Memory and Stress

I've posted my theory on here that because managing Type 1 Diabetes takes up so much space in our minds and our lives, that even small things that would not normally be stressful, prove to be so because there's not a lot of energy left over. I really believe that and yet I just had an experience with memory and stress that kind of upset me and want to check in with others who may have had similar experiences.

I teach Community College and have done so for nearly 10 years. Every semester we submit grades and do some other end-of-the-semester paperwork. I have a reputation of doing everything expected of me in a timely manner and even a "super-rep" for responding to e-mail lightening fast. So I'm not really worried about being "in trouble" but for a very competent person (with I admit a bit of a spacy side all my life) this is a bit disturbing and at the worst I "awfulize" that soon I will be incapable of meeting my responsibilities!

I left town for a week the day after the last day of class. I thought of posting my grades then, but usually like to leave a few days for students who make last minute pleas or for possible ungraded material they make me aware of. After that one thought of "I'll wait a few days" I completely forgot about it for 10 days until today when I got an e-mail from a student. That is shocking to me. But I had a busy week seeing family and friends, driving 5 hours each way, and, of course, trying to cope with far less than perfect blood sugars in between. I live a pretty solitary life so that was more socializing than I'm used to. So it fits my theory about "brain space"...but still! Similar experiences? Please...lol

Oh btw I also had an experience with my meter suddenly going dead...I don't think I saw a "battery low" warning. I always carry extra batteries in my case so changed them and ..nothing, so I called Animas. They suggested completely new batteries and bingo that was it. Moral of that story: Don't endlessly carry around your emergency batteries without switching them out periodically!

I find myself becoming agitated over senseless issues. Like having to fill out the same paper work every-time I visit the Doctor's office. Of course, now I have a long list of pet peeves that now get on my last nerves. Prior to diabetes I was fairly even tempered, brush things off my shoulder and kept on moving.

Thanks for responding, Tim; I'm not glad you have the same issue, but glad I'm not alone!

I definitely find the daily things I need to deal with to be far more difficult when also dealing with D. Some days are better than others. Sometimes bg control concerns push other things out of my head. I also teach and we have to hand in our grades in a specific time format, about 1 week after the last day of classes, sometimes sooner, so I always make sure I do it before then. I put in my course outline what is the last day to hand in any work. I do sometimes make exceptions, but it easier not to do this because otherwise you cause yourself more stress. I would just hand them in right away if you're going on a trip because you will have too much on your mind with all of that. If you have a smart phone you can set a reminder to do it too. I also recommend just giving everyone A's and B's because then you hardly ever have any complaints and headaches, lol! Ok, I don't always do that but after a nightmare student I had last year I'm seriously considering it now.

Thanks, meee. I think you are right, I should have just done it before I left. I just know "■■■■ happens" and it's easier to wait a couple days than have to change a grade. But we can input our grades online and then they're not finalized for 7 days so that is what I should have done. They know when things are due, but I'm a softie..lol. What subject do you teach? Online or real time? (I teach both).

I practiced being more flexible on this trip. Part of the issue for me too with D and other things is I'm used to having my own time schedule and doing things my own way. Then I get flustered with any changes. One more lesson for me not to let my world get too narrow or too controlled!

Zoe, we have a similar online format and I think you can still change the grade before the deadline, so I would definitely do that, then if someone emails more work you can change it later. I hate grade changes too, it is a big hassle of handing in forms etc. I can be a softie too for sure because I always give them the chance to hand in more work after a presentation if I think they didn't do well enough to get the grade they want but most of them either don't improve the work or don't hand in anything. You can tell who is going to actually do it though usually. I teach artstudio/arthist in person but I would like to teach online too. Do you teach sociology? I think I remember you saying that.

I know I get very flustered too if my schedule changes a lot sometimes, I've always been kind of type A but D has made it worse I think. Traveling is always worse but I really haven't traveled much at all since D and my bg goes crazy when I do too. I agree we have to try to be more flexible. Actually D takes away flexibility I find, but I have been fighting to get that back more.

