Is there anything sadder than an aging man abusing himself five or six times a day, alone in his cold and dark ap—.
Oh my God! No, not that, you bunch of disgusting perverts! Get your minds out of the gutter! I’m amazed social media even allows to sign on! I mean having to puncture myself with lancets and hypodermic needles… Jeez. So yes, four times a day I prick one of my fingers with a sharp little pointy machine, extract a drop of blood and let it ooze across a test strip attached to a meter. Within seconds the meter will tally my blood sugar count. This has varied from 110 to over 500, so I’m not quite out of the woods yet, though I have not eaten much of anything processed, except maybe the cheese and pâté I had for my birthday lunch, but if life were fair, that wouldn’t count.
I also inject myself five times daily with insulin solutions called Humalog and Lantus. The injections are not physically painful since the hypodermic needles are hair-thin, but the act of shooting up is positively weird. I’ve worked in enough rehabs to meet a lot of people who shot up a variety of non-insulin products, so there’s a feeling of kinship there I can’t escape.
All this is necessary because last week, my Type2 Diabetes and my prescription use of the steroid Prednisone collided. I spent a day in urgent care as nurses and doctors IVed a gallon of fluid into me and tried to bring the sugar in my blood down with large amounts of insulin. All told, it took nine hours. I understand it may take another few week or three to stabilize.
Do all of you know how Type 2 diabetes works? Here’s a simple explanation. You eat something. The sugar in the food goes into the bloodstream. Your cells are supposed to feed off this sugar, giving you energy. Insulin, a hormone you produce, facilitates this process.
But say your body doesn’t manufacture enough insulin. The sugar—glucose—stays in your bloodstream. The higher the sugar level, the less well you feel. Blood pressure rises, as do cholesterol levels, and your body tries to get rid of the sugar the best way it knows, by peeing it out. So you drink a phenomenal amount of liquids, but this doesn’t really work. Your blood sugar keeps circulating, eventually damaging the blood vessels and causing a lot of harm
It’s not a pretty sight.
My body—my pancreas, actually—does not make enough insulin, but I can, and try to, ameliorate this situation by eating right, and exercising. I add to my insulin by injecting small amounts five times a day.
I’m making progress. It’s been a week and today the count varies from the mid-100s to mid-200s. It’s not perfect, but it’s improving. Hopefully, in a week or two, I’ll be able to stop the insulin injections. The self-abuse will cease and we will never speak of this again.