Richard Vaughn

Born in 1939. Type 1 diabetes for 75 years. No serious complications. Married 56 years.

“Anita and I were married on May 31, 1964. I had been type 1 for 18 years at that time. I was testing my urine, using animal insulin, and I did not know about the effect of carbs on my blood sugar. My control was dismal, with much high blood sugar in my urine during the day and some terrible lows at night. I had seizures at night several times each year. My wife was only 20 when we married, and she had a very hard time adjusting to my diabetes, especially the seizures. She became an expert while helping me, and she never complained. In the mid-1980s, I had my first meter, I learned about carbs, and I started carb counting with fast-acting insulin in the 1990s. My control improved. There were still frequent lows but no seizures. In 2007 I started using an insulin pump, and I presently have a Dexcom CGM. My control is so much better, and I never need any help when I have lows because they are not severe lows.

Anita remembers the old times when I needed her help so often. She was so frightened when I had seizures so long ago. She is still concerned that I may have very low blood sugar, even though my control has been so good for more than 20 years. She sets the alarm each night for 1 AM, 4 AM, and 7 AM. I check my CGM to satisfy her that I am okay. She cannot sleep unless I am in good shape. She checks with me several times each day, especially before meals, to be sure that everything is good. (I do occasionally have some lows, but they are not bad ones, and I can easily take care of myself.) When Anita prepares a meal, she lets me know the carbs involved and checks to make sure I have taken my meal boluses.

Anita’s memories of how it used to be causes her to be this way. I cannot take trips by myself, even for a few hours, without her worrying so much about me. She wants to go with me on those occasions to keep a watch on me. Her being this way gets on my nerves at times, but I rarely complain. She saved my life several times in the past, so I appreciate her attention. I want to attend diabetes conferences and make other trips, but she does not like to travel; she loves staying at home while doing her chores and tending to the lawn and her flower gardens.

She went with me to the Friends For Life type 1 conference in Orlando in 2015. I was a speaker that year. I would like to attend more diabetes-related meetings, and conferences, including the FFL’s in Canada and the UK, but this will not happen. I love Anita so much and cannot ask her to take all those trips. She loves me so much that she would insist on going with me. Am I spoiled? You bet! Love and a great marriage are wonderful, but I do want to travel more. I will just count my blessings and take only an occasional trip close to home.

If any of you have children with diabetes, I hope they will find a spouse that will love and take good care of them.”

Happy Valentine’s Day Mr. and Ms. Vaughn!

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