“That’s right. My Type Two Diabetes is under control. Moth. Er. Fuck. Er. I got a 7.2 reading on my metre today. A seven point fucking two. Three weeks ago I was bouncing between 12 and 18. Three weeks before that I couldn’t get below 24. Six months ago I was trapped between 26 and 33+. Eight years ago I was an eighteen… today I’m a seven point two.”
“Drawing A Line In The Enamel With A 7.2 Blood Sugar Level”, Me; December 17, 2008
Facing the reality of my situation has never been difficult for me. I know who I am, and where I’ve brought myself. It’s the next step, reacting to the reality, that’s always been difficult.
I know what’s wrong, I can point to it and stare at it all day. I can even explain what’s wrong, and possibly offer a few solutions. Maybe I get overwhelmed easily when a solution doesn’t immediately present itself.
I know I have diabetes, yet I chose to do nothing to make myself better.
Here’s the thing: after Chernobyl** the Ukrainian government put a giant clock in Kiev. On days with low radiation, or days when it was safe to be outside without a radiation suit, the clock flashed green. On days when you could cook a Pizza Pop by holding it slightly away from your body, the clock flashed red.
About a month after it went up, the clock was taken down, not because the radiation went away — it still hasn’t — but because the fucking thing never stopped blinking red.
When there’s nothing we can do to protect ourselves from danger, but we’re reminded of the danger by a giant blinking clock every time we walk to the store for milk, pretty soon we stop going out for milk. Or start throwing stones at the clock.
So what if you have diabetes, and every time you check your blood-glucose level, the little machine analyzing the blood blinks a number back at you that, according to the book, means you’re in a coma?
If you’re me, you stop making the tests.
I was diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes in the spring of 2008, and immediately started taking Glyburide. I was also testing my blood-glucose levels five or six times a day. Normal, according to the booklet, is 6 to 7 something per something. I was averaging in the mid-20’s.
I was also hitting 30+ every other day, which is the “contact a physician immediately because you’re in a coma” number.
It took a few months but, thanks to the addition of Metformin, the numbers finally started coming down, until I was in the mid-teens. Then, in December of 2008, I finally managed to get the numbers into the “normal” range.
It was the medications, plus an extreme change in my diet… which proved to be too expensive, and too much for my undisciplined mind to budget for.
So I stopped. I’ve stayed away, mostly, from the foods that would kill me, but I don’t eat nearly enough of the good foods, and even when I do I don’t eat enough times during the day. Yesterday, for example, I had one small meal at dinner and one mid-evening ‘snack’ of a bowl of soup. This isn’t unusual.
It’s also a great way, if you’re diabetic, to kill yourself or lose a leg.
So, from January of 2009, my blood-glucose numbers started to rise again. And rise, and rise, and rise, until they were back in the low-20’s. And that’s when I stopped taking the tests regularly.
I started regular testing again a few days ago. Everything is as it was.
I started testing again because I’ve had a pain of varying intensity in my right foot for more than a month now. Surprisingly my plan of doing nothing hasn’t worked, and it has only gotten worse. It’s a burning sensation along the right side, but also more than that.
Basically, my foot hurts. And it has me thinking about the possibility of losing a foot, a leg, my life to this disease.
Thing is, I don’t know how I’m going to get this under control. I’m still looking at high numbers (15-19), and I’m pretty sure when I see my family doctor he’s going to prescribe insulin. I don’t see any way around that… but, really, I’m still pretty diabetes ignorant.
I’m not sure if I can budget for the proper diet. One of the reasons I quit back in 2008 was it snowed… which just seems lame at this point — I have to walk along a highway to get to the grocery store, so unless the road is properly cleared, I can’t get there.
After paying my bills and rent, I’ve got about $350-400/month. Which is a whole lot better than the $120/month I received when I was on social assistance.
Looking at how much I actually have, it seems doable. But, somehow, I’m always broke three weeks into the month.
I have to get this fixed.
The damage to my foot in the photo is not what’s causing the current pain.
The links are to posts I’ve written about diabetes, but they’re not in order.
** I think I’m remembering that correctly.