I was tooling around on Twitter the other day while waiting in line at Starbucks. I will be the first to admit that I don’t give Twitter enough of my attention. (Sorry for being a twit, Twitter.) I typically just browse my ‘Sick of Pricks’ list to get updates on all the latest & greatest D-news whenever I’m waiting. I'm always waiting for something, it seems…coffee, traffic light, doctor, pink slips, so this helps pass the time.
Yes, I have a PWD list and yes, I named it ‘Sick of Pricks’. Some things about Diabetes should be fun! Anyway, this list is so important to me. I have lived alone with this disease for most of my life, never really having anyone who completely understood or ‘got’ me and what I was dealing with. The people on this list do and they have become my D-family. I puffy heart them and they are the only reason I stay on Twitter. It’s wonderful to have a community of support and I’m so very grateful.
Anyhoo, while tooling, I ran across a tweet about a Diabetes dog. I’ve heard of these before but never really gave it much thought. I harbor strong opinions about having a dog in the desert and I, personally, just wouldn’t do it. But, with thoughts of relocation swimming in my head, my interest peaked regarding these specially trained service dogs.
Diabetic Alert Dogs, I shall call them DADs, are specifically trained to react to the subtle scent changes in hypoglycemia. Hypo is when the blood sugar drops. Hypo is the scariest of events for me. This typically happens when I’m sleeping, which results in waking up to a room full of paramedics. Now if it were a single, smart & funny paramedic who slightly resembled Johnny Depp and he fell madly in love with me while inserting my IV, then it may have been worth it. But, no such luck. I only end up feeling like crap, totally embarrassed with discarded medical supplies tossed about & blood on my sheets. Having one of these dogs very well could have prevented those delightful morning wake up calls. Thankfully, I have Amanda but she won’t always be there for me and I don’t expect her to. She has to go to college, fall in love, get married, have babies and live her life without having me in the next room playing the role of a Diabetic.
DAD’s detect the change in blood sugar and physically react to notify the Diabetic. A typical medical alert service dog. The dog senses a change and alerts immediately, most of the time before the person even is aware of a change. The entire training process is intense and once you have a dog, it's yours alone. The dog becomes a part of you like no other. So know that this is a big commitment.
Like I implied earlier, being a Diabetic surrounded by non-diabetics can be extremely lonely. It’s also scary to not be in control of your body & to sometimes not be aware of impending danger. One of my biggest fears in life is a Diabetic coma. I’m single so I have doomsayer thoughts of being alone and dropping, never to wake up. Usually my thought ends with being half eaten by wild dogs like Bridget Jones. Amanda hates when I say that but it makes me laugh in the face of danger. Now, maybe instead of being eaten by a dog, one could save my life. Not only would a DAD be a medical relief, it would also provide some companionship. A partner that I could share some of the constant vigil with, that doesn’t judge or blame for any inconsistency, that gives me freedom and a sense of peace.
I will seriously give some more thought to applying for a DAD when I relocate. I have a feeling I will have wondered why I waited so long. I would also research organizations that specialize in service dogs to ensure the level of professionalism and expertise is what you are expecting.
This video is old so the statistics are a little off and he doesn't pronounce Diabetes properly. However, if you'd like to find out more or donate to this organization, please visit Dogs 4 Diabetics