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The Apocalypse... Part One
So... It's happened. The dead have finally risen. They are combing the streets, vicious, chomping teeth and moaning. Hungry.
The group I'm with consists of a mother and her two small children, an elderly couple, two men in their twenties, a young woman in her late teens. I'm terrified. I'm afraid - of what diabetes means in this new world as much as I'm afraid of the zombies littering the streets. In my too large backpack, I've got about two years worth of insulin pens, four blood glucose meters and I think about a year worth of supplies all jittering around in the bag clicking and clacking. It's heavy, the pack. But diabetes in this place is heavy too.
There isn't always food and I sleep with my head on my pack, because though I've been traveling with them for over a month, these people are still virtual strangers. And what's in this bag is my lifeblood, literally. That and the gun and axe I keep slung at my waist. When there is food, I try to ration. And in situations of low bloodsugar, I have the tabs in my bag. I keep those a secret, though on occasion, I'll slip a couple to the two little kids with a finger to my lips "sssshhhh...." They're good kids, no one else seems to know I have them.
Each time we happen upon a pharmacy, I look in the contents of the spilled over fridges and take whatever insulin and supplies are left. My collection has grown instead of shrunk, so that's a good sign.
At night, by the fire, I test and give insulin. It's still autumn and winter is coming, so I don't worry about cooking my insulin. But summer will eventually arrive, with its 90 degree heat. I'm not sure what I'll do then. There is no electric service, no way to make ice and keep it. My two year supply of insulin will do me no good if none of it works. I'm hoping that I can find a hollowed tree trunk on those days and stash it there in the cool and the shade, or maybe we'll happen across a safe place to stay by then with a generator and a refrigerator. What worries me too is that the expire dates on most of this insulin is only a year to three out. I know insulin can last about six months past the expiry, but what happens after that?
I worry about getting sick. If I get an infection or even the flu, it usually knocks me flat. Though in the "before," I tended to not get sick much at all, sickness seems more common when you're on the run from a hoard of flesh eating monster humans. People get tired, people get susceptible. People get sick. I hope against hope every morning that I'll be one of the lucky ones. That day, that week, that month.
The zombies don't seem to treat me any differently. When all this first went down, I had a weird dream that somehow our broken immune systems or maybe the sugar in our blood somehow made type 1 diabetics untenable to zombie taste. They didn't seem to want anything to do with me or my diabetic friends who sometimes made their way to my nighttime imaginings. It was kind of cool, because as the dream progressed, we realized the world could be run quite handily by a band of people with diabetes. We hoarded insulin and supplies, we set up a system of zombie killing, there were a number of docs and nurses in our midst. We got the power grids back up and running. Even with only 6% of the population impacted by type 1, we were still able to make a difference and get the world back on its feet.
But that was a dream. In the real world, I'm just another person trying to survive against odds. I suppose I'm more familiar with that concept and practice than most people, but I don't make a big deal of that experience. I don't complain and I don't make waves. I don't express my worries out loud. It's actually kind of refreshing, to be diabetes-invisible. I just keep on keeping on in this new order of things.
Gotta go, there's a hoard coming....
Megan was diagnosed in 2009 with Type I. As an RN, she was familiar with the medical side of her diagnosis; learning to be a good patient on the other hand, was and continues to be the challenge of her day to day life. (Read More)