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Really need some advice about ds and dp(82 Posts)
My ds got very upset yesterday, he tends to be a 'bottle it up' type but he opened up to me last night and I am now so torn He said that he 'sort of' doesn't want dp to live with us anymore, which I presume is him trying to minimise the fact he doesn't want him here at all?
Dp isn't his df but has been in his life since he was 3, he is now 9. They are very close and my ds is spontaneously cuddly with dp and will often choose to spend time with dp over anyone else. Confusingly he often asks why we aren't married!
Now, my dp has type 1 diabetes and when he is out of balance is very unrecognisable and gets very irrational, angry and at times (for a few hrs) extremely hard to live with. Ds admitted he is scared when he's like this and worries about it happening. Both of us hate the dcs seeing him like this and always talk openly after it happens and try and reassure them. Dp is trying very hard to keep his blood level and has a drs appt tomorrow to ask for extra help. When he is in balance, he is a loving, kind and incredibly supportive dp and step father and he is devastated about the way ds feels.
What on earth do I do? Nothing is more important to me than my dcs happiness but both myself and dd would hate dp to leave and I honestly think ds would be devastated too. Dp is determined to do whatever is best for the dcs and although he is hiding it from the children he is distraught about it all.
Thank-you for getting this far, any advice very very welcome.
Really pleased that you've been given a referral, I have no personal experience with diabetes I've certainly read accounts of how everyone can differ very much with their reactions to high and lows, and major mood changes being an issue/indicator that things are not ok sugar/insulin wise.
Thanks ace, your obviously very knowledgeable. He has done the dafne course, although it was some time ago. The gp who he no longer goes to, was actually very dismissive and critical about dafne which I guess is quite telling. He's supposedly our practices diabetic specialist! Anyway, any other information would be great, thank-you.
Primrose - interesting that it's the highs causing the problem. I haven't come across that before. It certainly does effect everyone differently.
A few thoughts:
Good to hear you are being referred to the Diabetes team at your local hospital. They are far and away a better resource for answers/advice than your GP. That isn't meant with disrespect to GPs, but a diabetes specialist nurse at your hospital will be in daily contact with Drug companies, Diabetic consultants, dieticians. They really are fantastic - you will be pleasantly surprised.
One strong recommendation I have, is that your DP looks at courses such as the DAFNE course. All hospitals should run one or two of these a year. Your DP will learn a hell of a lot on one of these. I went on one grudgingly last year, thinking I already knew everything there was to know - I was proved wrong very quickly:
If your DP is struggling to bring his glucose down quickly enough - it might be worth asking the hospital if he could be resistant to insulin. After going on the DAFNE course, I found I had developed a strong resistance to insulin over the years, particularly in the mornings. Am currently hoping to go on Metformin to help with this.
If you're looking at pumps, you could also ask the hospital about a Continuous Monitoring device. These are currently only used on the NHS for young children, so you'd have to pay a portion of the cost. I've looked at this, and it was around £180 per month at my hospital. Maybe not an option, but worth bearing in mind. Pumps have their drawbacks, but are incredibly easy to "install" now. I haven't come across anyone who went to a pump, but then went back to pens.
Will send you a PM about other bits & bobs which aren't currently mainstream in the UK at the moment.
Luna, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, it really is a horrible condition
Jaffa, its interesting what you say about ds not seeing dp as being permanent. On the face of it dp is very much part of the family, he's very involved with all aspects of dcs lives etc I was slow to introduce him to them and very careful to not get into deep until I was sure about the dcs felt about things. Maybe I let them dictate too much? For example, it was them that suggested dp started living with us (I was more than ready by then but didn't want to rush things!) At the time it seemed really sweet but looking back it does look as though they were in charge, or maybe I'm over thinking things after not enough sleep.
Ace, its really interesting to read your post and you sound as though your diabetes is well under control, as someone mentioned previously it affects individuals differently and your symptoms of being low are very different to dps, we actually find the lows easy to manage (although I appreciate being very low is life threatening) Its being high that is the issue and sometimes despite all his best efforts he cannot get his level down quick enough
Thanks again, I am overwhelmed by everyone taking the time to offer opinions and advice!
The drs went well, the change of gp was a good move and he will be referred to the diabetic team at our local hospital. The dr agrees that the pump is the way forward, a relief as the previous dr flatly refused to even discuss it.
My ds is fine today, we spoke last night and he said he was sad about dp being diabetic, we had a good chat and I talked about his appt, ds initially was keen to come with us but changed his mind when we told him how early it was! I hate to think he's worried and will continue to talk to him.
