Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How Would I Be Able To Tell?

For a while now, in addition to the assorted migratory aches and pains I have in my various joints and muscles, I've been getting odd feelings of numbness, tingling, and burning in my hands and feet.
Last week it got so intense that it kept me awake all night and forced me to conclude that the time had finally come to do something about it.
I'd never gotten around to actually getting a doctor in the whole time I've been in Virginia, and, indeed, apart from an ER visit shortly after I moved here and had slammed my car into a guard rail, and the time I got an infection in my eyes from my Gentle Molding lenses, I hadn't been to a doctor since I'd gotten a physical when I went into rehab back in 2000.
So the only option available to me was to go in to Urgent Care to get checked out.
During the examination, the woman examining me asked if I've been irritable. I laughed and said, "Only for the past 37 years."
She then asked if I've been more irritable lately.
I thought about the story that Alan Moore tells about how, on his 40th birthday, he announced to friends and family that it was his intention to become a magician - not the stage kind - and begin researching and practicing the dark arts. He asked all assembled to be sure to let him know if, during his studies, he appeared to be going insane. The response was, "How would we be able to tell?"
In any case, my odd panoply of symptoms led to the suspicion that I might have Lyme Disease, though Diabetes was also suspected, especially given that it runs in my family. So blood was drawn and sent off to be tested, and I was prescribed a muscle relaxant and told to start taking even more Alleve than I already was.
On Saturday, as I was in the middle of downing a Monster energy drink, I got a phone call with the results: Diabetes.
It wasn't really a surprise, but it also wasn't what I wanted to hear.
I was told to make an appointment with my doctor, and then, when I said, "I don't have one," told to head back to Urgent Care sometime Monday after fasting for 12 hours so that my blood sugar levels could be checked again.
So Sunday night found me fasting, and Monday morning found me back at Urgent Care, where I was told that they couldn't actually run the test because there were no doctors there and something something insurance wouldn't pay for it, and was told that I could make an appointment for later that day at one of their other facilities. So I made the appointment, and they drew the blood anyway, since I'd already been fasting.
That afternoon I headed to Ashburn and was reminded once again of the fact that doctors have a different understanding of the meaning of the word "appointment" than the rest of the world, and after a half an hour of sitting around in a room full of sick people and crying babies, I was finally being examined.
The doctor was kind of weird - it would take too long to explain how - and I was kind of baffled by the whole experience, and the next thing I knew I was being shown how to inject insulin.
So, yeah, I'm on insulin now.
Apparently his focus for the time being is getting my blood sugar levels under control, and then we'll talk about diet and possibly getting off of insulin and using some other method for controlling my sugar.
So I wasn't given any sort of diet plan or anything like that, and have so far been trying to wing it, looking stuff up online and asking my mom, who's had diabetes for years, for advice.
The doctor did give me a booklet, but it doesn't really go into details about what and what not to eat, and just says to "eat healthy," watch my portions, and figure out, based on my sugar levels, what works best for me.
Online resources tend to say the same thing, essentially chalking it all up to trial and error.
Some of the actual diet plans I've seen seem untterly unreasonable and unworkable, like "a slice of wheat bread and one hard-boiled egg for breakfast, three walmuts and an ice cube for lunch, a thimbleful of peanut butter for a snack, and a gram of skinless chicken for supper."
(I may be engaging in a bit of exaggeration.)
In any case, my level of irritability right now is even higher than the level of sugar in my blood.
This whole thing blows and it makes me want to punch someone. A lot.
I don't want to have to worry about "portion control," or "net carbs," and I sure as hell don't want to have to poke holes in myself multiple times a day for the rest of my life, though of course, having Diabetes means that my life is potentially going to be five to ten years shorter than it might have been otherwise.
In short, fuck this.
I really don't ask for a lot out of life, yet being able to just live my life without everything being a bullshit hassle is obviously too much to ask for.
But what's the alternative? There isn't one, and that's what pisses me off most of all.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know; there are worse things in life and there are people who are much worse off than I am, and every cloud has a silver lining, and let go and let God, and so on and so on and so on.
But here's the thing: fuck you.
I have every right to be pissed off about this and I don't want to hear any inspirational platitudes, because nothing anyone can say can change the fact that this sucks.
Beyond that, despite being pissed off, as mentioned, I don't have an alternative, so I'm going to do the shit I need to do to manage this, and part of what I need to do to manage this is to express how pissed off I am.
Besides, that helpful little booklet I got said that it's natural for me to be angry and that I should express my anger.
So here it is.
Of course, the booklet was wrong on one point. It ways that having Diabetes doesn't have to prevent you from doing the things you enjoy. Bullshit. Because among the things in life that I enjoy are not having to test my blood sugar or inject insulin into my ass cheek.
*Sigh* Okay, fine, I'm done venting.
I'll stop being so negative. Life is wonderful. It's all sunshine, (sugar-free) lollipops, and rainbows...
Hmm...I guess I am more irritable than usual.

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