I was chatting with my buddy Julian yesterday about a number of things, and we touched on my feelings about my body’s new “broken” status. I’ve been rejecting the “sick” label or calling myself “sick” because I have certain ideas about what sickness is: sickness gets better. Sickness is temporary. And, most importantly, for me, sickness isn’t all that sexy.
I’m 26, you know. I think about these things.
Most of all, I didn’t want to get into thinking of myself as some kind of victim.
“You can’t be a victim,” Julian said. “Being a victim implies that somebody did something to you, and unless you count your body as something outside of yourself, you can’t claim victim status anyway.”
It just so happens that Julian’s got severe asthma, the type that means he has to carry around an inhaler everywhere he goes in case of an attack.
OK, so, I have a broken pancreas. It doesn’t work anymore. But I’m not sick all the time. I don’t feel sick. I can do pretty much anything anybody else can do, I just need to do it differently or work harder at it.
“Taking insulin doesn’t make you a sick person,” Julian said. “Taking insulin prevents you from getting sick.”
Oh, well yes. Yes it does.
I thought my doctor was on crack when he told me that the swelling in my feet was a result of my body’s sugar being so high and then coming back into balance. I thought he told me it would go away in a couple weeks just so I’d feel better and stop calling him. But it’s nearly noon now and I’m looking at my feet and I can see the tendons and viens and I don’t have to loosen my sandals, and hey, my ankles look great!
Yesterday was the first time since I got sick that I felt near normal. My sugar hasn’t been over 200 in six days (generally, you want to keep it between 70 and 180). I’ve accomplished this by testing my blood 4-7 times a day. Once before exercise in the morning, again an hour later before breakfast, once before lunch, once before I leave the office (I have a bit of walking in my commute and don’t want to keel over if I’m too low), once before dinner, and sometimes once before bed and again if I wake up with low-sugar symptoms at night.
That’s a lot of testing, but every single thing I’ve read tells me that the closer I can keep my blood sugar to “normal,” the less chance I have of getting my feet chopped off, developing kidney disease, blindess, and more nerve damage to my feet or damage to my hands.
The first thing my buddy Stephanie asked last night when I told her about the numbness on the pads of my feet and the tips of my toes was, “But your hands are all right, right? So you can still type, which means you can still write. As long as you can still write, who cares if your feet are chopped off?”
It’s so nice having friends you’ve known for over a decade. They can say things like this and it’ll make perfect sense to you.
In one of those capitalist-society ironies, however, the most expensive item on my long list of keep-me-from-being-sick supplies are the testing strips for my blood sugar meter. Every time I test my sugar, I use a piece of plastic half as long as my thumb that somehow costs me a buck a piece. Seriously. They can grow human insulin in a petri dish for less money than it costs to check my blood sugar.
The biggest irony of all?
Most insurance plans don’t cover testing strips, even though it’s the best way to manage your sugar and keep you out of the hospital – paying for more testing strips could *save* your insurance company money in the long run.
But who has time for numbers these days?
I really do need to move to Canada.
Now that I’m feeling near-normal, it’s time to put my timeline back together.
Afterall, life is short. There’s a lot I want to do.
1) Fuck the day job. I’m not ever going to stress about this job again. I got several frantic phone calls today about reporting, and felt my heartrate climb because I just wasn’t getting it out fast enough, they needed it now, yesterday, HOURS AGO!!!!!
You know what?
They’ll fucking deal. Reporting is out, and the two-hour delay due to internal politics wasn’t worth me making myself sick.
2) Sell another story by year’s end. My goal this year was to sell three stories. I’ve sold two. I need one more.
3) Send tDW to Agent.
4) Finish draft and rewrites of God’s War.
5) Start research for as yet unnamed family saga about genocide and female guerilla fighters.
6) Re-join my boxing gym. Because I love it, and life is short. It’s $26 a month more than my current gym. That’s not going to break all banks.
7) Apply to gaming job in Edmonton. For the healthcare and non-suckiness of the job!
8) Write better blog posts. Because that’s fun and blows off a lot of steam.
9) Write more email.
10) Read lots of books, because that’s fun. But try to *buy* fewer of them.
Anyhow, I’m going to go and stare at my normal-looking feet for awhile.
They really are beautiful.