With his First Class honors Degree at the University of Diabetes came many a lesson for my long-suffering but ever-supportive husband Jamie, or 'J-Dizzle' to those who know him well. He had to hit the ground running when we first embarked on a relationship (that makes it sound very serious. It wasn't.) and quickly learnt the difference between 'juice-guzzling Anna' and 'insulin-seeking-missile Anna', and what those states means to a diabetic. He learnt that if I begin to wander around in the middle of the night convinced I have gone blind, it's best not to let me try and navigate the stairs on my own. He learnt that blood test day in our house, is all but Armageddon.
He also learnt the harder lessons; the ones that don't bring quite so much entertainment. He learnt that one day, if complications come a-knocking, we may need to make the decision together that children are just not for us. He had to learn to squeeze my hand when finding out news from the Doctors which scares me, just a bit. And he had to learn that living with a diabetic, isn't always easy. In fact sometimes, it's damned hard.
But I sometimes forget, or maybe don't give him enough credit, for just how much of an impact my diabetes has on him. Having sailed through the trials and tribulations above, taking every step in his ever-chilled out stride, I forget how much he has had to learn in the last 5 years. He had to learn what I learnt over 25 years, in just a fifth of that time, and become an expert in his own right, if he too was to conquer my diabetes. Along with all the 'usual' education of carb-counting, cannula-changing, prescription-hoarding and midnight fridge runs (and occasional sprints to the nearest 24 hour store selling pump-batteries, that's all we'll say about that!) he has picked up on so, so much more.
Yesterday we spent the day with his family eating, drinking and being generally merry. As well as checking I was OK after a platter of the finest home-made marzipan cakes, short breads and sausage rolls was presented (omnomnom) he also reminded me just how much diabetes has left its mark on him. As we got in the car I decided it was time for a swift blood test. Scrunched in the back of our tiny 2-person-masquerading-as-a-4-person car I pulled out my kit and unzipped the case.
"Do you want me to stop the car?" he asked from the driver seat.
Without even having looked away from the road the dulcet tones of the testing kit, now all too familiar after 5 years, told him diabetes was visiting us in that moment and demanded some action from him.
"No thanks, I'm good." I replied, smiling to myself that after this many years I could probably test upside down from a tree in the jungle (now there's a challenge).
Funny as it may seem, it is a bittersweet (diabetic pun, anyone?) reminder of how much our 'Type 3' diabetics go through. I often see discussions about 'which is worse', to have it or to live with it. I don't get involved with arguments like that because it's like arguing which is worse, day or night. The two can't even compare! But it was a big bump back down to ground remembering that everything I go through, he goes through. He may not 'feel' the highs and lows, but he does live them. He does feel them.
This is for you, Jamie. My favourite diabetes partner in crime. I love you.
Who do you have around you? Or are you a type 3 yourself?