Tuesday, April 30, 2013

In Which I Realize Something

I know my blog is usually all about fun, smut, and giveaways, but for a second here, I want to get serious.

As most of you know, I started going to therapy again last year. On 9/11, actually. How odd is that?

Anyhow, I've worked out the issues surrounding the actual reason I started going again, and uncovered and worked out a few more. But one has been pretty illusive... until yesterday.

My therapist and I were talking about my obsession with not leaving my husband alone for very long.

For those who don't know, my husband is a bit of a medical fascination. He has 15 doctors. He has an immune disorder, Type 1 Diabetes, sleep apnea, a sleep disorder, cognitive issues, memory loss, high cholesterol, frozen shoulder, bursitis, a bone spur, psoriasis... hmm... I think I got all of it.

The major thing is the immune disorder. He goes and gets monthly infusions, but to be clear here - the common cold could kill him. He's on high doses of antibiotics daily for life, because if he goes off them, his body starts producing infections and cysts. He's had so many near misses his doctors collectively refer to him as their pet zombie.

You might think this is all stuff he's been dealing with all his life, but that's not the case. In 2001, I moved to NY to live with him. In 2002, barely a year after I'd moved up, he fell drastically sick. Unbeknownst to us, he was in Severe DKA, which is Diabetic Ketoacidosis.

By the time he finally went to the doctor, he was sent to the ER for an "out patient IV for dehydration." The ER doctor took one look at him, and knew it was far more than dehydration. He was dying. His blood glucose was over 1,200. People die at far less than that. I was told to gather the family and say our goodbyes. He never lost consciousness. He never went into a coma.

He was in the ICU for 5 days, in the hospital for over a week total. He survived, but he suffered brain damage.

It wasn't until a few years later that we discovered the immune disorder.

Anyhow. I've been obsessed with not leaving him alone if I can help it. I live in a constant state of worry that something will happen to him. I'm convinced he'll die somehow.

Until yesterday, I hadn't really tried to get to the bottom of that belief. I mean - it seems perfectly legit, right? He's a walking medical malady. Why wouldn't I be worried?

My therapist asked me, several times - "Why are you so worried? What actual proof do you have that something will happen?" She reasoned that Hubby is a grown ass man, knows his limitations, understands his diseases, and is careful. She reasoned that nothing has happened so far. What's the issue?

I kept saying I didn't know.

It occurred to me on the way home from therapy yesterday (things like this never occur to me *in* therapy, where they'd be useful!) - I blame myself for how sick he is.

I should've acted faster to get him to the doctor in 2002. If I had, he wouldn't have brain damage.

I should've recognized the signs. I had a diabetic grandmother. I knew what diabetes symptoms were. But I missed them.

I should've taken his symptoms and his sickness more seriously.

It was all my fault.

I went to work today, and throughout the day, I could barely keep from bursting into tears. The guilt just kept trying to overwhelm me.

I held it together until I got in my car for the drive home, and then the floodgates opened. By the time I got home, I was a mess.

Hubby and I talked. Well, more like I wailed about how sorry I was, how it was all my fault, and Hubby listened and shook his head. He's never blamed me, of course. And, when you look at the situation rationally, it's really no one's fault. A perfect storm occurred, and this is the damage it left.

You could easily blame the parents who never noticed their kid was sick all the damn time.

You could easily blame the doctor who never caught that his patient was Diabetic.

You could easily blame Hubby, who, despite feeling like shit a lot, never put two and two together.

I, of course, blamed me.

So. After an emotionally exhausting day and evening, I'm...well, exhausted.

I'm still sitting with the guilt and self blame. That's not going to go away quickly. But at least I can recognize it now, and work on it.


  1. /hugs

    I get what you are saying completely!!
    Both of my girls have very rare genetic disorders. So when we found that out, my husband and I's first gut reflex was to blame ourselves (genes and all, ya know?) but we had no clue before either girl was born. I actually had my tubes tied after our second daughter came out smaller than she should have........I just felt like I needed to DO something.

    Some days my rational mind rules and I do just fine but then there are those days that I just want to hold them and say how sorry I am that they have to go through what they do.

  2. My sister did the same thing when all 3 of her children ended up being epileptic (although she has never had a seizure or any other major medical problems). I had a blood clot when I was 20 (way too young to have one) and my mother thought that she should have realized it faster since she had worked in the medical field for most of my life. But there was no way of knowing without doing the medical tests.

    And there was no way that you could have known what was going on with your hubby. It is easier to see the signs after everything settles and blame yourself, but it was no one's fault. I hope you let go of your guilt and just enjoy the fact that, although your lives are different due to his medical issues, you still have each other.

  3. Wow, is your plate too full or what? I felt great guilt when my husband died. I didn't do cpr well enough or get to him soon enough; you know the usual self-flagellation. In my head I knew he was probably gone before he hit the floor but that didn't stop me from beating up on myself. I'm OK now but still have regrets that nothing could save him. I got a great deal of help from widownet and while that is not what you need I bet there is an online support group that might help you. For now enjoy all the wonderful moments you have together and try to let go of the guilt.

  4. Thanks, everyone! It's nice (well, not nice, but you know what I mean) to know I'm not alone in how I feel. I hope the weight of it will get easier and lighter. Hubby helped a lot - the look on his face was priceless - he truly never considered anything my fault, which was really a balm to my soul. But yeah. Why do we do this to ourselves?