Living with Diabetes Entry: Group 1


#1

Advice From A Caterpillar
The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in
silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, deep voice.
“Who are you?” said the Caterpillar.
This
was not encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather
shyly, “I-I hardly know, Sir, just at present-at least I know who I was
when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed
several times since then.”
“What do you mean by that?” said the Caterpillar, sternly. “Explain yourself!”
“I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, Sir,” said Alice, “because I am not myself, you see.”
“I don’t see,” said the Caterpillar.
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Peguin Putnam, 1960, Chapter V, pg 49



Staring
uneasily at another. Trying to connect, to express and finding the task
personally painful. Extendedly explaining one’s self despite the
sinking feeling of never being able to reach the listener. Its yelling
through the Grand Canyon with the expectation that the deaf soul at the
other end may hear. This happens often to me. I am a labile Type I
diabetic. I have been told that often diabetics loose the ability to tell their
blood sugars are fluctuating not long after their diagnosis. That never
happened to me.
It seems that I feel every change in my blood sugar
level. Too much insulin, too little glucose metaphorically fries my
nervous system. Glucose has trouble circulating through the blood stream to
the brain and synapses either do not respond or are retarded. The
result is slowed movement that lacks precision, black patterns often
travel across my eyes, muscles sometime twitch, speech slows and slurs,
areas of my body (usually my tongue and around my mouth) on occasion
numb, I yawn a lot to get more air, and my mind blocks basic
information. I stare, reaching out for help, if I can keep my eyes
open, and I try to fumble for sugar. When there is too much sugar in my
blood my eyes grow sore, my stomach gets queasy and my head starts to
pound, ever so slightly at first. After a while of this I get dry mouth
and have trouble concentrating on anything but the idea of lying down,
all it is is pain.
The low sugars can last over a half hour. At times
it they have lasted for hours. If nothing is done I can go into convulsions
or go into a coma and die. The high sugars can last for hours. Since I
can feel the high sugar I am quick to treat it. Some people feel fine
with high sugar levels and don’t check. Such high levels can go on for
days or until they go into a coma. Both of these fluctuations are
discouraging and psychologically ostracizing. Sometimes I am surrounded
by caring people who let me do what I need to do to handle the
situation. Sometime I am very lucky and am around people who can handle
the situation when I can’t (my husband) and Sometimes I am not. But no
one seems to be able to relate.
Trying to interact during an episode and after it has happened is emotionally painful. I have
multiple “attacks” each day. Sometimes bad, sometimes just
uncomfortable. Often I feel like an idiot. I can’t function. People ask
me questions and drivel spills out. Not only that but I have troubles
recalling things that went on during the episodes. There was a study
done (wish I had the background on it) that found that people who, say,
are “high” when doing a task would be able to recall that information
IF they were in the same state when doing it again or being tested.
This seems to occur with the sugar fluctuations. Something happens when
my sugars are too high or low-details are missed if I am asked about it later when
my sugar level is different. It is tough knowing that others don’t
understand this kind of struggle.
In the end I feel obtuse. I have been
tested. I am happy to say, while I am not a genius, I am not THAT far
off… needless to say I am definitely not slow. Even in my weakest
area I am average. However several times a day it feels like I am
trying to peer through hookah smoke and explain myself to people, people who “don’t see”, when it feels as if I don’t know who
I am. I do know who I am. I just can’t explain myself. Things change so
much during the day and often I am unable to fully be myself.