Perfect Timing

So I wrote a post yesterday about the emotional stress that comes with diabetes and as if the universe thought perhaps I needed a for instance- bang, there it was.  Right now I am sick not really the flu, at least I don’t think so.  Some kind of head cold, which could easily turn into a chest cold at this rate but I am going on the hydrate, hydrate, hydrate theory and I am still alive so… go me!  Anyway, I feel gross and tired all the time so I have been sleeping a lot.  Usually I bring a phone into the bedroom with me so that when Marshall calls I don’t  have to trip over dogs and fall down the stairs to try and get to the phone.  Yesterday I ended up falling asleep before I expected and didn’t bring the phone upstairs.

Generally I am a very light sleeper and wake up whenever the phone rings, yesterday not so much.  I woke up at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, made my way downstairs and just as I reached the kitchen the phone began to ring.  I answered say Marshall’s name on the caller ID and answer, “Hey Baby.”

“Um, Hi.”  The inflection in his voice made it pretty clear he was upset about something.

“What’s up?”

“Emilie, I’ve been calling the house for two hours.  I’ve left messages, I’m getting in the truck to leave work right now because I thought something happened!”

“Oh my god. Marshall I am so sorry.  I just woke up, I didn’t hear the phone.  Really, I’m okay.  The phone usually wakes me up, I guess I really needed the sleep.”

“Emilie, I don’t think you understand how scared I was.  You are at home, alone, with no test strips.  You weren’t answering the phone and I thought you were on the floor dying or something.  I was on my way to come home and I don’t even know what, save you.”

Well needless to say I felt awful.  He was right, I was out of test strips (has 1 left I was saving it for an emergency) and wasn’t sure if the new ones would come in the mail (they did) or not.  So for all he knew something terrible had happened.  I don’t even walk the dogs without calling Marshall to let him know that I am going and about when I should be back (I don’t have a cell phone).  So I can’t imagine the panic he went through  trying to figure out why I wasn’t answering the phone for two hours.

When he came home that night I apologized again and told him that if that ever happened he should try calling my sister, she is home a lot (when not carting kids around) and lives very close by, she could check on me.  His response was, “I wasn’t really thinking about that I was thinking about which hospital I was going to bring you to!”

Poor Marshall…

Advertisements

Diabetes Has a Far Reach

The longer I live with Type 1 Diabetes the more I realize that this is so much more than blood sugar, carbohydrates, insulin, test strips, and wearing slippers all the time, which by the way I still suck at and am currently waving bare toes in the air.  It is more than staying up late trying to regulate blood sugar, miscalculating that last bolus- then spending the next 8 hours trying to fix your mistake, realizing that in exactly one day you are out of test strips and the next box is still 3 days away in the mail.  It is way more than all that fun (sarcastic) medical stuff.  It gets to leak into the rest of your life and afflict all of those who are and/or hope to be close to you.  Aren’t we lucky?!  I think that as time goes on the medical field puts more and more attention on the emotional impact that a diagnosis of diabetes (or lets be honest, any chronic disease) can have on a person.  I know that Doc. Smile tells me nearly every time I have an appointment that she would like me to get health insurance so I can ‘talk’  to someone (i.e. have a meltdown on a stranger so they can tell me this is all normal and that I can do it 😛 ).

Trust me Doc, I would love to have insurance.  Actually, until I “aged out” I had health insurance my entire life, good thing too because I used the hell out of it.  Living without health insurance is hard enough but doing it with a chronic illness that has no cure, only treatment that basically functions as life support.  Sure, it’s a pretty damn good ‘quality of life’ life support that it provides, but really that’s all it is.  With out injections of insulin I would not survive, so the insulin supports my ability to continue living- i.e. life support.  <- After writing this Emilie definition I figured that perhaps an actual definitions would prove my point more readily, or at least provide a stronger argument:

According to medterms.com, Life Support is defined as (I will only give the example that pertains to this argument):

1. A therapy or device designed to preserve someone’s life when an essential bodily system is not doing so.  Life support may, for example, involve enteric feeding (by a tube), total parenteral nutrition , mechanical ventilation,a pacemaker,defibrillator, heart/lung machine, or dialysis.