I hope you all get on ok at the drs today- maybe come back and tell us?
One thing that struck me was...
your DS appears to think that your DP is 'disposable' and this along with his comments about why you aren't married to each other raises some alarm bells with me.
What's your take on it?
Even though they get on well- you said- he doesn't seem to think of your DP as a permanent fixture. I wonder if you were married if he'd still say the same thing?
Has he been given any impression that your DP is not permanent in your life or that your relationship is less than stable?
Yes, you ought to put your children first, but I'm still left wondering why a 9 yr old feels he can call the shots about his mum's relationships . I suppose one lesson he needs to learn is that you/ one doesn't ask people to move out just because times are tough. Giving in to this would, in my view, would not teach him that relationships have to be worked at when times get tough.
And- as an aside- if it were to make him happier for you to be married, and maybe he'd feel more secure, is that something you and DP would consider?
Diabetes can be terribly hard to manage. my step dad was diagnosed type one aged thirty, so has had it for over thirty years. He is extremely diligent about taking his bloods and controlling his diet but can still go low without any seeming cause or warning, and it can be quite frightening for those around him. Luckily my mum is with him most of the time and is very good at spotting signs of a hypo, the doctor says she is probably the reason he is still alive. When not having a hypo my step dad is the mildest mannered person you could hope to meet. He did actually have to give up work in his 30s partly due to this, it can be an extremely debilitating illness and affect some people much worse than others. So you have my sympathies OP, but your husband must manage his illness strictly, my stepdad has been told by his doc that it is only his diligence keeping him alive.
The OP's post is interesting to me. I've been a T1 diabetic since the age of 19 (20 years ago now). I'm painfully aware how hard it can be to maintain decent blood glucose levels.
If I go hypo, I usually act a bit giddy or drunk. Once or twice, during a more severe hypo, I've been a bit snappy at my wife (suggesting I take sugar), but that was only because I was confused about what was happening. I always take the sugar though
After 5 mins - once the blood glucose levels are up a bit, I'm fine. I have no symptoms of high blood glucose other than a metallic taste in my mouth.
Could you elaborate OP...? When you say his levels are "out of balance", what do you mean? Are they low, or high, at the point of the mood swing?
If low, does eating some carbs not being his moods back to normal, or is your DP refusing to treat his hypo?
I find this thread really black and white with people's opinions. It is not a step family issue.
I lost my first husband, he was diabetic and had very unstable blood sugars. This wasn't his fault. Maintaining sugar levels is not an exact science, so many more things in the body can affect it than just food and amount of insulin.
Towards the end of his life, I'd say the last year he would not have been able to live with or take care of a child. It wouldn't have mattered if the child was his or if they were a step child.
As sad and heart wrenching as it sounds if we had children we would have had to find a different living arrangement.
Diabetes is so misunderstood, it is not always possible for someone with diabetes to be in control, and once the blood sugar has dropped it is not possible to just try a bit harder to control your actions.
I don't know what the answer is for you op, but you have to listen to what your son is saying, you may have some hard decisions ahead of you.
Jean do put a sock in it. You're way off the mark with your comments and prejudices.
Good luck with tomorrow's appointment. It sounds as though you're taking your son's concerns seriously but also doing a good job of balancing that with your daughter's needs and maintaining your relationship with your dp. Families are complicated! Hopefully the new doctor will be able to help.
Thank-you wanna, have only just seen your post.
I'm still here, just busy preparing for the morning and watching gangsta granny Jean, please don't underestimate the value and importance of step families. You seem very focused on the fact dp isn't ds bio father, would you feel the same if either of us were adoptive parents?
Thank-you again for all the input, I'm hopeful tomorrows appt will be a turning point and will keep talking to ds and more importantly listening to him.
so presumably you're happy with the fact that should you ever be incapasitated for any reason which might upset your children, your partner should ditch you asap.
nothing like teaching children empathy and understanding is there?
If my partner was an alcoholic, a drug addict, emotionally or physically abusive then putting the children "first" is entirely appropriate because these are all things that they can do something about. They are all choices.
The op's partner has a medical condition. He did not choose to be diabetic. He doesn't choose to have mood swings. He wants to control them better but is struggling. If it was as simple as just managing the condition then everything would be ok then the thousands of diabetics in the country would do just that, don't you think? Things like insulin pumps exist for a reason - to help those whose condition is less easy to manage to do that better. except in this instance the dp has been turned down for one, oh, that's probably his fault as well.
