“Thimk” Before You Act

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Sometimes I’m a ditz-brain. (To be fair, there are those who disagree, asking, "sometimes?")

For example, I needed to call somebody to get some information, but couldn’t find the notebook I’d jotted his number down in. Then I remembered: I’d called him from my cell phone only a week before. Scrolling through the calls, I found one that looked kind of familiar, pressed "send," and got an answer from somebody whose voice I didn’t recognize.

“This is Jan Chait,” I said, hoping the person would introduce herself and jump-start my memory.

“Hi!” she said with a smile in her voice. “How are you?”

“Um, OK…”

“I guess you want to speak to John.”

John, John, John…Hmmm, I pondered. Then decided there was nothing to do but ‘fess up.

“Actually, I was trying to call Dave, and thought this might be his number,” I said. “I have no idea who I called or who I’m talking to.”

Amidst laughter, Kim finally managed to choke out: “Kim? Of Kim and John?” Then I remembered: I’d called John the day after his mother’s funeral.

That was a harmless ditz-brain act. Sometimes, however, not paying attention can lead to consequences that are not so funny. Particularly when it comes to diabetes.

Several years ago, I gave myself my evening injection—and then realized I’d injected Regular, or short-acting insulin, rather than NPH, an intermediate-acting insulin, and had taken about four times the amount of Regular that I normally took at one time.

On the plus side, I realized my mistake. On the minus side, I was new enough at taking insulin not to know what to do to avoid a major case of hypoglycemia.

So I called Sonya, my C.D.E. Who told me to eat something really, really good. At the moment, I couldn’t think of anything that was “really, really gooder” than a fudgy, warm chocolate brownie topped with French vanilla ice cream, hot fudge sauce, and chocolate shavings. It worked, even with me telling the restaurant to hold the whipped cream, which I don’t care for, except for a dollop of fat-free frozen fake stuff to make sugar-free Jell-O more palatable.

Yes, I did have the sense not to drive myself; a friend who was visiting at the time did that…and then, laughing, told practically everybody at the restaurant that I had goofed on an insulin dose. (Actually, that does get dessert brought to you a lot faster than usual.)

One problem I no longer have is seeing my blood glucose level skyrocket because I forgot to take my insulin injection or, worse, plummet because I gave myself an injection, forgot that I’d done that, and gave myself another one. Oh, I still forget, but I can now check the memory on my insulin pump to see if I’ve given insulin to myself.

Another thing I forget on a regular basis is that I’m even wearing an insulin pump. It’s so much a part of me (we’re very attached to each other), that I take my nightshirt off, throw it on the bed—and go flying after it because I’ve forgotten I have a pump in the pocket.

Which reminds me of a related subject. Does anybody out there know who in the world still makes nightshirts with chest pockets? Nordstrom stopped making the ones with the fun prints that are like wearing a long, soft T-shirt. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to keep the ones I have together by repairing ripped seams and holes in the pocket. And they’re such nice, big pockets: large enough to keep both an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor within easy reach.

Even before that, Land’s End had stopped putting pockets on its nightshirts, basically saying that pockets were an unnecessary addition.

My opinion? You don’t have to use something that’s there, but you surely can’t use something that isn’t. If you’re like me and just about every other person who utilizes a medical device that is connected to your own, personal body, pockets are not only a convenience, but could be a necessity. So charge an extra quarter and put ’em back on.

I guess ditz-brains can exist at the corporate level, too.

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