Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Last Post...... For Now...

After my last post I decided I was done.  I reached my absolute limit, hit rock bottom with this damn disease.  It got too hard and I lost it.  I've learned a few things over the last few years of writing down my thoughts.  When I write about being strong and centered and being positive I have a lot of support.  Go me I'm invincible.  When I'm having a hard time I get a little less support, maybe because people know I like to be left alone.  Just because I want to be left alone during these times doesn't mean I want to feel alone.  I need to be left alone because that's how I I make sense of things. I need quiet, I need to be alone with my thoughts.  I write it all down as a way to get it out of my head, I go for a drive, take pictures, listen to music, I sit in a quiet place. I need to get them out of my head so I'm not holding it all in.  When I hold it all in then we go to the next level... I explode....and then I come across as bat shit crazy.  And everyone takes two giant steps back away from me, and that's about the worst feeling in the world, because then I am alone. And then I go back to putting on a fake smile because I realize nobody wants to know when I'm having a hard time.  No I'm's all good.  There is no easy fix to this situation....that I can promise you.  I have gone through every option in my head over and over again. And the one thing I come back to is this.... I have four kids and their father whom they love has a horrible disease that is slowly taking his life away.  I don't love this man anymore, I haven't for a long time.  That doesn't mean I get to be selfish.  It means I need to learn how to have a little more compassion and I need to stop being so angry.  We had a cat that we adopted a couple of years ago.  We have no idea how old he actually was. My 17yr old son bonded with him instantly.  When we brought him home he didn't run and hide like cats normally do in a new place, he walked around like he always belonged in our home. Followed my son and also my daughter everywhere. He was always with one of them.  All they had to do was call his name.  Three days ago he died... No idea why. I had to deal with three very sad kids all crying over their favorite cat. Having to watch a 17 year old boy so unbelievably upset and knowing there was nothing I could do but leave him alone ( because he is so much like me) was just about the most heartbreaking thing I've had to experience.   I could easily divorce Todd at this up his dad and say come and get him, he is no longer my problem anymore.  Trust me when I say I would love to do this and if it was just my feelings that I have to think about, it would have been done long ago.   I have four kids, this affects them all differently.  It is hard on all of us. It is trying. It pushes us all to our very limits. My kids, even though they know their dad is going to die,  have no idea what emotions they are going to experience when it happens.  I do....I was 17 when my dad died.  And it doesn't matter the reason, if it's sudden or drawn out because of a chronic illness.  They will experience every stage of grief in the order that it hits them for as long as it takes....and so will I.  Maybe I already am.  I also know this.... I haven't been doing a very good job at keeping the peace.  I've let my anger dictate how I react to situations. This is wrong on every level. I'm not going to fall in love with him again.  Those feelings just aren't there. But I do need to start thinking about everyone else and I need to stop letting the past dictate the present.  Yes...Todd is/was an alcoholic/addict.  He's made a lot of mistakes.....well haven't  we all? I'm not excusing his behavior I still have a little way to go before I can forgive him. But, something has to change....and honestly it needs to start with me.  This year has been a trying one. It hasn't been all bad. I've had some really great things happen...things that have made me unbelievably happy.  Things are hard...they are going to get harder.  I'm looking into what I can do as far as care for Todd...I'm not going to get help from his family, but I am going to see what insurance will cover, because I need help.  I can't do this by myself anymore.  So saying goodbye to 2014...overall it was alright....looking forward to 2015 and more learning, and growing. Taking some chances, trusting, and giving myself a break.  And my blog.... I won't delete it for now, but I am going to take a break for a few months.  Happy New Year.. :o)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I'm Only Writing a Blog Post Because I'm Avoiding Christmas Shopping

