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By Katherine Marple
To love a diabetic is to be a doctor. It means helping her to remember her medications. It means driving her for an hour to the only 24 hour pharmacy when she’s gotten the flu and can’t take the Nyquil in the refrigerator. Or driving her to the hospital when the simple flu turns into bronchitis and her blood turns acidic.
To love a diabetic is to be patient. It means knowing that some days she won’t feel good for no visible reason. It means canceling long term plans when suddenly she doesn’t feel well enough to go on a trip. Or waiting to go to bed while she injects her bedtime insulin.
To love a diabetic is to be a priest. It means consoling her when she’s tired and feels like she can’t do it anymore. It means listening and not passing judgment while she tries to figure out her new dosages and makes mistakes. Or, during those tough times, listening to her burial wishes - just in case.
To love a diabetic is to be a guardian. It means standing up for her when strangers accuse her of being a drug addict. It means discreetly asking her friends to keep an eye on her when she’s testing new medications and doesn’t know the reactions to her body yet. Or staying up with her through the night because she’s too afraid to fall asleep where a coma can find her.
To love a diabetic is to not be superficial. It means seeing her bruises as beauty marks. It means caressing the scars across her stomach. Or kissing her dry lips when she is hooked to IVs.
To love a diabetic is to be understanding. It means knowing that she doesn’t mean to get hot tempered when her blood sugars are too high. It means listening to her when she asks to start a family soon. Or donating time and DNA to sciences you don’t fully understand just because she asks you to and because it promises to cure her.
To love a diabetic is to be smart. It means researching new medications even though she never asks you to. It means listening to her explain her new findings in terms that aren’t typical language. Or making her smile when she desperately wants to scream.
To love a diabetic is to be selfless. It means going to a restaurant based off the carbohydrates menu instead of the atmosphere. It means going without dinner when money is tight because you can buy her medication with it instead. Or testing your blood sugar on her new meter to make sure it’s working properly even though you’re terrified of needles.
To love a diabetic is to be brave. It means keeping your chin up while she talks about those scary moments. It means not allowing her medical mistakes to colour your relationship with her emotionally. Or keeping positive spirits even though all of the websites and gatherings tell you she won’t statistically make it past her 40s.
To love a diabetic is not easy. It means putting her medical needs before any other finances. It means worrying every moment that she is properly cared for even when you can’t see her. And it means trusting her life in the hands of so many doctors who don’t understand the full complexities of the disease.
Thank you for loving a diabetic.