Our Diabetes/365 Community IS our cuppa!
Odd Duck, Duck, Goose!
Are you familiar with the game “duck, duck goose?” Most of us played that one at some point or another during our childhood. Our youngest son, Alex really doesn’t like it if I come into the room where he & his brothers are playing & lightly pat each son on the head saying, “duck, duck goose” just for fun. Somehow it just seems to happen in chronological order so Alex tends to get the “goose” as his head is lightly touched. I have stopped doing that when I come into a room with our 3 sons because Alex’s level of irritation with that is significant & no one likes to be “bugged” especially at home…our oasis from the world.
Do you find that you look forward to the oasis of your home on those especially trying days in the world? Maybe they are the days where you are paddling like mad as a duck does however only you know the efforts that you are putting into just maintaining survival mode. The feet of the duck under the water are not being seen by the world because type 1 diabetes can be largely an invisible “365.” How often do you hear people say that you must be all better because you look great? All better? What other serious chronic illness that you have to fight to literally live each day would be met with others stating that you are all better? Please don’t get me wrong because I really don’t want anyone to tell me that I look sick as a dog either. What I would really love is if many people would stop being overly familiar and frankly many times disrespectful when it comes to peanut gallery style unsolicited comments where my health is concerned. It is almost like we are living in an upside down world I believe the way that many times people will comment on things that would be better left unsaid & then on the other hand they remain silent when compassionate words would make a human connection that most of us tend to thrive on. A quick & easy example of things left unspoken more often than not is when others have experienced a loss & are grieving. So often there is an almost egg timer of support offered if at all to the person grieving. People have really bought into the “time heals all wounds” propaganda that prevails in society. That is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me however because time actually can leave us stuck if genuine support, compassion and love in action are missing. Compassion is not pity or sympathy or kind of an arms length of feeling sorry for someone while one is in the presence of the person suffering. Compassion is the real deal. Compassion is the bravery to feel the depths that the suffering person is experiencing & to not shrink over time or distance. True compassion I believe is a rare & beautiful thing. If you have someone in your life that is genuinely compassionate then please hold on tight to them & keep them in your life. Most of us will be very familiar with the phrase, “if you don’t have anything nice to say then say nothing at all.” I know this is a frequent piece of guidance that I give our middle son as he has impulse control challenges as he has ADHD. He blurts out words that can be hurtful & later feels great remorse. He feels genuinely sorry for the hurtful words yet is still working on trying to hit the imaginary pause button on his voice to give his conscience or self governor a chance to catch up with his words. There are countless adults that seem to have misplaced the pause button on themselves too because what would appear to be impulsive, hurtful words are evident throughout some days. What do we do with that & about that? It is one & the same for me. It is to learn from this. It is the learning of what not to do or be like. It is the decision to purposefully put uplifting & encouraging, genuine words of support out into the world. You may say that you are only one person. Please loose the word “only.” The world has & is changed by magnificent people by one person at a time. Let’s be the group that simply tries day by day to just do the next right thing regardless of what anyone or everyone around us is doing. Paddle those feet under the water like a duck in the direction of sending out kindness into the world in your own way. There is only one you & the world needs you to be you.
Health wise I have continued to paddle like a duck with the invisible challenges that just keep pumicing me one after the other. For a continuous month now I have had one illness on top of the usual 365’s hit one after the other. It could get to me if I were not such a feisty rascal. The depths of hope that I have are a gift. Having hope means that each day that I wake up I say, “this is the day that I am going to feel so much better.” One of these mornings this is going to be true. And one of these mornings I would also love to wake up to see “normal” skin aka psoriasis in remission however I am not putting my life on hold in the meanwhile. Speaking of ducks, have you heard the saying, “what a strange duck” at times? It does not tend to be a complimentary reference. Since the psoriasis over a year later is still not showing signs of going into remission as we approach bathing suit season, I have come up with a plan to wear leggings over my bathing suit as I am not willing to have people stare at me & or make statements about the freakishness of my legs like last summer. I may look like a “strange duck” wearing leggings over my bathing suit but it is going to be worth it. I had some extremely hurtful comments hurled at me last year on the few occasions that I had the guts to wear shorts during the summer. One girl even yelled out at me,”Ew, your legs are gross.” Can you imagine? It only takes a few profoundly unkind words to potentially upset the day. The realization that some people just have not had health challenges reminds me that perhaps that may be part of the reason that they are devoid of any compassion. The reality though is that I cannot imagine that people don’t know better than to be hurtful. It is a choice though & I know that I cannot control how others behave. What I learn from the small group of especially hurtful people is even greater depths of compassion. Thankfully most people are either kind or show courtesy or are neutral in their words I have found. The people that I am indescribably grateful for & to are the small group of genuine, compassionate encouragers. I try to spend as much time as possible with these Dear Hearts. Time with these extraordinary encouragers is medicinal & is the antidote to the unkindness that is sometimes hurled out in the world. And thankfully, my noisy, home is my oasis & refuge. My heart’s hope is that you have an oasis & refuge that is peaceful too whether it too is noisy or something else.
