New relationship with T1

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babs108
New Member


Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 5/3/2006 12:35 AM (GMT -7)   
I'm new to the forum and would like to get your feedback.
 
I recently started dating a guy that has T1.  When we first hooked up I had no idea of his condition, then gradually he started to tell me about being diabetic and that he's on full insulin.  I learned that he was only diagnosed 2 years ago, and that the doctors at the time told him if he didn't get it under control he would be dead by 35.  
 
Our relationship is unique because we live in separate cities (Me in USA, He in Canada).  We work for the same company and travel for business.  We only see each other periodically and when opportunity permits. 
The last trip we took together was really an eye opener.  He had no choice but to give himself shots in front of me, while the other times he was able to take them without my knowledge.   I noticed a certain amount of reluctance on his part while he took the shot, almost as if he expected me to shy away or be repulsed.   I tried to be as reassuring as possible so I looked away to give him more privacy. 
I'm not knowledgable at all with diabetes, however, upon arriving home, I looked up symptoms and causes, etc., to get a better understanding.  I want to know more to support him, but don't want to overstep my bounds.
 
Since then, we haven't been able to meet up, but will at the end of the month.   So I really would like to know from the group what is the best way to handle myself so that he feels comfortable.  From conversation, I get the sense that he's still coming to terms with it himself.  He hates taking the shots, doesn't eat at regular times, and can't handle stress effectively.
 
A friend suggested I get some syringes and practice on an orange just in case I had to give him the shot.  Of course I think I should talk to him first about that so to give him a comfort level.
 
Other questions I have are:
Do you often get sick or feel over tired?
What is the best snacks to keep on hand?
Should I ask him to show me how to give him the shot?  Would this be presumptuous at such an early stage of our relationship?
What do I do to build his trust?  I'm interested in the long haul and not a passing thing.
 
There will probably be other questions, but for now this would be a good start.
 

Jeannie143
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 5/3/2006 10:20 AM (GMT -7)   
Babs,
Wow! I would think that you must be a very kind person to be so understanding. If your friend follows his program he should be just like most everyone else, able to eat most things within reason and moderation and able to participate in regular daily activities.

snacks: I'd keep a variety of nuts and cheeses on hand since these really help with the hunger thing and don't raise blood sugar much. Diet sodas and flavored no-cal waters relieve him of the need to count and adjust insulin. For emergencies he should be carrying some type of easily absorbed sugar in case he needs it for low blood sugar.

As far as the rest of your questions.. I'd sit down with him and tell him that because you are friends you would like to be able to better understand his diabetes in case you can ever be of assistance. Explain it as a friendly-help type thing not as a morbid curiosity. He's probably not the only person you know with this disease and you can ask him to help you understand so you can be there for the others in your life, too. If he seem reluctant to talk about it give him time. It takes a while to get your head around this thing and for some peeps explaining it to others helps while to others it feels like more stress.

Be accepting, become educated and above all do not become the 'FOOD POLICE' questioning his choices of food or drink. That will drive most any diabetic up the wall. Try to pace the relationship to his mood and see what develops. If you show gentle interest and don't look away the next time he has to inject he'll see that you aren't repulsed by the whole thing and may open up more.

Good luck with this, and read back in the posts by the T1 peeps for more good advice.
~ Jeannie

"People are like stained glass windows: They sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."

- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


Sunday
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 5/4/2006 3:21 PM (GMT -7)   
In addition to Jeannie's helpful pointers:

How old is he? He actually may very well be the only person you know who has Type 1, and he may be considered juvenile-onset if he's under 25 (his legal drinking age has nothing to do with the diagnosis, LOL).

Type 1s don't usually need help taking their insulin shots. You don't give insulin shots in an emergency setting. You give glucose because of LOW blood sugar in 9.999 out of 10 emergencies involving a T1 diabetic. It's a common misperception that T1s need insulin shots when they pass out. It's almost always the opposite: it's hypOglycemia, (low blood sugar) not hypErglycemia (high blood sugar). If insulin is the answer, it means the diabetic has a blood sugar so high as to become comatose and they will more than likely already be hospitalized from severe dehydration/ketoacidosis before they loose consciousness.

