On a day to day basis, I don’t feel bad because I have Type One Diabetes. Sure, to the outsider, it might look like a lot of work and an impossible struggle, but I dealt with depression which was a much more savage animal. The only annoying time is when someone says “Well, I could never inject myself!”, as if I am doing it by choice. Sigh. I usually ask back “Are you having trouble breathing? You do that all day every day, right?” And then I think about breathing for a few minutes and that seems tough. I’m not writing this to complain, I just wanted to explain the Hypo situation, which is something that you don’t get told outside of the Type 1 arena, unless we start hanging out and I have to give you the warning. But the Hypo is always worse than I could ever describe it.
A hypoglycemic attack happens to a diabetic when our sugar levels dip below acceptable levels – right now, your level is about 6-7, a hypo is a below 3 situation, something that a ‘normal’ person does not have to experience. You are very lucky. So what happens? Let us look at some of the situations I have lived through, shall we, it seems better to humanise it, rather than give you the hospital version.
When I hypo, it starts with my whole body seemingly being made of sweat, hotter than the sun, then my being seems to be made of molecules, all spinning around, like like security guy in The Lawnmower Man, no part of my being is connected to another. It is terrifying. My body jerks and dances, flips and flops. Once at work, I flipped into a metal roller, unable to control my body. Another time, I flipped down the high street unable to stop until I hit some seats and collapsed. Putting out chickens with my friend Angus at work, he said I suddenly stopped talking to him and he thought I was in a mood and then he saw me staring at a chicken – this is the exact thing that happens, looking at something but unsure what to do, whether it be something you are holding or something you are looking at, you cannot communicate with other people, you are floating above your own body. Terrifying.
My sister invited me over when she knew she had met ‘the one’ and knew that we would be good friends, I was very excited to meet Tristan and thought it would be great. Then, my sister’s words here because I WAS NOT THERE, she was worried that I did not like him, I wouldn’t look at him and just looked furious. Then she twigged. My level had plummeted and I had no way of talking – this is the worse thing, you cannot say “Hey! I’m in trouble!” because you cannot talk. It happened before when my sister was shouting at me asking what I had taken, despite my anti-drug policy. I could not answer which always makes me feel guilty when I come back into the room.
So yeah, I woke up this morning and thought I would rise early and have a shower and take a nice stroll and…Suddenly I was sweating and breathing heavily and grabbed all the sugar I could. Rest of day? Absolutely shattered, that is the other side of this, when you’ve taken sugar to come back to life, it feels like you have run a marathon, absolutely exhausting.
I’m not looking for sympathy here, just giving you an insight into the diabetic life. Hey, if Bret Michaels of Poison and Nick Jonas can deal with it, I’m sure I’ll be fine. Hell, I’ve done nearly three decades with this affliction and now, aside from days like this, I hardly even think about it.