Day 17: The Hard Way

Today’s blog post topic was an interesting one, I really liked the thought process and the prompt of: Learned the Hard Way. What’s a lesson you learned the hard way? Write about it for 15 today.

The thought of a lesson that I have learned the hard way can go in many different directions. Was it the right vs. wrong way to take care of myself? Was it the realization of how I should and shouldn’t make fun of my short friends? Was it the realization that not all people like sarcasm? I can’t really pinpoint where I should go. However, seeing as how I am blogging about diabetes and sharing experiences and possibly wisdom, I guess I should talk about the right vs. wrong way of taking care of ones diabetes.

I am not going to lie and say I was perfect and that I was always in control. Because, well that would be a complete lie. Instead, I can tell you where I was post diagnosis. For me post diagnosis things started out fine for awhile. I was a Freshman in High School and my dad made sure I did everything right. For the longest time I did. I tested, I ate the required amount of exchanges and everything I was supposed to do. Things were good. As time went on and my parents kinda forgot or let things slide, so to did my own care. I did not like to test, why? I have no idea. It wasn’t the pain, it wasn’t the site of blood. Maybe it was the longest MINUTE ever. So I only tested when I was being watched. I always gave myself the same amounts of insulin, although over time I did increase my amounts to cover my own desire to get a low a1c, sub 6.4 usually. Yet I was not really seeing the big picture. I only knew that my a1c was in the “good job range”. I made up numbers in my log.

I did that throughout High School and college was pretty much the same, other than some small pharmacy quirks I did the same thing. I had my good a1c’s. Did I have a few BAD hypo’s yes. That was my own stupidity, because I never really took ownership of my diabetes. I figured 360 good days and 5 bad days is fine. Not like I was ever really in the hospital or anything. Just a freaked out room mate 3 times and one very interesting ambulance ride.

So I made it through college, still not learning a lesson or how to really care for my diabetes. I was just terrified of the negative consequences of high blood sugars. Did you know that lows can be just as bad? Well lets think about some of those. There was the time when I sprained my ankle falling down the stairs when my legs dropped out from under me due to a low. There was the flat tire when I hit a curb due to a low. Working in a bank, there was the time my drawer was short $200 because I made a mistake when I was low. (I thankfully sorted that one out and found the lost money.) For me there were no “real” experiences that taught me I was treating anything wrong. Who needed to test?!? Again 5 bad days in a year so to speak I think was pretty good. My endo. had no clue as my “numbers” in the book were great and the a1c at that point was sub 6.0.

When I really learned my lesson, was maybe about 5 years ago. I had a low while driving. I did some nasty damage to my car. It was out of commission for almost two months for repairs. Thankfully no one was hurt, but it could have been real bad. I don’t remember much of that day. I still have random flashes of events. The things I do remember is “waking up” in my car with a police office outside the window yelling at me. Asking me questions and throwing accusations at me. I was still to befuddled at first to figure out why he was yelling. I realized later he thought I was drunk. After a minute or two of him “talking” to me, I was able to get out the fact I was a diabetic. He called for an ambulance. They showed up and brought me off to the hospital. I waited for my parents to come. I was freaking out mentally.

That was my wake up call. I realized that there was something that needed to be done. I needed to figure out this illness. I began to realize how many lows I was probably having, but due to my hypo unawareness, I never caught them. The damage I had done to my body as far as I know was not much. At least right now I think all is good. But it could have been worse. In my however, many years of neglect, I was open to such damage and danger and I did not know it. I took my illness for granted so to speak. Since I was always “fine” why worry. What an idiot. This story was edited for content, but this is the bare bones. I can always go more in depth at a later time.

However, that wake up call made a huge impact on me. I started to be an active person in dealing with my life with diabetes. I started trying to test more often. Food and nutrition and that junk happened later. I went on an insulin pump and cgm, that made a huge difference. I found friends and the Diabetes Online Community. That made a difference. Am I perfect? By no means. Yet, I am better, I am trying harder and learning from my mistakes. There is room to grow, but I am awake now and always trying. So I learned my lesson on most days. The thing is, that diabetes will not go away. Either overcaring or undercaring for yourself is not a good thing. We need to work on it and give our treatment its due diligence.

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