This past week, I had 2 what might appear to be “odd duck, duck, duck goose” moments. The first was that I saw a Canada goose that was cuddled in looking relaxed in the middle of a moderately busy parking lot. It appeared to be enjoying a sunny day without a worry in the world. There are oodles of wooded spaces in our surrounding area so it seemed “odd duck” to choose what seemed like a less than peaceful location to soak up some rays. That goose though was just happy where he or she was. It reminded me that it is important to take our oasis with us attitudinally. It means to me that no matter what is going on in the world around me that I can choose to be peaceful or calm even within the chaos of it all. That is a work in progress since I am at heart a sentimental & emotional being who is still learning to press the pause button on how I choose to receive nonsense around me. The other “odd duck” thing that I saw this week was during a commute to the next city over from us a week ago Sunday. We passed by one of the huge hospitals in that city that specializes in cancer care. The hospital is surrounded by constant heavy traffic whizzing by. Right outside the hospital there is a small rolling hill. On the hill there was a gentleman who had removed his shirt & was laying down soaking in the sunshine with a look on his face of complete peacefulness as if he were in the middle of a majestic place. We will never know his story yet I would say that he had the taking inner calm or taking peace with him down really pat. I was meant to see this example. There are examples of this & many other beautiful qualities around us if we open our eyes a lot wider. Some people driving past may have quickly labeled this gentleman as an “odd duck” but I saw something very different. That is the power of the magnification of everything that I live daily with. And I am grateful for what I think of as a gift even though feeling at heightened depths can be exhausting at times. The good just always outweighs the bad I find.
Do we feel like the odd ducks at times if we are living with type 1 diabetes? I can answer that question for myself with a huge “yes!” During the summer when I have my pump clipped to my bathing suit it must especially standout because I get weird stares more often than not. When I am feeling especially rascally, I will answer the stare or the nervy comments that people make with “I have been chosen to be in a human trial to become bionic.” I have other witty comebacks & if you have an insulin pump I bet you do too. What I don’t do though is get embarrassed by my pump. My pump is my buddy. He even has a name, Angus. I don’t let Angus get disrespected on a light note. I am not an odd duck. Some of the “coolest kids” (ageless kids from a few weeks old to 120 years old) wear something resembling my Angus. We are not odd ducks. People who make derogatory remarks or rude stares are the odd behaving ducks. Sometimes the world is upside down that way. Before I got attached to my 2 pumps, I had to inject 4 times a day to sustain life. I hated every single second of that year. Every one is a beautiful original so some people living with type 1 diabetes do not like the insulin pump & find MDI to be for them. For me MDI was a prison term. Again, what works for me is not the answer for someone else & vice versa because we are all exactly ourselves unapologetically. When I was having to inject for a year if I was in public & I had to take an injection it got on my nerves having a feeling of needing to go to the restroom to inject as if I were doing something bad. I felt like I was being banished to detention or something & I did not do anything wrong so feisty, rascally me soon found going to the restroom to inject intolerable. The other side of it frankly was that often the public restrooms were less than sanitary. I usually would just quick like a bunny inject through my clothes when I was in public. It took practice to become very comfortable doing glucose tests in public for me. How about you? It is nothing to be embarrassed about yet some of the reactions that I have had from people in public is ridiculous. It is pretty silly because let’s say we have asthma & we need to take our puffer out, would we hesitate to do that? I sure hope not & I also hope that we would not be embarrassed about that. Well the thing is that glucose testing is similar to taking the puffer out. We might be in a low blood sugar. To not treat that carries serious consequences. The same is true for extremely high blood sugars. We are not strange ducks to need to do glucose tests. We are just plain being responsible. The world again can be upside down if someone around us decides to stare at us or make a rude comment because we are checking our blood sugars. The strange ducks are the people who make unfortunate choices to behave in a completely unkind way. I know that I am not a strange duck for taking the best possible care of diabetes & other 365’s without embarrassment. I am not a strange duck & rascally me is no one’s victim. I guess I am the goose that way who tries to carry the voice of reason when sometimes the world is a little or a lot upside down.
My heart’s hope for you is that you know that you are a beautiful original & not a “strange duck.” Sometimes you have to turn the world right side up again. Let’s do that together.
Smiles, Saundie :)
This rascal has yet another throat infection or something like that so although my voice is never fully silenced; it is a bit of a feisty whisper right now. It magnifies my gratefulness for the days when I feel so much better. That day will come again soon yay. Next Monday’s story will be, “Test Miles.” And now I am off to yet another test. Have a super week. How great was the Montreal hockey game last night! If you are feeling under the weather along with me there is nothing like hockey playoffs to add some cheer. And go Calgary too. Whoever you cheer for, cheer with unapologetic enthusiasm :D