I need a time out.  Yesterday I had a less than flattering moment. I'm tired.  I'm hating Christmas this year.  I don't want to listen to Christmas music at all.  If I didn't have children and one specifically that this year is more aware of and excited about Santa Claus than he's ever been....I wouldn't even bother ... Seriously. I'm sick of the commercials that I've seen a million times since October and the decorations that have been in stores since September.  What the effing Hell is up with that by the way?  And here we are 9 days until Christmas and I haven't even begun shopping yet. Shopping gives me anxiety... Christmas shopping can push me over the edge... Having to Christmas shop with Todd pushes me to mental breakdown status and a possible admit to the psych ward.  Everyday....and I'm not exaggerating he wants me to take him shopping.  The problem.... Because I could easily drop him off somewhere.... He really needs to have someone with him.  As much as he shouldn't be on his feet because of how unsteady he is, he doesn't want to be in a wheel chair.  He's worn all of us out.  The kids can't handle hours of shopping.  They hate it.  I hate it.  His feet and legs can't handle it.  He doesn't pay attention to his body's limitations.  He spent 4 1/2  hours at Walmart looking for a birthday present for our son who turned 17 a few days ago and bought one thing...for himself.  He's always been this way.  The thing is, he has less and less hours in the day that he really has any kind of energy to function.  And once he gets past a certain point he has no idea what he is doing, and we hit the wander around the house looking through closets for nothing in particular at all hours of the day and night, turning on lights when I'm trying to sleep, pouring giant bowls of cereal and leaving them on the table, or spilling them all over the floor, falling asleep in the garage for hours on end lighting cigarette after cigarette... burning holes in his clothes, spilling drinks everywhere....phase of this damn disease.  He doesn't listen when I tell him he's too tired to go outside to smoke, that he just needs to lay down and rest. "I'm fine Angie...leave me alone."  Fine go ahead.   When I had just finished showering yesterday and my daughter started pounding on my bedroom door crying because she went out to the garage and couldn't get her dad to stay awake for 2 seconds I kind of lost it.  He is hurting every person in this house.  We dealt with the alcoholism for years and now we have to put up with this shit?  It's not fair!  I realize I should have more compassion.... I'm sorry, I don't.  I don't like him very much right now and quite honestly I would love to be able to move on with my life. I'm so sick of this.  Sick of him telling me I tricked him into selling his van so he has nothing drive.  Sick of him not understanding what is going on with his body.  Sick of missing work because of these stupid phases we go through.  Sick of having to take care of.....everything.  After I finally got him to sleep for a few hours, we had a talk.  And because he remembered nothing about earlier in the day I had to go over it all again.....including the part where I told him I was packing his bags and calling his dad (a man I have sworn to never speak to again) and telling him to come and pick him up because I can't do this anymore.  And I looked at him and said.... "Do you even understand how hard this is for us?"  Force him to quit smoking? Sop buying him cigarettes?  Anybody want to volunteer to stay with him while he has temper tantrums? Because I sure as hell don't.  Been there done that... No thank you.  I can say for sure at some point if insurance covers it, he will end up in a care facility, if it doesn't, I don't know what the Hell I'm going to do.  And having said all of that...yes I'm aware he is the one with the disease.  He is the one dying. How do you care about and have compassion for someone who acts like an ass? I'd really like to know, because I've tried, I really have....and I'm failing miserably.  The kids will have Christmas, I already know what I'm buying...mostly. I am the mom after all.... The one that has to make the magic happen, whether I'm in the mood to or not.  And it will all happen after I've finished whining and complaining about the unfairness of the choices I've made in my life.....and life will go on.   

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hey There... It's Been Awhile

Back in August, after my last post, I walked away from my blog.  I honestly felt like I had nothing left to say.  I was tired of talking about Todd.  I'm still kind of tired of talking about him.  However I do have things that I've learned about myself in the last couple of months.  For about three or four days I've been trying to figure out what I've wanted to say.  I'm still figuring it out as I go...don't mind my random thoughts.  This may end up being a long catch up post, with some things I've learned along the way.

Todd is still slowly declining in health.  He's lost close to 80 pounds.  He's looking older and more frail.  He's very unsteady on his feet so occasionally we use a wheelchair.  His memory still isn't great.  He has occasional falls. We still have occasional arguments about him wanting to drive. I still get angry at him over things that shouldn't be a big deal, but end up being a big deal. I know...I need to pick my battles...but having someone who knows how to push all the right buttons, that stir up memories that I wish would go away, makes it incredibly hard to walk away, without blowing up.  It is a challenge being the only one taking care of him.  His family has not seen him in months.  In fact I think they are mad at him right now....for what?  I have no idea.  It could be as simple as him not returning phone calls or texts. These people are never going to get it....ever.  So, I have no one who can help me.  And it's not that I really need help, it's just that the every day "stuff" can sometimes be insanely frustrating. I'm just worn out.  I'm working a later shift at work, getting home closer to when the sun comes up.  It's hard, and it's exhausting. I'm averaging maybe 5 hours of sleep at night and usually skip an entire nights sleep each week, just so on my nights off I can be tired enough to go to bed at a decent time.  It's life, I can handle it, but admittedly some days I don't handle it very well. I'm doing the best I can, and really considering everything, I'm doing pretty damn good. 

