Theresa O’Connor

Today is Type 1 Diabetes Awareness Day

Today is Type 1 Diabetes Awareness Day. If you’d like to learn more about this disease, the ADA has some great information available, as well as a good list of myths people commonly believe about diabetes. If you’d like to help, my charity of choice is the JDRF. Yes, they’re on Facebook.

I want to write today about my favorite person in the world, my wife Erin.

Erin took her first insulin shot on her 18th birthday. Ever since then she’s lived with this dangerous, complicated, expensive disease with grace, patience, and a stubborn refusal to let it control her life.

Her sister Jenn A girl she babysat for was too young to say “diabetes” back then, so we say Erin has “betes” instead. Linguistically, it’s an interesting bit of slang that can be used in a variety of ways: “Erin’s been a good betes lately,” that sort of thing. (Erin’s an Internet-famous linguist, so I couldn’t skip mentioning this bit of family wordsmithing.)

Erin’s pancreas doesn’t work. So she knit herself a new one:

Erin’s knit pancreas, with contents

For the most part, things are great. Erin’s been on an insulin pump for a while now, which has really cut down on the frequency and severity of hypoglycemic episodes. Our bodies are complicated things, though, and every so often the betes throws us some pretty inexplicable highs and lows. I give her a kiss whenever her meter reads 100. (I’m not the first to come up with that one.)

But in case things are bad, we always have orange juice in the fridge, and rolls of Smarties literally everywhere: purses, glove compartments, drawers, cupboards, you name it. Smarties are cheaper than glucose tablets, and are pretty much exactly the same thing. They taste better too.

There’s a fine line between being an attentive, concerned husband and an insufferable nag, and I humor myself by thinking I’m usually on the good side of that divide. I’m happy to say that she’s very good at putting up with me.

I love you.