Carly at Ellipsis has been writing lately about being told she has diabetes and about how she is dealing with the shock and anxiety of it all -- an experience I recall all too well from my own diagnosis in 2001. Her attitude is amazing, and if you too are diabetic, I highly recommend you stop by there and say Hi. At her suggestion, I'll be posting here once in a while about my own challenges with it. I'm hoping it will help keep me on track.
As alarming as that first diagnosis is, the really insidious thing about this disease is how easy and how tempting it is to ignore.
In the beginning, you probably go to a diabetes class, where they do their best to scare the bejeezus out of you. It really ticked me off at the time, but now I know why they do that. At first, everyone around you is solicitous and sympathetic, you're testing four or five times a day, and you're paying attention to every bite of food you take. But in time, you start to slip.
Your readings are nearly always fine, so you stop testing. And nothing happens. You forget your meds once in a while. Nothing. You succumb to the homemade cake your boss serves up at the office meeting, and you go out for ice cream with your family. Still nothing. You feel guilty at first, but you don't feel sick. Eventually, you just pretend you don't have it at all, and so does everyone else.
If you're really lucky, like me, the universe gives you a thump on the head before it's too late: In the space of a few weeks, Carly turned up with diabetes, and she mentioned a friend of hers who ignored it too long. A coworker had to quit because of complications. A neighbor I don't really know died of it. My mom began to have sugar lows requiring ambulances in the middle of the night. A favorite TV show episode gave diabetes to a main character, who said, "But I feel fine." And the TV doctor replied, "That's what's going to kill you."
The universe can be such a nudge.
So I rummaged out my glucose meter. The calibration fluid and strips had expired. I mean, seriously expired. I called the company for the fluid. "How often do you test?" the operator asked. "I haven't been testing at all." The operator skipped a beat. Then she said she would send me a complimentary tube of 50 test strips. Those things are $40 apiece, so I took this as a sign that the universe was pleased.
Within a few days, I had my kit all spread out. Poked the obligatory hole in myself. Dipped the strip in my blood and waited. Reading: 291.
This is so not good.
To be continued.