I Am A Prisoner In My Own Home

Anita and I have been married for 46 years. I was a diabetic for 19 years before we were married in 1964. She was only 20 then, and knew nothing about diabetes. I rarely had insulin reactions back then. There was very little known about diabetes care. The monitors for measuring blood sugar levels were not available until the mid 1980s, and there was almost no useful advise given by my doctors. When I became more educated about diabetes, and had a doctor who knew a lot about diabetes, I started using tight control. Along with that control came many insulin reactions (hypos). When the hypos started in the early 1970s Anita was very good about it. She did a great job!!! I praised her every time she brought me out of a hypo.

Anita devoted most of her time to our two sons. Many years later the boys were in high school, and they demanded very little of her time. She was a stay-at-home mom, and had a lot of time on her hands. Later on, the boys went off to college, and I was the center of her attention. She became a chronic worrier about so many things, including my hypos, which were not so frequent at that time. She would feed me glucose tablets when hypos occurred at night.

Fast forward to the new century. Anita is an extremely nervous person, especially concerning my diabetes, even though I have very good control now. She wants me to test every 2 hours, including nights, and once every hour when we are out traveling, shopping, etc. Every time I turn over at night she wakes me up and wants to know if I’m OK. I love her to pieces but she drives me crazy!!! She worries needlessly about my diabetes, even during the daytime.

Anita started to become overprotective after the kids left home. They have been gone for 18 years now. They live in NC and GA and we are in NY. We only see them twice per year. My wife heaps all her mothering on me. I have realized that for some time now, but there is nothing we can do about it. Our marriage is wonderful, and I understand she cannot help being this way. Is it possible to be loved too much? HA!

I started training on my insulin pump in May of 2007. Anita attended all the training sessions with me. She actually said that she thought that I would do much better, and she would not have to worry so much. It was a dream come true to hear her say that! The very next night after she said those words, I had a rather bad hypo. It was the first one since Jan. 5 of that year. She still seemed rather optimistic though. I was encouraged about pumping, and her optimism. I have not had any hypos that required her help since July, 2007. So why is she still worrying as much as ever??? I still have to test every two hours, and nothing has changed, despite the fact that my control is very, very good with no hypos that require her help. Her worrisome ways will never end. I am convinced of that.

After retiring I wanted to travel and see more of our country and Canada. The UK and other European countries were places that really interested me. Anita hates travel and loves staying at home. She even hates flying to Atlanta to see our kids and grandkids but she loves the visit once we get there. I want to travel alone, and am very confident that I would be perfectly safe in doing so. Anita says she will not allow this! If I go, she will go with me, even though she does not want to do so. Enjoying a vacation with her tagging along would be impossible. She would not enjoy it, and we would both be miserable. Staying at home seems to be the only option. This situation is so very frustrating!

I can tolerate Anita mothering me, and worrying about me, but I want to travel. I worked hard for 34 years and we have a nice savings that would permit the travel. The only feasible solution seems to be my running away from home. I would stay away for a few weeks and call her three or four times per day. She would probably, eventually, forgive me. She would be at home with her three cats, where she wants to be. She would be very angry but she would understand, or would she? This escape has occupied my mind for several years. So why don’t I do it? My love for Anita is so strong that I cannot do this to her. She would worry so much, and lose sleep at night.

What would you do if you had this problem? It is not fair to me if I stay at home to make her happy, and it is not fair to her for me to take her along, or run away on these dream vacations. We are getting older, and something has to be done about this, but what? <sigh>

We are currently planning a trip to England in 2011. Will it actually happen? I wonder. We have planned trips like this before, but they never happened. Something always comes up, and the trip is canceled.

hmmm… how about you send her and some of her girlfriends on a trip while you make your escape?

First of all, this was very touching even though you were conveying a problem that you have. The fact that you love her deeply and can accept her smothering you with worry is just simply moving. My parents have been married for 56 years and I love how there came a point that they just love the flaws (not all) in each other.

