I love people with diabetes. I have lost people I love to diabetes. I am committed to loved ones with diabetes. Many of you DO NOT understand what living with diabetes truly means.
If you haven't lived with Type 1 Diabetes (your own diagnosis or a loved one) it is impossible for you to understand the daily struggles. Many people joke about diabetes. Diabetes is no joke.
It is finger prick after finger prick, and countless drops of blood. It is malfunctioning equipment as you are fumbling with blood dripping from your fingertip, trying not to make a mess, but also trying not to lose that precious blood. The pain of poking your finger again would be worse than trying to clean bloodstains.
It is multiple syringes full of expensive medication which you then must stab in to your own flesh. This is liquid life. Without it, you will die. Health Insurance companies, and Pharmaceutical companies don't care though. The prices will continue to rise, every vial being well into the hundreds of dollars. You will go through multiple vials a month. It is rationing the precious supplies to make them last longer, using a little less medicine than what you actually need so that at the end if the month, when insurance won't help cover another refill, you will at least be able to live. While using a bit less you won't feel normal, you may even feel sick, but at least you won't die the last few days because you have absolutely nothing. If it came down to it, you could spend $300 out-of-pocket for another disposable insulin pump to get you through another few days, and a few hundred dollars on another vial of insulin, but then you may not be able to buy groceries or pay your electric bill. You cannot live without insulin, and when your body makes none, eating less sugar doesn't mean you can go without. Going without means death. It is a day to day struggle.
It is training your children for the signs and symptoms of a diabetic emergency. It is explaining to them that their parent doesn't mean to be grumpy today, that their blood sugar is low. It is teaching them how to dial 911 and get sugar to their parent. It is teaching your children not to be fearful, but teaching them to be aware, and calm.
It is listening to people make jokes about, "That is how you get diabetes" while trying not to be angered by their ignorant statements. Little do they know, that had you had the power to prevent getting diabetes, you would have fought and fought for that outcome. You did nothing wrong to "GET" diabetes. Yet, so many people feel it is ok to make jokes like, "that is diabetes waiting to happen".
It is dealing with the daily effects of highs and lows. Feeling sluggish, and tired. It is feeling like you cannot move your limbs, and your fingers are numb. It is the feeling that you cannot piece your thoughts together and complete the simplest tasks. It is having to ask your wife to open your snack because your fingers refuse to work, and asking her to put your test strips in your blood glucose monitor because you keep dropping those awful tiny bits of plastic. It is asking your wife to poke you and stab you, because you just don't have the will power and strength to complete the task one more time today.
For the spouse of a diabetic, it is the flying awake at night when you realize your loved one is no longer in bed. Sitting straight up in bed. It is finding them fumbling to get a drink of orange juice because their blood sugar dropped overnight. It is the never really sleeping deeply because you need to reach over, and lay your hand on their rib cage and feels their every breath and say a little prayer. It is researching options for your husband every single day. It is educating yourself every single day. It is kissing your loved one and noting whether their blood sugar is off by the sweet smell on their breath.
It is your heart aching for your loved one. It is also doing every little thing you can think of to care for that loved one, to hang on to every moment. It is making sure you always have something containing sugar in your purse, for the unexpected low they may experience. It is the spare vials of insulin, and extra insulin pump supplies that you carry for your loved one, even though they haven't asked you to. You remain prepared. It is the kisses, and lingering a little longer close to their skin, because you recognize the sweet smell of an insulin high, and want to be sure you are right, before you mention it to your diabetic, because you Don't want to make their lives about their disability all of the time. It would mean an extra finger prick to check it for sure, so you don't want to give a false alarm, but you also want to be safe. As much as you want to push them to check it is not your finger, not your blood, not your pain. You want to love them for them, and not draw attention to their struggles once again.
It is reliving already losing a loved one to Type 1 diabetes, and having a constant unsettled feeling, every time your diabetic loved one is out of sight. It is praying for your diabetic without ceasing. It is trying not to think about how many anniversaries, birthday, and holidays you may have left with your diabetic, because things can always take a turn for the worse with very little warning. It is a looming shadow. It is loving fiercely every single day.
I Love My Type 1 Diabetic. He is the most precious thing to me.