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Monday, November 7, 2011

Laughing in the Face of Diabetes

   Living my life as the wife of a diabetic can be challenging. I don't face same challenges that my husband faces, obviously, but though my own burdens are different, that does not make them less. It's his disease, obviously, and thus he is the one that suffers the physical consequences of his choices and the one who will reap the return on his investment in management of the disease down the road, be it large or small. But since I live with him, I'm often at the mercy of his glucose dependent mood swings, and of course, the diet of our entire family has been impacted by his needs. I worry over what his glucose levels are. I ponder over how to prepare our meals so that they suit his dietary needs. I worry over exposing him to germs, because diabetics can get sick easier, and have a harder time recovering. I even, with my sometimes ridiculous and overactive imagination, spend time worrying about the fact that if the world as we know it comes to an end, he's got an expiration date because insulin has a definite shelf date. Somehow the apocalypse doesn't seem nearly as fun without him in it.
Being a well managed diabetic comes with a lot of responsibility. Every bite of food that you eat needs to be accounted for. Type 1 diabetics, like my husband, need to check their blood glucose levels several times each day. Before he got his continuous monitor, he was testing approximately 6 times each day. Even with the monitor, it's still necessary to test at least 3 times each day, or however many times he eats, because he has to use his test results to gauge his insulin dosage. He takes a minimum of 5 injections of insulin each day; 2 doses of his basal, or long acting insulin, and a dose of bolus, or short acting insulin before each meal. He also has to take into account any physical activity or unusual stress because that can have a big impact on his levels. As you can tell, it is, as I said, a lot. We usually cope with the stress of it all with a lot of humor. In life, with these types of things, it's either laugh or cry, so we choose laugh. Sometimes, though, things really are funny. For example, most recently my kids have been discussing what they would like for Christmas. Eggy, age 8, has quite the impressive list of desires. He wants a netbook, an iPod, a Nook, and several dozen other expensive things. So far, our 6 year old, Punkinhead, however, has announced only one item that he wants on his Christmas list. Two nights ago, he explained to us that he hopes Santa clause brings him his own glucose meter and test strips so that he can test his blood sugar 6 times a day, just like Daddy. We had to laugh over that one. Apparently, to the 6 year old, all that finger poking seems fun! Or else, when you're 6, you want to be just like Daddy, no matter what. Either way, I'll be thankful if my little man never has need to poke his little fingers 6 times a day, regardless.