Over the past few months I've had a lot of new people come into my life.  It's been nice...refreshing.  I've always shied away from meeting new people.  I'm getting better about letting more people into my life that are positive influences.  Let's face it, I need all the "positive" I can get.  I've also learned how far I still need to go on my journey.  I thought I was good...balanced...forgiving.  The past was in the past.  Not so much.  The one thing I've learned for sure, I won't be able to forgive Todd completely until he's gone.  There are too many memories that run through my mind, that still hurt.  I have triggers, when he says or does certain things...and I get angry...and I throw memories back at him trying to hurt him.  I'm still damaged... I actually really hate that word.  I've definitely come a long way, and I am definitely on a different...better  path on my journey than I was at the start.  But, talking to people who are close to me, I have found there are things I never realized affected me that affect me in a big way.  Just an example.... Alcohol.  I have a hard time with people who drink.  One drink... 20 drinks. To me it's all the same.  It all has the same end result.  You hurt the people who are close to you, you get sick....and you die.   Watching people who are drunk makes me ill.  I watched Todd go from not drinking when we got one beer a 18 and sometimes 24 and then eventually adding a bottle of Rum that would last maybe two or three nights. Watching people who are close to me drink, scares me.  I don't know how else to describe it.  The difference...and what I need to learn and work on, is that not everyone has an addictive personality like Todd.  Everything with him was/ is in excess...obsessive.  Just because someone drinks....and I know this...but, I need to make my brain understand it, doesn't make someone an alcoholic.  It took someone very close to me, and is thankfully very patient with me to make me look at this and other things I have a hard time with in different ways.   It's hard...and it takes a lot of work, and I'm trying.  It's hard because I don't know what is normal. My marriage....if you can even call it a marriage anymore...I kind of don' extremely dysfunctional.  I'm hoping one day I can have a "normal" healthy relationship with someone.  I'm not sure how to do that yet, and it scares me.  I second guess so many things.  I have a lot of  "What ifs" in my head.  My biggest....What if I completely screw up a good thing because I question too much?'s possible.  The good news is I'm learning and I'm healing.  Having people in my life who are unbelievably patient and let me know when I need to step back and look again at something a little differently, and having the ability to do that has been an amazing experience, and a huge step forward for me.  Do I consider myself a victim of abuse?  I've thought about this a lot lately.  I was never physically abused. The closest I ever came to that was one night before he quit drinking.  He was incredibly drunk and I was beyond tired and I said something that set him off....he threw a lot of things around our bedroom before getting in my face looking at me with a look of pure hatred that I had never seen before, with his hand in a fist.  I stood there motionless, looking into his eyes, holding my breath for what felt like forever, it was maybe 30 seconds before he turned and walked away and passed out shortly after.  Hands down worst night of my life.  He remembered none of it the next morning....wondering why the tv remote was broken, why it looked like I had been crying all night....probably because I had been crying all night.  I think that was the moment that made him realize he needed to quit. And when I look was the moment that if I'm being truthful with myself,  I realized I was done with him.  That was almost 7 years ago, and for too many years after,  I was still too afraid to leave. Now I just feel sorry for him, I'm absolutely not afraid of him anymore and I feel like maybe I just have something to prove to myself....maybe that sounds stupid...I don't know. Victim of abuse? I personally choose not to label myself in that way.  I put up with a lot.  Mental, emotional and verbal abuse? Yes.  Not constant every day, but it was definitely a part of our marriage.  I used to argue with him when he was drunk.  It took me a few years to just keep my mouth shut and give in.  You want me to make breakfast (eggs, hash browns, know the works)  for you at 3am after I get home from work, even though I'm dead tired and need to get up with little kids in a few hours?  Fine.... Resentment....resentment...resentment.  You want to point out women to me and tell me you want me to look like them....sure I'll laugh it I swear at you in my head, and feel worse and worse about myself.  More resentment.  I could go on, but I won't.  I have plenty of stories that he denies and now says he never would have done.  Sure....ok....whatever.  He doesn't remember.  This being the reason I need to forgive him, and let it all go....and why right now I can't, not completely anyway.  There are still too many triggers in my face, everyday.  Sometimes I walk away, sometimes I can't and I explode, because dammit he needs to remember it so it can hurt him as much as it hurt me.  That's never going to happen and it's not the right way to go about any of this.  I know it's wrong to throw it in his face.  I know it's wrong for me to want to hurt him as much as he hurt me.  I would be a better person if  I could just let it all go.  Sometimes it's just not that easy....period. However, I am trying.

