When I was a silly little girl I had this “dream list” of what I wanted for my partner in life, and one of top three things on it was that he would be healthy. Now, you may ask “why would that be in her top three ideal traits for her partner?” Well, when you grow up with a Mother who is sick your entire life, and half your childhood was spent in hospitals, you spend a lot of time catering to her needs – which wasn’t always a bad thing mind you, because of her illnesses I got to spend my summer’s at the beach which was better for her health – but you see the toll that takes on your parents marriage and you hope that your marriage will be a bit easier.
These were childish thoughts. I have written many times over how Graeme exceeds what I needed/wanted in a partner and I truly didn’t think twice about his diabetes when we were dating, engaged, and newly married. It really wasn’t until we had to buy his first round of insulin and supplies here in the USA at the pharmacy and having several issues, that I really understood that this would be something we carried together for the rest of our lives, unless they find a cure.
As we have ventured farther into our marriage and into the world of being unified, diabetic conversations happen more regularly. We have drastically changed the way we eat, our excersise routine, and for his overall health we opted he go on a pump system just this past December.
His new pump system, the Omnipod, has been life changing for him. Although it doesn’t change the fact that he is still a type one diabetic, it makes his/our world that much easier to navigate through and around. Over the last six months I have become a great pseudo nurse, in handling pump failures (when it errors out), removing the pump, adhering a new one, and many other nurse-like duties. Beyond this role, however, I have never been able to fully grasp the daily “weight” that Graeme carries.
We found out a couple of months back that the OmniPod was going to be coming out with a smaller, more advanced version of their pods that Graeme would be transitioning to. We discussed once that happened that I should wear one of his older versions using saline as the substitute for insulin and become a “diabetic” for a few days.
The day finally came where it worked to take on the challenge. Graeme prepped the site and the pod (which I have to say it was very strange to be on the receiving end for this). Once it was injected, it stung for some time, but I am a bit baby when it comes to things being injected into me.
After a couple of hours I forgot I was wearing it and went along my merry way doing what I normally do. It wasn’t until it came to our snack time later in the day that I realized I was going to have really improve my math skills in a short period of time. Paying attention to how many carbs I had and if they were higher or lower on the Glycemic Index (GI). Not only that, but remember how I said I was big baby when it comes to things being injected to me? Well, having to prick my finger three+ times a day while testing blood levels was going to be a feat for me to overcome.
Here was our first reading together, normal Blood Sugar Level (BSL) goal range is 80-120 mg/dL for a diabetic. Someone “normal” can run a little low, like mine, just because our bodies are able to naturally regulate our insulin levels.
It came the next day that I got to go through some normal day to day trails with this thing connected to me in Graeme’s shoes. I went into the market to grab just a few items, not a major shopping trip, so I left my bag in the car and just grabbed my wallet. I should mention that with this kind of insulin pump it needs these two parts (the Pod, on the body, and the Reader) you see above to be able to communicate, for the most part. You don’t have to be right next to the reader at all times, but if there is an error, you need to inject insulin, or check how much insulin you have left, you need both.
When I was in the market I was near a refrigerator section and at one point I heard this high pitch beeping noise. I got super nervous, because occasionally the pods will error out and when they do, they make a high pitch noise informing you of the error, which you would then need the reader in order to clear the error and ultimately remove the pod, and replace with a new one. I stepped away from the refrigerator and thankfully it wasn’t the pod, but the refrigerator itself. *SIGH* of relief.
I realized in this moment, Graeme has less freedom in more ways than I thought. He has to, in some way, shape, and form, always be connected to the things that keep his body functioning along with always being aware of how his body is reacting in the day to day.
I made it through my first and second days with no errors or problems. I finally got used to pricking myself for blood and I was getting better at the whole math thing! The pod though was starting to get itchy and I couldn’t wait to take it off. Again, really getting to experience the ins and outs that Graeme experiences on a daily basis.
Graeme took the pod off the next night and in so many ways I was grateful, but I was also sad, because I knew for me this was just a few short days of experimenting. For him this was every day.
We often talked about how, though health had been one of my top priorities for being with someone, part of my life had groomed me to be with someone who needed a little more patience, encouragement, and love in this area. I don’t mind changing pods in restaurants, running back to the car for his kit, or taking an hour to walk through with the pharmacists on cost changes, wrong prescription, and health plan changes. He makes my life better and way more fun and if this is the least I can do to make his life easier I will do it and much more!