Waiting for the other shoe to drop

“This expression alludes to a person awakened by a neighbor who loudly dropped one shoe on the floor and is waiting for the second shoe to be dropped. (Early 1900s)” – Dictionary.com

We have been waiting for it to happen; for the other shoe to drop. It was inevitable. We knew it. He would end up back on dialysis. It was merely a matter of time. Diabetes had ravaged his kidneys to such an extent that they were failing. Diabetes sucks. It really, truly does. So, here we are. So what? Life goes on and we will deal. You know I lie, right? I am endlessly the optimist and at the very same time a pragmatic realist. Mixed in there as well is the wisher and dreamer. The one with her head stuck in the sand. I swear I do have ostrich DNA in the mixture of my gene pool. I want to wave a magic wand and make it all go away even as the realist in me puts up sound arguments for acceptance. Even as I mourn the news we got yesterday.

However, like most things in life there was an up side. A spot had opened up here in town so there will be no lengthy stay in the big city. I am trying hard not to dwell on the downside of it all. Somebody died in order for hubby to have that spot. Why did the doctor have to tell us that? Why? I really could have done without that added bit of information. Aw, but there it is. I am truly grateful he will have a spot. Yet, I am saddened knowing a family somewhere here in town is grieving their loved one. That bit of information also put horrendous expectations in place again. Kidney disease – dialysis can only do so much. It cannot clean all toxins from the blood and so there will come a day when the other shoe will drop again. But until that time, I pray we will use the time given wisely and thankfully. Life truly is a gift. Please, Divine One, help me not dwell on morbid expectations and maudlin thoughts. Help me give thanks for this reprieve once again.

Searching for the Silver Lining (again)

Some sayings just lend themselves well: “a stitch in time saves nine” and the like. But other sayings make me cringe on a very deep level such as “suck it up, buttercup”. I mean, I get it. Constant complaining and whining is annoying. But I hate the way that particular saying is bandied about rather freely, often without regard to the other person’s feelings. I loathe it. I try not to complain, I really do. This is a warning that I am about to vent a little bit. Please, stop here and read no further if you are experiencing more than enough stress of your own at the moment. I sincerely do not want to add to your burdens. Okay, if you choose to read on, you’ve been warned.

Before I get to that, another saying I love is “every cloud has a silver lining”. I believe that. Good things can come from the worst of circumstances. I am trying to find that silver lining in the most recent hit. So, if you follow this blog you know that this year has been filled with challenges for my husband and I. He has had diabetes (type 2) for about twenty years. It has led to a lot of health issues: heart failure and kidney failure among them. Last spring, he had to have emergency gall bladder surgery – surgery that required anesthesia and kept him in hospital for about three months. During that time his kidneys failed and he had to go on dialysis. In the weeks following his surgery his kidneys bounced back enough so that he no longer needed it. My how we rejoiced.

Unfortunately, his kidneys have worsened once again and we are now waiting for a spot in the dialysis unit to open up so he can receive this much needed help. I guess the silver lining is that dialysis exists to do the job his kidneys can no longer do. I am trying not to worry. I am praying that he can get back into the dialysis unit here in town – the alternative is having him do it in Edmonton which is a five-hour drive away. I am hoping his kidneys continue to function until that spot becomes available. It is scary. I am doing my best to have faith; to trust in the will of the Creator. Most of the time I can and do find strength in my faith, but I am feeling weak today. So, forgive me if I cannot “suck it up”. I am doing my level best not to get sucked into the black vortex of worry and despair. Hopefully I will have something more positive to share when next I visit WordPress. Right now, I am just sad and tired. I will bounce back. I will. And I will find more silver than cloud in this present challenge.

Cautiously Optimistic

We have past the one-month mark since my hubby’s surgery. If you follow this blog you already know that doctors had warned he could have a heart attack within thirty days of his surgery. I am happy to say that has not been the case

To add to that good news, his kidneys seem to have rebounded and though they are far from optimum they are at least pretty much back to where they were functioning prior to that awful gall bladder attack and subsequent major surgery. His kidney doctor has been keeping a close eye on him while he has kept him off dialysis to see how he does without it and so far, so good. We know that he will eventually end up on permanent dialysis – which we’d been told back in March would be the case when he was first placed on it. In fact, doctors told us at that time that it was highly unlikely that his kidneys would bounce back.

He is surprising his doctors and I couldn’t be happier about it! Still, we have to be cautiously optimistic as the issues with his heart, kidneys, and lungs remain. The damage caused by over twenty years of diabetes cannot be corrected. One day at a time, which is how we should live anyway, right? Nobody is guaranteed a future, but I am exceedingly grateful that whatever days remaining will not be spent on dialysis – at least not in the immediate future.