Earlier this week, I scored a huge win for my 10yr old at school.  Like...I totally kicked ass.  Starting in first grade we determined he needed to be in a resource class to help him in areas he needed help with.  He has a very low level of comprehension.  He has never been diagnosed with anything.  The school keeps wanting to label him with ADD.  It has been a frustrating few years of me trying to get his teachers, speech therapists, school psychologists, listen to me.  I almost always walk out of the meetings we at the beginning of the year to review and make changes to his IEP and one at the end to wrap up the year and see how far he has progressed.... feeling like the worst mom in the world.  Discouraged and frustrated.  At the end of  last year, I tried to get them to hear me. Questioning why in the world we would send him to the 4th grade when he was barely at 3rd grade level in one area...and only on a 2nd or 1st grade level in other areas.  I was basically accused of babying him.  I needed to let him do more on his own.  If maybe we just tried medication for his ADD he could focus better and learn faster.  I walked out of that meeting so angry, and sat in my car crying feeling like the biggest failure of a mom.  Am I crazy?  How do they not see what I see?  How can they not see that there is so much more going on with him?  This year he was due to have all of his testing done again.  I was hopeful that we would see different results.  I walked into the meeting with different people than the previous year, with the exception of 2 individuals, feeling hopeful, partially due to the fact that I had talked to his teacher a month earlier.  When I walked into his room on that day, he looked at me and he said, "I get it...I get what you were explaining to me at the beginning of the school year."  I always go in before the year starts and try to "prep" the new teachers on what they should expect.  He told me he was a little skeptical and wanted to see things for himself, and then basically said, you're right, he really doesn't understand why he is here or what he supposed to be doing.  He just kind of goes through the motions and does what everyone else is doing.  And I looked at him and said "Thank are the first teacher to understand what I'm talking about."  So....back to the meeting.  The school psychologist started with the results of the testing.  His IQ test shows he is well below average.  However....he starts explaining, he believes this is due to the fact he had a hard time paying his ADD probably affected the score.  At that point, I can't even imagine what the look on my face was, I'm pretty sure I was looking at him like he was completely nuts, and I let him finish what he was saying, and then I said, "I'm sorry, but I don't agree with you, and I'm not leaving this room another time with a diagnosis of ADD." So we went around the room everyone giving their thoughts for close to 2 hours.  I finally said this... "I get why you want to label him with ADD, he does to some extent have a problem with paying attention.  But, let's look at this from a different angle.  If you were in a room listening to a lecture, and had absolutely no clue what the person lecturing was saying or understanding what he was talking about, would you pay attention? Or...would you start drawing in your notebook or staring out of the window or doing whatever else until you heard something that you understood and brought your attention back?"  Ahhhhh that makes sense.  If he can't understand what the teacher is telling him....and there are many times I need to find different ways to explain things to him....then how do you expect him to pay attention? So the school psychologist looked at me and said, "So you think these scores are accurate?"  And I looked at him and said, "Absolutely."  From there we formed a new education plan for him.  He will be in a more integrated classroom where more focus can be put on what he needs help with.  I left that meeting wanting to throw my hands up in the air and scream "YEEEESSS!!!" Finally....finally they listened, and I was able to leave a meeting feeling semi intelligent and happy.  Such a relief, that he will soon get the help he needs instead of getting pushed from one grade to the next, and getting lost in the system. 

