Kudos to Type 1

Gretchen Becker Health Guide
  • I'm very absent-minded. I tend to go to the library to return library books, get there, and realize I've forgotten the books. This wouldn't be such a problem if I didn't live 45 minutes from the library.


    Or I'll go to town and remember the library books and forget my purse. This is especially problematic when I'm almost out of gas. One time I had to borrow $3 from a trusting owner of a 7-11 store because the gauge was on empty and the purse was 20 miles away. Another time I drove all the way to Boston (3 hours away) without my purse. That time a friend loaned me some money.


    My brain always seems to be somewhere else. Instead of paying attention to make sure the water cooking the broccoli doesn't boil away, I'm planning my next sharepost, or reading a really interesting article on some new effect of insulin. As a result, I've come to enjoy burned food.

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    I often forget to take my insulin too. I take Levemir once a day in the morning. My fastings are usually OK, so I don't take a second shot in the evening. But sometimes I don't remember the Levemir until dinnertime, and then I'm a little low when I wake up the next morning.


    Today, as I was pulling the insulin into the syringe, I was thinking of what people with type 1 diabetes have to deal with every day, with no down time. If I forget my insulin shot, all the BG levels are a little higher, but that's all. If someone with type 1 forgets an insulin shot, DKA can be just around the corner.


    If I forget my library books, I can just pay a small fine. If someone with type 1 diabetes forgets the BG meter, the results can be serious. I once took a trip to Vancouver, measured out all my oral meds into pill boxes, and left the boxes on the kitchen table. But I didn't end up in the emergency room, as I would have had I been type 1 without insulin.


    People with type 1 have to remember not just one shot a day but three to five shots. Plus eating meals at regular hours and carefully determining carb counts and calculating bolus insulin dosages. I would have real problems coping with that.


    Yet many people have been living such a complex life since they were children. Most people with type 1 diabetes don't complain a lot. It's an invisible disease, and most nondiabetics think they just take a shot of insulin and don't eat sugar and that's all there is to it. They don't realize what a balancing act type 1 diabetes is. My favorite illustration of that fact is this cartoon.


    So I would like to congratulate type 1s for dealing with this complicated disease and accomplishing a lot of other things at the same time. It's not easy. But they don't give up.


    Type 2 isn't easy either, but the challenges are different. One thing that helps is realizing we're essentially all in the same boat: we have to pay attention to everything we eat, we can't eat everything we want, and if we get careless, we're increasing our chances of complications down the road.


    The more we can understand the challenges others with diabetes face, the better we can help each other.


Published On: April 15, 2012