It has been two weeks, today, since my troubles starts and thankfully everything seems to be falling into a “new normal.” I check my blood sugar, count up my carbs and, like a junkie, shoot up. My blood sugar levels have dropped from the 300-400 range down to mostly being in the 100s (I’ve occasionally dropped into the double digits and on occasion, they’ve all been in evenings that I had not worked out, go into the high 200s. Three weeks ago, I couldn’t have even told you what the normal range for blood sugar was. I have learned a lot!
Having to be intentional about what you eat means that I have been measuring out serving sizes. It is amazing how much we eat. A cup of rice seems normal to me, but the “serving size” is only 1/3 of a cup. Five prunes make a serving! The list goes on. If you want to control what you eat, measure your food. It’s an eye-opening experience.
I eat a lot of fruit. In the past, I generally ate 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables, but most of them were in the form of fruit. Fruit has a lot of carbs. A cup of pineapple (which use to be a snack for me) has 19 grams of carbs. And banana, another snack food, has nearly 30; and a medium apple has 26. The carbs really add up when you eat fruit. I can take more insulin but when I think back to my trip to Costa Rica last October, when I pigged-out on fruit, I’m not so sure I could have taken that much medicine with me.
It is very humbling and a little scary to think of being “dependant” on something or someone else. But I am. I used to think I would do well surviving in the wilderness. But unless I learn how to manufacture my own insulin, being able to make a fire and construct a shelter and find food won’t do me much good in the long run. There will be no “Swiss Family Robinson” adventures for me. Like a regular junkie, I depend on my supply stream. Even though I have always felt (politically and theologically) that we are all dependent (on each other and on God), the realization of just how dependant I am is haunting. I pray those folks at Lilly down in Indianapolis keep pumping out the insulin.
I am again feeling better. I spent last week in shock. Then, as my blood sugar levels dropped, I started feeling weird. I was weak. I’m not sure how much of this was my body reacting on no longer running on high-octane blood and how much of it was due to some depression. But I felt well enough on Wednesday to play some basketball and today I’ll play pickleball. Unfortunately, the snow is no longer good for skiing. The other problem I’m having is with my eyes. The doctor assures me that they will return to a more normal state after a few weeks (at which time I need to get another eye exam), but right now my left eye is constantly blurry and to read or look at the computer more than 30 minutes or so at a time is difficult.
Personally, I’ve never cared to wear jewelry. I hate rings and necklaces and bracelets. Jewelry is fine on others and I don’t mind picking it out as a gift. But it’s not for me. Not wanting a chunky manly watch weighing down my arm, I even wear the smallest wristwatch I can find. I’m going to have to get over this. I haven’t yet broken down, but soon I will need to purchase a bracelet or necklace that shows I’m diabetic. This will be a necessity when traveling this summer.
For the past two weeks, I have felt alive and blessed. I have woken up in the morning truly thankful of having made it through the night. I am glad to have discovered my diabetes before being somewhere like Cambodia where medical care may be limited. Furthermore, it seems a bit irresponsible to have a Westerner consume what limited medical resources are available. I am still planning on taking a four month sabbatical this summer and am hopeful the doctors can get me regulated by then.
Yesterday morning, when I took the dog out at 6:30, I could hear the birds sing in the dogwood tree behind the house. It is always about this time of the year they begin to sing in the predawn hours, anticipating that spring is not far away. Soon, more birds will join them and the morning will begin with a chorus welcoming the sun.
As a matter of disclosure, the title "The New Normal" is from a book of which I recently read a review. I have borrowed the term for it seems to describe my condition.