It's low blood sugar that can cause a T1 to loose conciousness, in which case, if he's unable to treat it himself, you might help him ingest some carbs -- get him a snack if he's exhibiting signs of confusion which is a common symptom of insulin shock. Glucogan is an injectable emergency treatment that requires some training (not much, but familiarity with it is recommended). I personally would not want a "date" to ask if I wanted help with glucogon until the relationship was very serious and quite established. It's a spouse, parent sort of thing, IMHO. (Your friend's mileage may vary). If he can't be helped with food or drink, it's best to call 911.

You've asked good, sensitive questions. But try to put this stuff on the back burner until you explore your feelings as you would with any other romantic prospect. He deserves to be given the benefit of the doubt that he is taking care of himself. If you find that isn't the case, then you have other issues to consider.

Hope this helps.

babs108
New Member


Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 5/7/2006 2:33 PM (GMT -7)   

Thanks to you both for the tips.  I didn't understand the difference with the insulin and glucogan, but after your message I did a little more research.  This has helped to put things in perspective also in that right now he needs support in another way.  I suppose in the quest to understand and help someone you can become too much of a mother and not enough of a girlfriend.  Perhaps right now he needs the distraction away from his troubles, not an addition to them.

Thanks again.  Babs


desertdiabetic
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 115
   Posted 5/7/2006 2:56 PM (GMT -7)   
I agree with what has already been said - with food you jsut have to learn what he wants - offer anything you want to offer and you two shouid have an understanding that if you suggest something he cannot eat don't let it be a problem - don't feel bad about it - just go on to something else. Diabetics don't expect others to understand as much as they do about their lifestyle - People offer me things all the time I can't eat - I just decline it and sometimes mention that I am diabetic. That is enough. My wife offers me things I can't have - it is never a problem if you understand that the offer was not done to convince you to eat something you shouldn't eat but a jesture of sharing.

Probably the main thing is don't consider or treat him like he is sick - his is not. In an emergency, we all are 'sick." Don't treat him like he cannot do things - he will tell you if can't do something - assume he can do anything - which is probably true anyway....
type 2 - dx 12/04
metformin 500mg 3x - avandia 2mg 2x


Jeannie143
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 5/10/2006 11:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Wow, Desert! Your wife offers you things you can't have... My husband does the same thing! What is it with these people who love us? (LOL!) Maybe they are secretly trying to kill us for the life insurance... Wait! My policy is only for $5000! Maybe they just want to wish us back to good health... Who knows?
~ Jeannie

"People are like stained glass windows: They sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."

- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


desertdiabetic
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 115
   Posted 5/10/2006 10:29 PM (GMT -7)   
Jeannie, I know what you mean - my wife killing me would only be an exercise in futility. She ask me the wrong question all the time. She ask if I "want" this carb or that carb - she understands better than I what the 'correct answer' should be. She is not really testing me - more a built-in politeness we all have. You know, share with others thinking. When anyone ask, "Do you want....." the only answer is of course I want it - I just can't rationalize it. It is like when you are checking out at the grocery store and the amount shows on the card scanner saying, "Is this ok?" Wrong question. It is not ok - but I want the things that they have already bagged and the correct question is, "Are you willing to pay this so you can go home?" Anyway, a little of topic.

I think babs108 has to learn just like our families have to learn is we are in control of what we eat and we it is not practicle for us to demand that they fully understand what we can or cannot eat all the time. She should not feel bad because she suggested something that would cause our heads to explode if we ate it - just go onto something else when that happens. It would not hurt to discuss this and get it out of the way. Your boy friend is not sick - just has a disease that requires management.
type 2 - dx 12/04
metformin 500mg 3x - avandia 2mg 2x

Post Edited (desertdiabetic) : 5/11/2006 7:43:38 AM (GMT-6)


Claire-Bear
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 242
   Posted 5/11/2006 3:02 AM (GMT -7)   

The one thing I'd like to say as a type 1 is that most annoying thing ever was when a friend ate a big bag of chocolate in front of me but made a big point in saying he wouldn't offer me any as he didn't want to be the reason that I died!!  Aargh!!  So please, do offer out of politeness alone and let the diabetic make their own choices!  We are human after all, and get frustrated if we are treated differently.  And a type 1 can have any food in moderation.  We just need to make sure we have the insulin to cover it.

Claire x


Sunday
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 5/11/2006 9:29 AM (GMT -7)   
Ditto for me, Claire. One of my daughter's best friends is a 15 year old t1 and she loves coming over to our house because we serve her the regular snacks and meals that she eats and home, and she decides what, when, and how much. I don't buy sugar-free anything for her nor for myself. Doesn't mean other t1s don't -- just that its entirely optional.
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