The closest I would get to raising the subject would be when we were in a café on a shopping trip and I would gently ask, “Do you really need a wrap AND a sandwich?” or I would suggest “Maybe leave the crisps.”
The response was nearly always the same and always aggressive, “My sugar’s dropping, don’t tell me what I need, you have no idea”.
And he was right, in a way, I didn’t know what it was like to have Type 2 Diabetes. I didn’t know what it felt like to have to take 8 -10 pills a day, to know, or believe, you have a condition for life, that is only going to get worse.
I also hadn’t experienced what it felt like to have to sit in the eye clinic with all the other diabetics with macular degeneration and the elderly and the blind, feeling like you were shuffling ever nearer to the bench reserved for the really severe cases.
But I did know what it was like to be on the receiving end of his low sugar induced bad moods and short tempers.
I did know what it was like to be running around a foreign city at night looking for something he could eat to get his sugar up, because he wouldn’t use the glucose tablets we carry for just such an emergency.
“You don’t understand, its like taking crack cocaine, the come down is terrible.”
I also knew what it was like to have your whole life dominated by the tyranny of sugar in my husband’s body, having to have meals on the table early, not late, carrying bananas everywhere, and having to smooth or calm down low sugar induced blow-ups with who ever was in the way at the time.
I also know what it is like to be astounded to see your husband smiling as he leaves yet another diabetic check up with the nurse or doctor.
Astounded because he was nervous as hell before he went in, thinking he was going to get a ‘bollocking’ because he knew he hadn’t kept his blood sugar under control; for years he had been in denial and never checked it with his monitor.
He knew, despite never weighing himself, that he had put on weight. I knew damn well he had put on weight because the only trousers he was comfortable in were his tracky pants. Me asking him to at least put on a proper pair of trousers to leave the house with me would always kick off world war three.
I would be astounded because secretly I was hoping that having forcibly weighed him and shown him that the glucose in his urine is off the scale the doctor might say, “Bloody hell, Mr Gaunt, this is serious, you can’t go on like this”.
I wanted someone who did know what they were talking about to read him the riot act, scare him into taking his condition seriously.
But out he comes smiling, having had a lovely chat with the Doctor or nurse, who would have raised a professional eyebrow or wagged the metaphorical finger but ultimately just prescribed an extra Metformin or Gliclazide and sent him on his way. “See you in six months.”
I was in despair!