Monday, April 9, 2012

A weekend with a diabetic

I had things I wanted to write about Boston Jeff's visit to our little postage stamp on the map. Alas, time and bike races and sleep kind of got in the way. Needless to say this is a wee bit delayed but as you'll see, timing does not make a difference.

We always say there is something that leaves us speechless when us diabetics get together with other diabetics. There is usually an instant connection no matter what! It's no joke that it is like a secret society that anybody without diabetes would never get. FACT. All we're missing are decoder rings and T-shirts (the shirts of course Jeff would make.)

When I brought Jeff to my house one of the first things I showed him was my "low cupboard" and the huge case of Diet Coke I bought at Costco. There was no questioning anything. the low cupboard is recognized with a nod. When we got in my car the next morning I pointed to the little spot where I keep my low stuff. Yup. Duly noted. Later when Jeff was having a low he just reached over, grabbed a packet of rockets as the conversation didn't even stop for a moment. Yup. Sweet beans.

What I did notice by the end of the weekend is something that just further instilled the reality of how shitty diabetes really is. Jeff was here for just a couple days. We were both wearing CGMs. The amount in which our high and low alarms were going off was pretty often. I'm high, you're low. Now I'm low and you're high. Are you high? Yup, I'm high too. Damn I'm going low, So am I.

It reinforced for me just how NORMAL the highs and lows are. We were both hitting the thresholds consistently. That does not mean that we are not good at managing our diabetes. What that screamed to me was the normality that diabetes simply does not have. I felt better knowing that I'm not the only one that can't keep my levels on that impossible tightrope. I felt better watching Jeff just "deal" with it the way I try to just "deal" with it.

The other thing that made me feel so much more HUMAN for a change was awesome. He didn't bat an eye when I wanted to eat chocolate. I didn't question his quirky and cute potato chips and ice cream suggestion for dinner. He did back it up with a real sweet story though. But from one diabetic to the other, no judgement is passed. We just know that we'll deal with it in our individual ways. We are bad ass diabetic mother fuckers after all, and we're damn smart at it.

I loved that I could have those calculating discussions out loud and Jeff would add his two cents. Like the morning of the race. I had been low all night long and woke up low. When I spoke out loud Jeff said, "Maybe you should lower it just a little more, remember you've been going low all night long." I didn't think about that. It didn't occur to me the lows would persist. He was right though because after following his advice I had BG's that were bordering on low the whole race. Those just aren't conversations you would be able to have with a non PWD.

Something else that hit a real soft spot. The mind games that diabetes plays with us. I know sometimes I sit here contemplating, doing math, calculating, figuring out. I will stare off into space and hesitate before entering things into my pump. I will stop whatever conversation I'm having. I'm tallying the bazillion factors up and I'm proud to say I'm good at that too. But with another diabetic around? I saw Jeff doing the same things. That moment where he is holding his pump and you can see he is deep in thought before swiftly pushing buttons. I saw it from the outside perspective and it humbled me. We are machines for our defunct pancrei and with that comes life or death decisions based on calculations in our heads. That's pretty messed up.

Next time you see me do that, just give me a moment. I'll be right back down to earth when I'm done figuring out the minutia down to the fractions of a unit of life sustaining insulin I'm injecting into my body.

So, a weekend with another diabetic is like a breath of fresh air. I felt so comfortable and free from some of the burden I see myself putting on other people. They get it and mow down on glucose tablets too.


  1. I think everyone should read this post, whether they have diabetes or not.

    I've said it a dozen times already, and I'll say it one more time: Thank you so much for enticing me to run your (not so) little race, for your wonderful hospitality, for sharing your "low" supplies, for the great conversations, for totally getting the whole D thing, and for turning into such an awesome friend.

  2. This is great Scully and I agree with Jeff - everyone needs to read this because you summed up people with diabetes perfectly. The blank stare while we're calculating our next meal, the never-ending ups and downs, and the fact that there's something kinda cool about sharing our juice boxes.

  3. You said it, girl. There is such a nice comraderie when you are with someone who "gets" it!


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