When I get scared, I get bitchy. When I get bitchy, I snap at people. When I snap at people, they don’t like me.
Usually, my fear comes from something that has to do with diabetes (like most of us PWD) and when I try to talk to non-PWD about it, I get approximately 3 different responses.
1. They don’t know how to answer and say, “I hope everything is OK” which makes me want to say, “You try living with a disease that can make you feel miserable just for eating… Anything.”
2. They say, “I don’t know how you manage! I could never.” Which makes me want to say, “You either live or die if you don’t take care of yourself. I’m pretty sure you’d be able to do it.”
3. If something happens within a few days, they say, “Well, why didn’t you … [insert what they think they know here.]” This makes me want to say, “You must think I WANT to feel this way, right? Because I did this to myself…”
Rarely do people get the answer right. But is there a right answer? This is a complicated situation to be in especially when diabetes isn’t just physical. No, it’s psychological, it’s emotional, it’s everything in one big ball of crazy. Most of the time, there is no right answer.
I think the best answer I’ve gotten to my explanation of a terrible night was, “Do you feel OK now?” That’s the most anyone can ever ask without sounding like a jerk.
I can count the times I’ve actually been afraid because of my diabetes. Afraid enough to want to talk about it.
1. Hypoglycemic moments when I drop below 40. For those of you who DON’T have diabetes, this consists of shaking, cold sweats, dizziness, imbalance and possibly your peripheral vision closing in on you– almost fainting. Fun!
2. Having my eye doctor tell me that I have bleeding in my eyes. Enough said.
3. Hearing that tingling sensation in my fingers could be “due to your diabetes.” GTFO.
4. Having my endo tell me that even though I worked really hard to keep that A1c down, it didn’t go down, and based on my numbers, it should actually be higher. FTW!
It’s not so much fear as disappointment, I think. “How could I let this happen?” is usually what I ask myself.
As a person with diabetes, we need a support system that consists of people who live with it, too. There is no way that people without diabetes could understand unless they are doctors or advisers or people with very, very empathetic hearts that have also studied the anatomy of the body.
When I complain, I really don’t know what I’m looking for. I hate to admit it, but most of the time I want to vent and talk about how hypoglycemia ruined my night’s sleep and how I don’t feel good and how I wish my head would un-cloud itself so I can think straight and I wouldn’t have to worry about getting up to pee all the time.
And today, I felt so bad for my complaints. How do people put up with me?
I want to make it easy for other people to understand who I am and what I go through, however, inside me there’s a war going on that’s trying to figure out a balance that so many other people take for granted. People are usually receptive to what I say and let me do what I need to do in order to feel better.
If my blood sugar is high, I lay down, drink a lot of water and take my insulin, usually over checking because I need to find out whether or not my cannula’s bent or if the pump isn’t working right. As much as you want to give in to technology, sometimes I doubt it.
If it’s low, I try not to panic anyone and drink juice and eat. On my own, I don’t panic, however much I feel like I’ll pass out or fall over, panicking doesn’t get anyone anywhere. It brings fear, sure. But it’s unnecessary at the moment.
So, here’s my letter…
To those whom I love and who love me:
I love you. I appreciate your concern, your kindness, your sympathy and your attempted empathy. Thank you for asking me if I have enough supplies or if anything belongs in the refrigerator. Thank you for asking me if I ate enough, took my insulin, are feeling OK or need any water. Thank you for keeping up your snack pile for me. Thank you for making sure YOU have things for me to eat, just in case. Thank you for telling me to check my blood sugar.
Thank you for asking if everything is all right when I have to see my doctor and asking about what he told me. Thank you for taking an interest in me and my issues. Thank you for supporting me and telling me that you’re proud. Thank you for your encouragement and positive words. Thank you for helping me keep this crazy effort to balance and for wanting to know how you can help. Thank you for learning about me.
However much I act as if I am always on my game, sometimes I’m not and I love that you can back me up and think for me when I’m not thinking. I appreciate it and could not ask for more.
To those whom I love and who love me, you are my guardian angels.