The stress factor. How do you measure that? Any ideas?
We were first aware of the 'stress factor', as new parents, one of the most stressful times in your life I suppose, though at the time you are far too tired to notice. Patterns begin to emerge, hypos with no sensible explanation. There is no way of knowing whether it is stress that caused those hypos, that is just our own theory. I will describe the events that caused us to make this assumption, and you can decide for yourself.
Picture the scene, one exhausted wife, Ellen aged four (talking non stop), Beth aged two (constantly running off, talking to strangers and potty training), one diabetic husband, Saturday morning, Asda. To be honest I could probably leave it there and you would already agree this is not looking good for the stress levels, but I will go on. To let you understand quite how stressful this whole situation was for Mike, I also need to mention that I hate shopping. All shopping. I have a very precise, well planned list to work from to ensure that the deed can be done in the minimum amount of time necessary, and at the time, we were on a pretty tight budget, so any extra purchases had to be applied for and approved by, well, me. No, there is nothing fun and spur of the moment about shopping with me.
Ellen, bless her, did talk incessantly when she was four. It was very sweet, but unbelievably distracting, and after a while you want to say "Shush." Even if you do, when they're four, it doesn't work, so there's not a lot of point. Beth was, shall we say, entertaining, aged two. She ran everywhere in a very determined way, while Ellen walked very slowly, talking. Then there is potty training. When you hear those wonderful words, "I need a wee." you have to drop everything and run to the nearest loo, there is no time for dilly dallying. You have a trolley full of shopping, a four year old with no sense of urgency and time is ticking. An extra pair of hands at a time like that is a godsend, so we went as a family. Within the first five minutes of every shopping trip we attempted, Mike went low. I would be listening to the steady hum of Ellen yabbering away by my side, keeping one eye on Beth's whereabouts and the other eye on the shopping list, and would turn round to realise that Mike had disappeared. We would have to backtrack until we found him, usually standing by a shelf lifting something off and repeatedly replacing it. Then I would open the pack of funsize chocolate bars I'd put in the trolley and start feeding them to Mike, while answering Ellen's questions, saying that yes technically it was stealing but we would be paying for them when we got to the check out, and they would understand because it was a medical emergancy, and no she couldn't have one, Daddy was only eating it because it was his medicine, and even if she wasn't feeling very well it wouldn't be the right sort of medicine to make her better because she wasn't diabetic and yes I did know that for a fact and right about now Beth would say, "I need a wee."
We tried the shopping just enough times to establish this was a repeated pattern, and then gave up. Over the years Mike has recognised a number of activities that seem to have the same effect on his levels. Whatever you may call it, stress, nervous tension, whatever it is, probably causes different reactions in different people depending on how you deal with it. I'd call it an impossible science, but I am seriously chuffed to say that since we've started blogging, and Mike has been chatting to people and researching solutions to some of the problems he was facing, the necessity for me to intervene and sort him out has reduced dramatically. Life is good.