Of course, I don’t ever need to stand up and say that. Everyone around here knows. But I do have a confession. The last few months I’ve been absolutely sick of being diabetic. I work in it. Volunteer in it. Teach it. Study it. Live it. And I’m tired of it.
It crept up on me a little at a time. I didn’t realize I was burned out at first. In retrospect, the first warning sign was the Watch.
Back in the fall Medic Alert was taking advanced orders for their new watch. Still being an energized, enthusiastic diabetic at the time, I placed an order for one. It came, months later in early February. I got the band adjusted, then never wore it. I stopped wearing my bracelet too. Not totally insane yet, I still wore my alert necklace… under my shirt.
I got lazy. Checked my blood sugar less often. By the time I lost my Guardian I had pretty much thrown in the towel. I just let the sugars run high, less worry than checking all-the-fucking-time. I still couldn’t feel the lows. I’d catch them by dumb luck. On one level I knew it was only a mater of time before dumb luck caused one of them to catch me. I got fatalistic.
Rather than springing out of bed full of ideas and eager to get to the clinic, I hit the snooze alarm three times then drug myself to work. I use to be the first one in, now I was barely there in time for my first appointment. When I met with patients I still got energized. I probed, questioned, inspired and motivated them. I was on top of the world; until they left my office. Then I fell back into my personal pit of dark despair.
I began to feel like a fraud. Everyone looked up to me. My patients were all getting healthier due to my teaching, but I was getting sicker due to my actions. It was like our roles were reversing. While their A1Cs collectively marched downwards on my watch, mine marched upwards—opposite paths on the same stairs.
Anybody remember the song about the junk-food junkie? It was about a health nut who lived a secret life eating less than optimum nutritional choices. He was afraid they’d find him “just stretched out on my bed with a handful of Pringles potato chips and a Ding Dong by my head.” (Amazing the crap you can find on-line with Google.)
I began to do less and less work outside the clinic. One-by-one I let my various volunteer D-gigs fall by the wayside. I was asked to bid on a D-ed contract with the county and I passed on it. I pared back my schedule and cooked up fewer and fewer schemes and outreach activities. I basically just kept to my schedule and left it at that.
Then three things happened. The first was my health. A new A1C of 8.4. My highest ever. Creatinine up too. The kidneys were unhappy. The second was The Group.
I hold group education and support sessions every month. I had put them on hold over the winter because we had a really rough winter and it seemed that asking chronic care patients to brave snow, ice, and dark for support group was just not good medicine.
At our spring re-launch we had a HUGE turnout. It was like Arab flea market meets first day of kindergarten. My head is still aching. Our Exec Director recently replaced out conference room’s shabby thread-bare carpet with saltio tile. Good idea in theory, but now the place is an echo chamber.
I digress. Anyway, for days after the first group of the year my patients were raving about how great it was, how much they learned, how less isolated they felt. So I was starting to feel like I’m doing some good…
Then I got the ParaPump. Don’t tell anyone, but at the time MedT called I was so depressed that I almost declined their offer. Oh crap, I just told the whole universe, didn’t I? Oh well. That’s me, the open book.
So now I have motivation from all sides: fear, peer support, new toys. I’m wearing my bracelet again. Tomorrow I’m going to brew some Starbucks, put on my medic alert watch, tweak the basal rate program on that ParaPump and get my diabetes back in the cage it belongs in.
Hi. My name is Wil, and I’m a born-again diabetic.