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My husband has many medical issues, cardiovascular disease with three heart attacks, multiple bypasses and stents. He has non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver, kidney failure, neuropathy and type 2 diabetes. He is, and always has been, in complete denial about the severity of his conditions and his actions having caused any of this. He denied he had diabetes right up to the point where the doctor in the emergency room (his first heart attack) interrupted his arguing to inform him, in no uncertain terms, that his blood sugar was at 820, he was diabetic and no amount of argument would change that.


No matter what any doctor tells him he just doesn’t seem to hear the bad parts and within a few days he’s managed to turn everything around and made it OK. This allows him to not do as the doctors order.


He can’t drive due to diabetic ulcers on his feet and an inability to stay awake due to his heart. I don’t buy much junk food when I go grocery shopping. I’m not draconian about it but I try to limit the sugar. If he wants ice cream I’ll buy a small container. If he asks for cookies, I buy one or two gourmet cookies from the bakery. He won’t eat anything that’s artificially sweetened. It’s sugar all the way. He even puts sugar on all his fruit.


Well, he’s now discovered online grocery delivery services. Anything the store sells he can have at the door in a few hours. I came home from work to discover three gallons of ice cream, in the freezer, several large packages of candy bars and two bags of cookies.


I’ve officially reached the “I give up” stage. My husband is an adult and I simply can’t stop him from self-destructing. He’s 71 years old and anyone would mistake him for 90. The way he looks and shuffles around. He’s definitely paying the piper in his old age. I’ve done everything in my power and I can look at myself in the mirror and not feel that there was something else I could have done. I will continue to take him to medical appointments, change his dressings and get his prescriptions filled and do anything else that's needed. I'll do what I can to keep him comfortable, but I’m absolutely done with hope. He isn't going to change and frankly, if he did, it's too late anyway. Oddly enough, I've discovered that there is a certain amount of relief that came when I gave up. I should have done this years ago. Thanks for listening to my rant.

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Jimbos, you also need to join AlAnon. I imagine his family just doesn't want to deal with the burden of him. When you return if he is still in one piece so to speak I don't think you should supply any alcohol. Dementia is bad enough without it. Ideally I think you should remove yourself from the environment but I realize that is not necessarily easy regarding housing. By providing alcohol you are enabling him. Perhaps if you could find a group I mentioned you might get some advice. I hope you enjoy your well deserved trip. If people want to continue or go out as alcoholics there is not much to be done other than protecting yourself and not contributing to the problem.
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My husband is 70 and has dementia. He is also severely depressed and alcoholic. He can't stop drinking. It is obviously making the dementia worse. I have tried to get him to stop drinking but he beats me down asking for the alcohol. I do eventually give in. About 5 years ago we made a living will. I do have durable medical power of attorney. He continues to insist I am the problem and not him. I have tried to keep him safe, but I need to give up and take better care of myself. I have been physically and mentally drained by all this. I am trying to do something good for me. I am going overseas for 10days the middle of sept. He insists he will not go anywhere, and his family refuses to help and thinks I am selfish to want to go on the much needed vacation. Joined a dementia support group (thank god I am not alone). It has helped tremendously.
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Totally agree, & glad that burden is off u now friend. (It's not our fault that any of these things happen to our LOs), but often we take it upon ourselves to 'save' everybody. It's so liberating not to have to 'police' everything. Now go get a massage! 💟
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I am really sorry, but please take care of yourself.
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Tell the doctor to tell husband that he will end up with a leg amputated or be in a nursing home if he doesn't stop it
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His blood sugar spiked to 820?!?!?! It's a wonder he is not in a diabetic coma!! Good grief. He's only 71?! I don't blame you for giving up if he's doing this to his body. "His old age?" 71 is not old. Wow! Also he is a sugar addict! There is no Sugar Addicts Anonymous, but if he wants to try it there does exist a program called Reformers Unanimous for all stubborn habits. PM me if you want more information on it and I will gladly provide it.

Llamover47
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Go ahead and start making arrangements for his funeral. Let him know what and why you are doing and even take him along to pick out the casket and such. Since he is well on his way to death, there is no reason to wait until he is gone to get the funeral taken care of. It will be less stressful on you when the time comes. Not much else you can do. Sounds like you have done everything in your power to take care of him. And yes, there is a time to give up.
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It must be a huge relief to you to give up. Why go on banging your head against a brick wall when it changes nothing and helps no one?

The only thing is, and I don't for a moment mean that this is for you to do - has your husband been examined by a psychiatrist? This is addictive behaviour - "don't tell me anything that makes me love sugar less, I won't hear it" - and sugar is a wicked culprit for that kind of thing. It isn't the sweetness, even, either - it is the sugar itself and what it does to hormones like leptin that control appetite. Some people are more vulnerable than others, and it looks as if your poor and too-young DH is a prime example.

It's just a thought. And anyway, nothing you can do can alter that - hand him over to any professionals who might want to try.
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Yes, you can absolutely make sure that he has a will, medical proxy, etc. in place. Unfortunately with his lifestyle "choices" he is not likely to just drop dead, but have a stroke or heart attack, which will make you even more of a caregiver as he may be unable to do much for himself. On the one hand if he is a totally dependent, you will be able to control every calorie. He will eat what you prepare, or he doesn't eat. But it may be too late by then. This is the road he is choosing now, and it must be painful to witness.

