My Partner in Lows
Having a supportive husband can help in the battle against diabetes.
December 2011 — Last Saturday morning, I rose, walked the dog, and then, after shooting up my Byetta and taking my normal does of Amryl and Glucophage, sat down to my regular bowl of fiber cereal doused with almond milk. After a cup of coffee and a perusal through the Times (I remain an old fashioned, non-virtual newspaper reader), I headed upstairs for my usual one hour workout on the recumbent exercise bicycle.
Nothing out of the ordinary. If anything, it was my uber-ordinary routine. What made it different was when I slipped off the bike. I immediately experienced the shaky legs and the sweatiness of a super low.
Too much exercise? Too much medication? A strange vibe in the atmosphere? Who knows. Nine days out of ten, the exact same routine yields a healthy 98; then that one day crashes into view and I'm rushing downstairs to find orange juice, stat.
But my column this month isn't really about my lows. It's about family. Or, specifically, it's about my husband — my not-so-secret support system in the constant battle against diabetes. It's a war he didn't enlist in, but found himself drafted into once I developed type 2 following my first pregnancy. And though he must be tired of it, he remains willing and able to jump into action in cases like this past Saturday, when I arrived in the kitchen limp and shaky and mouthing, "Help."
After all these year, it's all I have to say. While I quickly checked my blood sugar (47 and falling), he assembled the ammunition: glucose tablets, slices of apple, and a half glass of orange juice. He knows he can't keep my sugar from dropping, but when I arrive in this state he knows what to do.
Could I do these things myself? Sure. So far, I've been lucky and haven't sunk so low that I couldn't pop glucose tablets on my own until my sugar started back up. And yet, there is something so tremendously comforting about having him there to share and help out.
Lately I've been reading around the web and noticed that I'm not alone. Over on the diabetes magazine A Sweet Life, Jessica Apple tells how she saved her husband Michael from passing out from a low with a slice of exquisitely-timed halva. And on dLife, one of our regular bloggers reported that she passed out from a low, only to be revived by her husband.
Lows are scary. You start to sweat and shiver, and you feel the world literally begin to slip away. At its worst, a low blood sugar makes you feel totally vulnerable, and having another person to back you up and come to your rescue makes a huge difference.
Not all my lows are so well timed with my husband's schedule. As a freelancer working mainly from home, I've been alone more than once, finding myself standing before the refrigerator, shoving whatever I can find into my mouth to boost my numbers. I know to be organized, know where my glucose tablets are at all times, and know to always have a supply of orange juice at the ready.
But sometimes it helps to have another person in the room and in my case, that's most often my husband. I don't take it for granted, and I just wanted to say — Thanks.
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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Years before I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Other Half came out of a doctor's appointment with a diagnosis of "borderline diabetes" and an ADA exchange diet sheet. His health insurance agency followed up on the diagnosis with a glucometer and test strips. After a year or so of trying to follow the diet plan and test his glucose levels, things appeared to be back in "normal" range, and stood there until a couple of years after my own diagnosis. Shortly...