When numbers become meanings by Natalie Welsh
Life is all but a number, and this time I’m not talking about age. Life for diabetics is all about the digits. Those tricky little numbers between 4 and 7 are the ones we blissfully hope for. Like the countdown for Christmas, with a prick of the finger and a wait by our glucose meters, as patiently as we can pursue, for those painful 5 seconds which feels like 5 hours, to pass. Counting down like a ticking time bomb, until our fate is sealed and we’re hit with being hypo, hyper or a pleasant in between in which we do nothing about but wait for one of the two to take place.
Either one of which is not so good. Hypo or hypoglycaemia (low blood sugars) means that it’s time to indulge in those sweeties in the cupboard or that chocolate biscuit we’ve been eyeing up all week. It’s 100% guilt free, one which cannot be frowned upon. It’s without having to shamefully contemplate the after effects of being too high, (hyper or hyperglycaemia) and realising its time to use up zero energy by star fishing on our beds for an hour or curling up in a ball and feel accountable of the gluttony we just committed.
Sounds alright you may say, but contrary to belief, this is all overridden by the symptoms we get before it happens. The only way it’s describable is like being drunk and ill all rolled into one. The shakes from fingers to toes, which makes it incredibly hard to grab that much needed sugar. Wobbly legged and all.
Then there’s pesky carb counting, but more numbers us diabetics have to exceed upon. This means staring religiously at packaging, before its cooking, while it’s cooking, and adding figures up if there’s more than one ingredient. Guess right, your golden, you just want to scream hallelujah, throw your hands in the air and thank the lord that everything is going your way for once (diabetes has a mind of its own) with that perfect monitor reading. However… guess wrong, and you’re in for… a treat? Well, not really. As above, neither low nor high readings are walks in the park.
These insulin ‘shots’ before we eat are a fundamental part of our day, and if three doses wasn’t enough, breakfast, dinner and tea, we need a whole new type of insulin to get us by for 24 hours. So that if you’re still counting, is four. Yep, four times we need to inject our defenceless bodies with this clear liquid, all thanks to our defective pancreas.
Upon writing this I’ve approximately nursed 38 hypos, pricked my finger 230 times, injected over 400 times and spent 4 nights in the hospital all within 3 months of being diagnosed.
So think of me, wherever you are, and wherever I am, at 7pm every evening, I’ll be sticking that 4mm (one last number) glargine filled needle into my beloved now pin-cushion derriere.