Wounded. But tougher.

I don’t know why, but it occurred to me recently that People With Diabetes get wounded a lot. Not a shocker there. We are wounded daily on a physical basis, and wounded occasionally on an emotional basis. But either way you look at it, we’re wounded a lot:
– Wounded when we prick our fingers multiple times per day.

– Wounded when we inject ourselves with life-sustaining insulin.

– Wounded when we change out the infusion sets on our insulin pumps.

– Wounded when we change out the sensors for our continuous glucose monitor (CGM).

That seems like a lot right there. Our bodies are constantly poked, with various devices, to varying degrees, in the pursuit of perfect glucose nirvana. Oddly, better technology means getting jabbed more often than ever before. Any veteran PWD can show you multiple sites on their bodies where they can hardly remember what it looked like before their diabetes care forced a sort of self-mutilation. But I can keep going, and I’ll bet you can too:

– Wounded when we go to the doctor (usually multiple doctors) and blood is drawn for testing.

– Wounded if we fall into hypoglycemia and need to be revived by EMTs who start an IV with glucagon.
Here’s hoping this never happens to you.

– I’m wounded each time I donate blood and a large needle is inserted into my arm.
This is something I’m happy and proud to do, so I really don’t mind this one.
Then there’s the emotional side of diabetes. Unfortunately, many of us have experienced something like this:

– Wounded when someone asks “Can you eat that?”.

– Wounded when someone treats you like you’re responsible for your diabetes diagnosis.

– Wounded when the boss calls you in and says “What are we going to do to stop these low blood sugar episodes?”. Like a simple rewrite can avoid another installment of must-not-see TV at the office.

– Wounded when stubborn lows won’t come up and stubborn highs won’t come down.

– Wounded when our hemoglobin A1c number doesn’t reflect our expectations or how hard we’ve worked in the past three months.
I wouldn’t think of trading the better care (and much better awareness) of diabetes today for what it was like when I was diagnosed two decades ago. But there’s no denying the fact that better care and awareness (or lack of awareness) comes with additional punctures, both to our bodies and our hearts. Sometimes, the enormity of it all makes it difficult to imagine continuing in such a way. And yet sometimes, in a perverse kind of way, it seems to make us tougher. I like to think that with all of our holes, we’re even stronger than ever. I think I’ll cling to that today as I check my glucose and change my infusion set.

What about you? What wounds you today? What makes you tougher? Feel free to share your thoughts.

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  • Kelley  On September 25, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I think you summed it up perfectly! All of the above wounds me and makes me tougher, some days it’s hard to see the tougher part but I know it’s there!


  • theperfectd  On September 25, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Wait. Stop. Did your boss actually say that? Um. What?
    I keep thinking of the phrase: “Death by a thousand tiny cuts…” – I had a tiny cut yesterday when I took my daughter to a toddler music class. In the middle of it, I had those familiar dizzy symptoms so I opened my purse and grabbed my ziploc bag of glucose tabs. The woman leading the class stopped singing, stopped the class, looked at me and said: “There’s NO EATING in this class.”
    My face was hot. I felt ashamed and guilty. “I’m a diabetic. These are glucose tabs.”
    I just wanted to be a mom enjoying a day with her daughter. Instead, I was called out. It stung.


    • StephenS  On September 25, 2013 at 8:44 pm

      Christel, reading that broke my heart. Public calling out is particularly awful. Sorry you had to endure that.

      Yes, that was an actual conversation at work. I must say, however, that things have warmed up quite a bit in the last couple of years there. They even supported a DCAF fundraiser I did back in February.

      There’s probably a blog post in there somewhere, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to write about it yet. At some point, I think I started getting the attitude that 1) I’m not ever giving up, and 2) I’m not going to apologize for things I have no control over. Throw a little Diabetes 101 in there, and eventually people stopped seeing me as someone who comes up short, and started seeing me as someone who overcomes a lot.

      Or maybe I’m just imagining that. But I’m okay with imagining that for now. Thanks for the comment!


  • Karen  On September 25, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    I love this post, especially because it really does drive home how strong (and brave) we are!! I’m wounded when diabetes wounds my husband – a high that make me crabby and causes me to snap at him, a bad low that makes me have to stop cooking dinner and have him take over after he’s had a long day at work. 😦


  • Laddie  On September 25, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    The DOC has taught me to be strong. But the days that I’m feeling weak, you’ll be strong for me. So we’ve got your back, Stephen, and thanks for expressing my thoughts way better than I can express them.


  • Brea  On September 25, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    I have to go to the school nurse everyday after lunch. Today, I went and the sign on her door said she was at lunch. I went to class, because what else could I do? My blood sugar was perfectly fine! She called my teacher in the middle of class and asked for me to go to the nurse’s office. She then yelled at me and told me how wrong it was of me to not come and find her. All she does is write down my blood sugar, insulin, and carbs. She is not needed. That wounded me. When the teacher says “Brea, you need to go to the nurse” in that sympathetic voice, that wounds me. When my classmates stare at me as I come and go, that wounds me. Diabetes sucks today.


    • Laddie  On September 25, 2013 at 10:12 pm

      Brea-I read your stuff and think you’re so grown up. I wasn’t diagnosed until Age 24 (1976) and know I had it so much older than you younger kids, Brea, you’re fantastic and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise!


  • xxlovelylizxx  On September 25, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    What a powerful post. I am wounded when people look at me funny when I have to check my blood sugar in public. I have learned not to care too much but when my five year old feels like she has to shield me from the stares..that wounds me.


  • scully  On September 27, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Lovely. Beautiful. Powerful.
    this was so real. thank you.


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