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Carnage & Feathers
Do you remember going to the movies during the days of the film projector times? Maybe you also recall the rare occasions during elementary school days that the short projector film would be shown. Unfortunately from the perspective of the kids the films were purely on educational topics or in other words we did not get to watch a movie for pure entertainment glee. The films were brutally boring frankly yet there was one thing that our class would always beg the teachers to do if a film projector was in the room. After the film was over, we would exclaim, “Backwards, backwards, please!” For some reason we all just got a hoot out of watching any film backwards & would laugh like hyenas each & every time.
Just like the film from the film projector movie days, I believe I am beginning to see my life more from this viewpoint. Life can only be lived frame by frame yet we can look back & see what a masterpiece it is in some ways & then there are other spots where we may prefer to splice the film & do something different in its place. We do not know what our story really looks like in “real time” I think. We can go backwards & perhaps even begin to understand why one event lead to another or shake our head at the parts that still don’t make sense. And we can smile ear to ear at the frames of our lives in our personal masterpiece that are spectacular & magnificent. I will share that many days stand out for me as being moments of beauty that are forever captured in my heart & memory. The birth of each of our sons sure stands out as do many childhood memories & of course my wedding day. Those are the big picture things. The little picture things feel like a mosaic of feelings & treasures too countless to list & they are very much appreciated in the real moment as I live frame by frame.
It can be interesting when we stop to look at some of the things that are holding us back. One of the things that continues to hold me back is my reluctance to let go of the reins in some situations. I want to totally control my health & I do mean totally for instance. I am bossy towards my health like a drill sergeant. As an aside about 10 years or so I use to enjoy watching a Canadian comedy troop by the name of “Kids in the Hall.” One of the sketches that I watched that makes me laugh at myself sometimes is one where there is this very type A person who has a long list of things to get done & commitments to keep & nothing will stand in the way. At one point in the sketch he experiences heart palpations so he reaches into the centre of his chest & takes his heart out & pours a pot of coffee on it & commands it to beat. It was not a graphic sketch & believe me I am not at all joking about heart health being a laughing matter. I am laughing at the absurdity of the message in the joke of this sense of being so focused on bossing ourselves around at times that nothing will get in the way. That is definitely a loss of the big picture, right? Now of course that is dramatic so I don’t obviously take things that far with self bossing myself however I do at times command myself to not stress under any circumstances & to get better diabetes results even if there are other factors at work that are substantial. Health management I believe is an excellent & necessary thing in my life however there are some aspects of what I am doing that are working against me. It is meaningful to set up a plan in any aspect of life I feel however there are going to be detours so doing the coffee pouring & demanding certain things to straighten themselves out can be an exercise in aggravating ourselves & maybe those that live with us too at times.
This past week is a transition week of sorts I am finding. Last Wednesday I turned a number of my habits upside down or in other words gave up some habits & replaced them with other habits cold turkey. If it is true that all of us keep at least a wee piece of that little kid in us then the little kid in me was not amused by the habit swap. That is ok though to feel uncomfortable in life. If we stay with the feelings of uneasiness & go through them fully present then we can come out the other side & get to see a better view often. When I was a kid one of my friends, “Bones Jones” & I played together like the Velcro twins. There was lots of exploring to do via our bikes. One of the things that we sometimes would like doing was to climb through the large concrete town conduit “tunnels.” The thing with being a kid though is that some things are pretty simple like either you are all in or you are all out. That meant on those particular days either you got into the concrete tunnels & shimmied on your belly through to the light on the other side or you stood meekly at the sidelines. “Bones” & I always got in & came out the other side. That is what I think of sometimes when I am leaning towards sitting on the sidelines of any part of my own life. I will say to myself, “yes this is uncomfortable yet I have a choice to be all in or not & come out the other side to a bright & beautiful view.” Yes, I choose to be all in.