Perhaps there is a better solution than to run away. Is it possible to invite one of your children or a friend to travel with you? It might put her mind at ease that she doesn’t have to go, yet she knows you will be with someone who can be there if you need them.

This made me feel all warm and mushy without added carbs. :slight_smile:

I think you said it all. Once she gets there, she is fine.
I hate traveling, especially with all the new rules and regulations. But, my husband and I have a wonderful time when we go. The worst that happens is I miss my dogs and cats something terrible, but that’s another story.
I think you should take her along. Maybe not to Europe, maybe something shorter and closer to home.
But I think she should go.
If my husband didnt ‘expect’ me to go, I suppose I would sit here and be totally miserable and never see another vacation again. But he knows I need it, and he will want me to do it and to go with him.You could still try to go someplace on your own one day, but for now I say go together.
Life is short, enjoy your marriage and your travels.

I hope you get to travel. Such a balancing act we all do in our relationships. When we give up our dreams it can lead to deep resentment, despite loving the person.

Why does Anita dislike traveling? My mother-in-law is like that. She resists going anywhere. Her reason “nothing is like it is at home.” Yep, that’s the fun traveling, it is nothing like being at home. New experiences.

What I’d do is explain how much traveling means to me, acknowledge her anxiety (or whatever it is) about leaving home & say I’m going & would be much happier if you were by my side to share the fun. Coming with me, or are you staying home? Yes, I would go by myself. Life is too short.

Why don’t you take up an extremely dangerous activity right at home? I mean if you can’t go on vacation, maybe you could spend your money on a motorcycle, or take up hang gliding. There is always hunting in your back yard. These things can make travelling seem like a “safe” thing to do. Life is full of danger, even at home.

In the end, you will have to resolve the conflict. Either you will feel resentful for never achieving your dream of travelling, or your wife will feel bullied into in activity that makes her feel unconfortable.

I too am very moved by the depth of love, concern, and commitment in your relationship with your wife. I can relate some as well.

For many years, my husband would not fly. Because of his job, we could fly for free. That was so frustrating to me…the world was waiting at the airport, which we can literally see from the top of the hill by our house. So I took a few trips with other family members, and ski trips with the girls to at least partially satisfy my wanderlust. Now, miraculously, my husband is willing to fly. It is still a very stressful thing for him, but he does it. I stopped trying to push where I wanted to go, and let him choose destination and length of trip. That really helped too. I have come to appreciate the beach, when before all I wanted to do was go to the mountains. Just saying that sometimes it seems that things will never change and they do. We are scheduled to make our second trip to hawaii in 2011 :).

Is your scheduled Europe trip with a group? Maybe that would help on a couple of fronts. If your wife decides not to go, you could still go and she would know you would be with other people who could help should you have a bad low. You could promise to brief the tour guide and a few others on what to do for you. If she does go, she could maybe skip some of the outings and hang at the hotel, but again, know you would be among other people.

Another idea is a cruise. She could hang out on the boat, and you could go on the excursions. I know she would still be traveling, but perhaps a compromise of sorts.

Would she feel better about you going while she stayed home if you went with another close family member or a friend that you could room with? Again, making sure they know how to handle a serious low if they don’t already? Whe I took my girls only trips, I went with a good friend who understood my needs and that helped a lot for my state of mind, as well as my husband’s.

I know it’s a tough and frustrating situation to feel that you are missing out on some great life experiences. But you have and are experiencing deep love that some people never in their lives have. I’m praying for a good outcome that will also strengthen your relationship with your wife in the end.

Thank you friends, for your comments. Some of them really touched me. I enjoyed the funny ones too. Lol!

