Help for a wife of a type 1 diabetic

I posted this in the “type 1” forum - because I wanted some input of other diabetics… here it is again on this page for spouses/significant others, just in case you didn’t see it there…

I have a rather large problem. My husband - a very smart, sweet, giving, loving man - has some sort of “block” when it comes to checking his blood sugar. He has hypoglycemia unawareness, although he won’t admit it. He basically refuses to check his blood sugar before he gets into his truck. To make matters worse, he’s a volunteer firefighter and gets in fire trucks and ambulances without checking too. He has driven home from on numerous occasions with a BS of 40 or below. I’m not sure how he get here - auto pilot must kick in. He’s not been in an accident -yet. I really can’t understand why he won’t just check before he drives - I’ve asked, pleaded, cried, bitched… but all to no avail. I’m about at wit’s end. Do any of you have a suggestion for me?

Is he into gadgets? Would a fancy meter or a computer program to track numbers inspire him to test more?

Would a CGMS be an option?

You can and should refuse to ride in the same vehicle with him unless he’s tested. Although truthfully, that doesn’t prevent much of anything because people with T1DM can experience rapid drops which can occur regardless of testing before driving, it does make a clear statement that you are concerned about your own well-being and will not go unless he’s tested prior to starting the engine. A test result of 40 mg/dL when he’s arrived home does not mean he was at that level for the entire trip home.

You do, however, need to handle the issue delicately. Take a step back and consider what it is like for him. That doesn’t justify dangerous behavior, but consider that patients with diabetes are often blamed for not caring for themselves or being ‘noncompliant’ when in fact, all people with type 1 suffer from counterregulatory impairment which causes hypoglycemia unawareness. Too often, doctors and diabetes educators tend to blame the patient rather than addressing a legitimate medical issue.

Although CGMS may be an option, the fact is that insurance coverage is dicey at best, and the cost is significant. I would suggest an alternative, namely Blood Glucose Awareness Training (BGAT-2), which was developed by researchers at the University of Virginia Diabetes Research Team in Behavioral Medicine. Although classes are preferrable (because people can and do learn from others in the group), it may not be offered everywhere and sadly, relatively few Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs) are even aware of the program (even though they do not deserve the title of CDE without it, IMHO). They have developed an online version called BGAT-home, although it may not yet be fully functional – if not, print the Diabetes Care journal article and demand that his CDE make him/herself aware of the program and refer him to someone who is qualified to teach the program.

Thank you Mollyjade and araby62, he’s not into gadgets, I am, but that doesn’t help. We’ve talked about CGM, but it’s just out of our financial possibilities right now.
And thanks Scott - I read your blog all the time, BTW. I don’t ride with him unless he first checks his BG level. We established that a long time ago. I’ve taught my daughter to ask him too. The problem is, when we’re not there - then he doesn’t think (or bother) to check. I will definitely check into BGAT2 - that sounds very interesting. I appreciate and concur with your HO.

Thanks again all