Karen over at Bitter Sweet created a Diabetes Blog Week. I'm a week late finding about this awesome event, but, hey...better late than never. Right? Diabetes Blog Week runs from May 10-16 so I'm still within the time frame. Yay! Karen listed 7 days worth of topics, too, for which I am grateful. My current life mess has stunted my blogging creativity. I love not having to think about topics for a week. So, thanks, Karen! I needed this.
Today: Day 1. The topic: A day in the life . . . with diabetes.
I'd love to say my life was extraordinarily different than someone without a chronic disease. But I can't. When someone asks me about how my life is with Diabetes, I simply say 'It's the norm for me. I don't know & can't remember anything different. Shooting up is second nature to me. Just like brushing your teeth is second nature to you. The only difference is I have extra steps to take in order to survive.'
A day in my life is just like anyone else's....plus some.
I spend 24 hours, yes, all 24, jumping at every beep. Craning my neck in the direction of my pump to see if it's me. An elevator. A computer. A phone. A cash register. A song. I must ask Amanda 25 times a day if the beeping is me. 24 times out of 25 it isn't.
I spend 15 hours a day pricking my fingers. Every time I want to eat. Drink. Exercise. Or if I'm just not feeling right. I have no feeling left in my calloused fingertips. I have permanent dots on my fingerprints. I have black speckles on every fingertip. Sometimes I can't get a drop of blood & have to poke several times. Sometimes I don't get enough blood & ruin a test strip. Sometimes I bleed just fine.
I spend every 3rd day being alerted by a loud, obnoxious beep that my pod is going to expire or my reservoir is low. Yep. This beep is me and it's lovely. Especially at 2am or when I'm in the library or when I'm in a meeting or when I'm in the post office or when I'm on a first date.
I spend every 3 days inflicting pain on myself, outside of the finger pricks. (Yes, the finger pricks hurt. Don't kid yourself that I should be used to it. You never get used to it.) I have to have a site change every 3 days and that hurts, too. Some days worse than others. I also, on occasion, inflict pain on myself every 7 days. That's if my Dexcom lasts for the 7 days that it should. Each time I have to find a new place on my body. A place that isn't bruised, hasn't been recently injected, that has enough body fat so it won't hurt as badly and won't be in the way of sleeping, dressing, walking....yes. I've ripped my pump off my arm because I've walked to close to a wall.
I spend several moments every day worrying about my future. Will I need an amputation? Will I need dialysis? Will I ever know my grandchildren? Will I lose my eyesight? Will I have a heart attack? Will I live to be old enough to retire? Will I be alone & have my sugar to drop only to be comatose? Will I be able to take care of myself when I'm older? Will I be able to afford to take care of myself? Will I ever be cured? Will I be responsible for passing this on to my future generations? Will anyone ever understand?
I spend one day every 3 months getting blood work done. Not eating anything even though my medicine and my disease dictates that I eat to cover the insulin. However, I must fast in order to get said blood work. Isn't it ironic? Don't ya think?
I spend one day every 3 months sitting for hours in my Endocrinologists office so I can hear the number of my A1C. The number that, for whatever reason, makes me accuse myself of being a bad diabetic, be proud of myself for being a good diabetic, cry happy tears, angrily berate myself, wonder what I did wrong, wonder what I did right, forcibly claim to beat my score as if I'm in competition with myself, my body. On this day I also hear whether or not my body is winning the war against my immune system. My vessel obviously doesn't understand my 'Make Love, Not War' motto.
I count carbs at every meal, snack and drink. At a restaurant with friends, I'm always the last to start eating. At dinner with Amanda, I'll sit down with her, take a bite, realize I forgot to test & bolus, get up from the table and return a few minutes later. She's already begun to eat. Why should she wait? Why should anyone wait? I'm used to cold food anyway.
I spend every day trying to keep my blood sugars in the normal range. Taking more insulin if I'm high. Sometimes shooting up Symlin, which makes me nauseous but lowers my blood sugar. I also drink tons of water and try to exercise if I'm high. I shove too much food into my mouth if I'm low. I always over correct. Always. My body knows I need food & so it over compensates no matter how badly I try to stop myself. Diabetes is almost like an eating disorder at times. Being low scares the crap out of me because I lose all control. My mind just won't work. Some days, no matter how hard I try or how good I am, I just can't get those sugars right. I also wonder why it doesn't take long for my sugar to skyrocket but it takes FOREVER for it to return to normal. Effing Diabetes.
A spend every day exhausted. I do. On some level I am always tired. I guess that's what sustaining my life does to me. It tires me out. Someone without a chronic disease doesn't have to think about making themselves live 24 hours a day. Some days I wish it would just go away. Some days I wish it were easy. Some days I want someone to take care of me. Some days I just don't care.
Lately, my days have been filled with anxiety, stress, depressions, sadness, worry, panic because I was laid off. I don't have the luxury of sitting around, eating BonBons, watching Opera & collecting my funemployment check. No. I have to get a job. A job that I probably wouldn't choose to take but do because it has benefits and pays well. I don't have the luxury of doing what I want or doing what makes me happy. Being a writer doesn't come with a 5 figure salary & benefits. It's expensive to be a Diabetic. I don't know how I will be one without a good paying job with super medical benefits.
So, a day in my life is just like someone without a chronic disease. I'm a mother, a friend, a daughter, a granddaughter, a neighbor, a cousin, a niece. I try to cheer people up, make someone smile, urge them to laugh, hug them if they are sad, have cawfee chats, serious talks, giggle fests. I'm a teacher, a gardener, a maid, a launderer, a cook, a husband, a wife, a chauffeur, an accountant, a money maker. I am everything everyone else is....daily.