Our trip to the UK will not involve a group until we get there. There will be a big meet-up of UK members from diabetesdaily.com. My good friends from that site will hold that meet-up so they can meet Anita and me. Several of them have bought my book, and they want me to autograph it at the meet-up. I think Anita will enjot the peeps in England. The problem is getting her there. We went to the post office yesterday to apply for passports. Anita was not herself. She kept making mistakes on the forms and in answering questions. She dreads leaving home so much and the long flight is something she does not want to think about. That was on her mind and she had a hard time at the ost office. This is not going to be a fun trip if she keeps on worrying in this manner.

Have you told Anita how you feel? Just tell her that you want to go places and you are OK with the fact that she would rather stay home but you need her to be OK with your wanting to go. I am not a big traveler and I won’t fly so that kind of limits the places I will go to. I would love to go to Ireland but I don’t think I could ever convince myself to get on a plane to go! I understand Anita not liking to travel, but I would never want to hold someone back that did want to go places. My cousin likes to travel and her husband doesn’t. They go places together for the things he likes to do but she also always plans a week at the beech with a friend of hers. Her friend & her also do things like cruises and stuff that she wants to do but her husband doesn’t.

Thanks Kelly! I wish I had a close friend who would be interested in traveling with me, but at my present age (71) I don’t. Anita knows how i feel and we are planning a trip. I sure hope it turns out well. If it does, this may be the start of frequent trips, but I am not going to “count my chickens before they hatch”.

Since part of your trip to Europe will including book signing, how about if you use your book as an opportunity to get a chance to go places? A lot of hospitals have diabetes centers these days so you could pick whatever place you would like to see and contact a hospital in the area and offer to give a little talk and do a book signing. Then you could tell Anita you have always wanted to go to Yellowstone or wherever and since you will be within 20 miles, you may as well spend a few days doing some sightseeing. Your publisher might even help set up stuff but if you use them, you might not get to be as picky about where you end up doing book signings at! There are enough people here on TuDiabetes that if you asked who is in a certain area, people could help you find hospitals and groups to volunteer with.

Kelly, I have thought about giving talks and doing book signings. I gave a talk in a town nearby witha 10,000 population, 13 people showed up, all were type 2, and none used insulin. Only 7 were diabetics, The others were spouses. I have attended support group meetings in my home town, but I am always the only type 1 there, so I have not asked to give a talk. Where do type 1 diabetics hide??? Only 155 of my books have been sold. That includes Canada, the UK and Australia. If I gave a talk in any part of our country, it would be very unlikely that anyone there would have bought my book.

Hi Richard - been reading your book and loving the history lesson. My husband is 72 and remembers much of the ‘times’ during and after WWII. I talked to him about your wife not wanting to travel because we have something similar going on here. I’ve been too ill to travel for years and Dave (hubby of 33 yrs) wanted to get out into the world more. As his loving wife I would never dream of depriving him of a visit to his ‘roots’ in Ireland. We went to Alaska last summer and have taken some road trips as well. I hate flying. Is that Anita’s problem too? Can you two maybe drive to someplace not that far away and holiday there for a week or so - just so she can get her travelling feet wet? If there is someplace she has ever wanted to visit - maybe go there first ? You love her enough to stay home which is noble, but she should love you enough to venture out. Maybe the UK trip will materialize. Our trip to Ireland was rough to start - 33 hour travel day with no rest at the outset, but once I could rest from that, the second week was very enjoyable and I am glad we went. Ditto Alaska. Never would have gone if Dave hadn’t wanted it. If Anita likes the visits with the kids, maybe it’s the flight that turns her off. I hope you two can find some neutral ground someplace and then travel there! Don’t waste these ‘golden’ years… more like ‘metallic’ years with the silver hair, gold teeth, and lead bottom! Happy Trails Richard.

