I don’t know what it is about this winter in particular, but I’ve been served up with yet another nasty illness that hit my diabetes harder than my laryngitis. And in a period of storm and stress, it was the last thing I needed.
It all started around two weeks ago. I was home for a long weekend that evolved into the longest week of my life when my family experienced the loss of my grandfather. Suddenly, my priorities shifted from schoolwork to my relatives, who – like me – were deeply saddened by this news. My house became a meeting hub for everyone to make arrangements accordingly, and I soon found myself surrounded by exhausted and mourning people.
The week leading up to the wake and funeral, I was trying to keep a brave face on and help out my parents as much as I could during this stressful time. I even wound up going back to school for a day to ensure I didn’t fall behind with my homework too much. However, I wrongly assumed that this would keep me on the right track. Within a twelve-hour period, I found myself feeling positively icky.
I woke up on that Thursday at 5:28 in the morning. By 6 A.M., I was on the road to Amherst and sitting in my first class by 8. I endured my four classes and was greatly relieved when they were over, this meant that I could go home to be with my family. But when I got home around 4:45, I wasn’t feeling so great. I felt a little nauseous and dizzy, and blamed this on potential dehydration.
Even after I had some fresh water and home cooking in me, I was feeling rotten. I knew an early bedtime was necessary; unfortunately, I was beyond early intervention. The next day, I was sluggish and experiencing alternating heat waves and chills. It was brutal, and I had trouble fathoming how I could possibly handle attending the wake later that evening.
Even worse were the super high blood sugars that my meter kept reporting. Granted, I wasn’t eating very healthy and I found myself having to do a lot of guessing as far as my insulin dosages were concerned. But I knew that it was more serious beyond faulty carbohydrate counting when I noticed that double doses of insulin barely budged my blood sugar. On my worst day, I tested a total of 16 times. After all those finger pricks, my meter reported a blood sugar in the 100s one time.
It was infuriating beyond words. How could I be expected to deal with my grief and my diabetes and my cold and my family and my schoolwork all at the same time? It simply wasn’t fair. I found myself resenting my diabetes in a way that I never had before.
It was wearisome, but I’m slowly getting back on track. A few days after returning to school, my blood sugars leveled out and I’ve recovered from the sudden sickness. But I keep thinking of how amazing my parents were the entire time I was home and dealing with this cold. They went out of their ways to take care of me by bringing me extra water and blankets, checking my temperature, and even running out to the drugstore for remedies early one morning. I’ve always known how much they love me, but at times like this it resonates with me even more. They had a million things on their to-do lists and their own sadness to deal with, but I was a top priority.
So if there has been anything good that has come out of the past couple of weeks, it has been the strength I’ve felt through my support system – my family. I was nervous about going back to school and being alone, but I know that I’m not. I’m thankful for the unconditional tolerance, advice, and love that my family, boyfriend, and friends provide me on a daily basis that helps make diabetes and the complications associated with it something I can handle.
And I’m thankful for every minute I was able to spend with my grandfather. Nearly three weeks later it feels so fresh and I miss him very much. But I hope I can make him proud and keep his happy-go-lucky spirit alive in my actions and thoughts. He was the kind of man who refused to let anyone or anything stand in his way, and I’m determined to channel that attitude, especially where my diabetes is concerned.