A Pebble in My Shoe


boots - A Pebble in My Shoe

You know The Princess and the Pea?

I am not her.

For the better part of yesterday, I walked around with a staple in my boot.

It all began at school. I was taking down artwork from one of my bulletin boards. I suddenly felt something in my boot. I figured it was a pebble. (Though, where would a pebble have come from? I was inside.) It didn’t hurt. It felt the way a pebble-in-your-shoe feels.

I was so busy that I didn’t bother to remove the pebble. I told myself I’d do it in a few minutes; but one distraction after another and I never got around to the pebble extraction.

When I arrived home many hours later, I unzipped my boot and a sharp silver object dropped to the floor. The pebble was a staple. It must’ve fallen into my boot when I was taking down the artwork.

The staple left a reddish-purple imprint on the sole of my foot. No blood. Thank goodness for thick winter socks.

Nothing terrible happened. But my behavior left me feeling disturbed.

Good sense says that if something is wrong, albeit minor, fix it!

So what stopped me?

Most moms with toddlers will tell you that they are exhausted and preoccupied, and they put themselves second. I am no different. Maybe I’ve become so accustomed to putting my needs last, that I do so even when Maya is not around.

I also wondered about the role diabetes played in my leniency. Diabetes, after all, is the permanent pebble in my shoe. How often do I feel its pesky presence but ignore it anyhow?

Answer: too often.

Don’t get the wrong idea. My blood sugar control is pretty, pretty good (Larry David, anyone?). My A1c makes me proud. But I am not a machine. There will always be basal rates to tweak, pump sites to change, and high blood sugars to treat – PEBBLES. Most people don’t have time to stop in their tracks and address each and every pebble as it lands.

That’s why I left the staple alone. I cope with the abundant responsibilities attached to diabetes by occasionally putting them off, even if I’m left feeling badly. I’ve become comfortable with my discomfort.

I don’t like that.

I should take the time to deal with the pebbles, the staples, the imperfect basal rates, without delay. I know that with diabetes, old pebbles will be replaced with new ones. But if I ignore them, I could end up with a mountain of rocks in my boots.

Meanwhile, back at home, I opened my meter case and drew out an alcohol swab. I tore the paper and applied the alcohol to the small cut on my foot. The smell of alcohol brought me back to my hospital room during my diabetes diagnosis… which was fitting, because it was February 12th, the very day I was diagnosed with diabetes, but only 19 years earlier. Maybe the staple in my boot was the strange, yet necessary reminder that I needed – even after almost two decades – to keep up my A-game.


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8 years ago

Lovely post. Thank you for your story and sharing your self reflection. I’ve been feeling some of the same things the past few months.
Sometimes I think we do have to just accept we’re going too have to carry around a pesky pebble for awhile because dealing with all of them all of the time can add up to us carrying around boulders on our backs instead of merely a pebble in our shoe. It’s great to be mindful and determine when it’s important to deal with the pebbles, too. Seems to be an ongoing balance.

8 years ago

Great words Jennifer. Thank you. I think they will mean more to my daughter (15yrs old T1D for nearly 6 yrs). my boys 12 and 10 also both T1D might not get it just yet – maybe Ill put pebbles in their shoes so we can chat after. Would that be mean? Anyway – congrats on 19 years of kicking D butt and thanks for sharing your stories.

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