It's been an interesting few months.  A lot of learning...always learning, understanding, growing, moving forward, even though in some ways it feels like I took a few leaps back. It's ok because now I know more of what I need to work on, and I'm doing just that.  There's always going to be frustrations.  If you've ever had to take care of someone with this disease, then you know it comes with the territory.  The important thing for me to know, is that I'm sure that one day I will be at a place where I feel like I'm completely ok, and that is what keeps me going.  I'm moving forward and I'm trying to work on things and really that's the most important thing. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Roller coasters , Reality, and Revelations...

One thing that you may or may not know about me...depending on how well you know me or how many of my posts you've that when life starts throwing too many things at me, good or bad, I get really overwhelmed.  Like...shut myself in my room, curl up in a ball, ignore everyone...overwhelmed.  Usually only for maybe a matter of hours...but still.  My life is already a roller coaster ride....I've started to hate roller coasters.  The last week and a half a few loops were added to it. Something good would happen...something would go wrong.  This was seriously my what the Hell pattern for about a week and a half.  Some really big things....some normal everyday things...some little things...but all combined together in this short amount of time? Not so good for me.  I've been thrown into the position of "take care of everything person." To be honest, I like having control, but I HATE this. The man I married is still here.. Yes he is very sick, physically and mentally he is older than his actual age, his memory is bad, he can't drive or work anymore. He has days he's completely out of it  and sleeps for hours and hours. I can't trust leaving our 10 yr old home alone with him for long periods of time.  But...he is still here and he can still function.  There are still things he can do...and I really get no help from him whatsoever.  I haven't worn my wedding ring in a couple of months. It doesn't feel like anything is missing. I don't even feel like I'm married, and it's not fair.

So about a week and a half ago....and I'll try to sum it all up the best I can, because honestly I could probably write a book about everything that happened in this short amount of time... Our oldest son was contacted on FB by his older half sister whom he's never met.  The last time he saw his "mother", was when he was 2.  He has two older half siblings and two younger (that I know of) that he has never met. He has known about them, but none have tried to contact him until now.  He's 19, so it's his choice, and I think it's completely freaked him out. He's not sure how to feel about all of this, and I'm sitting on the sidelines not knowing how to feel about all this either.  I spent years being overprotective of him....maybe too overprotective and now I have to stand back and let him make this decision on his own.  I have to be honest this really sucks.  I hate it.  I didn't want this day to happen.

A couple of days later, I was finally offered a career position at work.  This is a good thing...a very good thing.  Like the best thing that has happened for me in a really long time.  I now have really good benefits and peace of mind, and it is a huge relief...huge.  The only downside, I don't have control of the hours I'm scheduled...don't care, that, I can deal with.

Just a few short hours and maybe 3 hours of sleep after I got this fantastic news, Todd and I got in THE worst argument we've ever had...ever.  Starting an argument with me when I'm tired is a very bad thing.  You're not going to win, and you may get locked out of the house and told to leave in a not very nice way.  All I can say is this, it involved the car and driving, and  I was called a name no woman should ever be called.  In the end...I got the key to to car back that he has been hiding from me, he was allowed back in the house, and I will never...ever put that wedding ring back on my finger again.  He told me I took his manhood away.... No...I was not the alcoholic.  This is where we learn to take responsibility for our actions.  Two hours later, I lost myself in some really loud music at a music festival with two of my kids, and it ended up being a good day.

In the next few days we ended up at the emergency room, because even though I don't want to be married to this man anymore, I am still his caregiver.  Pneumonia again...because he can't quit smoking...add this to our routine.  I also celebrated my birthday, part of the day with my kids part of the day alone.... Good day.

So these were all the big things.  There was one other thing that I'm not talking only concerns me...but combined with everyday life and a lot of little things...I shut down. Two nights ago I walked into my room, shut the door, curled up in a ball on my bed and cried....sobbed actually for at least three hours.  I don't remember the last time I cried that hard, it's been years, and I needed it.  One Xanax and 15 hours of sleep later, I woke up looking like Hell, but I got up and put my big girl pants on, because all of this is reality.  Whether Todd is here or not, I'm still going to be the one dealing with everything.  This is life right now...and I say this all the time...I either deal with it or I don't.  So....I deal and life goes on.