It is my experience that when you put a plan in place for positive growth that darkness will throw things at shiny things. There will be roadblocks, obstacles, aggravations & detours to keep us stuck exactly where we are at these times especially I have found. What do we do about & with this? We are each beautiful originals so we each answer that question for ourselves. We each give either an answer verbally or by our actions as to whether we are all in or not. I made 2 significant goals for the next 6 weeks & obstacles are popping up all over the place in an effort to derail me. Thankfully I have the gift of feisty determination so I am still very much all in albeit requiring stilts & a pogo stick to get over & around the obstacles & barriers that keep presenting themselves. To share one of the goals with you, I decided that this is the perfect time to really replace some of my habits with other habits in an effort to get a lower A1C. The next trip to the “diabetes principal’s office” is in early May so the time is now to make an impact on my day in & day out glucose numbers. I have a different basal profile for each week of each month & then a 5th profile for weekends because hey who does not love getting up an hour or so later on weekends! In the past I have tended to respond or react to what was going on glucose results wise each day & change my basal profiles accordingly. I will not bore you with the details of what each week’s basal profile relates to. If you have an insulin pump you will have your own individualized set of profiles that are beautifully yours so what works for me basal wise & what works for you are sure going to be different. The point is that I decided to try a new manoeuvre & that was to anticipate what diabetes was about to do & get the new profile going accordingly instead of waiting & watching. I thought of it as an offensive move vs my usual defensive move diabetes management wise. I implemented that plan last Wednesday night. Thursday morning is where the reference to carnage comes in. By my calculations offensively I should have been bang on ready for my highest insulin dosage basal profile as of Wednesday. Proactively I had changed my basal profile on my insulin pump in an all in maneuver. We have all had things back fire in life based upon very educated & thought out plans whether we have diabetes or not. Some consequences are more significant than others. It was bone chillingly cold in my little corner of the world on Thursday morning so I decided to get all my outside in the world “stuff” done first thing in the morning & then reward myself once I returned home with breakfast & a warm fire & a cuppa afterwards. That is not my regular routine & I realize that there is a certain portion of my routine that I will not in future “mess” with because the consequences carry too heavy a price for me. By the time I finished my list of outside in the world “stuff” I was 2 hours later than usual for breakfast. I had been on my feet going at my usual sprint of a pace so my insulin would have been super productive but I was a gal on a mission & just kept going to get to the end of that list. There is that thread of control at any price with a lesson in there for me to learn. I could feel the beginnings of what I sensed to be low blood sugar about halfway through my list of stuff to do. I know that diabetes in some ways can resemble a kid having a tantrum with one major difference & that is that diabetes carries a high price if it is ignored when we are in too high of a blood sugar range or too low of a range. I gave my diabetes a you can wait answer until I am done as if I can will my blood sugar back up I realize in humility. (in hindsight) The lower my blood sugars goes the less ability I have to make a logical decision. Low blood sugar is big time physiological like a mini brain starvation & that is a very bad thing. To make what seems like a long story quite a bit shorter, I went into the lowest blood sugar I have ever had last Thursday morning. I finally checked my blood sugar once I got into our van after I was finished everything I had set out to do. Robotically & thankfully I might add I always & I do mean 100% of the time test my blood sugar before I start my vehicle every single time. When I saw my result I felt panicked & realized that I had better start “inhaling”/”hovering in” fast acting sugar sources at the speed of light followed up with a slow acting sugar. I also realized that I would not be going anywhere at all for close to an hour after getting my blood sugars back up. That is just one of many reasons that I always carry a book with me everywhere I go. I just cannot be in a bad mood about being “temporarily grounded” when I have a book with me. I just don’t feel sorry for myself when I have a book. I don’t feel sorry for myself by nature & by choice. Diabetes is what it is. It is a beast & a bully & on Thursday morning it scared me like it had never scared me before. I am past being scared now though & have shimmied my way through to the other side which is to choose to learn something from that experience. I have learned to respect diabetes & that I need to keep closer watch on it when I have changed my routine. Thursday morning I started the day off with 2 mini bags of gummy bunnies & 2 cookies before breakfast. That ticked me off because I had it all figured out about the improvements I was all set out to make with my complete eating habits. My eating habits are pretty healthy already but I thought I was going to decrease sugar intake even more. That was humbling. And I needed to be humbled because although I am managing type 1, there are some instances that can come up that can become emergencies in a big hurry & I cannot afford to ignore even for a couple of hours the consequences of my trying to put diabetes on the back burner. I have learned what not to do in the future. As an aside, after I had consumed the significant number of carbs needed to get my blood sugar back over a 5, my van looked like a scene of carnage with wrappers flung about. You will know what I mean when I say that manual dexterity & things like that are not available when a low blood sugar of a certain level comes about. I missed the wee garbage baggy in my van by a lot when I was in the low. Later I went back & cleaned up my own mess.
Here’s the thing that I really want to share with you about this past week directly from my heart to yours. If you have diabetes or someone you love has diabetes, please notice the feathers & not the carnage. We can learn from the carnage but we can be forever grateful for the feathers. The feathers are from our Guardian Angels. I believe with all my being that every single person has a Guardian Angel. My faith roots teach me this as well however I am not here to get up on a soapbox as that is not my style. Without a doubt I will say that I believe that people living with diabetes each have “specially trained” Guardian Angels. If you have experienced a low blood sugar in the night & have woken up from that, how did that happen? Yes it is a royal pain to have a low in the night however I hope that I never forget to say an all in thank you to my Guardian Angel for saving my life yet again. My Guardian Angel knows I am a rascal & need that angel very much. I am going to work with my angel though...that is what came out of the carnage of Thursday. Thank you Guardian Angel.
My heart’s hope for you is that as you live your beautiful story frame by frame that you are all in in your life & know that you have someone that is fighting the fight with you day & night.
Smiles, Saundie :)
Next Monday’s writing piece is yet to be written however I am leaning towards a lighter story next time. I would love to share something that put a smile on my face on Thursday afternoon. If angels operated sound systems I believe that my angel did just this. When I have been “knocked about” by diabetes, I put on the song “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba really just for the chorus..”I get knocked down but I get up again...” My youngest son & I went to Chapters Bookstore to choose a special birthday gift for one of his buddies & when we walked into the store this exact song was playing. I literally smiled, winked & said right out loud to my Guardian Angel, “got cha!” :D