I would say that a type 1 diabetic’s (and possibly a type 2, if it is deemed necessary) use of insulin would certainly fall under that definition.  So, keeping that in mind perhaps it is easier for someone on the outside looking in to see what it is really like to live with type 1 diabetes.  It is a daily reminder that there is a looming danger, one that never goes away- not even for a little while.  There is no cure, and as much as we always tell ourselves and each other one could be right around the corner- it isn’t yet and that’s what we live with.

I know this all seems so dark and scary and must be wondering, “Why is she throwing her mortality out there like that?”.  Don’t worry, I’m doing alright. 🙂  I just notice more and more the effects of my disease on Marshall these days.  The financial strain is something that is sort of an obvious stress on the relationship, but beyond that there is so much more, both specific to our relationship and things I suspect would effect most couples like us.

Of course Marshall has no way of knowing inherently when my glucose is out of whack.  So considering that often I don’t exhibit a lot of outward symptoms it can be hard to know when glucose is a factor.  Now, strange personality outbursts are an obvious symptom but lets face it, there is no golden rule to follow with this stuff.  Sometimes a pissed off girlfriend is a pissed girlfriend for a good reason, it’s not her fault that your man brain can’t understand.  Other times however, your short tempered, pissed off girlfriend is experiencing a spike (or sometimes crash) in blood sugar levels.  Either way, when you suggest she check her blood sugar she will get mad.  Sorry… heat of the moment and what not.  Of course then there is the opposite end of the spectrum when it a low blood sugar and the behavior is both totally unfounded too bizarre to actually categorize as mad, angry, mean, sad, etc etc.  Sometimes it is too strange and confusing.  So Marshall has to be willing to risk getting his head bitten off from the praying mantis he sleeps next too every night to prompt a glucose test, which he is.  🙂

There are also the other things that I think about even less but certainly need to consider more often is the stress and concern he has to live with everyday.  I often reflect on the fear and anxiety of parents of children with diabetes.  The go to bed in fear of their child not waking up, send them off to school and worry all day, and must hover to ensure their child’s safety while still trying not to smother their child or make them feel like an outsider.  I get a lot of this perspective from articles and websites but my closest influences are the blogs I read.  They are an excellent resource and often lead me (through their links or mention) to more information, programs and groups that I wasn’t aware of.  One day I was talking to Marshall about an entry from one of my regular reads and said how I couldn’t imagine all the fear that goes along with having a child with type 1.  I began listing off the different scenarios, sending them to bed, sending them to school, sports etc.  He looked at me as if I were missing something.  “What?”

“You realize, that’s what it’s like for me?”

What do you mean?”

“I mean I worry about all that stuff with you.  We go to sleep and I worry something will happen.  Or leaving you at home all day alone, I hate that.  Then if I call and you don’t answer the phone, I get even more worried.  It’s the same thing, I worry about all the different bad things that could happen.”

Honestly, I sit here living this everyday, hating that I have to count carbs and dose insulin and stick to a schedule etc etc but it’s hard to think about the things that Marshall thinks about all of that.  The truth is, I try to recognize how supportive he is and how hard he works to provide for us but I think I forget to address the other parts of his role in this D-life.  I mean, of course he worries about this stuff!  Of course he also considers the worst possibilities while only trying to talk about the best.  He is here, living this with me even more than anyone else.  He is more involved in my day to day life than anyone else, knows more about my care and regimen than any doctor or friend that I have.  He watches the physical and emotional struggle that I go through every day, why wouldn’t he feel and experience the same kinds of things? It is important not to forget that we aren’t going through this struggle alone, while all the emotions we feel might now be the same the ones who love us are too struggling.