And sometimes children do need to learn that they can't always come first. Sometimes children need to learn that they have to develop an understanding of the people around them. You can't just remove the people from their lives that make them uncomfortable, especially those who have no control of the situation they're in. Otherwise how do they ever develop a sense of empathy, or tolerance of those around them?
My father had episodes of psychosis when I was growing up. When unwell he was a far greater problem and threat than your DP sounds. He was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive to my mother, I remember physical fights with neighbours and he was unpredictable and a risk to us all in terms of driving erratically and setting fires in the house. I remember having to move out of the family home sometimes until he was detained to hospital.
When well he is a kind, patient, gentle, shy man who has been a great father and grandfather. I have a good relationship with both him and my mother. I am happy for him to spend lots of time with his grandchildren.
There is no question it was hard on my mother and they still have issues as my mother feels he should have more care to prevent further episodes. He also has some of the longer term disabilities associated with his illness that make him hard to live with. I would not blame her if they split up, nor him either in fact. However from the point of view the impact on me as a child, I don't believe it had a negative impact on my health or success and happiness in life.
The things that helped:
I was protected from serious danger by my mother.
It was always explained to me clearly in child friendly terms what was happening. In particular, that my Dad was ill and he wouldn't have done those things if he had been in his right mind. I knew his diagnosis, symptoms and treatment which were all simply explained.
He got better in between episodes so I knew what he was really like as a person when well. I imagine it might have been different if he had been ill continuously simply because he wasn't able to function as a parent when ill if nothing else.
There is a risk to children at the time and for their future health in situations such as mine but I strongly feel the way my mother handled it in a very clear, open and practical fashion minimised the risks to me. I really feel that the difference in intent between someone who is ill and someone who is just being abusive makes a difference to the longer term impact on those around them, though it can be quite as unpleasant at the time! I don't want to minimise how the situation is affecting you and I fully agree with those saying you need to be very clear to health professionals exactly how much impact this is having. Your DP does have responsibility for keeping himself well too. However if you talk openly and clearly I don't think your DPs behaviour sounds as if it is of the duration or severity that would be likely to cause your DC long term harm and it sounds like there would be other far less drastic solutions than him moving out.
I'll answer the question - my children come first. Happy with that?
and still no-one will answer the question. If this was cancer causing mood swings, or epilepsy, or any other kind of disability, would it be ok to put all the onus on to the individual who was having the mood swings (which were beyond their control sometimes) to do something about it?
It strikes me from op's posts that on the whole the ds has a good relationship with the dp, and that this issue arises when he has had an episode, which while understandable does not, IMO, mean he shouldn't be living in the family home, given his moods etc are stable the majority of the time.
And anyone who thinks that asking your patner to move out wouldn't impact on the relationship is delusional. So you would all be accepting if your partners asked you to move out if you had an illness/disability which could frighten their kids? riiiight.
If this was a mental illness for instance and diagnosed as such, would people be saying that the onus is on him to manage his condition? no didn't think so, in fact people would be slated on here for being non understanding of mh conditions. Yet diabetes can cause mh issues, and all sorts of other issues for that matter, kidney failure, blindness, death, to name just a few, but presumably as with the mood swings if these things happen then it's all down to the individual because they didn't manage their condition properly.
How fortunate that so many on here seem to be experts in the management of diabetes, when it seems that even the medical professionals here are struggling.
As I said up thread he has never been violent.
Lifestyle wise he does everything right, exercises, doesn't smoke, rarely drinks eats well etc. He has changed drs as last one was very un supportive, our appt tomorrow is with the new one. Work is trickier, its a small company that rely on him quite heavily, he'd love to work elsewhere but obviously the job market isn't brilliant at the moment, especially where we are. I'm not sure how work could help really, he was made redundant a few years ago and does really worry about providing for us all.
Ds does see his bio dad, about every 6 wks for a few nights. He has a good relationship with him but he's not particularly close to him and doesn't really remember him living with us.
But if he was the Op's DH and the bio father would you then suggest he moved out? I doubt it.
So it comes back to him not being the real father? Or the length of the relationship? or what?
If ,god forbid, he had cancer and mood changes or sickness, would some of you then suggest he moved out because his behaviour was upsetting?
OP you have to make sure he is doing everything he can- 100%- to keep his condition under control.
I'm not sure he is from what you say.
I've asked about his work and lifestyle and support from HR etc with his hours and you have not mentioned this.
It does sound a tiny bit as if you are defending him and his actions- or non-action.
If his illness is so unstable then he needs to find a way of not inflicting his moods and anger on the family. The ball is in his court- what's he doing?
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