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I’m sore. It feels like I fell down, which I did. I don’t remember it, but my husband says I did and he’s pretty reliable. There is a tender spot on the back of my head where it hit the wall and a bruise on my right arm from hitting God-only-knows what. My shoulder feels kind of wretched, too, like I strained the muscles in it somehow. The skin on three of my fingers on my right hand is mangled from grasping the metal mini blinds. I don’t remember doing that. I do remember lying on the floor next to the window, looking up at the mini blinds and wondering how they got so mangled. I was lying on my back. The lights were on in the bedroom. My son was in his small bed at the foot of my own bed, sound asleep.

I wondered what I was doing on the floor. I was drenched in sweat, which told me my blood sugar had dropped down really low. Had I gone into convulsions? I wasn’t sure. I’m never sure about that. When my sugar gets so low that I have convulsions, I am unconscious. During the convulsions my liver releases the emergency backup glucose it saves in case I am ever being chased by a Saber Tooth Tiger (this programming was handed from my most ancient of ancestors, who would be amazed at the shots I take and the meter that tests my blood sugar. Then again, they’d be amazed to see a battery operated flashlight, too). When this fight-or-flight sugar hits my bloodstream and I come to, I’m fine. Not normal, but aware of my surroundings and able to talk.

You may ask yourself, how did I get here? )
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Yesterday I drove almost 50 miles to see my endocrinologist. It is possible for me to find one a little closer to me, but it is very hard for me to find one I like. When I walk into an endocrinologist’s office, the doctor must be amazed by me, or I refuse to make another appointment. If I explain why I take what I take, when I take it, and why I do so, they need to respect that. I’ve been doing this Type 1 Diabetes thing for 33 years (as of this week). I have lived with this condition since I was 8 and it was called Juvenile Diabetes and they had no idea what caused it (now, they suspect my immune system killed some cells it ought not have – oopsies!), with these results: I am not blind, my kidney’s still work, and the nerves in my extremities still work – all with no medical intervention beyond the care I give myself.

I am a wonder, damnit. Respect that. The only reason I see an endocrinologist at all is so that they write me the prescriptions that I need to live and run the tests they need to so they can tell me I am a wonder. I like that last part, because it’s good my ego.

Oh, I believe fate smiled and destiny; laughed as she came to my cradle: know this child will be able )
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I’m around a new group of people in a new workplace and this means one thing: keeping the whole “my body doesn’t make any insulin” thing under wraps for awhile. I usually wait 6 months, at least, before I let it slip out in casual conversation. It seems silly and the disease is not that big a deal to me, but experience has shown that I need to let people get to know and see me as a person before they hear about any disease. They need to get used to seeing me eat the same stuff they eat and do the same things they do so that when they learn about it I am "Nina, who happens to have diabetes" rather than "a diabetic whose name happens to be called Nina." At my last job, I brought it up after only a couple of months and lived to regret it.

Oh, come on, you know you want it. Have some cheesecake! )
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You can never defend the guy who commits suicide, even when you feel sorry for him. You just have to bit your tongue when a person near you starts clucking his or her tongue and saying something along the lines of, "I'll never understand what makes a person do something like that. It's the most selfish thing you could do, in my opinion."

If you say something like, "I'm glad you don't understand, and I hope you never do," they will look at you strangely and extend their negative assessment of the deceased to you as well.

If you say, "Probably because he wanted the pain to stop," they will look at you incredulously and respond that it was a permanent solution to a temporary problem, etc. etc.

So you keep your mouth shut. Defending the indefensible never wins you any friends or scores you any social points. Explaining the why of an act of desperation won't make the other person feel more enlightened, it will only make them defensive toward their own ignorance.

No, I'm not depressed and not thinking of taking my life. But I have a special insight most people, not even those who have suffered from depression, don't have. Depression really is all in a person's head – their biological brain, to be exact. It's a matter of physiology, not attitude. It's one of those things I figured out in college, but not in any class that I took.

Waking up to a New World )
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I learned a long time ago that with most men, fear and anger look identical. In order to tell if the man is really angry or just terrified, you have to look at the context of his reaction to see what emotion is behind it. Some women never figure this one out, but I am in a unique position in that I have a medical condition that from time to time scares the bejeezus out of the men in my life. Before I was out of my teens, I knew that a man screaming, "For crying out loud, be careful!" is not angry at me for not being careful so much as he is afraid that I'm going to keel over on him and he's going to be helpless to stop it.

It's handy to know this. Instead of getting angry at them for getting angry, I know to reasure them until they calm down.

