The Diabetic Partner Follies, Act 7: Moral (Not Pharma) Support

Welcome Again, one and all, to the Diabetic Partner Follies, the ongoing “showcase” of life with the PWDs (people with diabetes). Here partners and loved ones share their experiences — good, bad, or otherwise — for the benefit of the community.

Got something to share? Email me here to participate.

This week, Kim McAllister who blogs over at Scared to Health shares a snippet from her life.  Kim is a registered nurse and the wife of a newly diagnosed diabetic.  In other words, she’s “seen life from both sides of the health-illness continuum.”  Here’s her most recent lesson in D-partnership:

Hubby never had any problem taking control of his diabetes once he came to grips with the diagnosis.

He takes his blood sugar more frequently than he has to with Type 2 diabetes and has seen theScaredtohealth cause-and-effect of dietary mis-steps, adjusting his intake and choices accordingly.

He exercises and has now lost 20 pounds and wears a 32 inch waist.

He hasn’t been this thin since we married 27 years ago!

I didn’t realize he didn’t know anything about his medications.

*****

Up until John’s visit to New York last month, I had been filling his weekly pill containers.

One for the morning and one for the evening.

He knew the nature of the medications he took.
A pill for lowering his blood sugar, one for his triglycerides, aspirin
and a med for his cholesterol.

I’d discuss the meds with him, often using the generic and the brand names interchangably.

*****

What John didn’t know was which name went with what med.

Although he took his medication bottles with him, when
he needed a refill on two of them, he was lost on how to go about
getting them 3000 miles from home.

When we did arrange for them to be filled, John was taken aback by the fact that the medications given to him there didn’t look like the same medications from home.

What was Gemfibrozil?

I had referred to it as Lopid even though we bought the generic version.

But the shape is different!

Different company.

He was anxious that he would mess up his med schedule and perhaps take too much metformin.

I was surprised at how unsure of himself he was after three months on the same medication.

*****

Then it hit me.

I had been handling the bottles. I had been filling the weekly medicine cassettes.  I had been talking to the pharmacy about refills.

John had been taking his medications passively. 

Up until the age of 51, he had never even been
on medication. It made sense that while he could grasp the mechanics of
blood sugar readings and tweaking his diet to make those readings fit
parameters, the weak link in the chain would be his understanding of
medications.

I wasn’t helping matters by handing them to him in cassettes marked only with the day of the week.

*****

To learn, John needed to actively immerse himself in the administration of his medications.

It wasn’t enough to have the medication names written on the bottom of the cassettes.

He needed to hold the bottles and read the labels every day.  Become familiar with the generic and brand names.  See the dosages so that they became etched in his memory and take control of getting his medications refilled.

Just as he needed to learn how to navigate the health
care system when he had never even seen a doctor, he needed to learn
his way around the world of pharmaceuticals.

*****

And so my part in this diabetic partnership has become one of support.

I shop, so I make sure portion controlled, healthy
snacks are always available. Our house has had more fruits and veges in
the last four months than in the previous two decades.

And honestly, that is really my only “responsibility” when it comes to helping John with his diabetes these days.

He’s conquered the diet, exercise, glucose testing and now the medication aspect of his illness.

Today he received the results of his first A1C since his diagnosis.  He dropped from 8.7 to 5.7.

5.7 is in the reference range for non-diabetics.

I’d say he’s done a pretty good job.

– K.M.

Reprinted with permission from Scared to Health.

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One Response

  1. Victoria
    Victoria June 15, 2007 at 12:21 pm | | Reply

    Congratulations!!!!

    It really is a true Blessing when we each do everything we can to take care of ourselves.

    This doesn’t mean the issues of a physical body living under the conditions of diabetes don’t progress. There are still times of hypo and hyper glycemia to some degree, with all the emotions that go along with them. Emotions that a life partner is subjected to out the very nature of being a husband, wife, orsignificant other.

    Kudos to you both for getting responsibility and empowerment where it does the most good!!! :)

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