Diabetes Information Overload

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A few nights ago I woke up around three and couldn’t fall back asleep. As I’ll often do when this happens, I went downstairs and checked my blood glucose, then poured a glass of water, drank it down, poured another, and walked from window to window, looking out at the silent street, the front yard, the strip of flower bed alongside the house.

This time of year the temperatures at night are dipping below freezing, and even though I’m still five or six months from a Michigan spring, I begin to imagine the flowers returning. I’ve done most of the fall cleanup around the yard, planted fall bulbs, and divided and transplanted perennials. The only thing that awaits me before winter is the raking of leaves, the mulching of leaves, and the spreading of leaves over the flowerbeds as protection against the cold.

In the still of the middle of the night, I stood at the window and gazed into the yard. The stalks of ornamental grasses swayed in the breeze, and I found myself longing for late March and early April. I wondered how next year’s garden — its true third year — will flourish.

The reason I couldn’t sleep, or, rather, the reason I had difficulty getting back to sleep upon waking, was that I’d exposed myself to too much information about diabetes earlier that evening. It was, of course, my own fault. That day I’d added a news package titled “Diabetes” (from Google Reader) to my RSS feed reader for my iPhone. When I went up to bed — my wife and the dog already upstairs asleep — I brought my phone with me and went through the news stories and other items that had accumulated in my reader since I’d last checked it.

There were dozens and dozens (and dozens) of new items. I’ll spare you the topics, because in no particular order and of no discernable relevancy to me (other than that I have diabetes), article after article and blog entry after blog entry about diabetes-this and diabetes-that filled my screen. And I couldn’t turn away. I scanned one, read another, clicked on a link, then another link. Pretty soon I’d read twenty or so articles and updates about diabetes. Some of these produced anxiety, others anger, and some (mostly the blog entries) compassion and sadness.

Then I fell asleep.

The irony, of course, is that each week I write about my diabetes, contributing to this diabetes information overload. I decided that this entry, then, would not really be completely diabetes-centric (probably to the chagrin of my editor).

Yet maybe this is more about diabetes than I think, an unintended lesson in my late-night yard gazing. I don’t know. There’s a calm I feel, a reassurance that everything’s OK, when I stand in a cool dark house in shorts and a tee shirt in the middle of the night looking out at a lackluster garden illuminated by the streetlamp two doors down. Contemplating the possibility of next spring before the end of this fall, before winter really begins its long icy grip on the mitten state: yeah, it cured my diabetes information overload, took me out of my disease for awhile.

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