The choice is yours. You can be clean about your diabetes, or you can be a diabetes slob. That’s vague, I know, so let me put it into specifics. You can be like me, or you can be like my husband, Mike. You can keep your glucometer safely zipped away in its little black pouch when not in use, nestled beside the lancing device and the bottle of test strips. Or you can have a glucometer pack that always looks like it has just been burglarized- with nothing in its designated compartment and test strips strewn in every direction and on the floor beneath it.
My glucometer pack gets burglarized regularly. Mike runs out of test strips and goes for mine. He unzips my pack. (OMG- Am I writing diabetes porn?) He takes what he needs and goes back to his own diabetes pack, his own lancet, his own glucometer. But he doesn’t remember to return my pack to the way he found it- neat, organized, and zipped.
The closing of my glucometer pack is important to me not only because I’m neurotic, but because I have feline stalkers. The cats go where I go. At night they’re in bed with me. During the day when I work, one sits on my desk chair, the other on the desk, often rubbing his cheeks on the edges of my computer screen. If my glucometer pack is open on my desk, the cat will sit on it. He will feel very content at the thought that he’s participating in my diabetes care by keeping my glucometer nice and warm and making it hairy. I will feel very frustrated as I look all over the house for my glucometer, knowing I never took it off the desk, forgetting that I must always lift the cat whenever it is missing.
“Sorry, sorry, sorry,” Mike said the other day when I confronted him about leaving the pack open. Then he said, “If you checked your blood sugar more often, you’d be messy, too.”
I do not like being told to check my blood sugar more often- not by my doctor and especially not by my husband.
“The only place you’re neater than me is in your diabetes stuff,” Mike claimed in his defense, not realizing that almost every day I must tread carefully when I step out of the shower, and navigate my way around his dirty running socks and shoes. It is true, however, that the clothes in Mike’s closet are folded so neatly they could be on display in a store while my closet looks like it’s been struck by a tornado. Why doesn’t Mike’s closet neatness carry over into his diabetes care?
“You squirt insulin on the floor!” I shouted. This was the way he checked to see if a new insulin pen was good- by squirting a little insulin onto the floor before injecting.
Recently, after switching from injections to an insulin pump, Mike spilled insulin while trying to fill a cartridge for the first time. I wasn’t home when it happened. But an hour later when I sat down at the table to eat lunch, I smelled it. The whole area reeked of insulin- the band-aid smell. I assumed the insulin had spilled on the floor and that Mike had cleaned it up. It’s a strong odor and I figured it was just lingering. I opened the windows. I thought about taking my plate to another room because the smell was nauseating. It was so strong I felt like I was sitting in a bathtub full of insulin. “How much did you spill?” I asked.
“Not that much,” Mike said.
Evening arrived. Dinner time. The smell was still there. “I don’t think you cleaned very well, Mike,” I said. I was clearing a few things, including an old napkin, off the table.
He didn’t respond.
“Mike!” I snapped. I felt like I was going to throw-up from the smell.
He started to laugh. And laugh. And laugh. “That napkin in your hand,” he said, “there’s a 180 units of insulin on it.”