This morning I had a dream, and I rarely remember my dreams, but I definitely believe they have deeper meanings to them.  Basically my dream was this... It was me and three of my kids...Todd and our oldest son were not there.  We were on a flat raft in the middle of these massive rapids.  Waves and waterfalls all around us. We had to stay on this raft , every time we fell off we had to start over from the beginning.  Try after try...fall after fall...starting over, again and again, until finally we made it to a wall...or a cliff.  I don't really know what it was, I just know I had to climb it.  I got to the top and laid down and closed my eyes...I remember just feeling absolute relief.   When I opened them, I looked out at a beautful white beach with calm blue water.  No waves, just still...calm...peaceful...water.  Right before I woke up I heard my kids laughing and playing and saying, "Mom, we need to stay here for awhile." And me saying, "Yea, that's a really good idea."  I woke up feeling pretty good about things.  Interpret it how you want.. But I can sum it up in one word... Survivor...

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Just Trying to Keep On....Keepin' On

So after spending four hours on a post that I couldn't make work....walking away for a couple of hours...and deleting it...I'm going to attempt something completely different.  It was a fluff post anyway, avoiding what I need to get out of my head.  I haven't even looked at my blog since my last post.  I've been dealing with a lot of frustrations. Todd's last doctors appointment was...frustrating.  I got absolutely no answers...a shrug of the shoulders...a I don't know why he is sicker than his liver is...a I don't know what to tell you, this is long term...and the doctor leaving the room quickly when me staring at the ceiling wasn't enough to stop the tears anymore.  I'm so sick of crying about unbelievably sick of it.  When the physicians assistant came back in the room... Todd asked him when exactly it would be ok to drive.  The PA looked at me, like he couldn't believe what he heard....I looked away.   He then looked at Todd and said, " can not should not be driving...ever."  He's come back mostly from that last episode....who knows what it was...not me, that's for damn sure. Although, his appetite is worse, he's lost almost 60 pounds and his memory is getting worse.  The problem....yea he still wants to drive. for the last 2 weeks, we have argued about him driving. I am so over having this argument.  He doesn't understand his illness at all. He told me today that his illness affecting his thinking, (which he doesn't believe that it does) has nothing to do with him driving.  That doesn't even make any all.  It has everything to do with it. I've always been a very laid back, easy going...patient person. I've never in my life had anyone push my buttons like he does. I hate it....I absolutely hate the level of angry he takes me to. I'm totally going to the very least, I'm waiting for Karma to kick my ass, for the awful things I've said in the last few weeks.  Why must he choose to have this argument when I'm half asleep? And why....seriously...can't I just walk away?  I missed my family reunion.....I MISSED my family reunion.  Upset doesn't cover it.  I needed that week away.  I can't even talk about, and I don't want to hear how fun it was.  I mean I'm glad everybody had a good time.....I just don't want to see or know what I missed.  Work wise I'm holding my breath....I am closer to a position at work that I've been hoping and waiting for, for 9 years.  I am so close... I need this, and I'm so afraid I'm sabotaging myself with how angry I've been. I'm really kind of having a stomp my foot....this is so freaking not fair kind of a month.  I'm trying so hard.....I'm not even going to talk about the fact that my 19 year old is sleeping on my couch....I can't even go there. Deep breath.... So yesterday I got up, lied to my husband (yea I know) after our daily argument and took the kids to a lake 2 hours away. I needed desperately to clear my head. It was good to just get away for a few hours.  I'm trying so hard to take care of everything...bills are getting overwhelming...prescriptions are getting more expensive, because his insurance is covering less and less each month.  I'm so off balance...and desperately need to feel centered again.   I guess that's where I'm headed with this post.... It's time to pay attention to myself again.  I've got to get back to where I was last summer before I self destruct, I think I finally hit bottom. I was able to have a few hours to really clear my head and I'm ready to get back to me, to take care of myself. To work on walking away before that anger takes over....because it just isn't me. I guess I could say I took a detour that turned into a dead end on my journey....time to turn around get back to the path I was on and get back to doing what I know works....