I sincerely thank all of you who have sent messages of support and for those who have prayed for both of us. May all your kindnesses return to you a thousand-fold.

On tenterhooks, but that’s okay. A.K.A. my husband’s scar

Yes, on tenterhooks, because, you see, doctors had told us during hubby’s previous hospitalization that he was too high a risk for surgery. He’d die on the operating table, they said. Or, he would suffer a heart attack within thirty days of surgery, due to the effects of the anaesthetic.

Then, as You know, he had another gall bladder attack and there was no longer an option. Surgery HAD to be done. We were between a rock and a hard place – either way he was a very sick man, if his heart didn’t kill him his gall bladder would. He survived the surgery and has been doing exceptionally well. His eyes are clearer and brighter, and though he remains on dialysis, he is still much healthier than he was a week ago.

He had to have the hateful thing removed the old fashioned way and now sports a very long scar across his midsection. It joins several other scars he’s accumulated over a lifetime.

Despite the risk of heart failure, I am so grateful that he had the surgery. And, let’s face it, with over twenty years as a diabetic he was always facing the risk of yet another heart attack. We have to keep it real, right?

Still I am a tad nervous. And yet, I want to kiss that new and jagged scar. It means he has the possibility of renewed strength because there will no longer be poisons leaking through his system from a diseased gall bladder.

Blessed be this scar! And may his heart be stronger and the scourge of diabetes weakened. This is my prayer.

Home at last!

It’s been a long hard road to travel, but after nine weeks in hospital my husband and I are finally home at last. I am so grateful for the people who shared my trials during his hospital stay. I am grateful for the daily phone calls with my siblings; For the many kind words delivered via social media. And I am grateful for new friends who supported and sympathized with me while they themselves were walking the same or a similar road.

Yes, we are home. Is he better? No, he is not, but he is no longer in a crisis situation, which, again, I am very grateful for. Our first day back at home had me awakening to the sound of the thud as he fell to his knees on our bedroom floor. No, he was not hurt, but it is an example of how he is not really ‘better’. The dizziness remains, and most likely will form daily living for as long as life lasts. This is not new; he has been living with this condition for a few years now. I had hoped the doctors could find some magic pill that would take it away. Sadly, that is not to be. It is simply one more side effect of diabetes. It places severe limitations on what he can and cannot do. I sigh, but I met so many wonderful people during hubby’s hospitalization – people who are enduring much more and much worst conditions.  Yes, we had to face several disappointments. Yet, while his quality of life is much constrained, he is at least alive to tell the tales of his adventures in the health care system.

His kidneys failed while in hospital and he is now on dialysis and will likely be for the rest of his life, though doctors tell us miracles can happen and there is a possibility of his kidney function returning – it is a possibility but not a probability. Still, he is still here beside me and I am so very grateful for each moment of each and every day. And it is good to be home at last.

Hoping and Dreaming

My husband is still in hospital. His blood pressure drops every time he stands up. He has a plethora of health issues: diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and more recently we learned, lung disease as well. Through all the challenges he has kept his sense of humor.

 In hospital he has fallen twice and is now confined to bed. After one such fall, after the nurse had made sure he hadn’t done any harm to himself, she jokingly asked him what he was doing on the floor he responded, “looking for dust bunnies”.

The doctors are trying to figure out what is causing the drop in blood pressure and until that is sorted out he cannot come home, for obvious reasons.

I just finished reading a couple of blog posts – one about patience and training a new puppy; the other about “date nights” while raising a family and the power of love.

Love, whether for a significant other, a family member, child, or a fur baby, blesses us, gives us hope, and allows us to dream.

Needless to say, I am hoping for a solution for my husband’s health issues. And I am dreaming of better days to come when he is home with me once more.

Just Okay

“How are you?”

“I’m okay.”

“Just okay?”

“Yup, just okay, but I’m here.”

I participate in this scenario quite often. My husband is not well and I am his main caregiver. I don’t think most people want an honest answer to the question of how I am, not really. Most days I am okay – just okay. There are some when I am very happy, and of course others when I definitely am not happy. But for the most part I am okay. I don’t think people really want to know about my daily struggles or the things that I find frustrating. It’s not easy caring for a sick partner. It just isn’t. I congratulate myself on a daily basis for being ‘just okay’.

I have written about the ups and downs of health issues pertaining to diabetes more than a few times here. My husband jokes he has ‘frequent flyer miles’ at the hospital. This weekend he ended up there once again. I don’t know who dropped the ball. It may have been the doctor’s office when they called in a renewal on his medications. Or, it may be that the pharmacist neglected to include one of his meds in his blister pack. He takes a lot of medications, and it’s easy to miss it if one isn’t there. Plus, his meds are often changed for one reason or another. At any rate he’d been without one of them for about a week – a medication he really needs – hence the most recent hospital stay. It’s scary sometimes. And it’s also daunting, this responsibility to be on top of everything medical.

