More Than a Sip of Support
Diabetes management can include the whole family.
By Deanna Glick
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
October 2007 — The blurry digital clock across the room reads 10:52, right around the time my husband leaves for work. He's putting his shirt on. The dog is barking. I am sprawled on our bed. My blood glucose meter reads 54. Our daughter whines, a 21-month-old's way of asking to come up on the bed with Mommy. I lift her up. She seems to confuse me and the bed with a jungle gym. I ask my husband if he can grab me a glass of juice before he leaves. He agrees with a term of endearment and calmness only he is capable of. He brings the juice, sits on the bed, and proceeds to play with our daughter while I drink.
"It's time for you to go," I tell him, as though he doesn't know.
His response: "No, I can stay as long as you need me to until you feel better."
Okay, so maybe this anecdote leads one to simply think my husband has a cool boss. But anyone who's in my shoes knows my husband's actions on this recent morning mean far more than that. When diabetes is part of your family, it tends to tip the balance of household duties. The person with the faulty pancreas does plenty of heavy lifting. Sometimes it feels like our spouses or children sap the energy that we should be putting into the never-ending plight of diabetes management. Or, we may want our spouses to pick up more slack with daily chores in a futile attempt to make up the difference for our disease or free us up to tackle our own endless medical to-do list of blood glucose testing, prescription refills, health insurance debacles, doctor appointments, nutrition label reading, etc.
Diabetic or not, wives and mothers have made complaining about the household contributions, or lack thereof, of their spouses a popular American pastime. And we're really good at noticing how other people divide the labor. I have drawn many a comment from neighbors as I'm powering up some form of lawn equipment on a steamy summer day about my husband neglecting his manly duties. Even though I do my share of complaining about my husband's lack of talent with power tools, my gut is to defend him, often with stats on his dishwashing and laundry abilities, which far exceed my own.
I actually think my defending my husband against those who question his commitment to the household by cutting grass has a lot to do with the stats on juice pouring. But I can't possibly explain to most people why that makes it more than fair that I do the mowing. Bringing someone a glass of juice in and of itself may not be worthy of any prizes. But navigating the complexities surrounding the act, which permeate daily life with a diabetic, is absolutely nothing short of heroic. Those of us who are juggling family life and diabetes management might often feel as though these concepts are playing a proverbial tug of war game. Or that family life somehow infringes upon taking care of ourselves. But I realized on that recent morning when my husband brought me yet another glass of juice that I am far from alone in my efforts to do both. And that I'm lucky he has a cool boss.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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