Friday, June 13, 2014

Getting Used To A New Normal....Possibly

I was wrong, Todd won't tell me I'm crazy when his mind is more clear, and I tell him how this week has been.  It's been at least nine days and he is still sleepy and varying in degrees of confusion.  Sometimes it's not too bad other times it's just awful.  He hasn't been what I'm used to as his "normal" for over a week.  I start to question what could be wrong, because the last time we saw his doctor he said he was probably more sick from his diabetes than his liver right now. I don't have a way to check his blood sugar, because he never really did it himself and his supplies are old.  I feel so stupid to even admit that. He's never really cared, and I refused to treat him like a child. After consulting a couple of people who have seen him in the past week, I decide to take him to the hospital. I'm really starting to hate hospitals. I won't take him again. Everyone is nice of course, and helpful. That's not the reason I hate these places. The guy taking his vitals and putting his info into the computer asks him why he is there. Todd says, "Because my wife hates me." He asks him a few more questions and can tell Todd is not quite with it mentally. I usually have given a big explanation at this point. I'm too tired, I haven't said a word.  The guy looks at me and says, "So who are you?"  I say, "I'm the wife."  "Ahhhh," he says, "I was wondering."  Then he gives me the sympathetic smile I get from everyone. As Todd is being wheeled back to the room, I notice out of the corner of my eye, a man watching us. I don't know if he is a doctor or nurse what his job is. I look at him, he keeps watching me.  I have no idea why I noticed this or why it bothers me.  We finally get to the room and the doctor comes in. He's very young  and I suddenly feel very old.  They start drawing blood, he complains about his chest hurting, so they do an EKG.  I spend the next two hours telling Todd every so often that no, he can't go outside to smoke. He is convinced his nurse told him he could. He puts the monitor that goes on his finger to measure his oxygen levels on his middle finger and flips me off.  He laughs because he thinks he's funny and then falls asleep for a few more minutes. I close my eyes and wait.

After two hours, the doctor comes back in and gives me the results. His ammonia levels are normal. When the liver isn't doing it's job it can't filter the toxins out of the body, ammonia builds up in the brain, which can cause confusion.  The medication he is taking is keeping his ammonia levels normal.  This isn't the reason for his confusion. His blood sugar was also in the normal range.  There actually is no reason for the decline other than it being a progression of the cirrhosis. That's what this doctor thinks anyway. "So," I say, "should I expect this to be his new normal?"  The doctor says it's hard to tell but, it's very possible. It's getting harder to care for him. He starts making suggestions for the future as Todd gets worse. When they discharge him, the nurse hands me information about cirrhosis. I suddenly feel like a complete idiot.  Do they think I don't know what's going on? I just want to get out of there. I know more about this shitty disease than I ever wanted to, and I can't believe I didn't think this was part of it. I feel stupid. Of course his disease is progressing. I didn't expect it to happen that fast. He changed overnight....literally, and I hate using the word literally.  He decides he can walk out of the ER instead of using a wheelchair, it takes what feels like forever. I have a couple of people tell me good luck with everything....and I get more sympathetic smiles. I don't want to look at anyone, I know what they are thinking.  The same man who watched me on the way in, watches me on the way out. I have the sudden urge to turn and yell, "WHAT?!?" I don't. Instead, I look straight ahead, concentrating on the exit, telling myself not to cry over and over and over. Today is no different than yesterday or the day before. I'm kind of in a "what the hell am I supposed to do now" state of mind. I can't take much more time off of work. I can't afford to.  If this is our new normal I need to figure out how to adjust better.

My husband is only 45 years old, and I'm losing him a little more each month. Our nine year old just asked his dad what's wrong with him.  He doesn't understand why his dad is saying the crazy things he's saying.  Is he going to wake up one day and not know who I am? What about our kids? The thought of it breaks my heart.  I don't really want to know the answer. It's too much to think about. How long will he be like this before he gets worse?  We just finished fighting over him wanting to drive the car to the store...he can't even think straight. I have to threaten that I will call the police if he gets in the car.  He hid the damn key and I have no idea where it is. I'm just praying he doesn't remember where it is either. My feelings of hating him and caring about him are constantly  fighting with each other.  I feel sorry for him. I hate him for doing this to our family. I hurt for our kids who will lose their father to soon in life. I hurt for them because I know how it feels. Todd won't be able to tell me I'm crazy, because he may never be clear headed enough again for me to explain it to him. I just don't know. My patience is being tested much too often, and I'm kind of failing miserably in that department. He has an appointment with his doctor next week. I need realistic answers. I need to know my options.  I don't want to think about any of it, but I need to get a grasp on this new reality, before I lose my mind.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

How Am I Supposed To Get Through This?

