This afternoon, in a quiet voice with tears building behind my eyes, I said to my husband, “I hate you just a little bit right now.”
He replied with a sigh, “I know. I hate me right now, too.”
Today, due to years of unhealthy habits, my husband was required to start using insulin.
He’s been diabetic for quite a while now and has taken medication on and off. He’s overweight and unhealthy and has done nothing about it. He eats a lot of fast food and drinks soda and never exercises. His favorite pastimes are playing video games, watching movies and reading.
And you know what? I am royally pissed off right now. Both my son and I just watched my husband, as he injected himself in the belly with his first shot of insulin. My son couldn’t watch and turned away while plugging his ears, asking me to tell him when it was over. But I stood there and watched. I wanted to see this. I wanted to show him that yes, I will watch him do this to himself, like I watched him consume tons of junk food and sugar and carbonated beverages over the 19 years we’ve been together.
Did I ever try to help him, you may ask?
I sympathized and offered to make him better lunches. I empathized and asked what can I do to help. I asked him to walk with me. To run with me. To lift weights with me. I carved out extra money from the household budget to buy healthier foods. I begged, I ignored, I yelled, I cried.
What the fuck else was I to do?!?
I kept thinking that once we had a child, my husband might start to eat a little better or try to get a little exercise. I thought that having the responsibility of caring for a little person, and being a good example for another human being, would be enough to *want* to change.
But it wasn’t.
Yet the thought of possibly going on insulin made him change, although it was already too late.
Last week, he began nutrition counseling for diabetes, and since then has attempted to cut soda from his life and start eating well. He’s keeping a food diary and for the first time in many, many years, I can see that he’s really trying to do this right. The other night, he called on his way home saying he was bringing dinner. I thought it might be Chinese food or some kind of takeout, because that what it would have been a month ago. Yet he came home with a roasted chicken and grapes and all the fixings for a salad. I was stunned….and a little bit giddy. Is this his tipping point? Is the threat of insulin shots what he needed all along? And now that he’s officially on insulin, will he continue to eat right (or attempt to) and maybe exercise?
I have hope. I have a lot of anger, too, but I’m trying to let that go. (I’m especially angry that I need to learn how to inject him with the “special” syringe if his blood sugar becomes so low that he goes into a coma. I’m not happy that I have to even know about this, but I’ll learn it because I don’t want my husband to die.) I know he’s a bit depressed right now, and he’s angry at himself, too. He can’t believe that he let himself get to this point…and honestly, I can’t either. I had hoped he would have learned from his father (who is also on insulin). So to try and break this horrendous pattern, my husband wanted Bri to watch him take the insulin shot, hoping it would scare him so much that Bri would eat better and become more active so he wouldn’t ever have to take insulin himself.
Want to hear my theory? You need to set a good example, be a good model of behavior, then perhaps your children will follow your lead. But do as I say and not as I do? Bullshit.
So…where does this leave us?
Exhausted and sad but hopeful. With a weight loss of at least 50 pounds, maybe he can get off of insulin. It can happen. But I can’t make my husband eat right and exercise. My son can’t make his father healthy. There’s only one person who can make this happen.
You can do this, Wally. I have faith in you. <3