Tuesday 9 November 2010

Six things

I found out this evening that it is Universal D-Blog day (really? is there such a thing?) and as part of that all of us in the D-club are bound (not legally) to write about 6 things we want the Universe to know about Diabetes.

I have had a great time reading about all the things other people want the world to know, and many of them I wish I had thought of myself. So I will henceforth list my 6 things, and will attempt not to plagiarise any of the brilliant answers I have read so far.

1) You aren't made to wear an insulin pump, you choose it. OK, I'm in a restaurant with a friend I haven't seen in a while. The time comes to order my nosh and I begin my calculations of what I might need to dose. Anyone who has ever seen an episode of 'Scrubs' should recognise the facial expression, as mine is usually not dissimilar to the expression on 'JDs' face when he drifts off into his dream world. Only in my head, there are no crazy and entertaining fantasies. Instead I am doing something like this: 65 grams of cabs x 1.3 units of insulin (my evening bolus dose) + 1.2 units to correct for high sugars, delivered over 30 minutes equals...... Out comes the pump, and then the questions start. I usually quite enjoy this bit, because I get to talk about this unwelcome stowaway who dictates so much of my life. But if I could tell you the number of times I have had the question "It's got that bad has it." First of all, 'it' doesn't get worse. The complications might but diabetes itself is incapable of morphing into some three headed, blood sucking, red-eyed beast which now forces me to be 'put' on a pump. 'It' carries on for the most part as it always has done. Sometimes it is predictable and almost seems to like you. Sometimes it is in a mood which could only match that of Mariah Carey when she found out they painted her dressing room the wrong shade of white. Second of all, do I really look that bad?? Can you tell the diabetes has got 'worse' just by looking at me. Just for the record, I chose this lifestyle. Because it made my life easier, because it made more sense than blindness, kidney disease and constantly numb/tingling/painful limbs. I chose this because I wanted it.

2) Yes, I am allowed that. OK, to be fair and give credit where credit is due, this one is not technically the fault of the public. If you were to believe the poorly thought out media campaigns advocating a healthy, seed and grass eating lifestyle, for fear of developing the dreaded 'diabetes' (Type 2, TYPE 2, PLEASE, JUST ONCE SPECIFY TYPE 2!), we would all believe that people with diabetes shouldn't go outside, shouldn't eat anything except vegetables and ornamental garden grass with a tasty side order of Quinoa and shouldn't even look at that piece of cake. Granted, there are good choices and not so good choices. But the fact is I carbohydrate count to within an inch of my own life on a daily basis and have done for 12 years. And for that matter - am very good at it. I am good at guessing and I am good at calculating. For that reason, no food is outside the realms of possibility. If I know how and what to inject for it, the sky is the limit. So yes, I can have that!

3) Diabetic equipment gets EVERYWHERE. When my friend moved house about 5 years ago, she actually took the time to contact me to tell me that she had found 37 sterile needle lids on her floor underneath her bed. This is because I spent a substantial amount of time with her, on many a night out, weekend in and girly get together at her abode as a teenager. I had my own toothbrush and toiletry set at her house, because eventually it just didn't make sense to bring my 'stuff' every weekend. But with that also came the fact that for every day I spent there, there were about 6 blood testing strips, 4 needle covers (small flexible plastic lids which you peel off the lid of the needle before using it), sterile wipes, lancets etc etc etc, that all find there way into the thousands of nooks and crannies that a home has to offer. I was also recently on a walk with the same friend, when we sat on a bench and noticed a testing strip placed just next to our feet. Here, Lauren pointed out that I was a bit like the guy in 'The Shawshank Redemption', who empties out his pockets of stones in the exercise yard, only I do it with diabetic equipment on walks in the country. I cannot tell you how many times my cats have come leaping into the living room with any number of needle cases, cannulas and reservoirs which they have managed to find and mistakenly perceive as a play-thing.

4) Blood tests - SUCK! And not in some vampire-esque blood sucking joke way, but in a real way. I hate them. I seem to be able to all but pass out on every occasion,and while doing so freak out every poor bugger in the waiting room, because no matter how many times I have them done, it never gets any easier. I know they are for a good cause. I know I have to have them done. I know the result will paint a very clear picture of how I am faring against this disease. But it makes no odds to me. The twitching, sweating and shaking starts from the minute my DSN hands me the blood form. Even as she writes out my details on the form, I can feel myself squirming. She has seen me turn white on many occasion, but only on blood test day.

5) No two days are the same. This is perhaps one of the most frustrating things about diabetes, and people often laugh (they get shot down straight after) because they think I am kidding when I tell them that your BGs are affected by weather, sleep, time of the month, stress, food you ate yesterday, eating fruit, eating veg, even looking at a danish pastry. OK, OK, the last thing isn't proven, but ask any diabetic with a sense of humour and they would agree, it has been known to happen, it's just never been documented 'officially'. The fact is diabetes is affected by almost anything which affects your body, including external forces like heat, noise, and routine. It really is that mean.

6) Yes, you can have diabetes and still have a sense of humour. I have discovered that all of the things that drove me crazy and made me feel very alone, happen to EVERY SINGLE DIABETIC. And these things are possible to laugh at. I'm not saying laugh at diabetes or take it lightly per se, not by any means, but next time you find a testing strip (or 20 of them) at the bottom of your bag, remember this post and laugh about it.

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