I tell myself that I do a good job of appreciating Marshall but the truth is I am often missing what I think is the most important part.  I know that I thank him for working hard and taking great care of me.  Marshall is great about taking into consideration the stress and fear that I live with everyday and he will give me the benefit of the doubt and let me get away with things when he thinks that’s what I need (don’t worry he will hold me accountable too).  I don’t always do as good a job at that as I should in relation to Marshall.  He has told me more than once that I shouldn’t question his commitment to me or our relationship (that’s conditioned into me from years of terrible taste in men and a “rescue him” complex) because he has been here, with me through everything.  He is right, he has never given me any reason to believe that he is going anywhere and in fact just the opposite.  He is loyal and takes amazing care of me and never asks for anything in return.  So guess who needs to start taking better care of her partner in fighting diabetes?  This girl…

Hopefully I can call this lesson learned and if I can’t someone should certainly smack some sense into me…

Off Duty!

Just a quick post of some pics and a video.  Judah LOVES the snow and often would be just as happy playing alone as he would be playing with someone else.  In this video, he is actually outside with Goose our puppy, Goose wanted to sniff things and Judah wanted to play- so he did!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoFJ9DHo7hk

DSCN1742

DSCN1743

DSCN1747

DSCN1749

I hope you are all enjoying the snow as much as we are! (And if you don’t have snow, you don’t know what you are missing, just ask Judah!)

Epic Meltdown 2-Poor Marshall

So I have once again tested the limits and flexibility of the man who loves me.  I haven’t had a car in over a year.  That may not seem like a big deal to you but that just means you don’t know where I live.  I live in Effingham (yep, that’s real) and I live far away from everywhere, including my friends.  I have also been unemployed since September so I don’t get out much.  So basically when Marshall gets home from work I smother him with attention and can’t stop talking, asking him “What are we going to do tonight?” and being a general overwhelming nuisance.   Obviously Marshall would crave some time of his own, with his friends and without his girlfriend.  He is an amazing man and a  great sport and sort of brings me along with him too pretty much every place he goes when he isn’t working.  Well I’ve been trying to give him a little more “man time” lately but I admit, it makes me feel very left out and pretty lonely.  So the other night when he headed out without me I was feeling pretty crummy about it.  I moped around for a while and then curled up in bed for an early evening.

As I was curled up trying to sleep Judah began getting on and off the bed, bumping into me and being a general pain in the ass.  I was grouchy and tired and wanted to lay in bed feeling sorry for myself, so I kept telling Judah to go lay down.  He was pretty persistent and every few minutes would get up and ruffle my feathers a bit.  Well by the time Marshall got home I was exceptionally grouchy and totally feeling even more upset that I had been left behind.  So when he came upstairs and tried to snuggle up to me I instantly went into a hostile frenzy.  When he reacted poorly to my hostile action I took that as a green light to go into battle mode.

A cranky and frustrated Emilie quickly turned to a hostile and angry Emilie who was calling the very relationship into question.  As I began to wake up a bit more I realized how out of line I was being and actually had the thought to check my glucose, 60 mg/dl.  “Well THAT’S why Judah was harassing me.” I stuck the straw in my juice and sucked it down quickly.

“I thought something must be going on, you totally flew off at me as soon as I got home!”

Too soon Marshall, too soon.  I may have consumed the juice but my glucose is still low, poor Marshall.  “You like that don’t you?  You love that you can just blame my sugar and not take responsibility for anything.  Off the hook.  Well maybe you should stop blaming everything on me!  God, I don’t even know what we are doing.  You don’t even like me, you just stay with me because you feel bad for me.”  Terrible isn’t it?  That is such a small part of how cruel I can be.  Now, keep in mind this whole fight is taking place at nearly midnight and every time Marshall would try to retreat and give me a chance to ‘come down’ I would pursue.  I was totally viscous, totally.

When I finally regulated and Marshall felt that it was safe to return to the bedroom he had the pleasure of dealing with the other end of the spectrum.  I was a mushy, crying, full of apologies, utter and complete mess.  All I can say is I don’t think that I have ever met another man, never mind been in a relationship with one, that would put up with the extreme swings of emotion that I go through when I have a big swing in my glucose.  He allowed me to climb into his lap, cry, apologize, cry some more, and tell him that I didn’t mean any of the mean things I said.  I can’t imagine the emotional stress this places on Marshall when it happens because I know that I find it exhausting.  It must be even worse when you are the target of all the hostility.  I am a lucky woman to have him and it’s easy to forget that when things get hard.