p.s. When I was reticent to travel to Ireland, I suggested to my hubby that he go there with one of his 2 sisters or with someone else - a buddy from work - but he wouldn’t have it. He said he couldn’t enjoy himself without me there. Even though I didn’t want to go and the start of the trip was rough, I enjoyed most of the trip anyway because I was there with my love. I’m happy anywhere as long as he is with me and he feels the exact same way. Also I do most of the planning when we go anywhere - booking rooms, arranging for home care and my own medical problems. Dave mostly packs a bag the day we leave and that’s it - although he carries most of the luggage when it needs carrying. I also work out of my home office so I have to ensure that my desk is relatively clear and clients looked after before I can get away. So travelling to me is a whole lotta work for maybe a few days of ‘relaxation’. I can get much more rest at home, but not nearly as much fun. So I pay the price of the advance preparation, the cramped up flight and the getting to the destination, just so I can enjoy the vacation part with my honey. He’s 14 years older than me. I want every minute I can get with him and I want all of those minutes to be ‘fun’… or at least the best we can do in our advanced years and decadent lifestyles :slight_smile: I wonder if Anita feels the same way???

bikette, thanks for your comments. You have given good advice. We have planned many shorter vacations in the past that never materialized. Something always seems to turn up, so I am prepared for that to happen this time too. Anita does not fear flying so much as she fears being away from her home, her cats and her comfortable surroundings. She gets very upset when her routine is disturbed. She has been like that for at least 10 years now. know she needs counciling, but she does not see it that way at all. I don’t dare suggest it again. She loves me enough to take this trip, so I will go along with doing it her way. Every step of the trip and stay there, and return home must be carefully planned with nothing disrupting the schedule once we start. Anything that interferes will upset her. Sh is afraid that there will be more volcanos in Iceland that will disrupt flight schedules, that the terrorist threats in Europe will materialize while we are there, that we will be mugged by people in the UK , etc. There is no end to her fears. If we can go and things run smoothly, then I think she will be agreeable to take other trips in the future. If the trip falls to pieces, there may never be another one.

I am pleased that you are traveling with your husband. It is obvious that you are not as nervous as Anita. She is so sweet and wonderful while we are at home here in Kingston, NY. She is a wonderful wife, mother and all around human being.

Gosh Richard, she ‘sounds’ almost agoraphobic - afraid to leave her comfort zone. If she does suffer from an anxiety disorder, there is treatment available for that. Can you talk to her doctor?
I’m not so much afraid of flying or afraid of travelling as I just don’t like it - it’s uncomfortable and painful for me so I don’t really get any relaxation out of most vacations, before, during, or after when I have to catch up all the work I missed and have invariably picked up a bug in my travels. Lacking an immune system, I know that going away is going to end up in sickness - so I do have legitimate reasons for not really wanting to see the world. I watch all the travel shows on TV instead… from the comfort of my adjustable bed! You’ve probably already tried everything but I was just hoping that maybe Anita and I might have this dislike of flying/trains/buses in common.

Gosh, this so much describes me!
Being self employed and diabetic, it takes me forever to get organized for a trip.
I hate flying, I hate being locked up in a plane.
And I hate leaving my cats and dogs.
I too do much better once I get to the actual destination, but I greatly prefer the day I get to be back home.
Guess I dont have to worry lately, the economy has hit us so hard we cant go anywhere anyway!
I’m just ‘enjoying’ this thread (not sure if enjoy is the right word, but it sure resonates with me as I love my hubby dearly and also have to do things he wants to do…even flying…

Laura and bikette, don’t be concerned about me and my traveling. I am so lucky to be married to such a precious lady. If the only trips I make for the rest of my life are ones to see my sons and grandchildren, then I can be satisfied. I have lived for 65 years with diabetes, and I am healthy. I am very happy here with Anita. If staying at home is what it takes to make her happy, then that is the way it will be., Her happiness is my happiness.

I know, you’re fine.
Just wanted to comment because I can so totally understand people who prefer not traveling or not traveling certain places for certain reasons. I think all the extra security measures, needed as they may be, have only made things more stressful for those of us who are stressed in the first place when we travel.
Didnt mean to jump back on your thread, just find it interesting to see there are other folks out there like myself!!!

Thanks Laura!