The man in my life is a Type 2 diabetic. We've been together for about a year. L is a big guy, a pro football player in his youth until he was injured and had to retire. He's about 6'1", 230 pounds, strong-looking. He was diagnosed at least 10 years ago and, apart from taking Metformin with meals when he remembers, he doesn't do a lot about managing his diabetes or his BG. He tests once a day, if he remembers to do it. He talks about limiting things like white bread and white potatoes in his diet. He says it's okay for him to eat multi-grain bread, pasta and all kinds of fruits but he uses artificial sweetener in his coffee. I think he has some neuropathy in his feet and legs. He needs to get up at night to go to the bathroom. He told me, today, that he got up twice last night to have a big glass of water and to go to the bathroom--he was so thirsty his mouth felt parched
The irony in this is that I discovered I needed to see my doctor when I tested my BG with his meter and saw that it was 11.3. I went to the doctor, had formal blood work done and was diagnosed in October. My profile and blood work had been normal for years. Even my doctor, an excellent physician, was surprised that I had so suddenly developed diabetes. I've worked very hard to get under control. I did need to lose weight, and I've only got about 15 pounds left to lose. I look good. I feel good. My A1c last week was 5.9, down from 13.1 in October.
L (my partner) took me to the endocrinologist this morning. The endo is absolutely jubilant about my progress. He says I'm a model patient. He told me that he thinks I should teach other people how to get such good control. He was serious about that and gave me information about where I could take courses or do volunteer work. I'm proud of myself, too: I worked hard. It's paid off. Everyone is different, though. I know that not everyone can get the kinds of results I have so quickly even when they put their all into it. Diabetes treats us all differently and I've been lucky to have been able to manage it.
On the way home from the hospital, L told me how thirsty he was last night. I asked him about his BG, whether he'd tested it. He hadn't tested it in a few weeks but he did when we got home. He was at 23.8 mmol/L. That's 428 mg/dl. It was an hour and a half after he'd eaten breakfast.
I don't tell him what to do. I don't make a big deal out of being diabetic myself. I am pretty rigid about what I will and won't eat, but I'm also a very good cook. No one in my house feels deprived or unhappy with meals or the food that's in the refrigerator. I serve foods that I don't eat or will only taste, but I don't have to do that very often.
I don't think L has had much in the way of education about diabetes and whatever he did receive seems to have been to follow a high carb, low-fat diet--the ADA/CDA regime. I don't argue with him. I figure that we each have to make our own choices about what we will and won't do. I think that food is a deeply personal thing that has a whole lot to do with culture, history, family, comfort and security, and not so much with nutrition a lot of the time.
But I'm feeling despondent this afternoon. I've told L that I'm worried about him. I want him to live a full life for a long time. I told him that I'm afraid that he's teetering on the edge of a heart attack or a stroke. I'm concerned that his high BG may harm his kidneys and his eyes. I'm anxious that he may go into DKA if his BG just keeps going up.
I'm writing this mostly to rant a bit, I suppose. I don't know what to do. I'm not one to nag anyone. I would help L if he wants help, but I'm afraid that he won't change anything.