Before I start, I’d like to say a very big thank you to my family, friends and blog readers for your powerful prayers and strong words of encouragement. There really isn’t much that can be done at this point in time, but it’s wonderful to know that I have friends that care, he has friends that care, and that there are even people out there who don’t know us personally who also care. You have no idea how much simple words can mean to me, especially on occasions when I feel like giving up.
It’s not easy being the partner, caretaker and supporting arm to someone recently diagnosed with diabetes. Worse than that, I’m the girlfriend of a diabetic. By that, I’m not implying eternal damnation or anything to that extent. As a girlfriend, I’m supposed to be the one who needs a should to cry on. I’m emotional and vulnerable to drama and chaos. If I were a guy, things would be easier. Sadly, I’m not. I’m trying so hard to keep myself together, hoping I don’t crumble in public, and praying I can remain emotionally and physically strong for the both of us.
Just a few days ago, I came across online articles stating the number of diabetics in the United States and in Singapore. In a report released on 26 Jan ’11 by the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million, which translates to 8.3 percent, of the United States’ population were diabetic. I am pretty surprised. Quite honestly, I expected more.
In Singapore, a health correspondent for The Straits Times reported that as many as 1 in 3 Singaporeans will be diagnosed with diabetes in 2050. That’s around 33%! Since when was diabetes of such prevalence in Singapore? If that many Singaporeans have been diagnosed with this disease, shouldn’t there be far more educational material provided by the government? This figure…this figure definitely scares me.
Considering the life-threatening complications linked to the long-term onset of diabetes, immediate effects of hypoglycemia, complexity in managing the disease, and scariest of all, the mortality rate, I think a lot more needs to be done here.
At World Diabetes Day 2011, our Health Minister voiced his concerns about Singapore having one of the highest rates of diabetes among developed nations in the world. If that’s not scary enough, diabetes currently ranks as the 7th most common cause of death in Singapore. Now, someone please give me a reason not to worry.
We managed 3 buffets in the past two weeks – one at Straits Cafe at Rendezvous Hotel, the second at Ssikkek Korean Grill, and the third was this evening at Seoul Garden. We’ve been taking it slow and steady and so far, his blood sugar readings have been generally well-controlled by the insulin. He almost went into hypoglycemia last Saturday during dinner with my family. He overshot his insulin count and didn’t have sufficient carbohydrates to match the amount of insulin in his body. All the panic and disagreements we had in handling the situation left us quarreling and angry with each other by the end of the night – just like the previous time. I really wish things were easier.
There were a couple of times where his blood sugar readings went far beyond the acceptable range, but unlike the immediate effects of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), the effects of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) are more long-term and only occur at later stages. In other words, nothing happens at the point of high blood sugar, so emotions are better managed between us.
One thing I must say, however, is how proud I am of him. He’s been more disciplined than I expected, even though he has forgotten to inject on a few occasions and has cheated with unhealthy food when I’m not around. It’s funny how something as simple as healthy blood sugar readings can make me happy for the entire day. My life has definitely changed ever since. I’m now able to see the value in this one thing most of us take for granted: health.
I still refuse to accept it as a lifelong disease. I believe there’s still hope in prayer and I know that one day, hopefully sooner than later, he will be freed from the shackles of diabetes.