The routine of self-management—the routine necessitated by the multiple daily diabetes tasks—has the potential to become a mind-numbing burden that triggers some new dread in me each time I perform an aspect of it.
Oh yes, I’ve given it much thought. Each fingerprick followed by its pinhead-sized drop of blood might easily remind me of my mortality, each low blood glucose the Eternal Footman’s snicker, every high the sun dipping a bit lower on life’s horizon.
Diabetes and the routines necessary to stave off its complications can wear on a person. The mind can easily make a misery out of a condition as insidious as diabetes.
But I’m not that morbid, and I don’t find it a burden, nor do I (often) allow each diabetes task to trigger dark thoughts. In fact, I never found it a pain to perform multiple daily injections. And once I moved to wearing an insulin pump, I discovered that the reservoir and site changes quickly became cake. The routine of checking my blood glucose and counting carbohydrates and bolusing for meals: something I now do without thinking (or, I guess, without thinking too much).
These are the chores that come with the territory, that terra which is the land of the broken pancreas.
The routine of self-management—my routine of self-management (because I don’t presume to assume my experience is your experience)—has thus far not really been a burden. At least I choose not to think of it as such. Don’t get me wrong. These diabetes things I do: They did, for quite a while, fill me with anxiety and worry about performing each diabetes task correctly.
A few examples I look back on and smile wryly at the naiveté of (and those of you who know of what I speak can add any number of the dozens of things to the list):
- The fear that I wouldn’t take my medicine(s) at the right time—that I’d pop a pill too late and render it useless, or that I’d ingest too soon and overdo it;
- When I did do multiple daily injections, that the insulin in the insulin pen was getting too warm, causing its miracle charms to be null and void;
- That I was not following proper injection protocol and that an air bubble would get trapped in the insulin pump reservoir and be delivered with the bolus, effectively ruining the bolus and setting in motion a diabetic chain of catastrophic events that I’d never recover from;
- That I wasn’t checking my blood glucose using the correct parts of my fingertips (because I’d read and heard too much information from too many experts with differing opinions about how often to rotate blood-drawing sites, and so on…);
But a year and a half into living with Type 1 diabetes, I’ve found that time indeed takes the edge off.
Is it possible I was measuring out my life in test strips?
Shall I go today without checking? Do I dare to eat a brownie?
I shall bring along no test kit and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the insulin pumps singing, each to each.
I do not think they won’t sing for me.