Anyone have a mate who has neglected their health for so many years that they are literally dying at a young age?

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(53) I had No idea this was the case and after this person living here for 2yr sitting and eating junk food all day and never seeing a Dr. he is shocked his diabetic kidneys are failing and blood pressure is out of control. He never chked his sugar or saw a dr because he went by how he "felt"..... turns out it was around 700 and he went to hospital- blood pressure 300---- (he went to Dr for swollen legs). Sorry for the rant, but i am conflicted about telling such a person to find other residence... He is still doing things like not eating anything after cereal but a protein bar all day. I feel SO Anxious living with a time bomb. What should I do, i cannot help him. but for me- maybe go to group meeting?

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Top Answer
50s and 60s are the years when self neglect catches up with people. What I see for your friend, mica, is that he won't live much longer doing these things he does. He will probably need a lot of help in his last year or two. I have the feeling that you are feeling a bit sick by his condition. You weren't the cause of his condition and probably need to find a way out before he needs more help. Just because someone makes a bed for themselves doesn't mean WE have to lay in it.
My oldest brother was like this. He had an MD from some off-shore medical school, and he wasn't licensed to practice medicine anywhere, he got involved in shamanism and all kinds of faith healing--eastern medicine, Native American, just a little sprinkling of everything. He had a little cult of "followers" mostly just whackos on welfare. He was in and out of jail (due to child neglect and also practicing medicine w/o a license)..his life was just a hot mess.

I didn't know this, but he was a Type 1 diabetic and didn't treat it. Felt he could raise and lower his blood sugar by his Vulcan Mind think (I kid you not, that's what he called it) age 59, he walked into the local University Hospital, just "not feeling well" and had a massive stroke right inside the doors. He was placed on life support as they scrambled to find anybody who knew him and could make life and death decisions for him. (At this time he had been estranged from the whole family for many years--and from his 4 kids). Finally found the oldest daughter and she and the rest of the kids made it to the hospital in time to see him. Mother was taken there also (she had not spoken to him in years, although he had a PO Box she regularly sent money to)...the kids were in hysterics--but there was no option, they had to take him off the vent--he was gone.

I shed no tears as this man did nothing but bring grief to my life, and he was not allowed in my home. The way he died was sad, though. He basically killed himself, he KNEW he had very high BP, diabetes, a heart condition...yet he thought he was a god, literally and never saw "real doctors".

His kids were distraught at first, but later, after things settled, they were realistic. He chose to live life off the grid and he also chose to die that way.

So, yes, I think a lot of us know someone who just thinks they aren't harming themselves by ignoring their health.

If you aren't comfortable asking this person to leave, get some help for yourself. Watching someone kill themselves slowly is horrible. You can't control or talk sense into your buddy....but you can prepare yourself for the inevitable.

Good luck!
Mica, a now deceased neighbor was like that. He, his mother and aunt all drank. They all smoked. He ate prolifically.

They got no exercise except to go to the car to drive to get liquor, or when they fought and yelled at each other so loud that I could hear from my kitchen window.

The son had an ulcer on his leg which he said was from diabetes. Bluntly, it stunk. He used drugs and had a record dating back to 1985. (Next time I buy a house I'm doing a criminal check on the neighbors!)

I avoided the whole family and was relieved when they all died. A neighbor told me once the drug addict parked his car on the front lawn and took a nap.

I also am confident he was the one who instigated a break-in of my home. Police said it wasn't professional thieves, but someone looking for "stuff" to pawn or sell to local shops.

They sucked off Medicaid and whatever they could exploit. They all neglected their health.

Eventually the mother died of lung cancer, but she lived a lot longer than my very healthy sister who died of breast cancer in her 50's. And eventually the obese son died as well, probably in his 50's. He had just continued to deteriorate but never changed his lifestyle. A neighbor said he was in miserable condition by the time he left this world.

Eventually self negligence does take its toll.

If this person of whom you write refuses to care for himself, you have no obligation for him, whatever your living arrangement might be.

I would in fact, this very day, tell him to find another residence. This is too much of a burden for you to bear, and there's no reason why you should.

You're writing that his glucose level was 700? And his BP (systolic I assume) was 300? Does he use an insulin pump?

If he's in that bad of a shape, and has edema, it wouldn't surprise me if he ended up with lymphedema. I'm surprised he's still alive and hasn't gone into some type of diabetic crisis.

Please don't feel guilty for telling him to move, but do expect that this malingerer isn't going to act quickly and could just ignore you, so decide what further action you'll take, whether it's asking the police how to evict him, calling APS and reporting him, contacting the county health department and advising that he's self negligent, or asking if any mental health authority can intervene and take control/jurisdiction.

If he gets ulcers and they smell, do you want that odor in your home?