Women scream, men just shout. )
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There are 3 branches to the American government – the executive (the president), the legislative (congress, also known as the opposite of progress) and the judicial. The US Supreme Court is the tippy top of the judicial branch, and once you get approved to be on the Supreme Court, you get to stay there until you're too tired to do it any more or you die. When a vacancy comes along on the court, the president nominates a person to fill it, and congress votes to either let that person sit on the court, or decides they aren't good enough and tells the president to pick someone else.

Politics! Politics! Rah, rah, rah! )
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The story in the news about the 12-year-old girl in Wisconsin whose parents prayed over her rather than have her treated for diabetes strikes a personal cord with me, since I was also diagnosed with diabetes as a child. Fortunately for me, my parents were not lunatics. Like the parents in Wisconsin, they were pious, church-going people. However, they had the good sense to take me to a doctor when I got sick and then learned to administer shots of insulin so I could live and grow up.

Some stories get under my skin, kind of like a 29 gage needle on an insulin syringe )
ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about how my heart skips a beat whenever my son seems to be drinking a lot of water or eating a lot, both of which he tends to do when he is about to go through a growth spurt. I find myself looking at him closely, making sure he's not losing weight, and going so far as to smell his breath.

His breath always smells normal. I've never smelled the scent I am looking for, that of ketones created when the body starts breaking down fat for energy. I remember my mother's description of how my breath smells when I was 8 years old: fruity and sweet, like I'd been drinking cheap wine. It doesn't sound like an unpleasant odor, but I live in fear of it.

Guilt in my DNA )
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Part of being a married couple is working around have two sides to your one family. For Thanksgiving Day this year, my husband's family called dibs, so we spent it with them. As a consolation prize, I told my father I would bring his grandson over the day after Thanksgiving to spend with him.

Two weeks ago when I asked if there were plans for Thanksgiving, my Dad answered, "Probably not." A few days before the big day, when he learned that my youngest brother, Ron, would not have to work (he is a corrections officer, and his 5-days on, 4-day off work schedule requires a calendar to keep track of when he can come around) and my oldest brother, Randy, would be home from Tennessee, he asked me what my plans were and if I wanted to join them for Thanksgiving dinner. During the first call, I think I did a good job of sounding regretful when I told him I had already made plans with my husband's family. I probably did a less convincing job of sounding excited when he called me back to let me know they would all put off Thanksgiving for 24 hours so I could be there. I had no choice but to resign myself to my fate and ask what I could bring to the meal.

Turkey with a side of stewed discontent )
ninanevermore: (Jack)
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My diabetes turned 31 years old this past week. 31 is a big milestone; it is no longer a young, frisky disorder, but rather a mature disease that has established itself firmly in my life. I should buy it flowers to acknowledge the occasion, I guess. Better yet, I should get it a box of chocolates. My diabetes would appreciate that, as it is a disease with a great sense of humor.

October Surprise )
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"I have some sad news," my father called me up to tell me this morning, "You know Thelma across the street? She passed away."

I may be pushing 40, but it's still hard for me to think of the woman across the street as "Thelma." She is, or was, Mrs. Wagner to me, and it's impossible for me to shift gears and think of her by anything else. She was the busybody of the street we lived on, and in good weather she was always in her front yard with a garden hose watering her lawn and her azalea bushes. Using a sprinkler would have denied her the opportunity to watch her neighbor's comings and goings, which was one of her greatest pleasure in life.

The younger of her two daughters, Dena, is a few years older than me, and I grew up wearing a lot of her hand-me-down clothes. I didn't mind this in the least, because they were mostly brand new and still had the tags on them. Mrs. Wagner would buy Dena clothes while Dena was at school, and it seems like Dena rejected at least half of what her mother brought home. After enough of these rejected clothes piled up in the closet, Mrs. Wagner would arrive on our front doorstep with a white plastic trash bag – and sometime a large black lawn trash bag – full of clothes, asking my mother to go through them and see if I could use any of them.

Despite the Rumors, Beggars Can Be Choosers )
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Today, somebody brought cupcakes to the office and left them in the kitchen. White cupcakes with chocolate frosting. There they sat as I fixed my morning coffee, tempting all who walked by them. I'm a voyeur when it comes to sweets; I get off to looking at them, but I don't seriously consider indulging in the act of consumption. I imagine them touching my lips, imagine their sweetness, their texture, their decadence, and as I do this, my pulse and my breathing both quicken a bit.

Deserts are culinary pornography to me. Icing may as well be pasties and a g-string.

Get a little something that you can't get at home... )
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking that I am special. Not only am I special, I'm a walking miracle. I've had at least two doctors tell me this, so it must be true.

"If I ever get to work on a study of why some people get complications and some don't, you're the first person I'm calling," my endocrinologist, Dr. Thomas, told me yesterday.

"I'll give you a vial of blood, if you think the answer is in there somewhere," I told him.

I believe Fate smiled and Destiny laughed  )
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about a conversation that my husband and I have from time to time. It always begins with Jeff asking, "Why do you do that?!"

