Examining the moments when instinct becomes inspiration.
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
May 2008 — Sometimes, diabetes becomes so ingrained into our daily schedules that we don't stop to take note of the routine care. By instinct, we test our blood sugars before and after meals. By instinct, I take the metformin as I'm wrapping up breakfast and dinner. By instinct, Greg injects short-acting insulin immediately following meals and long-acting insulin twice a day.
Even when Greg's blood sugar readings are too high or too low, instinct is to treat them appropriately. Making sure exercise happens and that carbohydrates are counted, that's all instinct for me.
The extraordinary moments of diabetes are the ones that keep us on our toes. The moments that make us curse diabetes mellitus. The moments that make us sad. The moments that make us laugh. The moments that remind us how much treatment for diabetes has changed since Greg was first diagnosed with type 1 twenty-two years ago. The moments that make us resourceful. In the space of about ten days recently, there were four of these extraordinary moments.
The stress following a death in the family caused immediate elevated blood sugar levels for Greg for about twenty four hours, while I experienced elevated levels several days later thanks to scarce exercise and sleep. Dealing with losing a loved one whose time came too soon is stressful enough, but diabetes reared its ugly head and made things even more difficult for each of us.
Just as the stress levels peaked from that, Greg's mother pointed out the breaking news regarding Jay Cutler, quarterback for the Denver Broncos, having been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. While it hurts to hear of anyone being diagnosed with it, Greg pondered if the sports star had an e-mail address available so he could send some tips along. But with Greg's ever-present humor, he also quipped that Mr. Cutler must have an unlimited supply of test strips as a highly-paid athlete.
Fast forward a few more days and we were literally tearing our house apart, looking for a specific household item. Along the way, we found some of Greg's earliest diabetes supplies from the late 1980's. The meters that took forever to give results, the larger syringes that carried different formulas of insulin than today and that provided less than ideal control – both items making us grateful for improvements in meters, syringes, and insulin products.
Finally, I found my finger full of splinters after a round of yard work. Tweezers didn't quite do the job, but Greg suggested using a lancet. And wow, did it ever help retrieve those splinters!
Our diabetes routines can seem ... so routine sometimes. Sometimes we need the extraordinary moments to remind us that our lives are different than those without the disease. They may make some of the sad moments more difficult, but it also can provide laughter about something we share. They may make us wonder about life without diabetes, but it can also show us our creativity.
Read more of Rachel's columns.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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