It isn't unusual for Mike to need some sugar first thing in the morning, and it isn't unusual for me to take a few minutes to realise, you see, Mike isn't the sharpest tack in the packet first thing.
We do wonder whether this is why he is low more often than he'd like in the mornings. Apparently glucose levels rise as you wake up, Mike is much less likely to have low blood sugar when he wakes up naturally, but unfortunately won't wake up until 9.30 or 10.00 unless I wake him, so at least 6 out of 7 days, he is woken up earlier than his body would like.
Anyway, where was I, oh yes, not the sharpest tack. We get little more than "Ug." out of Mike before 10am.
Unless he's very low, Mike, of course, deals with his sugar levels himself. To put it into perspective, I only need to intervene maybe 4 or 5 times a year, and on those occasions, usually gentle encouragement to eat or drink enough sugar is all that is needed. Once every 3 or 4 years, there's a slightly scarier moment.
On this occasion, Mike seemed lucid enough to sort himself out, but had a sharp pain in his head and felt nauseous, which made it hard to swallow anything. He couldn't eat breakfast; unheard of. As he's already mentioned, the weirdest thing was his speech. He lost words. Blood sugar up, but head still hurting he went back to bed. Two hours later, blood sugar fine, he still had not found those words. I thought - minor stroke.
As I drove Mike to casualty, I checked our bank balance in my head. I worked out that although we're self employed, we'd be fine to last at least six months if it took that long to recover. I thought, if it is a stroke, I'm sitting next to a time bomb. I thought, how on earth will I tell his Mum. I thought, thank God the kids are away. I thought, Mike don't leave me yet.
The Doctor was able to reassure us that it wasn't a stroke, but he wasn't able to explain why it had happened or tell us how to prevent it happening again. We have never sought support with dealing with Mike's diabetes, and the realisation that after 20 years of diabetes, after 15 years of marriage, we knew more about it than the Doctor, made us feel quite alone.
Where do we go from here?
Well, we're not alone. Thousands of people are in our position, so the best thing to do is speak to them.
I'd like to share some of the hilarious and stressful complications that occur when combining toddlers, no sleep, a diabetic husband and an Asda trolley, for the benefit of anyone about to embark on the adventure of parenthood. Our daughters, now 12 and 10, would like to join in and share their thoughts on 'life when Daddy goes a little doolally'. I can feel a list of wifely do's and don'ts coming on, like 'when you can see he's low, confiscate the hammer'. Maybe that needs a little more explaining. Watch this space.