Most days he goes by the label "Dad," "Son," or "Honey."
But when I curl up next to him in bed, a little lump protruding from the side of his stomach keeps me from forgetting. Middle of the night bathroom trips find one of us entangled in a line of plastic tubing or lying on a cell phone sized medical device. And the worst nights ever send me dialing 9-1-1 or rushing around to help attend to him.
The good thing is you probably wouldn't know if you met us that anything was ever "unordinary."
But it is.
Diabetes effects every aspect of our life, yet my husband selflessly works hard to never allow it to. Today, I'm giving thanks for him teaching us what it means to be selfless.
Whenever he has a low blood sugar, he grabs as much food as he can, leaving the mess behind. I jokingly complained one time about the leftover graham crackers and peanut butter forming a glue like paste on the kitchen counters when I would find it hours after one of his middle of the night low blood sugars --not even to him, mind you--but he now cleans up no matter how low. Which can be a pretty hard thing to do when you're trying to do anything through a foggy, fuzzy tunnel of a brain and limbs that seem uncooperatively jello like. And don't forget the numb fingertips and the extremities not connecting with the brain making even opening a jar of peanut butter an olympic feat.
After a low, pure exhaustion sets in as the body tries to right itself. Most days instead of getting the nap he needed, he would get into the car and drive over an hour at five in the morning to go off to work--fighting pure exhaustion with every mile. He would then work a twelve hour day only to turn around and drive back home. He came home exhausted and tired, yet still managed to help kids with homework and get them off to bed
Then there are the other days. The days that his blood won't go back to normal no matter what he tries. The days that his insulin pump site falls out and his blood skyrockets into higher area code numbers. He throws up, waves of nausea roll over his body, horrible cramps cause his legs and arms to weaken. He can't drink enough to get the feeling of thirst or cotton mouth to go away. Every minute it takes to get his blood sugar to go down to normal levels feels like an hour.
For me, it is torture to watch him go through what he has to. What I wouldn't give to take away his pain or illness once in awhile. But he never offers it. He never asks why this happened to him in the first place, or why he has to go though this. It's a part of him, and he accepts it. And only asks for us to do the same.
It's hardest on the kids.
Now they understand the jargon, the different jokes we make. They selflessly pitch in with younger siblings when I have to attend to their dad. They never mind racing to help their Dad when he needs it, but give me the hardest time with getting everyday household chores done. They race to curl up with him on the couch, or bring him a snack when he feels too weak to get one himself. They've learned what selfless unconditional love is, and that is something that any parent has difficulty teaching a child. I thank him for teaching not only our children, but me. He stands as an example to me everyday of my life. I am grateful for that example and the love that he shows me. The patience he has for me as I learn.
One day after a severly low blood sugar I saw him curled up on the couch with my oldest daughter. His arm was wrapped around her and she was cuddled up with her head on his chest. They were watching a television show together quietly. He looked up at me and with a tear in his eye he mouthed the words "thank you."
I feel rather silly. It's not me he should thank, but me him.
SHARE YOUR STORY OF GIVING AND WIN!
I am teaming up with Cooking Plan It to celebrate people who make a difference in the lives of others this holiday season. Share your story of inspiration and hope and you could win! And not only you win, but the charity of your choice and the person who has been an inspiration to you. Check out the details below and get your story entered, so we can give thanks to you and the people who give back to all of us.
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