No, I don’t mean hippo. I mean hypo. My sweet husband is hypoglycemic. Essentially, that means his pancreas secretes too much insulin into his bloodstream, resulting in a low level of blood sugar, or glucose. For the average healthy person, their pancreas naturally knows the right amount of insulin to secrete based on what they eat, to balance their blood sugar and maintain their well-being. This is something I personally never think about. I just take my ol’ pancreas for granted. Ever since I’ve known Matt, I have known about this condition he has. But I must admit, I often thought he was being a bit dramatic when he would decline an ice cream cone or chocolate chip cookie because “due to his hypoglycemia, it made him feel horrible.” Yeah, yeah I thought. How selfish of him to not indulge with me. I’m a jerk. I know.
Now that I live with the guy, I by no means think he is dramatic. In fact, he is quite the opposite; rarely speaking up when he is physically uncomfortable. This is foreign to me. For hypos, the only real way to help their self feel consistently well and energized is to strictly control their diet. Food must be consumed every 2-3 hours; long gaps of time between meals can result in fatigue, mental confusion, moodiness, migraines, dizziness, blurred vision, extreme hunger, and inner trembling to name a few. Sweets and simple sugars are big no-no’s, pretty much guaranteeing immediate headaches and feelings of going into a coma. Ok – you may be thinking Wow, isn’t she just the Debbie Downer blog writer today! But do not fret! Since this is life for us, we find ways to make light of it :).
For example, the following is a list of ways this a) impacts our life, b) necessitates weekly routines or c) affects our sleep:
– When leaving the house for more than 2 hours and/or traveling, I always pack a bag or cooler of food, snacks, and water and energy drinks. Some women shout, “Hunny, did you grab your keys?” I shout “Hey babe, did you get your Cliff Builder Body Bars, baggie of peanuts, and Excedrin pills?” I really don’t foresee carrying around a diaper bag fully loaded with preparation for a baby as being difficult or new to my life.
– On Sunday evenings after cooking dinner, we cook up 3 pounds of chicken, 5 servings of Basmati rice, and 4 cups of chopped veggies…for Matt’s lunches. Then I make 2 sandwiches in addition for his lunch the next day and 1 for mine. This sandwich routine repeats nightly. On a good night we’re out of the kitchen around 9.
– Did you know that night terrors are also caused by hypoglycemia? I didn’t! Until now. Perhaps this is partly why Matt has been a chronic sleep walker for ehh, all his life. So far I have woken up to:
o Matt screaming at me from across the room at 3am that I was trying to kill him with a poison apple.
o Matt trying to pull me out of bed so I wouldn’t get attacked by the giant spider crawling across our bed. There was no spider.
o Matt shaking me so I’d wake up and change back from a dinosaur to a girl.
o Matt running around his side of the bed to mine, crouching over the night stand and alarm clock, talking loudly in gibberish…That was last night.
Those are just a few examples of life with a hypo. I’m sure there will be many more stories to come that I will gladly share with you, dear readers! Matt is such a trooper : ). Although it is absolutely no fun for him to live as a hypo, we choose to see the humor in it that comes from the side effects. Hey, sometimes when you can’t beat it, all you can do is laugh!