Is Diabetes Worth The Work? Just Wait ‘Till You Hurt Your Foot


This past year I’ve had a bunch of minor injuries. Ankle tendonitis, wrist tendonitis and recently a stupid fractured toe.

Someone was handing me a bottle, I didn’t realize it, they let go of it and bam, it landed right on my toe.

To tell you I was in my local wine store and the salesman was handing me a bottle of Pinot Noir becomes it’s own joke when I say, “Drinking is hazardous to your health.” Or, hmmm, maybe it’s imperative if you’re nursing an injured foot. But that’s not the point of this story. Not by a long shot.

When the bottle fell, my foot took all the impact. So when the bottle rolled off my foot and onto the wooden floor, it didn’t even crack – but my toe did. My foot is now in a surgical shoe. Truth be told, I could open a lending library of medical braces these days.

My surgical shoe gives me enough awkwardness to slow me down but not stop me. Enough pause to reflect on our fragility and the randomness of life and how grateful I am it’s nothing worse.

But I’m not going to go into why all these injuries are happening. Or karma or any of that. Because frankly I don’t know. And I have grappled with this issue before. No, this is not why I’m telling you this tale.

Some good news resulted from my injury: Days after my new footgear, I flew to Amsterdam on a night flight and the Delta/KLM ticket agent took pity on me and upgraded me to World Business Class, KLM’s version of First Class. Yes, that was mighty nice compensation for my injury and a breath of human kindness in a world that often feels it’s seeped away. But giddy as I was playing with my reclining bed-chair, I had the opportunity with this injury to be given something far more precious — the knowledge that the constant care of this annoying condition (diabetes) pays off.

The afternoon I sustained my injury the pain was tolerable until going to sleep. Then it turned intolerable. I searched my medicine cabinet for a sleeping pill. But I didn’t have any. I ended up swallowing two Benadryl cold capsules hoping it would knock me out. It didn’t. The pain was that severe.

My painful sleepless night put every diabetes-foot horror into my head. Will I get gangrene? Will they have to amputate my foot? How will I exercise without my foot? Maybe they’ll just take off my toe … C’mon, isn’t this in every diabetic’s head when something happens to your foot?

First thing the next morning I called my podiatrist and heard those blessed words, “Come anytime today.” My podiatrist reassured me, while I fractured a bone in my big toe, that nothing was displaced and that with an ace bandage and a special shoe it would likely knit together in eight weeks time and heal just fine. I was the one (with his permission) to add the first two days’ pain-killers.

So I hobbled around, cut out my power-walks, went to Europe on business, and have just come from my three-week check up. The X-rays confirm just what my doctor said. The joint at my big toe is unharmed, the crack or whatever it is in my toe is healing just fine. My toe’s still a little tender, which he said is normal. I’m still sporting a dull purple bruise where my foot sustained the greatest impact, but everything’s okay.

Getting an upgrade flying to Holland on a 10 P.M. flight when you’re a sleepless soul on a night flight is a delicious gift. Knowing my blood sugar is well-enough controlled that a foot injury causes me no special trouble or damage, is a gift beyond compare. And it is one that I have given myself and only now had the opportunity to appreciate.

It’s a gift that reminds me that when all the work of managing diabetes feels so thankless, you may just have reason to know one day that it’s really is worth the effort — especially when the shit hits your foot. (No slur on Pinot Noir.)

Now I just have to ask my psychic-witchy Aunt, who predicted when I was in my twenties that in my fifties I’d have a series of troublesome but not dire health problems, if we’re done.

Originally published in The Huffington Post

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