You owe nothing to this man.
Mica, you wrote "Everyone is telling me to expel him and i dont have the heart but i think he is suffering also from being in here. Something has to change".

This is going to be a bit blunt, but I'm sensing that you're kind of in the middle, feel sorry for himself yet don't have the courage to evict him. And, I think you need some encouragement to make the right decision.

First, you cannot control this person's behavior. You can only control your own. That's obvious, but sometimes pity and sympathy can sway someone to consider the welfare of someone else over their own.

Second, this man is CLEARLY not going to change. He's on a self-destructive path, probably accelerating by the day. Why should this affect you, even if he's a relative? You have no input or control of this man's behavior.

Third, Sunnygirl makes an excellent observation and points. This person in your living facility may not be able to comprehend his own destructive behavior.

Fourth, there is NOTHING you can do to change his behavior. Even if you found psychiatric or other help, you can't force him to accept it.

Fifth, do you want to be involved with someone who's heading downhill and won't change? Do you want to call EMS when he crashes, from whatever reason? Do you want to clean up after him when he's sick?

Do you want the obligation of being there and inherently assuming some responsibility for him?

And more to the point, do you have the stamina to watch someone slowly kill himself?

Think it over; you have your own life to live and it is not going to be enriched in any way by being with a self destructive person. Since you can't change it, what point is there in being involved?
Midkid, thanks for sharing such an intimate family experience. I'm sorry for your loss, but equally sorry that your brother was unable to realize his full potential as a man, a human and a brother. But your approach is a very admirable blend of compassion and realism.

Jessie, your advice also is very compassionate but truthful.

There are times when we cannot overcome another individual's mindset or lack of care.
WOW and wow.... you guys are amazing. I truly thought I wouldnt get any response, and the site changed the title from "Stubborn to Death" so I couldnt even find my own post at first. @midkid your post made me laugh outloud when i read vulcan mind hahaha. Sigh, thank you guys... it is really hard living in a tiny 350 square foot place with no bedroom- and having this go on , well, you are right , it isnt helping my health either. Everyone is telling me to expel him and i dont have the heart but i think he is suffering also from being in here. Something has to change.....
I agree with all of the above. He is a very sick man and will get sicker and sicker and require more and more care. You could google "overeaters anonymous spouse support", "families of overeaters anonymous" and "how to help someone who is an overeater" for ideas and support.
All the best and let us know how you are doing,
mica - His condition or mood is NOT your fault. And he did not land there in your place "poof". You made a decision to let him stay with you. 

You need to care for yourself first. Beware of a "honeymoon" period if he starts to make changes and things look better. Then things fall back to where they were and more. Set boundaries and expectations.

ETA "NOT"  - he s responsible for his moods and health, but you share responsibility for- him being there.
Golden, excellent points, and well stated. I'm afraid Mica is an enabler.
micalost, my blood glucose was way over 700 when I finally went to the ER for a series of symptoms, nearly 15 years ago. Later I read that these were classic text book symptoms for diabetes but my PCP kept telling me "It is anxiety, because your husband was just diagnosed with dementia." I was in the hospital 5 days. They gave me "rescue" insulin and sent me home with insulin to continue to use until things were under control. Then I took only oral meds for several years. Now I am back on insulin. I see the doctor as least every 6 months, and my kidneys are checked then. I get my eyes examined once a year. I take good care of my feet. I monitor blood sugar. I am compliant with med instructions. I'm a little less compliant about eating, but overall my diet is reasonably healthy.

My point is that diabetes doesn't have to be a death sentence. Even being in the stratosphere of blood glucose of 700 isn't untreatable. It is not going to heal itself, though, as you well know. So, does your friend WANT to get better? His condition now is life-threatening. That can very definitely be changed.

If he does want to change (and maybe feels hopeless about it) and you care for him a lot, you could offer to help him.
1) Go for daily walks with him. Very short to start with. Build up to longer. (This would be good for you, too.) Exercise is critical.
2) Make an appointment with a certified diabetes educator. (Insurance is required to cover this.) Go with him to each session (this is encouraged). Learn about the REAL way to eat with diabetes and don't just go on old wife's tales. If you do some of the cooking for him, take what you learn into consideration. If he buys and prepares all his own food, praise him when he follows good eating habits. Encourage him to do that more often.
3. Encourage him to comply with all instructions from the doctors -- take all his medications as directed, and make and keep follow-up appointments.

If he has stopped eating junk, that is a positive first step!

His life is far from over, unless he wants it to be. And if he is in self-destructive mode, it is probably best for both of you for him to live elsewhere. But if there is a glimmer of hope in his outlook, you could encourage that.

That is a lot to take on for you. Are you up for it? For some of it? How important is this person in you life? How strong are your "good Samaritan" feelings?

I wish you the very best in however you decide to handle this. Come back often and let us know how things are going.

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