11 years ago today I was working in the restaurant, carrying some pans to the dishwasher when I collapsed. Over the previous month or so I had been having some problems. One was, I couldn’t stop urinating. I was literally wetting myself on occasion. I was 34 years old and couldn’t control a simple body function.
Rewind to 1995. I was working in a nursing home in the maintenance department. I had just finished doing my outside morning rounds. I went inside and was walking to my office when one of the nurses noticed something about me. She called me over and told me to sit down. I did for two reasons. The first, she was my best friend and I saw the concern on her face. The second, she could be mean. She would have chased me down the hallway and dragged me back.
She took my vital signs. They were normal. On a whim she took my blood sugar. It was 34. She took it again and came up with the same reading. She looked at me and asked, “How are you even walking? You should be in a coma.” I shrugged my shoulders and went back to work. Unbeknownst to me, she talked to the facilities doctor who told her to get me to see him immediately. That afternoon I was in his office.
He ran some test on me and diagnosed me with hypoglycemia, low blood sugar. Apparently my pancreas was over producing insulin and that was causing my blood sugar to drop to very low readings. He looked at me and said, “You are going to be a diabetic by the time you’re 35.” I shrugged that off because, there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot I could do about it.
Fast forward to April 18, 2006. Laying on the floor in front of the dishwasher. I can hear my sister yelling my name. I’m confused. I can’t understand why I’m on a dirty, wet floor. Robert comes in and picks me up off of the floor. I’m not a small person. This monster of a man picked me up and sat me in a chair. The paramedics come. My blood sugar is so high, the glucometer couldn’t read it. I’m put in an ambulance.
I’m lying in a hospital bed, ready to walk out. On one side of me is a screaming woman who is surrounded by the police. On the other side is a screaming man who was passing a kidney stone. I’m not a good patient. I told my mother and sister I was going to leave. They, smartly, took all my clothes and wallet and went home. The nurse saw I was getting irritated and moved me into a private ER room.
Many bottles of IV liquids and many blood draws later, the doctor comes in. When I got to the hospital my glucose reading was well over 700. He told me I was a diabetic. Someone would be in in a little while to discuss things with me. This sent me into a depression that lasted for a few weeks. The doctor from 199 had been right. Two months and three weeks before my 35th birthday, I was diagnosed with diabetes.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an outline for a story I’m writing. This is what happened to me 11 years ago today. It was crushing to me. I honestly thought my life was over. Diabetes is a horrible disease that affects every part of your body. It took one of my father’s legs. I am not afraid of many things but the one thing that scares me is going blind. Diabetes can cause blindness.
I’m not going to preach to you about sugar and blah, blah, blah. You all are smart enough to know what you need to do. The reason I’m writing this post is to remind you of a couple of things.
1. Don’t play around. If you notice something going on in your body, go to the doctor. Don’t let a disease progress just because you are a little afraid. It can kill you.
2. It isn’t the end of the world. I was afraid my life was over. It wasn’t, I just had to make adjustments. It was hard at first. I had to give up a lot of things I loved. I have to take pills and give myself an injection. It can be irritating, both physically and mentally, but it’s not that hard.
3. I still screw up. That’s okay, though. You will too. It’s life. It’s what we do.
Because I waited so long to get myself treated, I have other problems associated with diabetes. Don’t let your story be the same as mine.
It’s not diabetes awareness month, that happens in November.It is the anniversary of my diagnosis though and I want you all to be aware.
Take care of yourselves.