Scares with Type 1 Diabetes – The Constant Reminder
The following is a personal post from JDCA Associate Editor Stoyan:
A couple of weeks ago something happened to me that had never happened before in my 6 years of living with type 1 diabetes – I went somewhere and forgot my medication. It’s funny, because one of my last personal blogs was focused on the dangers of forgetting you have diabetes, and how we should never forget. Maybe I should have taken my own advice…
It is also good that this is not in any way shape or form a health blog, because what I did on the day I forgot my insulin (I use injections, not a pump) is far from a good example of what a responsible diabetic should do.
Even though there have been plenty of times before where I thought for a moment that I had gone on a subway or reached someplace in the city while forgetting my insulin, I had always carried a spare with me. I’m usually good at remembering things, it has never been a big issue. But, two weeks ago, I went to work (9 hour day) and completely forgot to take my insulin with me. I had a spare at my desk…but the syringe was jammed and failed to work. Meaning that I was faced with a choice – try to survive the day without insulin, or do the responsible thing and go home to take my medication, even if it meant I would be super late and have to stay after hours to finish up work.
My choice? I decided to just try going through the day without it. It was “only” nine hours…I knew I would start feeling bad, but how extreme could it really get? I would not collapse or anything. I was pretty sure I could handle myself without insulin without that much trouble.
Long story short…by the end of the day I was not feeling good at all. I drank plenty of water, ate almost nothing…but with every hour felt weaker, more bloated, and the realization that I should have gotten home sunk in deeper. I convinced myself to tough it out, however, and managed to stay for the full 9 hours, and somehow got myself home at the end.
All was well at the end so I cannot complain too much, but it was scary for a while. I did not know how bad it could get, and I have never felt as sick because of diabetes in my life. The last time I could remember experiencing such a weakness stretching through my entire body was back when I was diagnosed and had to spend several days in the hospital. Basically, it was not good at all.
Perhaps there is not too big of a story to be taken from this, except that as much as we think we can control the disease, at the end of the day, we are and will always be reliant on our insulin and on our testing supplies and various other devices if we want to get through the day. One can forget their keys, credit card, wallet, bag – all of these would make for a pretty bad day and cause problems, but for a diabetic, forgetting your insulin (and not being smart enough to go back and get it) can be extremely dangerous.
It is a reminder that as normal as we want to live our lives, diabetes will always be a danger too great to ignore and forget. As careful as we are, incidents like this are bound to happen now and then. No one is perfect, and a life free of diabetes complications and incidents unfortunately almost demands perfection.
That is why we need to continue pushing for a Practical Cure. We need to create more focus on projects aiming at a Practical Cure and ensure that money raised for the purpose of a cure actually goes to those projects. Most of all we need to make it clear that as helpful further treatments and devices can be, only a Practical Cure will be the real solution to this disease that we can accept.