Guest Post: Living Life With Diabetes
Living Life With Diabetes: (Guest Post)
Living Life With Diabetes:
I remember the night I was diagnosed pretty well considering it was over 30 years ago. Yep, I’ve been living life with this diabetes crap for 30+ years and I miraculously haven’t killed anyone yet. You see I tend to be somewhat of a smartass (this has nothing to do with being diabetic – that’s just me). The ignorance surrounding diabetes gives me tons of material to work with; someone is always saying something stupid to me.
(This is one reason I write a blog – if I actually said half the shit I’m thinking, I’d probably be put on a watch list or something.)
But back to the night of September 4, 2021 (it’s my Dad’s birthday – I’m not Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory). It was the first week of 7th grade and I was 11 – just old enough to know what was going on but not old enough to fully grasp the monumental life change that was about to take place. That night, the doctor called our house at 11pm and told my mom “if you daughter is sleeping normally, let her sleep but if not, you should bring her into the ER immediately.”
(Seriously? That’s your advice? My mom, who was an OR nurse for 35+ years says she didn’t care if or how I was sleeping, my ass was going to the hospital.)
There are 4 things I distinctly remember about the first 24 hours of being diabetic.
My mother, who is normally very calm, cool and collected, went ballistic on the person checking us in, voiced her concern with me taking the last bed on the pediatric floor. “I don’t care if she takes the last bed in the whole damn hospital; she’s being admitted here tonight!” Do not cross the Mama Bear!
Once in my room, the nurse trying (and I stress TRYING) to start my IV kept telling me not to make any noise because I was old enough to handle it and I might wake the younger patients. Well how about this; get someone up here that can start an IV on the first try and not spill blood all over my new Keds! Seriously, my brand new WHITE Keds! Who’s going clean this mess up?
The countless number of people coming in and out of my room, poking me with needles at all hours of the night. This, in and of itself is not surprising but the fact that I heard one or more of them say something to the effect of “wow, your numbers are really high. I can’t believe you’re still alive.” I’m also 11 YEARS OLD you
f#cking dumbass! Four hours ago I was a happy little kid and now I’m some kind of Guinness Book entry. Think before you speak people!
(In all honesty, my blood sugar was ridiculously high. Normal range is 80-110. Maybe 125 if you just ate a candy bar. My blood draw was done about 4 hours after I had lunch and came in at an impressive 760.)
Since my blood sugar was so high and I had been living like this (unknowingly) for quite some time, normalizing my sugars was quite a shock to my system. The next day, I had the absolute worst headache I have ever had in my life! I felt so horrible I wouldn’t even talk to any of the doctors (or anyone else for that matter) when they came in to check me. I lived the day under my covers with my eyes closed.
After 30 years of being diabetic, I could probably find tons of individual challenges but I think it’s actually the bigger picture I struggle with. All the writings on diabetes and most of the endocrinologists of the world (except mine who is an awesome endo because he is a T1 himself. Way to represent Dr. Swade!) love to scare people with all the horrible things that happen to long term diabetics – kidney failure, blindness, amputations.
It can be very overwhelming and almost paralyzing but as I tell new diabetics – this is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Living Life with Diabetes, means you take each day as it comes. Do the best you can every day and try not to dwell on the scary stuff. Live life!
Being diabetic has certainly shaped my life.
I’m constantly aware of the choices I am making and how my blood sugar will be impacted. Whether it’s meals or travel or having kids, diabetes is a major part of my life but living life with diabetes doesn’t run my life. Diabetes is a very serious disease but it doesn’t mean I need to be. How can I be with this type of material? It’s comedy gold!