It's after midnight, and I'm home from work for the second night in a row. I somehow didn't think about the fact that my teenagers were going to be gone Friday night and I had no idea when they would be home Saturday.  I couldn't leave my nine year old home alone with his dad.  This week is a bad week mentally for Todd, he has had only one "normal" (staying in bed for at least 8 hours) night sleep.  The rest of the week he has taken naps here and there, but most of his time has been spent in the garage.  It's just after midnight and I finally got Todd upstairs after being in the garage all day.  He's having a lot of problems with his memory this week. Five minutes after getting him up the stairs, he tells me he hasn't been downstairs to smoke yet. "What do you mean? You just came upstairs!"  "No" he says, "I haven't been down there for awhile." He turns around and goes right back down the stairs...I want to cry. This is the second time we've gone through this pattern this week. I am crying as I write this. I don't want to do this anymore, it's too hard. I hate it. I won't be at work again tomorrow, because I know tomorrow is going to be worse than today. I've already been through this once this week. I'm tired...mentally tired. My paycheck is going to be crap. I can't go to my family reunion this year, and I'm so unbelievably angry about it. He's ruined every reunion for me. Yes, I do blame him. He's sick because of choices he made, and I'm tired of taking care of him. I'm thinking about talking to my doctor about medication for depression. I don't know that I'm depressed so much, as I'm just sick of everything and I've had enough. How am I supposed to get through this, when I've had enough? Don't advise me to pray. I pray all the time. Maybe I'm praying for the wrong things. I just want to go a day without feeling like I want to run away.  I looked up support groups on the internet for caregivers of people with cirrhosis. The first entry I read, made me cry. The woman described what she goes through with her husband. She was describing my life. She said she often has times she says she's done and tells him she's leaving. I've been there too. This disease more than sucks. I'm tired of arguing with him about stupid things like him wanting me to take him to the store at 10:00 at night, because he doesn't realize what time of day it is, or driving, or something he can't find. I'm sure if I were to ask him right this moment what day it is, he would not be able to tell me.

The only way I can describe it is this... It's like dealing with a person who has been drinking...except 24/7.  Which is awesome considering I put up with him being an alcoholic for years.  Sometimes he acts 2 beers drunk, sometimes it's like he's so drunk he is blacking out. All day....everyday varying degrees of this.  He'll tell me I'm crazy if I try to tell him what this week has been like when his mind is a little more clear....because it will be. Watching someone get drunk will never be funny to me....its a good way to escape reality? Give me a fucking break. I actually find it sickening. I'm writing all this in a notebook, because I don't want to turn on my computer. It's now after 1:00am, I have to go downstairs and try to convince him again that it's time to come upstairs to go to sleep. He'll probably end up sleeping in his chair in the garage. I can't argue with him and I can't carry an almost 300 pound man up the stairs. So, one more attempt, either way I'm going to bed. I don't know what else to do. He's driving me insane. I'm feeling a tiny bit better now that I've gotten that out. I'm still tired. I still don't know how I'm supposed to get through keep keep going. I can't just walk away, even though I wish so many days that I could. I continue on day by day, minute by minute, reminding myself to just breathe, because even though I don't know how I'm supposed to get through this, I know I will.  The only alternative is for me not to, and that really isn't an option....too many people depend on me.

It's 8:30am, his side of the bed is exactly the way it was when I fell asleep. He stayed up all night. My  nine year old comes in and lays next to me. He's showing me his latest video he made of himself playing with his trains. I'm smiling, but not really paying attention. I walk downstairs to the garage. Todd is sitting in his chair, the door is open, and he's awake for right now. He looks at me, I close the door without saying a word, and walk back upstairs. I'm not in the mood to argue with him. His wounds are getting worse. They have spread from his ankles, to his feet, to his toes. It is getting harder for him to walk. He still won't monitor his blood sugar, or eat right, or quit smoking. I don't know how he will escape amputation. I have a feeling, it's coming, but I can't predict the future. My house is all stairs, I can't even fit a wheelchair through any of the doors. I'm forced to think about the "what if's" on a daily basis. This week has been too much for me. I'm going to miss my family reunion...I really needed that time away. I hate this house, some days it feels like a prison. I know people are going to ask what they can do for me. Nothing....there really is nothing. I close my eyes, I take a deep breath and tell myself it's time to face the day.