Being the wife of a Type 1 Diabetic with complications is no easy task. You figure, the man is 32 years old and has had Diabetes since he was an infant. He can handle things pretty well on his own by now. However that is not our life. When you add Diabetic Neuropathy and Diabetic Retinopathy into the Type 1 mix, an already challenging world becomes a world so different from the Type 1 world others may or may not know. One you never thought you would have to deal with. You now look back and wish all you had to deal with was the Diabetes itself; that was a piece of cake compared to this! Although we all know Diabetes is no piece of cake which tells you how hard things really do get when you add in the complications.
As Vince’s wife, I have to do things for him that I never dreamed of. I was not one of those little girls who had the dream wedding and family in mind at the age of 10. I never really thought about what life would be like when I got older. At 18 years old when I met my future husband, I never dreamed what being his wife would entail and what we BOTH would have to endure in order to keep a marriage together and a household going. I never imagined having to care for my husband who would soon have 3 serious and debilitating diseases. I never knew how important my employment would mean to my family. Not only for the income since I would be the only one working, but for the health insurance. Losing the health insurance we have would be devastating in more ways than one. At 28 years old, you don’t think you will be putting your husband’s shoes and socks on before leaving the house. You don’t think that you would do anything to have someone drive YOU around for a day since you are the one that is always in the drivers seat. You never imagined yourself becoming a self taught nurse who administers multiple injections almost daily since you were always so afraid of needles, just the word would make you cry. You can’t imagine how you ever learned to navigate the healthcare system like a pro. As a child, I was rarely sick. Never took anything stronger than some Robitussin for a cold. Never would I have imagined that I would know “our” pharmacist by name and could practically fill our own prescriptions better than some of the pharmacy technicians on staff. Sunday mornings now consist of filling Vince’s medication box for the week, approximately 10 medications (not pills themselves) in all. I never thought that by the age of 28 I would miss our “family cleaning days” of the past. I sure do appreciate those days when we would BOTH clean on Saturday mornings together. Now that is on my shoulders along with all of the cooking. If I am lucky, I have Vince with me to do the grocery shopping, and just hope that he can make it through the store holding on to the shopping cart and stand in the long line before needing to sit down in the car. During all of this madness throughout my day, I always have to be aware that his sugar can drop or raise for no apparent reason and hope that the drowsiness of his Neuropathy medications has not overtaken him at that moment so he can attend to his Diabetes care himself. Never did I imagine that I would have the best marriage a girl could ask for. We never fight or argue. We are truly each other’s best buddy. We spend 24/7 together and will never get tired of each other. What is the one thing that does get in the way causing arguments? The fact that I have to treat him like a child more than anyone would want. Think of all the things I mentioned above. A lot of them are things you would have to do for a child with or without diseases. So. Not. Fair. One last thing I never imagined is peoples responses towards my life. You have the majority of people who praise you for doing so well and for keep pushing forward. For giving so much of your own self to take care of your husband. I never know what to say to those compliments. I just smile and say, I don’t know, I just do it. Then you have the people who ridicule your lives. Maybe they do not know how to take the situation or what to say, but people say things to you that you can never imagine saying to someone in your shoes in a million years.
Along with all of the things I mentioned above, I work 40 hours a week. That wouldn’t be any different if he was the healthy husband that anyone else has. I even may still carry the health insurance for the family, if my plan was better than his. But on top of all this, I have now taken on a second Part Time job at a local grocery store. I never thought I would be able to work two jobs. The thought of working 60 hours a week is quite daunting. How am I going to work 60 hours a week and still take care of a disabled husband and keep our home going? Honestly, I am not sure. But it has to be done. We need to catch up and this is the only way it is going to happen, for now. But what I try to tell myself as I get ready for my new adventure is: how do I get through our daily life as it is already? I don’t have an answer, I just know I can.