December was a stressful month, not only because it was Christmas, but because my husband landed in hospital once again. We both learned a few more things about self-care through his experiences. My husband is a diabetic and for the past year or more we have been working at keeping his kidneys functioning well enough to avoid dialysis. It can be quite worrisome. His diabetic specialist has told us that each and every time his blood sugar levels drop too low or spike too high his kidneys and his heart take a hit. At this point it’s imperative to keep those levels as even as possible.
Now, while he was in hospital, I got the flu. I was too sick to visit him and I did not want to risk him catching it on top of all the other health issues he was dealing with at the time. I am very proud of him for dealing with the medical profession and helping them understand his needs. He was having trouble breathing – which is what caused his hospitalization in the first place. Fluids had built up in his heart and lungs making breathing very difficult.
Being unable to catch his breath was frightening for both of us. For him it caused a great deal of stress. Stress can cause a spike in blood sugar levels. So, the doctor would order a higher dose of insulin, which, in turn, would cause his sugars to drop way too low. Then the nurses would give him sugar tablets that would cause them to go too high. It was awful. This went on with my sick and weary husband trying to explain that the insulin dose was too high and then in the mornings trying to convince the nurses he didn’t need more than one or two sugar tablets to rectify it. It took several days before they began to listen to him.
In the end the nurses learned a bit more about caring for a diabetic patient. I learned to trust my husband did not need me at his side every moment and that he could take care of himself. I learned to let go of control. My husband learned to take control of his own health. In the end it was all about self-care, whether that is physical health or mental health.
Health professionals are not infallible. We each know our own bodies and know what we need to be healthy. In the end we have to be our own advocates. December was stressful, but it brought many gifts, blessings, and lessons we needed to learn. I am grateful for the lessons, even while it was hard to go through at the time.