The Diabetic Partner Follies, Act 9: Support Group Faux Pas

Greetings, people who care about diabetes and about the people who have it.  This week’s edition of The Diabetic Partner Follies is a special treat.  I had queried John Close, British hubby of the smart and extremely successful diabetes industry consultant Kelly Close, about his experiences being virtually saturated with the disease in both their private and professional lives.  What came back was completely unexpected, and made me laugh.  You should have seen my husband in action at the support groups prepping for childbirth! (snorf)

In any case, I’m sure that once again, many of you can relate.  Got a story of your own to share? Email me here.  Now enjoy.

Hi Amy –

I read your emails from other diabetic partners with a real sense of understanding. I feel that we could meet up and have a chat and we’d get along really well — but I have to confess I am not very good at these things. In fact, my biggest folly was attending a diabetes support group with my wife, who has been type 1 for 20 years.


The people at the group gave me a warm welcome. They said it was nice to have a partner represented. That was before they kicked me out, though!!!

The fact is, I just wasn’t very supportive at the support group — which is not usually like me. I spend a lot of time supporting my wife, who I think the world of.  But all these type 1′s wanted a space in which they could talk about how they had gone on vacation for two weeks in Central America without taking a blood sugar meter, or how they hadn’t bothered to test before driving their car down the freeway at 65mph and going low. I squirmed and sat on my hands as each story got more irresponsible than the last. Then I blew up!!

I told them that I know everyone makes mistakes, but it was just wrong to be so foolhardy. They were not only playing dice with their own health, but with the feelings of their loved ones and the safety of complete strangers. Everything went very quiet and for a few frozen seconds, I could hear a cold wind whistling outside the window.

Turns out I hadn’t listened very hard to the introduction from the facilitator. Apparently we were there to listen and not be judgemental, that nothing was “wrong” and that my comments “weren’t welcome.” Whoops! Guess I won’t be invited back then!

Well, I lost points for that. But I know why I did it — it’s because I care.



– John Close


8 Responses

  1. Vivian
    Vivian November 17, 2006 at 8:47 am | | Reply

    Bless his heart, he had good intentions. If they aren’t there to judge, then they should give him a second chance. Maybe he could lead a session on how the partners or families feel. I think everyone needs to know how they fit into the puzzle of life. Just my 2cents.

  2. Anne
    Anne November 17, 2006 at 8:51 am | | Reply

    John, I would have felt the same way as you and I’ve been type 1 for 18 years. It seems like the facilitator could have handled your comments (which I would totally agree with) in a different way in order to increase understanding on both sides. I’m sorry you felt uncomfortable and hope you aren’t disuaded too much from joining your wife in the future. When it comes to health-related issues, and diabetes in particular, it is a big motivator to know that others are counting on me to be responsible.

  3. Scott
    Scott November 17, 2006 at 11:47 am | | Reply

    Having met Kelly, its interesting to read about her husband’s perception!

  4. gina
    gina November 17, 2006 at 12:22 pm | | Reply

    I think that the husband was right to express his opinion and people that have diabetes should really think not only about their own life but the people’s lives that can also be affected, because of their irresponsible actions. So, i feel when it comes to that all rules are off.

    What does it take two seconds to double check if you have your supplies or not or take a blood test before you get in a car come on… even when i am in the shittiest of moods i will always check my blood before i get in the car. its a priority.

  5. Michael Park
    Michael Park November 17, 2006 at 3:55 pm | | Reply

    I think it’s a fine line between a) being supportive of someone who makes mistakes and b)supporting someone’s mistakes.
    It’s so easy to get into a group of dibetics and start admitting to the bad habits or wrongdoings, and it’s great to acknowledge that we are all human and make mistakes BUT we should just as quickly acknowledge the fact that they are mistakes for a reason…

  6. AmyT
    AmyT November 17, 2006 at 5:26 pm | | Reply

    Well said, Michael!!

  7. JasonJayhawk
    JasonJayhawk November 20, 2006 at 7:57 pm | | Reply

    I agree with Gina’s comments. As a Type 1, even I would have had a hard time in a group of people who talk about their mistakes that could injure others or themselves. In the same light, I never like to associate with groups of people discussing exploits and adventures with alcohol or drugs, either.

  8. Journeywoman
    Journeywoman December 8, 2006 at 12:21 pm | | Reply

    I don’t know how the husband expressed his views…if he got up and screamed. I think if I had been there (this is assuming it is in NJ or NY) I would say that driving while low would result in a DUI, which could result in suspension of licence and possibly jail time (if someone was killed).

    This is an amazing blog and an amazing series…sorry I’m coming late to the party.

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