the house and stuff....they're as tall as I am, no kidding!!!!

So, rather than beat myself up over why it isn't getting done, I'm going to pay DH's friend to do it.  He might be sorry.

It's a jungle out there.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I've become unsympathetic.

And it shocks me.  When DH is moaning in pain from his back, I don't even feel bad for him.  I find myself getting angry, because all he wants is for someone to give him a pill (preferably Percocet) to get rid of the "pain" and he doesn't do anything at all to make sure he doesn't get the pain in the first place, like go to physical therapy, exercise a little, or maybe make a half-hearted effort to lose weight (I know weight loss is hard, even for people without mental health issues, but if he just showed me he was trying to do something, even if he was failing, it would make me feel better)....

And when he comes home from work all sad because he was sent home from work for having high blood sugar, instead of being the "supportive wife", I turn into the "angry and disgusted" wife.  Because the problem is so easy to avoid, yet he doesn't. 

And he doesn't realize these things for whatever reasons, every time it happens, even if I've told him that it will happen, he is shocked and surprised.  And I'm not.  I just get more disgusted.

And that surprises me on some levels.  I know he believes his problems are not of his doing (don't a lot of us?) and that he has a mental health condition that warps his thinking.  So should I really be angry with him for something he can't seemingly control?  I feel bad.  But I just can't see how it can be pointed out to him, step by step, and he still doesn't do anything about it.

I have no sympathy.  When he goes to the Emergency Room for his back pain, I don't even go with any more.  Because every week there's some different ache or pain.  And it's never anything serious.  Last week he was having strange pains in his ribs, under his arm, on his right side.  I just got angry, wasn't even worried about what might be going on, because it's always something.  Then, I was glad that he was gone to the E. R.  Then, I kind of mentally chastised myself, because what if I feel that way and he's really having a serious health problem?  It's like I have run out of sympathy.  It's not something I'm proud of.  But after rereading what I've written here, it might not be as surprising as I thought it was.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Signed my mom up for Hospice

It's been a strange few weeks, mom-wise.....there were about 2 weeks where she was adamantly refusing food and water, refusing all medications, and very delusional when she was awake, which wasn't very often.   There were days where they couldn't wake her up enough to get her out of bed, there were days when she refused to let them clean her or change her.  I thought "the end is near".  And opted to sign her up for Hospice, mostly, I'm afraid, selfishly, because I know I am going to need support as I go through this and I know the hospice social worker will be a support and the nurses will tell me what to expect.  I don't really believe that it is going to help my mom all that much, as she states she is not in pain (when I can get her to answer) and I believe that is the truth, because most of the time she is just groggy and sleepy, not agitated as if she was hurting.  When she is agitated, it's because of her delusions.

So I signed the forms to get the ball rolling, and set up the "intake" appointment with the hospice program, and then.....mom rallied.  She started getting out of bed, eating at least 50% of her meals (although she can no longer feed herself) and talking about real things, like the weather and supper.  And she was like that for about 7 days to the point where I wondered if maybe I had jumped the gun with hospice.  Then today was the "intake appointment" and she was back to being lethargic again.  She ate well today, but she did not want to participate in life, she only wanted to sleep.  I was disappointed, again, and I kind of mentally rolled my eyes at myself--here she is, can't feed herself, needs help with everything, can't remember things from one minute to another, but I am still getting my hopes up for the "good" days.  And I know the letdown is coming, but I just hope it doesn't, then I'm sad when it does. 

It's almost an exact parallel to my reactions to DH's issues.  Every time there's some good days, I start to think things are getting better, but really, I'm just setting myself up for another crash.  When I recognize this pattern, I feel like maybe I've got a Pollyanna outlook and maybe I need to do something to make my thinking a little more reality based.  I think intellectually, for both my mom and my husband, I know where things are at and that they aren't going to get as better as I want them to......but emotionally, I still cling to hope......

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thank heavens for mental health advocates

I insisted that DH call his worker at the program that had gotten him the job, and explain what had happened.  She wasn't surprised, I think that she was like the rest of you, kind of surprised that it took this long to happen....but she made a couple of  phone calls and got him his job back--for the most part, anyhow....

But just barely--I don't remember if I've explained how the attendance thing works there, but if he's late or misses work on a weekday, he gets 1 point; if he's late or misses work on a weekend, he gets 2 points, and on really really busy days, like Mother's Day, if he's late or misses work, it's 3 points.  When he gets to 8 points, they start cutting his hours back (he loses 8 hours per week), when he's at 9 points, they cut his hours even more than that (16 fewer hours per week)  and when he hits 10 points, he's done--fired.  Right now he's got 9 points.

I'm not sure if the mental health worker can help him when he reaches 10.  Actually, if they were as strict as they should be, he's probably got more like 20 points right now, because they didn't give him points for the days when he showed up for work but had to go to the E.R. for his back pain, or had to go home for whatever perceived health problem he was having that day.

And I think it would feel really weird to go back to work after that, when you had "quit" and then you're back, but DH is so relieved to still have a job that it doesn't seem to bother him.  I'm really relieved too, because it really helps DH feel like more of a contributing member of the family....

Unfortunately, he still has no insight into the fact that his behaviors may cause him to lose his job--I just can't imagine that, but it's true.  I tell him all the time that drinking water or diet pop instead of sugar-laden pop could make a big difference, as when he drinks the sugar pop, his blood sugar gets high and they often end up sending him home.  And he's had numerous referrals to physical therapy for his back, but he doesn't bother to go, instead he keeps going to the doctor, hoping that someone will prescribe him some Percocet.  But he won't take any action that might require any type of a change.  I finally, one day, came right out and told him that, that he was going to lose his job if he didn't start making some changes to his lifestyle.  He "tried" to change to diet pop for 2 days, then he was right back to sugar pop :-(

There have been a lot of times lately where, although I have never thought divorce was/is an option, it is looking more like a possibility than ever.  How on earth am I going to spend the rest of my life with someone like this?  I just don't know how I'll do it.  But when I start fantasizing about being "on my own", I realize a) I absolutely can't afford to do anything right now, and b) there's still a little bit of hope there, that things can get to a point where I can feel ok with them, although that hope is dwindling.

DH has an appointment with his pdoc on Monday.  I'll let you know how that goes.

Friday, August 5, 2011

DH just quit his job.

I know all of you will probably wonder how on earth he managed to stay employed as long as he did, but he's been getting slack(er) about doing things to keep his mental health stable, and last night he had a rough night at work and walked out.

He said it wasn't until he was driving home that he realized the consequence(s) of doing that.  And now I'm really scared, although I've been here before.....

He thinks that maybe if he calls his manager and explains, maybe they'll let him come back....but he's also been missing a lot of work due to health related stuff, because he doesn't do what the doctors tell him to do..... so maybe the casino is happy to be rid of him....I don't know!!!  I'll hope that maybe he can talk someone into giving him another chance...

If that doesn't work, then my next thought is to call the agency for mentally ill people that helped him get this job and see if maybe they can advocate for him....there are so few jobs where we live, that if this "sticks", it could be a long time before he works again....

And of course in the meantime I've got the husband sayin "I'm so worthless, I always do stupid stuff like that, I'm a piece of sh**...." and all I want to do is throttle him because any way I look at it, decisions he made caused this.

I'll keep you posted.