How Diabetes Changed My Husband’s and My Life

My disability sticks out like a sore thumb. That’s putting it mildly, isn’t it? If I ask you to hold a door open for me, you’ll know why before I even ask. I’m a Hemiplegic. (It’s a fancy way to say I’m a stroke survivor.) Not all disabilities are so easy to see. Diabetes is virtually undetectable and yet it is a growing public concern. I’m lucky. I don’t have Diabetes.

My husband has Type2 Diabetes. Neither one of us realized how serious this health condition is when he was first diagnosed. After all, the doctor didn’t put him on any medication and he didn’t have to check his blood sugar. The doctor said matter-of-factly, “Cut down on the sugar and lose some weight.” Will do. No problem. Both of us needed to lose weight. We hated the roll around the middle. Here was our motivation.

Unfortunately, that doctor was excessively relaxed about Hubby’s situation. It took a while for it to fester but a couple of years later another doctor was talking to Hubby about Diabetes. She wanted complete blood work done before she made any recommendations. That would take a couple of days so the doctor told Hubby to call her if he didn’t hear from her in two days.

The doctor called the next evening. She told Hubby to get himself over to the emergency room NOW. His body was completely out of whack. She was surprised that he was still feeling all right. Hubby asked her why but she just repeated, Get to the emergency room!

I got him to the emergency room. He was still feeling fine. When he got in to see one of the doctors, they took a blood sugar reading on him. His count was almost up to 600! The doctor and nurse kept on asking Hubby if he was feeling all right — headache, vision problems, dizziness. No, he felt fine.

Of course, they gave him a shot of insulin and then put him on an IV. They wanted to put my dear husband in ICU.

But he’s feeling fine!

An hour later his blood sugar had dropped enough that, they were talking about him just spending the night. That’s better but Hubby and I looked at each other with a sad smile.

I went home. I fed the kitties, took a shower, and got into my pajamas.

The phone rang. It was Hubby. “Come get me. I’ll meet you in the parking lot.”

Okay, get the coat on, grab the purse, and off I went.

The next day, Hubby and I went through the kitchen pulling out anything that was meant to be a dessert. Whatever had sugar in it went into a cardboard box. It would be given to Hubby’s mom to be distributed as she saw fit.

Hubby started Diabetes classes the next Tuesday. Most of what he learned he would have to do for himself although our grocery list changed quite a bit. We now have a Diabetes-friendly kitchen. I still have some of the sugary foods but most sweets these days come from fruit and sometimes a sugar substitute. Hubby lost 30 pounds. He looks good. I lost a whole big 3 pounds (big deal!) but I’m feeling better.

It isn’t that difficult to shop for groceries using the Diabetic diet. Most grocery stores have the whole grain pastas and breads. You’d be surprised at all the sugar-free desserts and cookies there are. No, we don’t eat ice cream anymore. We don’t have pizza anymore either. Most of the fast-food restaurants are passed by because of all the carbohydrates in their menus.

Now that the weather is starting to get warmer, we’ll be more active too which is good even if you don’t have Diabetes. We just happen to have a major entrance to one of the state parks five miles away from us. In the months of warmer weather, we don’t have any excuses not to get a little exercise.

If Hubby hadn’t gone to the emergency room that evening, chances are he would have slipped into a Diabetic coma. Type 2 Diabetes can be avoided in many cases just by paying attention to your diet and getting a little exercise. We’re killing ourselves with fast food, ready-prepared food that has preservatives in it, and reaching for the sweets all the time. Sitting in front of the PC isn’t helping either.

On a tight schedule? Buy a freezer. Believe me; it makes a giant-size difference. And use the contraption by packaging leftovers correctly for freezer life. Once even two weeks or so, have a potluck night if you don’t use all that you’ve frozen.

The only way we are going to get better is to be better.


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