When dealing with diabetes, we can take it all on ourselves, or we can accept help from our loved ones. I believe the right way is whatever way works best in our individual lives (which is to say there is no single right way). And at times in my life, I have done each method. I was only 11 years old at diagnosis, so my parents took on most of my diabetes management. Over the years, I handled more and more, and in college, I dealt with diabetes all on my own. The same goes for when I was single and living by myself. Now I share my life with my husband, Pete, and I also share some of my diabetes management with him.
It isn’t always easy to let someone take over parts of our diabetes care. It took a while to figure out what works best for my husband and me. Here are three steps we took:
The first thing is to talk about diabetes. My husband and I didn’t sit down and have a long formal diabetes conversation – although if that works for you, go for it. I found it easier to share bit by bit. I’ve tried to convey what living with a chronic illness feels like. I’ve shared that the needles and finger-pricks don’t bother me, but the emotions that come with diabetes do. He knows what comments from others (including him) really bother me. He knows what parts of diabetes I’m willing to joke about, and what parts are off-limits.
The second step is to come up with what pieces of diabetes management I can hand over to him. The important part was figuring out which tasks we would both be comfortable delegating to him. This is fun because it takes some diabetes burden off me. Pete often does my carb counting. He is pretty good at getting me something to treat a low blood sugar, unless the television is on, in which case, he wants to wait until the next commercial. And on days when I’m feeling like I can’t possibly do one more blood sugar check, I can hold out a finger to him and he’ll check my sugar.
I will admit, there are days when I wish I could let Pete take care of every single diabetes task for me. But there are some things he just isn’t comfortable doing. He hates needles, so the thought of inserting an infusion site or sensor for me makes him uneasy. He’s also nervous about bolusing for me because he knows an insulin-dosing mistake can have big consequences. And that is fair. It’s great to let our loved ones help us out, but we should be understanding of the fact that we need to do some diabetes tasks ourselves.
It isn’t always easy to let someone else lend a hand in our diabetes management. But when we do, I think it can make us feel less burdened and make our partners feel less helpless. And that’s a win on both sides!
Tags: diabetes care