Right. So. It is World Diabetes Awareness Month. World Diabetes Day falls this month. 14th! I would like to think I will post every day this month and I would like to think I will post on the day but realistically it might not happen. I have two university source analysis things due this month and the dreaded first draft of my dissertation to hand in. I may or may not be in denial about that. However I will do my very best.
My diabetes has started this month behaving at least. It won’t behave all month of course because that would be too helpful. I’ve decided that today I will talk about fingers which sounds strange but hear me out. I test my blood sugars at least four times a day. Most of the time it is closer to eight. For the past few months it has been closer to twelve. If you are diabetic and have an illness, such as the pneumonia I’ve been fighting, then the standard rulebook goes flying out the window and is replaced by a leaflet of rules only to be used when you’re sick. These rules differ between those on a pump and off it. Basically I have a letter to hand over to hospital staff if that is where I end up that says ‘please don’t unplug my patient. please call this number’. And an easier time to adjust basals because my pump does the maths so I don’t have to. Maths and I really don’t get on. I’m still bewildered at passing my Standard Grade General Maths exam. The most important thing for my fingers though is the rule to check my blood sugar every two hours.
I don’t do this overnight. My blood sugars are pretty stable because I’m inhaling insulin like it is going out of stock so I’m taking my sleep but during the day there is a lot of fiddling and a lot of tests. I am actually struggling to type this right now because my fingers are so sensitive. I’ve managed to catch the parts of my fingers that hit the keys too often. I used to be a master of testing around those parts of the pads so that typing didn’t hurt but I have failed. Not so Super Sam. To look at my fingers have looked worse with less tests. There are the odd ‘black heads’ as we call the scars left by tests but for the most part my fingers look ok. It just hurts to type. Or write. Or pick up a pen. Or hold anything too tightly and don’t even talk to me about getting a bra on. You really don’t realise how much you use your fingers until each hook you wrestle into place makes you want to kick something.
It does not sound like much and it really does not sound like something anyone wants to hear about. I would expect eye rolls if I spoke to many about it. But the thing is, those finger pains when you grab a pen or turn a fork around in your grasp the wrong way are a constant reminder that you have a disability, a chronic illness, a disease. It reminds me my lungs are not working properly even when I am breathing ok at the time. If you experience a small irritation often enough for long enough it can become soul destroying. It can be the straw that breaks the back ect. One last twinge of pain at ten to twelve at night can start the notion of ‘bugger it, I’m not testing. I feel fine.’ I’m not going to lie. Sometimes I listen to that little voice in my head because I just feel I’ve had enough.
Diabetics are not perfect. How could be when we live with a disease just waiting for its chance but not doing it aggressively enough for the public to support us? Instead we are demonised. 10% of the NHS budget! They cry. The silent They who appear in anonymous surveys and daily mail comment threads but never say it to your face. 7% of the population though. With our sore fingers and those horrible headlines and wondering why to keep bothering at all. Of course if we stop bothering we end up with more complications and cost more money. It is a delicate balance, a sharp cliff. Maybe, just maybe, if people were a little nicer about it more of us would cling on to the edge.