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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Geppetto's Blood Draw.

Saturday morning on my day off and I wake up at 6 a.m.  Why?  Hubby has blood draw and chest x-ray today.  I want to go and be there for him.  It feels a little off, because usually I am the pin-cushion.  As a type-1 diabetic, I am no stranger to needles.  I take 5-7 shots a day and test my blood sugars up to 8 times a day.  My blood draws are generally every 3-4 months.  This is Rick’s first in the twelve years we’ve been attached.
I learn nice and early not to poke at a man that’s been fasting for twelve hours and in obvious caffeine withdrawal.  My good natured, generally patient husband gives me the middle-finger “puppet show” over the shower door this morning for an incident neither of us can currently remember.  Though, don’t get me wrong…we laughed our behinds off when he did it - all in good fun. 
We get to the doc’s and Rick accidentally cuts off a handicapped woman while parking.  I give her an, oh-man-we-are-idiots, kind of wave and shrug.  “Oooh”, I say, “this won’t be uncomfortable at all, since you just know that she is going to the lab too.”  We head down the stairs and get to the lab a few minutes before her since the elevators seem to move slower here than any other building in the Chicago suburbs.  We get to sit with the woman we cut off for a good thirty minutes, exchanging awkward glances and apologetic looks.
Hubby thinks I’m kidding when I say they will ask him for a urine sample.  Sorry Dude, mama knows best…remember…I do this often. 
After the tests, we convene to the Jeep where miraculously an awesome wife has stashed ice-cold Diet Coke, Nutri-Grain bars and yogurt pretzels to make someone less irritable.  It doesn’t work, I realize, when the road rage sets in.  We literally move 30mph in a 50mph zone, and husband does his second puppet show of the morning…not for me you see, but for the driver that couldn’t take the time to clear the snow from his windows this fine morning.  Hey, he missed a good show. 
Finally, we sit down to a wonderful breakfast at Mother’s pancake house in North Aurora.  All is peaceful again in Whoville and I bring home a sweet, relaxed, hilarious husband.  I declare that my next blood draw will also require a breakfast of epic proportions and that he can retire his job as puppeteer for the next twelve years with any luck.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Shame on me? Shame on YOU!

As a 16 year vet of Type-1 Juvenile Diabetes, I’ve encountered many forms of discrimination.  I was literally slapped on the hand and scolded by a woman for eating a candy cane over the holidays.  “You are diabetic, shame on you”, she chastised as her hand met mine with a sharp smack.  I felt my cheeks start to burn and decided to let her have it.  “I am a type-1 diabetic, which means I inject insulin.  I require a certain number of carbohydrates and would prefer not to go to the emergency room today!”  I may as well have been speaking Greek.  I went on to school her in the fact that there are plenty of instances where we actually need sugar. 
Both Type-1 and Type-2 diabetics generally take blood sugar lowering medication.  At times, our blood sugars can go too low which can result in unconsciousness, coma, seizure, or in rare instances death.  We have to recognize the symptoms of low blood sugar and test our blood often to determine how many carbohydrates to eat.  We work with a team of doctors and visit a dietician to develop a meal plan.  The diabetic educator herself advised me to let her know if I wanted a candy bar included in my meal plan.  In her words “If you want a candy bar, we can include it in the carbohydrate plan so you can have it”.  We are not necessarily “cheating” when we have a piece of candy!
Since when did society decide what others should be eating anyway?  You wouldn't walk up and slap an obese person for eating a doughnut would you?  I dare to dream that someday people won’t feel the need to constantly judge my diet choices. 
I leave you with this - Diabetics are completely aware of the amount of sugar and carbohydrates they can have.  My bet, is that non-diabetics won't be getting the green light from their doctors to eat junkfood anytime soon.  So those of you with a working pancreas should consider biting your tongue, especially, if said tongue is munching on a Christmas cookie.