The Question

Numbers! Numbers! That is all I see some days. Numbers with profit, gross profit, P&L statements, account payables, account receivers, tax forms, daily sales, weekly sales, monthly sales, yearly sales, compare them to last year, and many more.

A couple of weeks ago, I was logging my other know...those D numbers.
A log book full of BG numbers of when I get up, when I eat and two hours after, before I go to bed, carb amounts eaten with said numbers, and any other number that comes when test numbers are lows, and the fifteen minutes later numbers, and the high numbers with checks afterwards. I normally don’t log in front of friends. But I have lately become so comfortable with one of my friends about D, that I didn’t think twice when I pulled it out and jotted a few numbers in, and was putting it away. Curiosity must of gotten the best of him as he ask what was that?

I explained to him that I was tracking down whether my basal or my insulin to carb ratio needed to be change. I was dropping low two/three times a night, and shooting high in the late afternoon. Of course, I had to explain some of the terminology to him as we discussed it.

After explaining what the log book was for, and he ask to look at it. I warned him it might a couple of blood spots on it, and which he laughed and stated that blood doesn’t scare him, but needles do. As he glance though it, I could tell something in his brain was processing. He close the little notebook and left it sitting in front of him.

As his eyes glazed over, he asked me the hardest questions I have ever heard of. “What’s it like to be diabetic?” I was left dumbfounded as I pondered that question. Have I been a diabetic so long I forgot what its like not be a diabetic? So I took a big breath and tried to answer his question.

"Hmmm....It’s not all good, I replied. How much do you really want to know?" He answered with two simple words, “The truth.” I replied with the question of, "How much do you know?" His words sunk deep into my mind. He knew me before diagnoses, and he has watched me struggled and be successful with my fight. He was not only a close friend, but we were now business partners and often work together in addition to hanging out. Our families spend week-ends together, and we have been on vacation together. I was scared of his answer and yet wondered what his knowledge of diabetes was.

His reply went something like this. “Well, I know that ever since you became diabetic you have kept most of it to yourself until you got the pump. I understand that “Dex” tells you when you are dropping or going high. I know that there are times that you are late to things because of your numbers. I know you cannot talk when your numbers are low, and if I see that you are not consuming something to bring up that low, I should encourage you to do so. And I know that high numbers make you sick. But that is not what I was asking...I want to know what it is like to be diabetic.” Talk about a long dramatic paused. I couldn’t answer him, and finally just shrug, and stated. "It’s just something I have deal with. No worries." I joked, "Most days I handle it just fine. His phone then rang, and I was very thankful for the sheer luck of that phone call.

What is it like to be diabetic? The thought of the question baffles me. I still cannot answer that question no matter how often I ponder it. Maybe, I think that having diabetes is just part of my daily routine, like brushing your teeth. Sure, there are days that it doesn’t go smoothly, and there are other days that do. We all have issues, and we all have to deal with those issues. Mine just happens to be diabetes. But the question still randomly creeps back in my mind, and rolls though my mind like waves in the ocean. It is an antiquated question that there is no right answer until you have experience it.

Sounds like a very good friend who is pretty in touch with what you go through. How nice to be so interested.

Once in a while someone will ask me that question too, although I think most people don't really want to know because they know it's complicated! Here's how I explain it:

Imagine you live in a little house. You are required to keep that house at a constant temperature of between 65-68 degrees. But you have no thermostat, just a thermometer, a wood stove, an ice box, and maybe a fan. Oh, and you live in a really volatile weather area, where you are subject to sudden ice storms or heat waves at any time. Oh yeah, and if the temperature falls below 65 or rises over 68, your house starts to degrade a little each time until it eventually starts to fall apart in places and has to be patched back together.

That pretty much describes our daily stress and what we face. When I say that, they go, "Oh my god, you guys are amazing!" I have to remind myself of that, that we are all amazing, so we really need to give ourselves a break and not beat ourselves and each other up so much. I would personally like to banish the phrase, "Well, my aunt so-and-so had it, but she died at 60 because she didn't take care of herself." WTF? She lived with it for decades, give her a break. She at least partly took care of herself, and different personalities handle it differently. Not to mention any other health issues we might be lucky enough to get. Good question from you!