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The Difference a Day Can Make

23/06/2014 11:09

How many times have each one of us heard references about tomorrow being a better day or “better days ahead?”  Most of us will agree that these are things we have either thought or heard countless times.  How many times have we made valiant attempts as well to start a day over?  Does it work?  We each answer that question for ourselves.  I would answer it by saying that sometimes it works & other times, I chase the day in an effort to see the sun come through the clouds.  Sometimes starting the day over works & sometimes it does not give us the results that we were working towards.  Is it worth trying to recoup a day that starts off on less than a smooth start point?  We will have varying answers to that.  My natural response to a day that starts off in a challenging fashion is to try to turn the day around.  Whether it works or not is to me not even the point.  The point is in the trying.  It took me decades to “get” that doing the right thing should not for me ever be dependent on any given outcome.  What a life changer that realization was!  I found that it means that if I do an act of kindness for someone it comes with no attachments to any given outcome.  It is as simple as just doing the next right thing for the right reason with no expectation of anything in return.  Now that is freedom big time in my mind.  It also means that if popular consensus is to do an action that is not the right thing then I just do the right thing anyway & again remember to not concentrate on what the outcome will be to this either.  The outcome is usually pretty obvious & that is that we can be put down for not following the crowd but right is right & wrong is wrong so not having an attachment to an outcome makes it so much easier to base decisions on right & wrong versus popularity or banishment.  I love this big time!  And I love the words “big time” big time!  As a sentimental aside, our sons & I learned just enough sign language many years ago to say without words “I love you big time!”  It is hugely animated & especially funny if we do it out in public & it is something that we have done since each one of the boys were toddlers.  Okay, so now I am way off track but oh well.

This past Monday was probably the smoothest school morning that we have had at our home this year.  All 3 of our sons got themselves up early & got all ready.  I made them a light breakfast & there was time to spare which is unheard of.  They were amongst the first 6 out of 600 kids to arrive at school that morning.  Again, that is a rare occurrence to say the least.  What was different about last Monday morning?  Grandma & Grandpa had stayed over night after bringing the boys back from their place up north for a fishing weekend.  The boys were going on adeneline big time still on Monday morning.  The boys consider Grandma & Grandpa to be celebrities to them which is very cool.  The boys wanted to get up early so that they could spend time with Grandma & Grandpa before school so they were highly motivated to get up early & get ready.  That is the difference a day can make.  It is the difference between a day seeming ordinary & a day being extraordinary.  Every day is a gift yet most of us will agree that some days it is easier to bounce out of bed then others.  I was up super early too but for much less exciting reasons.  My catapult out of bed was motivated by the limbo land of blood sugars last Monday morning.  First thing in the morning, I had yet another medical test to participate in at our local hospital.  It was again a fasting test so while I could have cared less about the growlies in my tummy, my blood sugars riding the 5.2 & was of concern.  On a normal day (what is a normal day?) I would be absolutely jubilant to wake up to see a gorgeous 5.2 on my meter.  On a fasting day, that is a little too close for comfort.  If I had a low blood sugar at any point during the almost 5 hour test (or 12 hours before) then the test would be scraped & I would have to rebook & wait 3-6 months to try again.  I had turned my insulin pump way back yet my body does funky things sometimes & sometimes my blood sugars will spike out of nowhere & sometimes they will crash out of nowhere especially if I am being hyper vigilant about blood sugar control for something that I cannot go low for ironically.

Have you had those appointments that you have made sure that you are on time for only to hurry up once you get there & wait?  Well, most of us living with diabetes will agree that we get pretty good at bringing entertainment along with us in anticipation of waits at the various medical appointments that we have to go to.  I don’t go anywhere without a book & that’s been the case since my very first job thank goodness.  If you are a fan of Monty Python then you will get the next reference.  The “machine that goes bing” was not quite ready for my testing when I arrived so I waited about a half hour.  That is not too long to wait at a medical appointment & my attitude is that waiting is not something that I am going to get upset about.  I expect to wait so I just bring something with me to enjoy the wait.  Also though I was burning through the last dozen test strips that I had brought along for use during the testing.  It is the low blood sugar limbo…it is a little like setting the imagined stick of blood sugar control at 5 & saying, “no lower.”  Sometimes our bodies will cooperate with us & sometimes we get a surprise we could do without.  Thankfully, I got my blood sugar to stop getting too close to the limbo bar.  Diabetes might just be one case where you don’t limbo under the bar, but rather at times, we want to limbo over the bar.  It is the trapeze act of blood sugar control too though because we don’t want to see our blood sugars go high & then be sick & correcting the problem for the rest of the day either. 