I am doing my best to take care of myself as well as him through it all. I try to keep it positive and I pray a lot. But much of the time I am exhausted, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Yet, I am okay. I know powers greater than mine carry me through it all. So, yes, I am “just” okay and I’m alright with that.

Self-care and the Medical Profession

December was a stressful month, not only because it was Christmas, but because my husband landed in hospital once again. We both learned a few more things about self-care through his experiences. My husband is a diabetic and for the past year or more we have been working at keeping his kidneys functioning well enough to avoid dialysis. It can be quite worrisome. His diabetic specialist has told us that each and every time his blood sugar levels drop too low or spike too high his kidneys and his heart take a hit. At this point it’s imperative to keep those levels as even as possible.

Now, while he was in hospital, I got the flu. I was too sick to visit him and I did not want to risk him catching it on top of all the other health issues he was dealing with at the time. I am very proud of him for dealing with the medical profession and helping them understand his needs. He was having trouble breathing – which is what caused his hospitalization in the first place. Fluids had built up in his heart and lungs making breathing very difficult.

 Being unable to catch his breath was frightening for both of us. For him it caused a great deal of stress. Stress can cause a spike in blood sugar levels. So, the doctor would order a higher dose of insulin, which, in turn, would cause his sugars to drop way too low. Then the nurses would give him sugar tablets that would cause them to go too high. It was awful. This went on with my sick and weary husband trying to explain that the insulin dose was too high and then in the mornings trying to convince the nurses he didn’t need more than one or two sugar tablets to rectify it. It took several days before they began to listen to him.

In the end the nurses learned a bit more about caring for a diabetic patient. I learned to trust my husband did not need me at his side every moment and that he could take care of himself. I learned to let go of control. My husband learned to take control of his own health. In the end it was all about self-care, whether that is physical health or mental health.

Health professionals are not infallible. We each know our own bodies and know what we need to be healthy. In the end we have to be our own advocates. December was stressful, but it brought many gifts, blessings, and lessons we needed to learn. I am grateful for the lessons, even while it was hard to go through at the time.

On Type 2 Diabetes


I am struggling to get over the flu as I write this. My husband is still in hospital and the guilt I feel at not being able to visit him is adding to the unwellness. I keep telling myself I cannot help him unless I am well myself – can’t pour from an empty cup and all that. He’s had a lot of issues with his health for several years now. The first “rehearsal” was a heart attack back in 2004 that pulled the rug out from under my feet and left me a quivering mess for a short while. Then a quadruple bypass in 2015 and a list of hospital stays too frequent for my liking – and definitely not for his.

Diabetes causes so many complications. At present his kidneys are failing and we are fighting to keep them working well enough to avoid dialysis. The issues are many and complicated. With each new challenge comes the fear he will not be strong enough to fight another battle. So far, he has always come through it. I am becoming more confident that he will again. We started this year with him in hospital. I am hoping we won’t end it the same way. I have been so proud of him for watching his diet and being on top of his blood sugars. I just wish he had taken better care of his health years ago, but what’s done is done and so we try to carry on.

Diabetes is a horrible disease. It attacks all major organs as well as eyesight and digestion. But it can be managed. We have a friend who was recently diagnosed with this disease. She gets very frightened when she sees what my hubby is going through. But, you see, he was in denial for many years and refused to change his eating habits and at times refused to take his medications – which is why he’s in this condition today. So, if you or a loved one is given this diagnosis don’t panic. It can be managed, but healthy eating and medication is of utmost importance.

Okay, I have spent the bit of energy I had to write this, now I have to put myself back to bed. May all who read this take heed as far as diabetes is concerned, and may you all be well in mind, body, and spirit.

The Scourge of Diabetes

I have learned a lot about diabetes over the past number of years. It is an insidious thief, stealing good health bit by bit – eroding it much like a river erodes the banks that attempt to keep it in. I have had many people tell me to “make” my husband eat this healthy food or that. First of all no one can “make” another person do anything they do not want to do. If you think you can you are seriously mistaken. Secondly diabetes is also affected by the ravages of stress on the body. I have seen my husband’s blood sugar levels spike time and again due to stress and unwelcome, and unanticipated events – like my brother’s sudden death.

Diabetes attacks every major organ: heart, kidney, lungs. It also attacks the eyes, the stomach; in short diabetes can be a death sentence, but only if it is not managed. Food is one thing we can control, life events we cannot.

We are not simply biological. We are emotional, spiritual, and psychological as well, and all these realities interact in ways both helpful and not. If one aspect of our being is affected by illness every aspect is.

Enough said!