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Mario’s Quarantine Diary, Day 5: She’s fit, she’s strong but she has diabetes, which makes her ‘vuln

Mario Bartel writes that his family is extra vigilant while quarantined in their condo because his wife has Type 1 diabetes, which puts her at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic
Katie Bartel
Katie Bartel in the home stretch of the recent Hot Chocolate 10K run in Vancouver's Stanley Park. She's also in the home stretch of her career transition from journalist to dietitian.

Tri-City News journalist Mario Bartel is voluntarily self-isolating and working from home for the rest of the month after his wife and son returned March 13 from a brief getaway in Arizona. He is writing a daily diary during that time.

Our coronavirus vigilance is heightened in our home because my wife has Type 1 diabetes.

Other than that, she’s incredibly healthy. 

She’s a runner. She has completed a couple of marathons and several half-marathons. The Saturday before our world turned upside down, she did the Hot Chocolate 10K Run at Stanley Park.

She’s also a cyclist. After our son was born, she rewarded herself with a new road bike and then entered a women’s-only fondo in Washington State. This July, we’re registered to do the Axel Merckx Gran Fondo in Penticton together — it was her Christmas request.

When she returns from her annual check-in with her endocrinologist, she makes a point of reminding me her cholesterol numbers are so good, “they’re ones to grow old with.”

In fact, it was her passion for staying fit and healthy despite the challenges of her disease that motivated her career transition from journalist — that’s how we met, on the job — to dietitian, a journey that’s finally in its home stretch. Her goal is to work with other healthy, active diabetics so they can achieve their athletic potential.

But diabetes is an autoimmune disease. Colds and flu hit her particularly hard, sending her blood sugars reeling on a rollercoaster of highs and lows that waylay her for much longer than any minor affliction should.

So, as we learned more about the coronavirus threat, and its accompanying warnings to vulnerable people like the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, our ears perked up and our soap dispenser got very busy.

My wife is probably one of the least vulnerable people I know. She forges forward in all aspects of her life in spite of the disease that’s been part of her since she was nine years old.

But the unknown threat of COVID-19 is forcing us to apply the brakes extra hard. At least for now.


Miss a day? Catch up here:

Day 1: A brief trip means a COVID-19 condo quarantine

Day 2: Doing the right thing at the 25th hour

Day 3: How much do you tell your kids about COVID-19

Day 4: Trying to contain the fear

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