Protect Your Loved Ones: A Husband’s Perspective on T1D and COVID-19
Editor’s Note: We have a simple goal: tap into the power of the global diabetes community to save lives. Visit coronavirusdiabetes.org to learn more about what you can do as a person with diabetes to keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19 until we’re all safe.
This article was published in March 2020.
When I first heard about COVID-19, it seemed far, far away. Another virus, another disease. We get those every once in a while. All of a sudden, it came closer… it was in Europe. Well, there’s still an ocean in between. And then BAM: cases were reported in the United States.
I’m an immigrant, born and raised in Mexico, now living in Southern California. All of a sudden it was all over the news—COVID-19 was right around the corner. I have to be brutally honest, at first I wasn’t as concerned as I should be. What’s the worst thing that could happen? I’m not at high-risk. Yes, I was being very selfish. I never took time to look around me.
I realized this virus would affect everyone around me, including my wife. Many of the initial reports have shown that people with a chronic condition are at greater risk of getting the virus and, I hate to say it, die because of it.
This isn’t about me getting sick or not, this is about my loved ones getting sick. I love a person with type 1 diabetes who may be at higher risk. My mom has kidney problems, which also makes her high risk. My dad has type 2 diabetes which makes him high risk. So yes, if I get it, I am likely to be okay in the end, but if I pass it on to anybody else, including my loved ones, that’s a huge problem.
Editor’s Note: It is unclear whether or not people with type 1 diabetes are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. Current expert opinion says that well-controlled type 1 diabetes does not increase susceptibility. For more information on risk factors regarding diabetes and coronavirus, click here.
Whenever I need to go out, as soon as I return, clothes come off and I hit the shower immediately. I wash, and wash again, and wash my hands one more time. I make sure that everything we get delivered gets at least a spray of alcohol to disinfect. I make sure that everything we need at home is there for my loved ones, so they do not risk direct exposure to the problem. This may sound like a lot to do, but this is what it takes to make sure that everybody is safe:
Making sure that we have enough supplies for diabetes.
Making sure that there is no shortage of medicine.
Making sure that we have something to eat.
That means I will go out there and take my chances. I’m willing to take that risk. I’m not worrying about me, I’m worrying about my loved ones. And it isn’t a burden, it isn’t something that makes me go nuts, or something I hate doing. I’m doing this because I’m protecting my family. I’m protecting my wife, and I’m trying to do my best to stop the spread of this disease.
I am really fortunate to love somebody who takes great care of herself. I believe she’s even healthier than me, but that doesn’t mean that I can allow myself to risk her getting COVID-19.
Knock on wood, but if I get it, I will quarantine myself away from my loved ones. Would that be hard? Yes. Would it be complicated for everyone? Yes. But I will always make sure that my family is out of harm’s way. We are ready for this and any hard times that could come.
Live in the now, prepare for the future
It’s been two weeks of isolation, and we are making sure that we live as normal as possible. We play games, watch movies, have breakfast, lunch and dinner together. We work 9 to 5. We are trying to make the best out of this situation and, honestly, I think this will actually bring us closer as a family, and as a couple. There is no need to panic. We can’t become deer in the headlights. We need to move and take the right steps to protect us and the ones we care for—that’s all there is to do. If we panic then we will definitely have a hard time.
We are also following news and guidelines very closely. We are constantly being updated about the latest status in Los Angeles and Mexico. This helps us prepare and get ready for what’s coming. We will have to talk over the phone a lot with insurance companies, medical supply companies, pharmacies and delivery services, but we are making sure that we have everything we need to be as comfortable as possible. It is more work, more things to take care of, but if I can do it—and trust me, I’m not organized at all—everybody can. All it takes some determination, a little patience and the willingness to sacrifice for others.
The message I would like to send out there is: even if you are super healthy, even if you’re not worried about the disease, even if you feel that you wouldn’t have a hard time, you need to consider everyone else. We need to stop being selfish. I recognize that I was being selfish in the beginning. But this is not just about me; it’s about my wife, who would have a hell of a time if she gets it, and it’s about everybody whose lives are being affected by this virus. We need to distance ourselves for a while.
I firmly believe everything will go back to normal. Let’s just make sure that we are all healthy when that time comes.
Read more about Coronavirus and Type 1 diabetes here.