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Re: [[IP] To PARENTS--a LONG post about fear

Dear Charisma,
I'm Nancy Carlson, Tom's wife.  I read what you wrote about your fears and
worries with having a little one with diabetes. Although my "little one" is
45 years old, I share so many of your feelings, that I felt motivated to
write to you.

I'm sure that every non-diabetic caretaker, whether wife, mother, lover,
neighbor, co-worker or child has shared your feelings.  More often than any
one of us would care to admit, I'm sure.  After 20 years of taking care of
Tom during thick and thin, sometimes the "thin" seems to stick out more than
the rest.  No, you're not a bad parent for wishing for more sleep.  You're
human.  After one whole month of not only not sleeping, but fighting very
low (17-20) blood sugars with the accompanying seizures, fistfights,
struggles and quarts of sugared orange juice accidentally poured in the bed,
my patience had worn thin.  One night I woke up and thought, "Okay.  What's
another couple of hours going do?  What difference will it really make?"  I
rolled over and snuggled back down into my pillow for about 30 seconds and
then got up and did what I had to do.  That was the night that Tom told me
that I had "overreacted" and when I burst into tears said that I was being
"too emotional" about the whole ordeal. He said that he had not had a
problem, and it was only my interfering that was causing my emotional
distress.  Shortly after that, he had a reaction that was so bad I called
the ambulance and had him transported.  That was the night the ER physician
asked what was the matter, and I explained that I hadn't slept more than 2
hours in  20 days and that Tom had been having severe trouble in regulating
his blood sugars at night.  His response was "Well, if he's been having so
much trouble for so long, why did you decide to wake my up at 2:00 AM
tonight???"  Tom, even though his blood sugar was still in the 30-range,
must have seen the look on my face and grabbed my arm, preventing a homicide
in the small town hospital near our home.

Yes, to all of you who have lived through this, life goes on.  Tom and I are
still married - happily- and now with the pump I actually get to sleep on a
regular basis.  I still know that I can feel a reaction from a dead sleep,
but I haven't had to do that for some time.  Sleep deprivation can cause
some weird reactions to stress, can't it? :)

There doesn't seem to be too many support groups in our small rural area for
caretakers of diabetics where we can blow off steam and say "I wish it would
all just go away!" (or at least just leave until I can finish my nap!!). I,
personally, have never known anyone who had a diabetic spouse, although I
work for a man whose daughter has been a diabetic since she was 18 months
old.  She's almost 19 years old now, and he understands if I come back from
lunch a little late, making sure that Tom had had enough to eat before I
went back to work.  He understood the day I called and said that Tom was in
the hospital and would be there for the day until he was stable enough to
come home.  That has been a blessing that makes the rest of the work-life

I know that Tom agonizes about putting all of us through "his" problems with
"his" disease, but it's our disease, too.  Just don't try to reason with a
cranky low blood sugar about what is really going on - you're wrong, no
matter what you say.  I try to smile and stick it out until his sugar is up
to where he's himself again.  Before the pump, Tom tried to keep his sugars
higher than he should have, because he didn't want me to worry about
reactions.  Then he got a Staph infection in his face and leg and was
hospitalized for a week.  We knew that something had to be done, and found
the pump therapy that has made our lives - I hesitate to use the word -
"normal."  (I once read that "normal" was just a setting on your washing
machine...I like that a lot!)

I love my husband more than life itself, as you must love your child.  If
there was a truck speeding down the road, I would not hesitate to throw
myself in front of it to save him.  However, after enough frustrations, on
his part and mine, there are times where I have thought about finding a
truck to throw him in front of - on purpose.  This passes, though, and
rational thought prevails.

My mother, who is 80 and quite a wise woman, says that the best solution to
most problems is a hot bath - by yourself.  "Don't be so selfish to those
around you as to not take care of yourself," she told me once.  "Selfish!" I
thought! I give everything I have and quite a lot I don't have to my family
to care for them. Where is there time to take a bath?  "Take the time," she
said. "Because if you don't take care of yourself, when you crash and burn,
who is going to take care of them?"  Wise words that really work.  Make
supper.  Leave the dishes.  Put in a good movie for the family and announce
that for the next 30 minutes, you are going to be alone.  Go into the
bathroom and SHUT THE DOOR.  Read a book. Close your eyes. Light a candle.
Have an uninterrupted cup of tea.  Do only what you want to do.  It's only
30 minutes, but I know that I couldn't enjoy a trip to the Bahamas as much
as I enjoy my bath.  If you child is old enough, insist on a full hour.  I
think that you can conquer the Universe with an hour a day to yourself.
(And don't take that hour between the 2 and 4 AM blood meter checks!)

Yes, Charisma, you are normal.  I'm glad to hear it, too.  I thought I was
the only one who had feelings like that, but I guess I'm among the
multitudes.  It's nice to know that neither one of us is the "Lone Ranger,"

Keep writing and let us all know how you are doing.
Nancy - wife of a successful pumper (ZZZZZZ - that's me!  Sleeping!!!)

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