I’m feeling eloquent today. GRRRRR is the best way to describe my feelings on diabetes. You could probably unpick it a little further and pull out some frustration, boredom and tiredness, but in essence the feeling is just a noise. My girl makes it frequently, and I second it, 100%.
These grumbles of mine are about to land on paper, so I can spit them out, move on, and deliver the next finger prick with a smile. These complaints are not even my own. I have the luxury of managing the issues my little girl carries. I can imagine the list is considerably longer if it’s your own pancreas that’s rolled over and kicked its legs in the air like a cockroach.
Here are my Top 5 GRRRRRs, in no particular order.
1. A whole day of lows.
For no reason, you can barely keep your nose above 4 all day. Weather? No. Extra exercise? Nope. Lack of food? You just ate a plate of nachos. Type 1 is illogical and stupid. You’d better enjoy walking around with a litre of juice or soda sloshing around in your belly, acting normal while being unable to see straight and wanting to pass out, all the while fending off the complaints of all the kids saying ‘MAN that’s SO unfair. She gets to eat lollies’. My L had the pleasure yesterday, naturally followed by a night of stubborn rebound highs (with the filthy mood and headache to match). Homework? Sure. We can easily get that done while running around the room screaming.
2. Being impromptu, in any way.
Popping quickly into the shops to get ONE thing, you will inevitably turn pale, shaky and incoherent and have left your test kit in the car with your lollies (or worse, on the kitchen counter at home). You have brought just enough change to buy the milk. Milk loses. Instead you buy jelly beans, sit on the floor of the shop, and accept strange looks. You go home with no milk.
3. Set changes that hurt like hell.
Is there any other kind? I don’t know if there are some tips for this that I don’t yet know about, but if there are, please share them with me. In our tactical set-change commando arsenal at this point are: playing the iPad during insertion; bribery with food treats post-insertion, including chocolate and/or icecream if there is screaming involved; numbing the insertion spot with an icepack; or changing the set during sleep. I’m surprised how many people are shocked that this cannula needs changing, and that I need to do it every 2-3 days. They think that having a pump is a diabetes ‘fix’, and that once it’s ‘in’, you’re all set (excuse the pun) for good, with no more needle spikes. Just imagine the infections. Ew. I suppose I wouldn’t want to think too hard about it either, if I didn’t need to.
4. Hypos at bedtime.
You know about this one. You’ve just fallen asleep in front of the TV, and draaaaaag your body towards the bedroom after debating with yourself at length the merits of sleeping in a bed vs sleeping on the couch. You do the final finger prick before bed, and it’s low. AGHHH. These hypos are the evil ones that sense your tiredness. They know you need sleep, but they’re a cruel master, and they say NO SLEEP FOR YOU. You treat, and stay awake 15 minutes with toothpicks in your eyes over a book. You recheck, and she’s dropped lower! Damn you, evil hypo that hates me sleeping. You treat, wait 15, stay awake, awake, awake, awake, till your eyeballs fall out of your head and roll across the floor under the bed.
FINALLY. She hits 5 mmol/L. Not low, but not a very reassuring number either. You set the alarm for one hour’s time, and drop into a fitful doze. At the office the next morning, someone complains about their toddler having croup and being unbearably tired. You nod sympathetically. It’s hard having very small children.
5. Pumps/sets/meters/equipment/batteries that know the time.
All these pieces of equipment know the time, and the time is LATE. Invariably, once you are running late, the pump battery will run flat, the morning meter reading will say ‘HI’ and need an emergency pump line change, or the meter itself will be dormant, waiting on one of those sweet little circular batteries that you only ever need at 10 minutes past when the train was leaving.
The explaining gets too complicated and boring after a while. It becomes so much easier to say ‘I had a flat battery’ which is universal code for ‘morning from hell’. Whether they understand about diabetes or not, they’ll know your tardiness was beyond your control. Well, mostly. An organised person would build time into their day for such things, but I am not ‘organised people’, and type 1 doesn’t select its subjects based on organisational skills, unfortunately.
I actually feel better now. Despite these challenges, in some ways our strange little late tired frustrated family is closer through speaking this funny ‘high low’ language, and we can laugh at ourselves, because stuff will always go wrong even without diabetes. It’s the days that go RIGHT that we need to notice, because there are plenty of those too.
What makes you the most GRRR about diabetes?