On Monday, I went for a medical test that is not uncommon to go for compliments of type 1 diabetes.  The testing was to see if I have gasteroperesis.  Simply put, it is slow stomach emptying.  There are times when my insulin hits before my food does & I go into brutal low blood sugars so it is a possibility.  Beyond that though is that it is a diabetes complication that can crush your day because at times the nausea and pain are brutal beyond description.  The great thing is that if you are going to spend almost 5 hours with a tech, if the person treats you with kindness, the time goes by even faster.  The tech that I had was absolutely an angel.  She had several trying moments with situations that she handled with patience & kindness to all the patients that she was serving.  She had a sense of humour especially when the rubber like eggs with the nuclear substance in them arrived along with 2 slices of dry toast & an 1/8th of a cup of water.  She joked that it was certainly no breakfast at Cora’s.  Then, in I went into the machine that “goes bing” every 15 minutes.  For the patients that had claustrophobia my heart went out to them.  It is a constricting experience but that is thankfully not something that bothers me. The very best part was that my blood sugars never did crash during the testing so there should be some helpful results that will come from the testing.  All in all, I would say that Monday was a smooth day albeit tiring with the 4:30am start to a long day followed by finding out at 4pm that 3 dozen cookies had been promised by our second born son to his class for the next morning.  We make time for that which is important & our sons are my heart so we made the cookies & you cannot put a price on the smile on his face & the feeling that was felt knowing that he knows that he is important not because I tell him this but that I show him this too.  It was the kind of day that your head hits the pillow at sleep time & you know turned out exactly right even though some would have considered it a non descript kind of day.

What is the difference a day can make?  That is a huge question.  On an extremely low level, here is one example of the day after a smooth day in our home.  I will share ahead of time that I do not consider it to be a “bad” day by any stretch of the imagination but certainly not a smooth day either.  Tuesday, the alarm clock went off & I pushed the snooze button 4 times.  This is something that I usually don’t do but hey I am human so yes, I did that this time.  That meant that everyone in the house would be playing beat the clock to get out the door on time.  It was doable though to make it on time for everyone.  Well, that would have been true if there were no hiccups whatsoever.  In reaching over to grab my glucose meter for the first thing in the morning blood sugar level with my eyes still half closed, a 3.8 stared me in the face.  It is not a bad low by any means however it was less than 5 which meant that I could not drive the boys to school.  While this was registering, our second born son appeared in the doorway with a nose bleed, the poor Dear Heart.  At the same time, our youngest son was almost hacking up a lung with a nasty cough & cold declaring the need for a sick at home day.  Even when it is a nasty cold, it is so difficult for a parent to see his or her child ill.  You just want to take it on yourself no matter what it is when it comes to illness & our children.  The day was about to change instantly however there is nothing in the world more important than our little guys & my Dear Heart husband to me.  Treating a low blood sugar & stopping a nose bleed was obviously not in the morning rush plan however these are a part of life & as I mentioned, these are not big problems in any way.  By pure chance our 2 older sons made it to school on time thanks to my husband driving them.  In the middle of helping our youngest son with breakfast & cheering him up with his yucky cough & cold, yikes, there it was again…another crash in blood sugars.  That is the nature of the beast of type 1 though & that is that we have other priorities & plans yet the blood sugar roller coasters can have a basic tantrum out of nowhere & then again just when we think that it is all over.  The thing that kept going through my mind though was that thank goodness these blood sugar tantrums were happening Tuesday & not Monday when I had to go for the fasting tests.  That is a basic example of the difference a day can make.  The cool thing is that I am pretty in tune with the signs of the presence of hypoglycemia when the stinker comes upon me.  I get the shakes, sweats, numb tongue & cannot put a coherent sentence together.  That was me this morning.  It can be a bit tougher in the summer months to pick up on some of the signs & I will admit that in the summer I second guess the signs that I have of low blood sugars.  The reason for that is that the humidity is usually pretty high in our area from June to September so if I only get the feeling of being overly hot then that is not much of a sign.  That is the main reason that I always test my blood sugars when I feel funky.  Most people will say something like “is it hot in here or is it just me” from time to time but if you have type 1 you may share more of saying something like “is it hot in here or am I in low bloods” or “are my blood sugars melting down?” 

