Welcome to the second edition of the Diabetic Partner Follies, a new series here at DiabetesMine.com in which we (meaning myself and the good man behind me) invite the "significant others" of diabetics everywhere to speak out.
The idea is that partners of PWDs should have a forum to exchange experiences, ideas, frustrations, and even some occassional smiles, we hope.
Today, we hear from Anna Q, author of Life with a Spouse, one of only two known partner blogs. (The other being Wife of a Diabetic, written anonymously, a window into a much darker world where the PWD in question is not taking care of himself and both partners suffer the consequences.)
Anna Q, on the other hand, describes her life this way:
I'm 38 years old, married 13 years to a Type 1 diabetic hunk. I have a very "spirited" toddler son and a very sweet baby daughter. On my quest for answers and education on things Diabetic, I didn't find any online support for spouses/ partners... so she started her blog, and later jumped right in here at "The Follies," including creating this lovely Wedding Photo.
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Anna writes eloquently about how life with her beloved PWD, Jack, has shaped her own sense of self. Read on.
* Night Visitor *
I startle awake, my most paranoid senses on alert. The bedroom is pitched in moonless black, but I clearly hear intruder noises from the living room. And he (she?) is not being subtle about rampaging my apartment. My heart pounds as I shake my husband awake (thank the stars for 6'1" husbands who will charge out with male-ego blazing!). But Jack does not respond. Instead, he is slick with sweat, so hot, and starting to shake. He is in the middle of a hypoglycemia.
It is 6 months into our brand-new marriage, in a brand-new apartment, and (stupidly) I haven't learned yet to keep a glucose source in the bedroom. I also still carry faith in my girlish dreams of an invincible prince/husband (oh yeah, all that Cinderella/helpless princess crap persists despite my best intentions).
As Jack slips further into his low, my choice is clear: I need to confront the intruder to get Jack his glucose fix. So with some effort, I grow instant balls, silence the cringing princess, and grab the only available weapon - a plastic curtain rod from the floor. Of course, unless I directly jab the intruder in the eye with deadly precision, the rod is just sturdy enough to disable a bunny.
I inch towards the noise, responsibility for my husband's well-being pushing me out, fear almost keeping me back. As I reach the living room, I quickly flick the lamp on and the light reflects off a pair of slit eyes. We stare at each other, both in frozen surprise, then the cat turns and bounds out the window into the night.
What I learned that night was:
1) To always, always, keep glucose in the bedroom.
2) To close the windows at night.
3) That there would be times in my marriage when I would be utterly alone to face fears, make decisions, and take action.
4) That there would be times when my husband's health rests in my hands.
Those would seem to be quite basic and obvious, but a splash of cold reality for a cossetted and lazy 25-year-old.
Throughout the next 14 years, diabetes has been a constant and petty intruder into our relationship. It has, at different times, robbed my love for Jack, my respect for him, and my kindness towards him. It is an ever-present threat to peaceful days, health, and adds another burden to marriage (which, even under the best of circumstances, is more work than I could have ever predicted).
And yet, every time it does damage, it also does good. It reminds me to love him, and respect his personal burden, and how well he's dealt with this beast slung about his neck for so many years. It's fostered patience and understanding where I was sorely lacking. It's turned me from coddled girl to reluctant warrior princess (able to brandish a curtain rod at errant alley cats!). It reminds me that I chose him when I decided to marry him. And that I continue to choose him for reasons
beyond my comprehension (heh heh)...for reasons beyond his diabetes.