I know, I’m a little late to the Diabetes Blog Week game here. I had several ideas for what I wanted to write in response to Monday’s Diabetes Blog Week prompt about appreciating our differences, but my intentions got derailed. Late Sunday and most of Monday, I was in tears over Mother’s Day, a reaction that really took me off guard. In recent years, I’ve definitely had some ambivalence about it, but this year, my emotional response was off the charts. It’s a complicated issue though so maybe I’ll write about it another day. Also, I’m sitting in a restaurant having lunch right now, and if I start writing about it I’ll end up weeping into my club salad, which would just be embarrassing.
On Tuesday, I figured I’d pull myself together, and write my letter for prompt #2 of Diabetes Blog Week. However yesterday, after several days of an especially chaotic and ugly ride on the ol’ glucoaster, I had a full-on blubbering meltdown over diabetes while recovering from a 45mg/dL. You know that scene at the end of Scarface? It was the emotional equivalent of that, an it’s-not-fair, I’m-tired-of-this-crap, why-the-frak-did-I-ever-think-blogging-or-the-DOC-or-glitter-or-anything-could-make-this-stupid-disease-better, I-don’t-want-to-do-this-bullpoop-blood-sugar-battle-for-the-rest-of-my-life, frik-you-diabetes-and-the-mother-frakking-urine-test-strip-and-NPH-bottle-you-rode-in-on implosion of monumental proportions. If you’re thinking, “Lee Ann is being polite, and offering the censored version,” you would be correct. I tried to funnel the emotional tsunami into a blog post, but it was nonsensical gibberish, and frankly, a massive downer.
So here we are, the third day of Diabetes Blog Week, and after the last few craptastic days, I’m going to see if I can belatedly get on board. Had I been on time, you’d think I was an impostor anyway. Maybe a little diabetes blooper lawlz action is just what I need.
There’s ample opportunity to lament the heartache that diabetes can be (see paragraph 1 and 2), so when diabetes offers up the chance to laugh, running with it is imperative to maintaining the delicate façade of sanity. Funny diabetes moments tend to be more funny after-the-fact than in-the-moment, but regardless, they’re the saving grace, the moments that make this disease, and life with it, bearable.
As I pondered humorous diabetes moments, one was more of a general occurrence than a specific incident. Despite my love of donning sundresses when it’s hot, since I started using an insulin pump, I wear dresses much less frequently than I once did. I know there are all kinds of devices to keep the plastic pancreas in place, but I never feel like they work as well as I’d like. Lots of ladies are all about nestling it between the girls, but regardless of what bra I try or how I position my pump, my bosom isn’t ample enough to do such things without it being glaringly obvious that something weird is going on in my top.
Without that as a viable option, when I wear a dress I have to use something that allows me to wear my pump on my thigh. I’ve tried pump garters, and I’ve tried the Thigh Thing. When I wear stockings, I’ve strung my pump inside and down my leg, and when I wear stay-up thigh-highs, I’ve placed my pump inside the elastic band. I’ve even slipped my pump into a baby sock that I’ve strategically safety-pinned to the crotch of my undies. Granted, I don’t think I did that more than twice before deciding I didn’t care for that thing dangling between my legs (more power to men who put up with that all the time…). No matter what I’ve used though, it invariably means that when my pump talks to me, my crotch beeps, and when I need to get to my pump, there’s an awkward, squirmy search and rescue mission. It’s not exactly a blooper, but you can’t say it lacks comedic value.
Most of my more memorable and funny moments have occurred as a result of low blood sugar. When I was 25, my significant other at that time, John, and I went to see Saving Private Ryan at the movie theater. Considering that poking my finger and sticking needles in my body is status quo, you’d think I would have a higher tolerance for blood and such in movies or on TV. As it turns out though, I am notoriously squeamish. In that respect, Saving Private Ryan was not the best movie for me to see, but I like movies about history and war, and I think that Tom Hanks fellow is a pretty good actor.
The opening scene with the beach landing is obviously pretty gory, and my low tolerance for blood made that unsettling on multiple levels. Many obliterated appendages, dead bodies, and much spilled blood later, and I started to feel kind of nauseous. About a quarter or a third of the way into the movie, during the scene when they cross the field as Germans are shooting at them (that probably sounds like the entire movie in a nutshell, but if you’ve seen it, you know which scene I mean), and the one character gets shot, in the abdomen I believe, I was feeling really sick, dizzy and potentially vomitous.
Then I blacked out, but only for a few moments because the next thing I knew, John had scooped me up, and was carrying me up the ramp, into the lobby, yelling at the bewildered teens behind the counter to get me some sugar. Those kids came to life like no one’s business, scrambling as John barked instructions at them. I don’t remember exactly what they gave me, but I think there was some kind of gummy candy, Swedish Fish maybe, and possibly some juice or regular soda.
Once I was more with it again, we returned to our seats to watch the rest of the movie. It wasn’t until John received the video as a gift from his parents the next Christmas that we got to see the movie in its entirety, minus seizures, black-outs and Swedish Fish. We did always chuckle imagining that our fellow movie patrons probably thought I was OD’ing on heroin or something.
Public displays of hypoglycemia (PDH?) can be ripe with entertainment value, after the fact of course, but more private moments aren’t immune from ensuing hilarity. Last summer on a sunny weekend afternoon, Jason and I were spending a low-key day at home. I started to feel low, and don’t recall now whether or not I checked my BG to confirm, but I remember going into the kitchen to get a shot glass of blueberry juice. I drank it and sat down on the sofa, waiting to feel better. The next thing I remember, I was sitting on the sofa, trying to figure out why I was topless, asking Jason what happened to my shirt.
“You don’t remember?” he asked incredulously.
Apparently I had interacted and cooperated with him, so he was surprised that I had zero recollection of what had transpired. The short version is that my low blood sugar got worse, and I suppose the memory part of brain was more deprived of sugar than the rest of my brain. Jason had me drink at least a couple more glasses of juice, and because it was a really sweaty low, he thoughtfully removed my tank top because it was drenched. He knew that once I recovered, I would get those post-low bone-freezing chills, and a soaking wet shirt was only going to make that worse.
The unfortunate thing about these entertaining stories of low blood sugar is that the person with me tends to tell it far better than I can since they were the more lucid participant, but you’ll have to accept my vague versions. While I haven’t fully extracted myself from the bleak place I was at with diabetes yesterday, and I know tearful moments are an inevitability, at least I know diabetes has a sense of humor, and it will deliver some laughs now and again.