Welcome, partners and loved ones of diabetics. It's been a while since we've visited this series by and for you all, where you can share your perspective on what it means to live with diabetes "from the other side."
First off, I'd like to announce that fabulous fellow D-blogger and author Wil Dubois is working on his next project, "a book for those poor people... stuck with us T1's and T2's in their lives." He's asked me to help him call for input from the community: from PWDs themselves about what they wish their loved ones knew, and would and wouldn't do. "I'd also like to hear from more mates and parents to get their views on what they wish someone had told them in the beginning." Sounds like a really useful book! You can get in touch with Wil via email here.
Now, for today's edition of the Follies, Thomas Moore, an active member of the Global Diabetic Awareness community on Facebook, shares some thoughts on life with his cherished — and also diabetic — wife Julie:
I just turned the big 5-0 and Julie is 48. We have three kids 27, 25, 23 and two Grandsons 4 and 7. Julie and I reside in the San Diego area (Eastlake).
I refer to myself as a 'caregiver' because the simple definition of this is taking care of someone in need, medically or otherwise. Along with diabetes, neuropathy has taken it's toll on my wife's feet, so I do as much as I can to keep her off of them. And from a support standpoint, I do all the computer related tasks to meds, research, diary tracking, etc. I almost detest the word 'caregiver' sometimes (more like a D'aregiver), as she gives quite a bit of care to me, and her Dad.
So after caring for my wife of thirty years, the last fifteen of those with diabetes, coupled with the work I do with Global Diabetic Awareness, one would think I knew absolutely everything needed to properly be this 'caregiver.' To me, that is measured by the results of the analysis done (by me) after our self-imposed, 'diabetic bootcamp' that we conduct every three months or so.
Our 'bootcamp' is not any formalized program at this point in time, as we are not, nor have not been for quite some time, covered by any type of insurance. So everything is out-of-pocket. Once every three months or so, we just make a concentrated attempt to be 110% more diligent in every thing trackable in our daily diabetes management routine. That includes not only the basic inherent items, but sometimes also a refresher in any given topic(s). And if we identify changes that need to be made, we proceed accordingly. Or if it's not broke, we don't fix!
During this self-imposed (and not always welcomed by both parties) 'diabetic boot camp,' we go over every little aspect of this D-thing. It can at times be a little *rocky* between the two of us, for example with the finger poking...
Among the other points of contention between us is testing time — as it relates to when the last meal is and was, and when the next meal will be and what medication needs to be addressed, if any. That subject always leads into the carb-to-insulin ratio we work out as a result of our 'diabetic boot camp'. And that number changes more often than every three months. Whew! Good thing I love her so much.
I once asked my wife, "What hurts most, the finger poke or the insulin shot?" She quickly replied "the finger poke." I got to try that out when I recently took part in the 'non-diabetic Test'olution' campaign we ran on Facebook. I tested my BG level a couple times over the course of a few days.
The very first test I did started out badly, beginning with the finger poke. And it was not because of the impending poke, it was WHY, as the tables were turned, did my pseudo-caregiver for the moment NOT have me properly prepare the testing site (my finger)?
Now people sometimes differ on this topic. Some prefer to use alcohol wipes to clean the finger (or alternate testing site). Others may choose to use mild soap and warm water. We have chosen over time to use the latter... WHEN diligent.
My point to my pseudo-caregiver was that it seems to me that ANY method mentioned above is sometimes not followed. WOW, did that touch a nerve nowhere near the finger with my pseudo-caregiver! Who am I to criticize, when I'm just testing out this testing thing?
So in closing, it all reminds me of what someone told me a long time ago, when I was a teenager, about parenting: "It is just as hard to be a kid as it is to be a parent." This holds true, at least to me and *my diabetic*, in so many ways when it comes to living la vida D!
Thank you for sharing, Thomas. Sounds to you're doing a pretty bang-up job to me — and without medical insurance, to boot.