Diabetes techonology continues to expand and grow at a rapid rate. There are plenty of apps and gadgets meant to help, but how do you allow your partner or spouse with diabetes to continue to maintain some independence while also embracing technology meant to help you or other family members help if they need it?
Every Monday I kiss my husband good bye. We mumble a heartfelt love you and give each other a quick hug and a kiss. Then I make the thirty minute drive home grateful I had those extra few minutes with him.
Monday mornings take on new meaning as he and I drive in mostly silence on the thirty minute drive in to the airport. Both of us have that fuzzy morning brain and bleary eyes, making conversation impossibly difficult as we drive in pitch dark. We are grateful for each other’s company, but conversation can be minimal when your body is screaming to go back to bed. As I drop him off curbside at the airport we take a quick moment surrounded by the bright lights of the terminals to say good bye. He heads inside for his two hour long airline commute to wherever his work takes him for the week and I drive home as the sky goes from purple to pink to blue and the sun begins to peak over the mountain–a reminder that kids, school and work are waiting for me at home and I will need to be ready with my “A” game the minute I walk through the doors.
Some weeks with him gone fly by, other’s can be dreadfully long. But everyday I am grateful he has a good job that he loves and affords us to do things we enjoy. And while he’s on the road there is plenty of technology that allows us to stay in touch. I’m grateful that every night the kids can Facetime or do a Google Hangout with him to get their homework done and let them know what he missed. I’m grateful that we can communicate by text throughout the day so he can know that I got that check deposited, the silly little things our three year old says, or that picture of the mess outside the dogs will have waiting for him when he gets home at the end of the week.
It can also help with his diabetes. Every morning I get a text from him with a “good morning!” or some similar message. It helps me know that he’s okay. If I don’t receive the message by a certain time, technology helps me know where he is so I can have someone check on him. Our shared Marriott app tells me where his hotel was that night. Since he travels to a lot of the same places he has gotten to know the staff there well enough that they know if he needs something if they don’t see him by a certain time of the morning. Our shared Google calendar (when I remember to use it) is crucial for us keeping on top of where he is asked to fly off to each week, what flight he is on and where our kids need to be at any given time of the day.
But there is that fine line. He has taken care of his diabetes for over thirty years largely on his own. Even though there are well meaning people in his life, he knows that we truly can’t understand or take care of his diabetes for him. But he does know there are those moments that he has to rely on someone when a blood sugar goes too low too quickly. Or when it goes too low in the night and he can’t recover without help. While it doesn’t happen nearly very often (or at all) it’s that back of the mind “you know it could” feeling that keeps you preparing. Like all those “the big one” earthquake drills you did as a kid.
While I can’t be there for him, it’s the anxiety that keeps me prepared. “So, honey, I hate to ask but just in case something happens, who do I need to call if you can’t make it into work? Can I have his number since you’ll have your phone with you?” I truly hate, HATE having to ask questions like that. It makes me feel like I’m invading his space, his privacy. Even though we’re married I don’t share all of my passwords with him and I don’t share every aspect of our lives. There’s a certain level of trust and respect in regards to our jobs and our life that we share and I don’t like crossing those invisible lines. Half the time I don’t even keep track of what city he is in and he has to mumble, “Dear, I’m in Phoenix today. Did you look at the calendar?” Um, no. But thanks for reminding me of that. And the fact that when you get home on Friday you’ll have NO idea that you’ve got our date night, a taekwondo meet for our daughter and a soccer game to go to right after you land. Forgot to load that into the calendar.
Since I can’t even seem to keep on top of all those apps and calendars meant to help make our life easier while he’s on the road, it’s also those invisible lines that have kept me from embracing technology like this. Do I need to freak out at two in the morning when I wake up and see that his blood might be low? Or worry that he might be hugging the toilet when I see his blood sugar at 300 when he ate at some new restaurant with some clients and no carb counts were available? While he is gone I have him, three kids, myself, our home, our car, the bills, my work, two dogs and a whole other plethora of things to worry about. While we have emergency procedures in place I worry that technology like this could cause me greater anxiety and worry and may actually hurt not help our marriage. That it might be that crossing over that invisible line. Do I really need to be able to monitor his blood sugars remotely? Is it absolutely necessary?
It might also be that marriage strengthener. “Hope you’re doing okay. Saw that your not feeling too good. Wish I could be there for you. Love you!” How nice would that be to get a text like that at three in the morning when you are sick and in a hotel room by yourself knowing someone is there for you? Instead of having your spouse tell you they are sorry to hear you were sick when you went to some hole in the wall Mexican restaurant that had no carb counts and you spent the night on the toilet suffering from your authentic Mexican food and a high blood sugar? Their sympathy doesn’t carry a lot of merit the day after you’ve spent the night sick.
Technology can be a great thing. Diabetes technology has come a long ways and continues to grow and develop at a rapid pace. But does it cross lines sometimes? How do you allow your kids or partner to have independence but also remain prepared to jump in and help when they need it? Do you embrace technology like this or proceed with caution?