"Do what?" I invariably ask back. I want to make sure I am explaining the correct bad behavior before I answer, because I do a lot of things wrong. I kick my shoes off in the middle of the floor. I fail to refold the newspaper after I've finished reading it. I don't always screw the lids back onto jars after I am finished with them. This last one is a particular problem for Jeff, who picks up jars by their lids. After years of living with me, you think he would know better.

I shot myself in the leg just now. What of it? )
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about the first time I ever gave myself a shot. A few months ago my cousin ([livejournal.com profile] noblwish) suggested I tell the story, as she had heard me tell it before and liked it, but I told her that since it happened at Christmas time, I should wait until December. Since December has arrived, I'll tell it here for her benefit.

I was 9 years old, and it was a year and a couple months after my initial diagnosis with Juvenile-onset (Type 1) diabetes. While I cheerfully practiced giving shots to an orange and my rag doll, I stubbornly refused to even consider sticking a needle in my own skin. I made my mother do the honors for me.

"You're going to have to learn to do this yourself," she told me time and time again, "I might not always be around to do this for you. What if something happened to me?"

Mommy's Little Pin Cushion )
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about the funniest thing I've ever heard a professional nutritionist say, and how our reactions to funny things change depending on what place we are at in life.

When I was in college I belonged to a support group for students with diabetes. We arranged for speakers to come to the campus, passed out educational pamphlets, and occasionally got together to make sugar-free mixed drinks out of Crystal Light and vodka. Most doctors frown on diabetics drinking, but we were all young adults and drinking is part of young adult culture. We exchanged tips about how to drink without having our blood sugar go to low and winding up in the hospital, or having it go too high (as it is want to do with sugary mixed drinks) and therefore ruining your buzz because you just didn't feel very good.

All protein is not created equally. )
ninanevermore: (Jack)
Today on my drive into work, I was thinking that my diabetes turns 29 years old this month, and I must eat some candy to celebrate. It's a tradition for me. Not a lot of candy, just something small. One single Smartie, to be exact.

Anyone reading this outside of the United States will think of a different candy then the one I have in mind. The Smarties over here are sweet-tart type pill-looking candies that come in a roll:

smarties


No treats seems like a cruel trick )
ninanevermore: (Duckies)
Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about boxes of apple juice and the politics around them in my household. I buy them in two sizes; 8-once boxes for my toddler son, who can drink his weight in apple juice, and 4-once boxes for myself to treat when my blood sugar level gets too low because of my diabetes. The politics of apple juice comes up because my son knows that both sizes of container have apple juice in them. Loving juice the way that he does, he considers himself to have dibs on any juice in the house. This leads to disagreements between us.

We had just such a disagreement on Tuesday, when I woke up sick that morning from a stomach virus that my son brought home from his daycare.

I'm sweet, but sometimes I'm not sweet enough )
ninanevermore: (Default)
I've always hated that poets sic poems on the public that nobody can relate to unless they walked in the poet's own shoes. It seems - I don't know - self indulgent.

That's exactly the type of poem I'm posting here. Maybe I'm hoping that I describe the situation well enough that you can imagine wearing the shoes the narrative describes. More likely, I'm just being a self-indulgent poet. What other kind is there?

A few post back I wrote about how I sometimes wake up with a low glucose level and the effect this has on Jeff if it happens too often (that is, it scares the piss out of him). I don't write about my diabetes too much; living with it is a routine thing for me and there's not much to write about. I wrote this poem after a particularly annoying episode that made me late for work one day. Jeff wasn't home, so I dealt with it myself. In the first draft of this poem, I didn't say what it was about, so I added a reference to the insulin to give the reader a hint. I'm hoping that reference makes the whole thing less self indulgent. Probably not.

I wrote this poem in a fit of frustration. I had to get a doctor's note explaining to my personnel department how this sort of thing could make me late if and when it happened, and doing so made me feel freakish and vulnerable. When you have a difference, a legal disability, passing for normal is a big deal. Alas, it's not always possible.

FYI, a severe hypoglycemic episode feels like being very intoxicated and incoherent, but with a rush of adrenaline on top. I imagine it's like drinking a large bottle of Jim Beam through a funnel and then snorting a few lines of cocain to compliment it. I've never done either of these things, but it's as close as I can get to an analogy.


Waking Up Low )
ninanevermore: (Default)
Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about how some men act angry when they are actually afraid. This is true for the men in my life, at least. I used to find it confusing. I still don't quite understand it but at least I understand which emotion I'm dealing with and can react accordingly. This is important due to the fact that I have a tendency to scare the men in my life. As a kid, I first observed the reaction in my father. Now, I see it in Jeff.

The boogieman only comes out at night )

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