Your alternative is institutional care for him - is there a financial path to assisted living? Is that part of his plan when he chooses the short-term gratification of home-delivery ice cream? Ask him how he plans to pay for his care. How about a medical divorce, then only his money would be considered if he can't afford private pay? I am so frustrated by all of these stories of women whose husbands run the family into the ground financially during the HUSBAND's lifetime, leaving their widows impoverished. He's getting what he wants. Is this what HE wants for YOU? Is this what YOU want?
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You cannot control him. All you can do is control how you respond to him.
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Oh my, this is my situation only not quite as dire....yet. My husband is a type 2 diabetic and other than taking expensive medications, he refuses to do anything to help himself. Two of our adult children and I have been doing the keto diet for a couple of years and have lost weight, and my blood sugar and blood pressure are now normal. (My cholesterol is high, but for many reasons, I don't believe that is a problem at all.) Trying to get more exercise, too. Sometimes my husband will walk with me if I ask, but often he won't or he walks a short while and wants to quit. He says his joints hurt. I think it's from lack of use.

My husband won't cut back on carbs even a little and does nothing but watch TV all day. Other than come upstairs to get food or take the trash out once in a while, he honestly does nothing. He works a part-time seasonal job from home on the computer a few months out of the year, but other than that he feels entitled to just sit. He doesn't help with any cleaning or cooking, and I can't even get him to sweep out the garage. It's all on me, including keeping track of our finances and making most decisions. It's like being married to a 5-year-old.

His blood sugar is so high that his doctor says she wants to put him on insulin if it doesn't improve, which it won't. If I don't have stuff in the house that he wants to eat, he bugs me to go out to eat all the time, which we cannot afford. I feel guilty if I buy things he shouldn't eat, but then he just wants to eat out. I am between a rock and a hard place. He is also becoming increasingly irritable, and all he ever talks about is what he watches on TV or youtube. I, too, am fed up.

He hasn't had any major health scares yet, but I know it's only a matter of time. My dad died from complications due to diabetes, and his last few years were painful to watch. I am so angry with my husband right now that my main concern is having to deal with him as he follows the same path.

Doctors would be appalled, but I think the medications for type 2 do more harm than good. The disease still progresses, but they mask the symptoms so people can continue to do nothing to change their lifestyle. I'm not blaming the diabetic. The disease is difficult to control and is largely genetic, but folks have to try to do what they can to prevent complications for as long as possible.
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That was hardly a rant and I appreciate every single word you wrote! My father is very similar to your husband, and he has been an absolute ball-and-chain around everyone's neck in the family, most especially my mother, now for decades. I am so tired of elderly people who think they can do whatever they want, be a huge burden to their family and neighbors, take no responsibility for their decisions and then expect everyone around them to fix their problems. Every one of my friends has one or both parents, or a spouse, who are in total denial about their inability to take care of themselves independently and take no responsibility for their health. You are not alone and I hope more people see your message as this is a massively under-reported and undiscussed problem in our society. I personally have gone through a long and difficult guilt-phase in my life when I gave up -- and I still have to remind myself all the time that my father's problems are of his own making. Thank you again, Sawdust, for your message.
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I agree - I've had people say, "Oh, you should have him follow this (whatever) diet!" No, I can't police everything he eats because we're not together 24/7. I figure this is a lethal disease - if he gets some pleasure from eating potato chips, caramel M&Ms and drinking diet pop. then so be it. I'll use my energy elsewhere.
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Good for you! And actually good for your husband as well. He probably doesn't want to live for years in a nursing home. My late husband was also averse to Dr's orders and often didn't take his meds (and absolutely forbid me to put them out for him or take his blood pressure). So, he had a huge stroke at age 72. He lived for three weeks, as he was unable to swallow and refused a gastric feeding tube, thank God! There are worse things than dying--being kept alive via artificial means is one of them.
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The next trip to the ER make sure you let them know that you are no longer able to care for him at home.
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I believe all caregivers say what you said, “I give up.” However it will last awhile and then you reach out again because you love him, and later give up again.
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I would just make sure all documents are in order, to make it easier on you, when the time comes. He will not change, let it go, and continue to live your life, don't become his prisoner.
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Your post reminds me of many stories I’ve heard over the years at alanon and naranon family groups. At some point we all have to let go and recognize that as the serenity prayer tells us, we need the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference. When I discovered my son was using drugs, I joined these groups and I can honestly say these 12 step fellowships have changed my approach to all areas of my life, including now dealing with the elders in my life. We can, as you’ve discovered, only change ourselves and our reactions to circumstances in our lives. Other are going to do as they wish and nothing we do can really alter that. There is, as you say, a sense of relief in relinquishing this control. And sometimes when we do stop trying to control, others step up and take care of their own stuff. My son is now sober 4 years. No matter what your husband does, though, you need to let go or be dragged as the saying goes.
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I agree that you cannot fix this. It would not be too late for him if he had any interest in doing so. Food can be medicine but it takes work and education. That being so, you cannot expect him to do it. He may be depressed about his situation although he expresses that thru denial. As someone else said, please make sure your have your paperwork for him in order. Have an updated will, POA for him as he most likely will not have a lengthy old age. It must be extremely difficult to keep yourself positive and cared for under these circumstances but you can define how you want your future to go for yourself as much as possible.
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You can't make someone care about themselves or save themselves. But you can save yourself! Take in that relief and know you have done all that you can and the rest is up to him.
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Its not necessarily the store delivering the groceries. There are now delivery services such as instacart. And they aren’t going to turn down a paying customer.
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You could ask the store not to make further deliveries. Otherwise, not much you can do. 71 is still kind of young for all his problems. Must not have taken care of himself for years.

I doubt ur husband will see 80. Start planning for yourself. Get POA for DH. Get a DNR order in place. A Will to protect you.
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I think you are absolutely correct. It is time to step away, and get that relief. There is nothing here that you can change at all. He has a right to make his own decisions, and he is doing that. Step away.
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I'm sorry. Your situation is frustrating and heartbreaking.
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