My husband, Vince, has multiple complications from his diabetes. He has developed neuropathy, retinopathy, and hypoglycemic unawareness. Due to these complications, he has become disabled and needs my assistance to do many things a healthy 33-year-old can do on his own. Here are the things he needs my help with and the complications causing the need.

Neuropathy – Pain, Numbness, and Muscle Weakness in All Four Limbs
  • I help put on Vince’s shoes and socks. This process irritates and pains his hands and feet.
  • Vince is unable cook any longer. He cannot feel temperatures so he burns himself very easily. While I am at work, he uses the microwave and sometimes the toaster oven to heat his meals, however that is the extent of his cooking capabilities at this point. I always make sure that he has meals that he can heat up while I am at work. They vary between a frozen entrée to leftovers from dinner the night before.
  • Due to the constant pain in his limbs, he is no longer able to help with chores around the house. He does, however, help with a few select things when his pain permits. He feeds our cat, picks up odds and ends that need to be put away, and can empty small waste baskets around the house. I take care of the other chores that involve either temperatures or a lot of handling such as vacuuming, dish washing, and laundry, to name a few.
Neuropathy and Retinopathy

With significant vision loss in his right eye, Vince is able to see dark shadows only. Vision in his left eye has improved to approximately 20/40. Sometimes the need for help is the result of having both complications together.
  • Due to the vision loss and the pain in his limbs, Vince’s driving is limited to an as needed basis. I do the driving 99 percent of the time. This includes anything from errands and shopping, to rides to his doctor’s appointments. Since he does still hold a valid driver’s license, he will drive if I am unable to take off work for a specific appointment, however with the help of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), I am able to take him most of the time.
  • Vince takes multiple medications for neuropathy, blood pressure, cholesterol, asthma, vitamin D deficiency, and of course diabetes. These medications are taken multiple times throughout the day, all at specific times. We have a large pill box with 28 compartments, which is a one week supply. Due to the numbness in his hands and the limited vision, I fill the container with a week’s supply of his medication to be sure everything is in the correct location. I also keep track of inventory of all medications and supplies to be sure they are refilled as needed.
  • Vince is on the Medtronic Revel insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM). The insulin in the pump is refilled and injected every other day. The CGM is changed out every six days. Due to the numbness in Vince’s hands and the vision impairment, he needs my assistance in preparing and injecting these items. He also takes a testosterone treatment, which involves injections three times a week. I prepare and administer these as well, for the reasons listed above.