My Heart’s Sister who is my cousin Lindy is a profound heart’s treasure.  She has & does bless my life in indescribable ways.  One of the many things that we share is a love of reading & learning & growing spiritually.  Lindy has recommended many books over the years & every single book that she has mentioned to me I have read.  They have each stayed with me because they have each contained gems of wisdom that have been timely.  One of the books contained something that really resognated as true.  It was the thought that we can have a tendency to use terms or descriptors to describe things that are inconvenient or a hassle in a dramatic way.  An example is if we are stuck in rush hour traffic, we may say either silently or outloud that this is awful or horrible.  Is being in heavy traffic undesirable & a waste of time?  I would say yes & you may be nodding your head too.  Is it horrible, awful or near tragedy?  Of course it is not.  This book in particular was very cool because I am a huge believer of cognitive behaviour therapy which in simple terms is taking our thoughts & putting them through a truth filter or a perspective filter & deciding what thoughts to keep & which ones to discard.  If we think of an unsmooth day as horrible or terrible or awful, that is our perception & it just may stick with us for the entire day.  How will that work out for us?  Personally, I would prefer to invoke humour when at all possible, challenge my thoughts when they become over dramatic or overly negative & not give in to declaring it a bad day even if it is 10pm.  We are each beautiful originals so we each make our own decisions moment to moment & day to day.  My viewpoint is that there are awful things that happen yet they are thankfully not nearly as frequent as our descriptors may indicate.  I have found that over the years changing my vocabulary when it comes to describing hassles has changed significantly.  If something inconvenient or even exasperating happens I try not to say “that is horrible” or “awful” but instead try to opt for “what a pain in the butt” or “that is a hassle” or “inconvenient” or “ticks me off.”  It is amazing how that seems to impact how the rest of my day goes even if the day does not become any smoother.  My perspective is healthier & I love that.  We all get to make a choice for ourselves.  That is exactly how I look at days like Tuesday & of course living with type 1 diabetes & its hassles. 

What is the difference a day can make?  Five minutes ago I took a break from writing because ironically I went into another low blood sugar & had to treat it.  My thoughts remain, I will fight you type 1 & win every day.  There is no “woe is me” even though type 1 is a beast, a beast, a beast.  Fighting this beast though is strengthening big time for me.  I will never raise a white flag of defeat for anything & most especially not to the type 1 beast.  It beats up my body more on some days than others yet my spirit & soul will not concede even a little ever.  That is a decision I made a long time ago & I only needed to make the decision once & live the decision daily.  Do we have smooth days with type 1?  I can only speak for myself in saying no way!  Does that make a difference in living life to the fullest with big time excitement & joy?  Yes it does but not in the way that most people would think.  Excitement, gratitude & joy are magnified big time.  That is a choice too.  I woke up with a family that I love, breath in me & a purpose.  I love & am loved.  That is better than a smooth, robotic day to me.  I live life with my sentimental heart on my sleeve.  I dare to tell those I love that I love them because it matters.  What is the difference a day can make?  Ask a new bride, new mom, a student having his or her first day of university, or a young person starting his or her first job, someone moving into their first place of their own, a person who has had to say goodbye to a loved one in any form.  There is no measure for that.  Smooth days don’t really matter to me one way or the other.  Days filled with love in action are the guidepost.  How great is that to not focus on smooth days. 

My heart’s hope for you is that each day you wake up with gratitude, love & excitement for all that truly matters in life & realize that the rest is just stuff best left to robots.  We are not robots but we are each beautiful originals.

Smiles,  Saundie  :D

May today be a day with a difference for you.  Next Monday's sharing is "Choppy Waters, Reflections & Lighthouses."           :)