Monday, November 16, 2009

Holes In My Hopeful Hot Air Balloon


A few weeks ago, in the middle of the night, I woke up to Brett talking to me, but making no sense. I was staring at the light fixture above our bed, wondering what was going on and why Brett's voice sounded all loud and excited. I tried to turn over. I tried to ask him what was going on. I couldn't. I had no control over normally easy tasks. Then it slowly dawned on me that I was coming out of a dangerously low insulin reaction. The light fixture remained fascinating to me for about five minutes, but slowly I could nod my head to Brett's questions, and I was understanding those questions as well. Eventually I became coherent and realized I was drenched, and I mean drenched, in sweat. My pajamas felt like I had been in the shower fully clothed. I slowly got up with Brett's help. I told him I needed to shower and change all my clothes. As I got in the shower I battled dizziness and realized that I probably should have had Brett hold me up or something. I finished rinsing off and SLOWLY got dressed. I was exhausted.

After getting dressed, I got back into bed and looked at Brett's pale, scared face. He was as worn out as I was. I asked him what had happened. He told me that he had awakened and heard me breathing with very shallow breaths. He tried to wake me, but couldn't get me to respond coherently. He ran and got orange juice and managed to get some down my throat before I spilled most of it all over the bed. He said I still had a glazed expression on my face and wouldn't respond. That's when he went for the glucagon kit. He injected me, then gave me more orange juice. I guess that is the point when I woke up looking at the light fixture. I don't remember anything before that silly light fixture.

So my disease has come to this. I have tried so hard to control the uncontrollable for so many years. I have made myself a pin cushion, spent more money than I even want to count, and spent the equivalent of months of my life in waiting rooms and with medical professionals, all to combat this diabetic assault. I always thought I would be able to laugh and scoff when I looked at the bright red glucagon kit I would get every year at the pharmacy as a precaution and then throw away after it expired. Well, this one didn't get a chance to expire. I never planned to use the thing. My doctor, the inspired man that he is, wrote the prescription this time for THREE kits. I really didn't want to pay for that many, but forgot to tell the pharmacist to only give me one. When three showed up in the huge bag of medical supplies I had to pack for Qatar, I just threw them in the luggage because they were there, never in my life thinking they would be needed.

I think fixating on that red glucagon kit and what it represents is my way of not going completely crazy thinking about what is down the road with this disease. I have always been hopeful and positive, proactive about prevention and diabetic care, but the last few years have put some holes in that hopeful hot air balloon. Those holes are mostly about letting Brett down and being so dependent. I heard him tell his mom over Skype that he didn't ever want to go out of town without me, because that would mean I would have to sleep alone, and he couldn't allow that. It is pretty humbling to have to have a babysitter at the age of 46. I'm so glad to have such a wonderfully patient one. Brett never complains about all the costs this disease has racked up, and I don't just mean the dollar costs. He is amazing, but I was the one who was supposed to be amazing by taking care of the world! I want to be the caregiver, the vigilant one. It is also humbling to realize that I am a different mother to Abbey than with Kristy and Ben, and not just because of my age.

Well, coming close to my own mortality recently has made me reflect on many things, but I have mostly thought about the blessings of my life. Diabetes has been a blessing in the most twisted of ways. I have gained more empathy, more patience, more humility, and more realistic expectations for myself and others. Diabetes has forced me to let go of the excess that doesn't matter. I don't sweat the small stuff anymore. I just sweat the big, humungous stuff like insulin reactions in the middle of the night - literally.

6 comments:

Kristy said...

Oh Mom! I love you!

Chad, Kendra, Eva and Kara said...

I am so glad that you are ok. Diabetes is a scary thing and I am so glad that Brett heard you in the middle of the night!!

Amy said...

Holy cow! I'm so sorry it's such a nightmare, and so glad that Brett was there, and so glad you're taking such good care of yourself. If you weren't so dedicated I'm sure it would be worse.

Benjamin said...

Mom! That is scary! I'm so glad you're ok!

Amy said...

I read this post yesterday and then thought of you ALL DAY today. I admire you. I'm so sorry. I can only imagine how terrifying that must have been for both of you. I'm so grateful for Brett, modern medicine, and blogs.:) Love you Dianna!

ljanlyons94 said...

I agree with Amy, one of our blessings today is the advances in medicine and diabetes research. We have to have faith that those advances will soon find a cure or a better aid like penicillin had on infections. Brett it is good you were with Dianna. I am so used to my cat Jazz that I would have grab her by the scruff of the neck to do the injection. ( I know, I can't stay serious for long) I am just so glad you are doing well now and even though you hate that red bag, it is there so that we can keep you here with us. Our own mortality has ways of sneaking up on us. My fear is of someone I love losing a loved one. It is to the point of silent paranoia. But it is my 'ghost' (no pun intended)in that unmentionalbe closet of fears.