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.