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Practice makes near perfect at bedtime

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October 28, 2016
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The Worst Of It

I remember the day I was diagnosed, after we'd settled into the hospital and my mother was by my bedside. I remember lying there after three blood draws (and I fought each like a banshee), after a nurse who simply couldn't find a good vein for an IV, after my mother's face looking pallid as she tried to talk to me about what was down the road, and after realizing that I was going to be in that bed for a few days. I remember my mother saying after my first insulin injection, "well, that's the worst of it." The thing is, I recognize now, over 30 years later, that she was wrong.

I could give insulin injections or put in pump sites twenty times a day, eat lean, check my bloodsugar - happily and faithfully without much fanfare - if it meant I was absolutely assured of good health. I could do those things without as much as a second thought if it meant some guarantee that in the end I would be able to live a normal, healthy life.

Diabetes doesn't come with those kinds of assurances and that can cause such an overload of worry and frustration and guilt. And really, that's the worst of it. This thing isn't just physically complicated. I think most of us could deal with the physical stuff if the emotional impacts weren't so heavy. We could deal more easily If it wasn't for all the days we wake up and do everything right on the diet and exercise and medication front - and yet land up with inexplicable highs or lows.

Every day we get up and the specter of complications looms large over all of us. The waves of guilt and fatigue are sometimes almost too much to take. The waves of injustice are enormous, because really if you're doing everything right and taking care of yourself you should have the privilege of living healthfully, right?

Recently, one of my favorite people in the diabetes community wrote a post about a complication that's been recently diagnosed. She wrote very honestly about the physical and emotional impacts of this secondary diagnosis. There was one line that caught me - I read it again and again - it was basically a line about when she was first told, her asking herself if it was maybe "that high bloodsugar or that food splurge" that caused the complication... I hate that she even had that thought cross her mind. I hate that people with diabetes must deal with those kinds of illogical, irrational, but nonetheless at the forefront thoughts when the complications of diabetes hit.

Because the thing is, you can be in "perfect" control and still have a secondary diagnosis because of the duration of the disease in your body, or because of your genetic conditions, or because that's just diabetes or for any number of other stupid reasons. Sound like it sucks? It does. And that? That is the worst of it.

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