Today, I got a new blood glucose 'monitoring system'. It comes with an impressive looking pouch, test strips in a test 'drum', a 'proven' least painful soft-clix plus finger pricker, lancets, batteries and a 'welcome pack'.
Now I don't know about any other diabetics out there but 'welcome' seems a bit of a laugh. It is not a cozy club I've joined here, it's a pain in the tushy. It is boring more than anything. If you are diagnosed and intend to manage your diabetes properly, most of the time you will be thinking about food - even if you don't want to, aren't hungry, are ill and can't face food - you have to think about it. What you have had, what you will have, what you can't have, what you should have. And, what you have to do to balance up any screw-ups you've made. In addition to which, you are always bearing in mind that even a change in the weather, a sniffle or a bit of a stressful day can throw everything up in the air and make it rise or drop wildly - totally without logic. It is not something I'd want to 'welcome' anyone to. Oh and don't start me on the potential complications - it is toooo depressing.
Moan over. Don't misunderstand me, I'm really not complaining about having it - that's just one of those things. I am complaining about misconceptions about what it is really like. I know this is one area I can't make right - unless you have it, you can't understand it. But it is in my nature to try to explain stuff (once a teacher...). The fact is, without the medications and all their attendant complications and side effects things would go wrong very quickly. So having those things is great, but hard work and by no means straighforward. It is not, certainly for the 'younger' diabetic about taking a pill or jabbing in a bit of insulin and away you go. But that is for the most part what most people think and it is frustrating. It is a degenerative condition with a pretty shitty outcome unless you are diligent (and lucky) and the only way to deal with it is to work hard. Let's be honest, that's not always going to be possible or desirable, you gotta live for heaven's sake. But what if I don't work hard most of the time? Definitely a shitty outcome. At least by trying I'll not be able to blame myself. I don't know who else I would blame but I'd have jolly good try - a passer by would do! In all seriousness, I've learned the hard way that at diagnosis, if you are given the chance to manage the condition with diet alone, the sensible person does just that. The Selenas of this world do three weeks of holiness, then decide there's been a mistake and go back to shovelling the wrong things down the cake-hole. This ends in medication. With some startlingly scatalogical side-effects. THAT ain't welcome either!
So, new glucose monitor, to go with my new 'lose weight, eat right' attitude. So far, so good. I'm 104 pages into the 200+ page instruction booklet, I have worked out what goes where, which bits need reading and how to extract blood (Yes, of course it bloody hurts!). I've even managed to do a test and put everything back in the pouch in the right order (there IS a right way and a wrong way, it says so in the instruction booklet - and there was an extra sheet with a diagram to prove it).
Taking control of my own body, health, weight etc is not something I'm naturally inclined to do. It's going to be a major and lifelong battle but I do have an aunt whose experience of the same thing does at least give me support and inspiration. I'm constantly aware that I have to try at this, and that if I were a naturally sporty, healthy type, I'd maybe have held this off a lot longer than my early 40s. So I either get on with it now or shorten my life by a very long way. My period of denial is over and my taking control has begun. I'm doing my best to take a positive approach as there are so many worse things that could happen. Like I could carry on ignoring it and hit that shitty outcome in no time at all.
The silver lining to this new kit is not just the speed, accuracy and attractive, handy rubber effect 'pochette' - it also boasts a GLOW IN THE DARK DISPLAY! Now, that is worth the effort!