All I can say is that when my tax return comes I am buying a car!  Yipee, of course I still won’t have a job which means I won’t be able to put gas in the car…  I have applied for a bunch of jobs in the past couple weeks though so maybe I’ll get lucky.  I think I deserve a little luck and I know Marshall does.

Busy Day, Busy Dog

Marshall and I foolishly went shopping on Saturday completely forgetting that it was Superbowl weekend (alright side note: how bad is it that spell check recognizes “Superbowl” but not “ketone”?).  Needless to say we walked into Market Basket and it was absolutely insane.  Not only were there people covering nearly every inch of the floor but we had managed to enter the store with people that clearly get out into public even less than I do.  Marshall and I tend to stick together in the grocery store, we have a system and it involves us moving through the store together.  Well on Saturday, we had to divide and concur.  There were two reasons for this.  First, it was nuts, people wouldn’t move or even acknowledge that they weren’t alone in the aisle and we just wanted to get the hell out of there.  Secondly, because Marshall suffers from a form of road rage I would like to call “stupid people rage”, and it stresses me out.  He gets very bothered when people act like idiots and/or ass holes.  Seems reasonable, but let’s face it- there is no way that we can make it through a day out in public where we won’t meet someone who acts like a dumb ass.

Well Judah was being exceptional and I was extremely impressed with his behavior.  He was focused, quick to respond and just in the zone.  He was focused on me, and our carriage- on a mission, get in, get what we need and get out.  So as we weaved through the thick crowds of people many people never even realized he was there.  As we made our way through the store we moved past the regular coos, whistling, clucking, and other annoying and sometimes rude attempts to distract the dog.  He didn’t react to a single one, good boy Judah.  As Marshall and I congregated on the cart to drop off our spoils he told me that in the dairy section a lady had gasped upon seeing Judah and said, “There is an animal in here”.  He informed me that he had bitten his tongue (good boy Marshall) and that she was being wretched to her husband at the same time so obviously she was an evil lady.

In the bread aisle I was passed by a little girl and her mother.  The little girl asked her mother if Judah was an attack dog and then went out of ear shot as I heard her mother start to explain service dogs- good job mom!  As we finally headed to the front of the store it was even more insane than the rest of the store had been.  Soon after we tacked ourselves onto the end of a line they began to announce over the loud speaker that to line up for a register, please line up in aisle 11… wow.  Needless to say, we stood in line forever.  Behind us a family had come into line and I could hear the little girl talking to her dad about Judah.  I couldn’t hear all the parts of the conversation but I heard her father tell her she couldn’t pet him because he was working etc etc.  Eventually we struck up conversation because Judah was trying to sit on the freshly waxed floor and his feet wouldn’t stay underneath him.  The dad asked what he would do when he was done training, and once again I began to explain what he does and how he is already working.  The people in the lines around us began to jump in and talk about how neat they thought that was.  I gave Judah the “go visit” release and he soaked up some love from the little girl and her dad while mom snapped a couple pictures.

After I put Judah “back to work” he started sniffing intensely, and started sitting up and looking to his right.  Then he would lay back down and do it all over again.  He then got up and sniffed toward me, then again began to strain to the right, then bump bump, pull to the right.  That wasn’t an alert for me…  After a few minutes he stopped doing it and stopped looking off to the right, perhaps he was picking up on someone else waiting in line?  I don’t know but I checked when we got to the car just to confirm- it wasn’t me.

It was funny, how he was acting.  It was different but rather obvious to me that he was picking up on someone, he had that concerned look in his eyes and was being very specific about where he was directing the behavior.  What do I do when he does this?  Should I have stepped out of line and let him find the person?  Or is that ridiculous and I should mind my own business?  Sometimes I wonder if I have a responsibility to make sure people are safe like a doctor or if I need to remember how strange that would be for a person to have me tell them that my dog thinks they should check their blood sugar…