I know I’m a little late to the party, but that’s the story of my life. The party I mean is World Diabetes Day 2019 on 14 November. The theme this year is Diabetes and Family. I haven’t written anything to celebrate but I thought I would share this old post. It is kind of horrifying, and I confess that I most worry about criticism from my fellow Type 1 diabetic peers because they seem to have their diabetes s..t together so much better than I do. But that is just an assumption on my part. Anyway, this is not about me. My family deserve a medal for putting up with me. They are the unsung heroes. The second theme of this post is about not jumping to conclusions. I’ve tried to make it funny as well. It is okay to laugh. So, here goes (again).
Do you tend to jump to conclusions? I certainly do. But spare a thought. Things may not be what they seem.
There’s one thing I haven’t yet talked about on my blog: that is, that I have Type 1 diabetes. It is the one subject that I feel bitter, even traumatised, about in my most maudlin moments. Having Type 1 diabetes means my pancreas doesn’t produce insulin. Without insulin, people can die in just a few hours. I must have a constant infusion of insulin to survive, but I need to get the balance just right – too little, and my blood glucose level increases, and may result in ketoacidosis (the body poisons itself); too much, and my blood glucose may drop too far, resulting in hypoglycemia, or ‘hypos’. Achieving that balance is difficult, even for the best managed diabetics (not me).
I’ve had a number of very severe hypos, mostly overnight, during the 46 years I’ve had Type 1 diabetes. Severe hypos involve fitting. They can also involve screaming, moaning and panting, especially when accompanied by hypo dreams. Not pretty. Not pleasant. When I was pregnant with my children, I used to have terrible, terrible overnight hypos. There was a lot of screaming; so much so that one night our neighbour came pounding on the door, threatening to call the police. He thought my husband was bashing me. Pretty horrible, don’t you think! My husband was lucky he didn’t get decked. The trauma is still there – for my husband, not for me. I was grateful to my neighbour. Many would have been too scared to intervene. The wrong conclusion seemed like a reasonable one. Don’t get me wrong, you should definitely call the police if someone is in danger. (Although I might be reluctant to do this if I lived in America. Too many guns. Too many needless deaths. I love my husband. He doesn’t need anyone with a gun jumping to the wrong conclusion.)
Now, here is the weird thing. It’s going to get icky… We’ve got new neighbours. Our respective bedroom windows are a bit too close together. Some nights we have been hearing a young lady appearing to have a good time. There is quite a lot of loud moaning coming from over there (think When Harry Met Sally). It is a bit embarrassing really. I’m a bit of a prude. So I start talking quite loudly. “Sound carries such a long way on these still nights,” I say. “What on earth is that noise?” You get the picture. How rude am I! Meanwhile, my son suggests that we spray the neighbour’s house with the hose. He was joking, I hope. We certainly don’t want to give the young lady a complex. And then my husband starts to say that something doesn’t sound quite right. The rhythm is all wrong; taking too long. Oh please! Now, I’m contemplating whether this is a commentary on my own performance rather than that of the young lady. And then he mumbles, “Maybe she’s hypo.”
I have to say, and not proudly, that my first thought was for myself. “I don’t sound like that when I’m hypo,” I cried. But maybe I do! What the hell! Is that why, all those years ago when I was living alone, my neighbours sniggered at me and then weren’t, well, neighbourly? I did have quite a bad hypo. I remember tossing and turning in bed, and making noises like some hideous monster was chasing me. They must have thought I was showing myself a good time for hours!
After I got over my initial reaction, I was horrified. What if the young lady was having a hypo? I’ve decided that if the ‘good times’ happen again, I will check to see if their cars are in the driveway to make sure that the young lady has a helping hand, so to speak. And there will be no hosing down of any windows! Instead, I might put on a Barry White CD (yes, I still have CDs), turn up the volume, and hope that does the trick. Because I really, really hope that the young lady is having the very best of times, and not having a hypo. And if I should see her in the street, I’ll ask whether she is a Type 1 diabetic. How’s that for a plan?
Anyway, the moral of this story is: if you have a tendency to make assumptions, just don’t.
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