As a diabetic, how much should we expect of our significant others?

This question has come up quite often in my journey with diabetes. When I was first diagnosed, I turned to my husband for support. To his credit, he went to the diabetes education classes with me and attended several doctor’s appointments. However, his interest waned almost immediately. He stopped going to the doctor’s appointments after the first two, never tried to educate himself on diabetes, and whenever I discuss my concerns, problems, or whatever, he often does not listen or tries to comfort me with statements that are repetitive and uneducated.

Is it unfair of me to want my husband to take an interest in something that touches such a large part of my life?

I don’t expect him to know everything about diabetes. I don’t want him to become an expert on the subject and start a website dedicated to finding a cure…like some husbands we’ve all heard about. In fact, I’m not entirely sure what it is I want from him.

Maybe what I want is…To feel like when I talk about lows and highs, he isn’t glazing over and just waiting for me to turn to a more interesting topic. To feel as though I am not trying to make it all about me by discussing my fears of complications. For him to understand that I cannot eat things dripping with fat and those brownies he loves so much.

I am one of those people who does not like to be treated as though I have a chronic condition. My diabetes is just a part of my daily routine. But when I say to my husband that I am afraid to go to the eye doctor because I am afraid of what they might see, is it too much to ask that he understand I am talking about diabetic retinopathy and not the possibility of a stronger prescription for bifocals?

I get that the idea of me being sick bothers him. He prefers things to remain on an even keel, to pretend that bad things do not happen. But this is the reality. And we share it by committing ourselves to each other. I have no one else to share this journey with. My four children are either too young to understand, or too busy with their own lives to focus on someone else’s problems. That’s the way it should be.

I worry sometimes what might happen if I do develop a serious complication. What if I go blind? Or my kidneys fail? Will anyone be here to take care of me?

I just find it sad that I even have to ask that question.

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