Hotel Diabetes (warning: contains bloody images)


I’m not exactly afraid of blood, but I don’t like the sight of it.   It makes me a little panicky, probably because generally speaking, blood is a sign of injury, illness, the potential of diseases being spread, dying, death… I think I can say that the blood aspect of diabetes might be the hardest aspect for me.  I can deal with food restrictions much better than I can with pricks and pokes.  And I had a particularly bad prick a few weeks ago.  I was testing on my forearm with a new lancet, and the intensity of the lancet was set to 2, same as always.  Nothing was different, but when I pricked, a giant drop of blood came out.  Being a devoted diabetes blogger, my first thought was not to stop the bleeding, but to photograph it.  

Given the shock I felt when I saw too much blood on my arm, I realize how much I haven’t come to terms with all the pricking.  It’s something complicated, I think.  Something that might require years of therapy to fully get out!  For now I’ll just say that diabetes care, for me, is loaded symbolism.   

I was thinking about this a few days ago when Emily Patton wrote a terrific post about being a “wiper,” someone who wipes the blood off her finger after a blood sugar check.  Mike is not a wiper.  He refers to himself as a “sucker,” someone who puts his finger in his mouth after a check.  But sometimes, despite our efforts to be neat about these things, to be wipers and suckers, an extra drop of blood sneaks out unnoticed.  These blood smears, as I call them, then show up on doorknobs, pillows, keyboards, t-shirts, and even on the kitchen drawers.  

There was a time, after Mike had a severe hypoglycemic episode, that I found blood smears all over the place.  I don’t know why, but as I walked around cleaning them up, the Eagles song Hotel California popped into my head, and I began to sing Hotel Diabetes… Livin it up at the Hotel Diabetes… and then I sang the line “mirrors on the ceiling” as “blood smears on the ceiling,” kind of laughing to myself because I felt like the ceiling was the only clean surface in the apartment.   

I have since rewritten that entire verse of the song.  (Original lyrics below followed by Hotel Diabetes).  It’s a work in progress.  Feel free to make suggestions.  


Mirrors on the ceiling,                                                                                 

The pink champagne on ice 

And she said “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device” 

And in the master’s chambers,

They gathered for the feast 

They stab it with their steely knives, 

But they just can’t kill the beast


Blood smears on the ceiling,

The insulin on ice

And she said, “We are all just diabetics here of our own device”

And in the master’s chambers,

They bolused for the feast

They stab it with their pumps and pens

But they just can’t kill the beast

Come to think of it, the closing line of the song is kind of fitting, too: you can check-out anytime you like, but you can never leave




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Jeffry Ullman
Jeffry Ullman
10 years ago

Just posted this on my FB page.
Jeffry Ullman

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