A Diabetes Morning Surprise

My dad asked me a simple question this morning. He said, “How are you?” Like any other time someone asks that question, I said, “Fine,” and then continued on with whatever I was doing. Why is it such an automatic response to answer questions like that briefly and often inaccurately? Can anyone honestly say they are truthful 100% of the time when confronted with such an inquiry? I’m willing to bet the answer is no.

The answer I was thinking in my head was definitely not “fine.” Here’s what I was really thinking:

“Actually, I woke up to a 380 blood sugar this morning and moderate keytones. I’m dehydrated, nauseated, and starving all at the same time. I also didn’t sleep well, probably because of the high blood sugar I didn’t know I had.”

It might seem silly to keep information like that from my own dad. It might seem like common sense to tell him that I wasn’t feeling well, especially since I had ketones (which can be quite toxic and dangerous if not attended to). But after dealing with diabetes on my own for years, it seemed even more silly to complain about it.

I don’t like to burden others with my diabetes. I rarely ask for someone else to grab me juice from the fridge. I also often choose to pretend I’m fine even when I’m not. It’s not uncommon for me to suffer through a high or low blood sugar for hours, just so it stays a secret from those around me. Believe me, I’m well aware this isn’t the safest or smartest practice.

But I’ve worked so hard to convince others that diabetes doesn’t hold me back one bit. I want to appear as normal and capable as possible, not sickly. I don’t like drawing attention to my disease in any situation. I guess it boils down to my inner desire to be perfect. I’m not trying to be vain here. Isn’t perfection something that everyone secretly hopes for? We all want to be more beautiful and more talented and hold greater potential. In a way, diabetes is an imperfection, and since it’s something I can’t outgrow or get rid of, I choose to hide it, like putting makeup over a blemish.

But even though I desperately want my diabetes to stay in the background as much as possible, on days like today, it’s tough. I don’t know why I woke up with such a high blood sugar and keytones, but the fact is that it happened. And, the only treatment is to take insulin, drink water, rest, and wait. It takes hours for high glucose levels and keytones to come down and during those hours, you’re stuck feeling sick and exhausted. I doubt the fact that I spent the morning laying in bed, curled in a ball went unnoticed.

Waking up in such a state is extremely rare for me. It’s probably been 5 or 6 years since I’ve had moderate ketones, especially without a clear-cut reason. My pump site wasn’t out, my tubing wasn’t kinked, and I didn’t eat anything out of the ordinary. So this morning was a bit of a wake up call. It’s like the universe wanted to remind me that I’m not invincible to a diabetes emergency.

It seems ironic that this would happen just 2 days before the Walk to Cure Diabetes in St. Louis. The Walk is a time to promote diabetes awareness, raise funds for research, and support those with diabetes. Waking up with high blood sugar and ketones is just one of the many dangerous side effects of this disease, and it’s a reminder of why it’s so important to find a cure. Even as a responsible adult, I’m still struggling with diabetes as much as the day I was diagnosed.

**From my blog, The Juice Box Diaries. If you like what you see here, maybe hop over to my blog and take a look! Thanks!

I can relate to every word! I was diagnosed in 1974, and I still struggle at times with managing my diabetes. Yet when my wife or a co-worker inquires how I'm doing, even if I'm not doing fine at all my first response is to pretend that everything is fine. I'll definitely check out your blog.

Great blog, Leanne.

I do the same with my husband. Unlike the casual "how are you?" where no one really wants a health rundown, he does care. I often don't tell him the real story. First, he worries enough about me as it is & I hate that he frets. Second, I'm an independent type & don't want people doing things for me, or feeling that I can't handle it myself. Third, I can't think of any topic more tiresome than people talking about their disease.

I too relate to your words! I find myself in the same place, with same train of thoughts barreling it's way through my brain.

So.... i'm trying... trying really hard... when someone ask me "are you OK?", and i'm not really, to just remember to be truthful instead of hiding behind instinct to say "fine". Now I try (yes, try... it's not something that always happens) and say something along the lines of "i'm not doing so great right now, but I will be fine". Satisfies my need to portray that image that i've got everything under control (i'm with you in my always aim for "perfection") - yet allows me to share a bit of my situation. Really, doesn't make the situation any better, but at least whoever i'm with knows they aren't necessarily dealing with me in my best of mind (I can be a bit cranky when i'm high or low).

Still not there do use this strategy with my parents (maybe someday!) but i'm testing it out with co-workers, so far, so good.

now i'm dreaming about a D-hotline... where you can call up and say "I feel like crap" and they'd understand!! (and maybe hang out until you feel better - either silently or with encouraging/helpful words)

Part of me being low seems to be that I want to hide that I'm low. Even if I'm shaking violently lol.

Interesting blog! Do you think that maybe your dad sensed that you weren't feeling that well? MrsAcidRock and junior (13) can both sort of tell.