Friday, May 11, 2007

Does being the spouse of a diabetic always make someone a negative force?

I was going to post something more. But I'm going to just leave it at this:

Diabetes does not make you lazy.

Diabetes does not make you sensitive. Being a feeling human does that.

It is not a curse to be married to a diabetic. In fact, I know many people who value, love, and respect their diabetic partners - even when they're being screamed at during their partners' lows, watching their partners' suffer through highs, or enduring their partners' generally blowing off having this disease and probably getting themselves into trouble. Some stand by, some support, encourage, demand - I've not heard many that are accusatory and angry and mean - insisting that the diabetic should just "get on with their life." I pray that no one ever tells my boyfriend that their prayer is that he not marry a diabetic. I pray that no one ever tells my young diabetic counterparts that their prayer is that they not marry a diabetic. Imagine how much that could hurt someone - even if their diabetes has not made them overly sensitive.

I have had diabetes for 25 years. That's long enough to know the rollercoaster first hand.

It's also long enough for me to know the potential my body has to malfunction and the strong likelihood that it will. The fact that I accept in silence - and sometimes not - that my kidneys MIGHT fail, my eyesight MIGHT go, my hands or feet MIGHT end up altered or gone - does not mean that I don't know these things could - or are even very likely to - happen - it just means that I've armed myself for battle with this disease and my venting is more about my day to day struggles, the challenge of "getting on with my life." MOST of us know EXACTLY what this disease is capable of - how it may ravage us.

I am not selfish. Diabetes has not made me selfish, even afer twenty five years. I know that when I'm low, I can be mean, vicious. Sometimes, I forget the horrible things I've said - sometimes I lose entire hours - there have been times I've lost even more time than that. I know that my partner struggles, I know I've hurt him in my low or high rages - I know that the prospect of a future with complications scares him, angers him, frustrates him. I am terribly grateful that even when he expresses his frustrations in writing, his ire is aimed at diabetes - not at me.

In the years I ignored my diabetes - prefering to be thin, vein, ignorant, or some other thing - I hurt people. I'm sorry about that. Again, though, I'm grateful to have had people in my life who recognized it was often the disease - not me.

All of these things to address generalizing.

A blog is a public forum - when you put things out there - you shouldn't be surprised when people react to them. When you start a post with a question like the one I started mine with, you should expect that people will be hurt - that you're implying something about them based on just one piece of their being - or based on your experiences with just one person who shares that piece of their being. Even if what you're implying is wrong/untrue - it still hurts.

Diabetes and denial and frustration with it is difficult for us all. But generalizing about people with diabetes - and those who love and care for them solves nothing. We've got to recognize that our venting sometimes hurts others. Sure, we could stop reading - but when the headline alone hurts and it flashes in your face - what then?

In the end - I owe an apology. I reacted in anger - and snapped - instead of thinking and fleshing out as I've done above.


Anonymous said...

This is a perfect post

My spouse lovingly helps me through bad hypos, when I am unable to act coherently and never treats me as a burden.

His positivity is what helps me take care of my type 1 diabetes when it overwhelms me...and if he was negative, I bet I'd stop caring and not take care of myself as well as I do.

mel said...


Major Bedhead said...

I have no clue what you're talking about - I must have missed a post - but I know I hope that O finds someone like your Bob or Kerri's Chris rather than someone negative or nonsupportive.

Nicole P said...

Julia - No need to call any more attention to something I just needed to vent about. Was trying to make a point, is all. Hope you guys had fun today - I missed being a part... :( N

Anthony said...

OK, curious one, my problem with your blog is it's difficult to not write a comment on this post, then on that post and then on another one.

I find this especially interesting because you successful focus on a subject and yet cover many subjects.

A quick note for your survey, it's my mom and her eyes are brown.

I'm pleased to include you in the first edition of my new Surfer's PARADISE series. I'll look forward to see what you think when you come by for a look.

Major Bedhead said...

It was fun, Nicole. Next time. And next time will be sooner than a year from now. I can't believe it had been that long!

Megan said...

Amen sister! The very reading material that inspired this has been seriously bothering me the last few days, and it's so great to hear someone else eloquently debunk all that junk.

Johnboy said...

I am so tardy to this post.

Though I can only imagine what you are referencing, I agree with your comments in this post, N.

That said, I am simply not curious enough to hunt down and read the offensive material. I don't want to subject myself to it!!!


Nicole P said...

JB - There was a reason I didn't link it here. I just had to get it out... You know? Hope all is well. :) N

George said...

Well said Nicole.

Anonymous said...

Your post perfectly captures everything I feel about the blog to which you refer

Thank you for your blog and your eloquence

Marie said...

I agree with this completely, thanks for the post.

Nicole P said...

Marie -

You're welcome! Thanks for coming by. :)