Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

Tough day, good lesson

on November 12, 2013

I think the worst diabetes days are those when I start off doing the right things, and when I intend to keep doing the right things, but then somewhere along the line, I lose the will to do those right things and it all just falls apart.  That was last Wednesday.

It had been two very busy weeks at work and I was coming home pretty wiped out every day.  Last Wednesday I decided to give myself a break. It was going to be a long day, with a staff meeting at 11 (which, by the way, I enjoy),  our choir school program (in which I currently teach the 4 and 5 year olds) at 4:30 and a meeting at 6:30 that evening. I got to work at 8:45 after swimming and wasn’t going to leave until 8:30 that night. So, after our staff meeting, I decided to go to Panera, my favorite place to hang out in relative anonymity but still comfortable and friendly, to do some reading and just generally chill out.  I chose a seat near the fireplace that had the ambience of the fire without the excessive heat.  So far so good.

The train started coming off the rails when I decided to let discipline fly and ordered a strawberries and cream scone.  I checked the carb count, and dosed accordingly. But I gave the whole dose right away, instead of over an hour or so as I had intended. Oh, well, how bad can it be?    Then, when I got back to my table, a mom and friend with a toddler had settled in at the next table.  Didn’t seem like it would be too distracting so I didn’t pick up all my stuff and move.  I sat down, got out my Kindle and made myself comfortable.

The toddler soon got tired of the high chair and protested loudly.  Mom apparently thought it was cute and didn’t really do anything particularly effective to deal with it. Then when Junior did get out of the chair, he ran all around the restaurant and Mom ran running and calling (loudly) to him, both of them seeming to enjoy the attention this produced.  This went on for quite a while.  So much for not distracting.  I tried hard to be understanding and patient. Really, I did.  But I have to say, I was not unhappy when they finally picked up and left about 20 minutes later. I still had over an hour to hang out, so I was fine.

Then I started feeling the tell-tale signs that my bg was going up. Way up.  I was pretty surprised by this since I had dosed generously for the scone. It got up to about 250 or so and flattened out. And stayed flattened out up there for what seemed like forever.  I was having a hard time concentrating on what I was reading, and was getting nauseous to boot. And now I was mad, at myself for letting this happen and at diabetes for simply existing and taking over my life.

I eventually headed to church for choir school.  By the time I got there, I felt genuinely miserable, but there were all these little kids waiting for me to teach them. Oh joy.  I lay down in the pews in the sanctuary for a few minutes before we got started, which only made me want to stay there and never move again.  Things got better slowly, but there’s a kind of hangover from sticky highs and lows that is pretty unpleasant, and followed me the rest of that day.

As I whined to my friend and confidant (and also my CDE which is an amazing blessing), she gave me a really great insight.  Sometimes life (and diabetes) can be a tough teacher and these really hard lessons are the ones that we learn the most from.  I’m pretty sure that’s not something she learned in as a dietetics major (since I had a similar major in college and I KNOW we didn’t learn that!), but that has come with her own experience in life.  She’s so right. I gave in to a moment of weakness and self-indulgence and paid for it not only the rest of that day, but the next day as well, since that hangover feeling carried on for almost 24 hours.

So what did I learn?  Discipline is good.  Discipline is my friend, truly.  Discipline is freedom.  A momentary weakness produced a day of discomfort. It’s truly not worth it.  And this was not the only time this has happened. It was just a more miserable instance of it than I have had in a while.  Sometimes I think I abuse the freedom I have with an insulin pump (which allows me to handle pretty much any food and activity if I plan it right) and use it as an excuse to act unwisely.  Staying on track with diet, exercise, careful testing and dosing – it’s all work but it is what it takes for me to function at full capacity everyday.  Resisting temptation is hard work.  It is not something I can do without consciously working hard at it, giving it the mental energy it demands.   Managing diabetes is simply a 24/7/365 job that I didn’t ask for but am stuck with.  That’s the reality, as hard as it is to accept some days.

So I am working hard to do what I need to do in order to be able to live the kind of disciplined life I need and want. Reordering priorities, at work and at home.  Paying attention to what my body tells me and giving it the rest it needs when it needs it (and if you think this is easy, you don’t know me!). Spending time with my husband and with friends who exhort and encourage me. And seeking comfort, courage and clear direction from the Scriptures and prayer daily.  Discipline is hard work.  But the joy and true rest it brings is worth the effort.  I’ll fail again.  But this is a lesson that hasn’t been wasted.

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