That is definitely what I should have done! Oh yes, I remember now that it is art you teach.I teach Psychology. Online courses are very popular at my school because it's a rural and spread out area, plus the vast majority of my students work and many have families so it works well for them. Teaching online has advantages and disadvantages. I actually taught for the same school when I lived in Guatemala!

I love to travel and would do more if I could afford it. This was my best trip with D I think simply because of attitude. A lot of letting go of perfection (which I never attain anyway!) I didn't eat like I do at home and that was ok for a week. If I was high I just corrected; ditto if I was low. It wasn't the end of the world. Way more enjoyable!

Yeah, I've had memory glitches like that. It bothers me more now that I'm older. One thing that's helped me a lot is to use an electronic calendar. I use Google and set it up so that it reminds me with a text message 24 hours, 2 hours, and 1 hour before my appointments or deadlines.

Prior to this I always kept a calendar but didn't always look at it regularly and would sometimes miss things like a dentist appointment.

I know what you mean with being used to living on your own and then becoming immersed in a trip with others. I tend to forget some of my ongoing responsibilities. I also don't pay as close attention to my diabetes needs when I'm socially engaged.

On top of all that, I think it's hard on the human body to regularly experience high and low BGs as well as the variability. When traveling, it often means different foods and less than full night's of sleep. It also takes more effort to get in my usual exercise.

You're right, though. Having diabetes and paying attention to it requires a large slice of our cognitive capacity. Sometimes we forget something else in the process. Oh, well!

Yes, the aging factor definitely adds to the anxiety. It's funny because I'm the one who is always reassuring my peers that when they stand in the middle of a room trying to remember what they came in for it's a normal sign of aging, not imminent onset of Alzheimer's!

I can see how the electronic devices can help as memory aids, though I would find it super annoying! I'm pretty old school about things like that; I've always kept lists and they work for me. The problem last week was my list was all about social engagements, not responsibilities!

Yes, those of us who live alone have another aspect to consider. Someone started a group about living alone with d, but for me it isn't fear, it's more that I get too set in my ways. Good reminder to shake it up a bit. Sometimes not "paying as close attention to diabetes needs when socially engaged" is a good thing!

I like lists, too. But it's annoying to leave it behind when it's needed. I don't mind the electronic nagging 'cause it irritates me more to miss an appointment.

You're right, it's good to have diabetes take a lower priority sometimes, except when I'm unaware of a low until I find myself stammering with friends and relatives. I think it bothers me more than them.

My short term memory is worse than my long term lately. I'm a stressed unemployed person so that just happens. I'm volunteering , and I answer the call light on my unit at the hospital most of the time. I often forget what people need if I don't write it down so now I'm using a notepad for it. I honestly feel pathetic for this but what can I do? I'm not remembering like what people ask for or what room they're in even if I remember what they ask for . My mind is bogged down with my pain at the moment (unrelated to diabetes menstrual issues) , my diabetes and everything to do with it (as my blood sugar keeps going low and I can't figure it out as it's not my insulin dosages, changing them to lower doses makes me high all day...so it's weird) , and trying to find a job all at the same time as volunteering :( .

I'm sorry you're under so much stress, Sensorium and how amazing that you are volunteering through it all! I don't think you should be ashamed to keep notes; it takes what it takes!

Like I understand notes for the actual phone calls but I feel a bit ashamed that I have to note when patients call me with bathroom requests. I believe there's a way to look up the history of who called and whatnot but I can't find it and I keep forgetting to ask so notes it is. I'm still embarrassed when I got a request from a patient (from another unit secretary) to give to a nurse and I completely forgot it due to being stressed out . The only thing saving me right now is my stubborn personality that also makes me never want to give up on things unless I know I just have to throw in the towel. But anyway, I'm writing down everything I get told now so I don't forget. I also have to write down other things in my life more than I used to. I just figure it is because I'm very stressed by being unemployed even if I have volunteering to do.

When I travel I *always* forget one or two things, either things I was supposed to do before leaving or things I was supposed to bring with me. I agree with your theory. I spend so much time and effort packing double-checking medical supplies when I travel that I inevitably "use up" my brainpower and forget a few other needed (but less essential) items.