Before dinner, you check your watch for the BG of the person who’s about to eat hot dogs and broccoli. Dinners are uninspired now. This is normal: it is summer, the one who’s into food is away, you’d just eat yogurt if it were up to you. The person’s BG is 300 and going up.
YOU ASK: It’s 300 and going up. Can you think of any reason why it’s high other than a bad site or some kind of Dexcom error?
HE SAYS: No.
You check your watch again. Now it’s no longer UP up, but merely diagonal up.
YOU SAY: Okay. Take a shot with a pen. It will be boop boop boop…four? For the correction and…ten—eleven? For the food.
HE SAYS: Well I had some m&m’s, but not a lot. I mean…
YOU SAY: That’ll do it. So. Okay. So fifteen? Sixteen?
You think: This is a teenager. It’s just like they said.
YOU SAY: I love to have m&m’s with tea on a rainy day. It’s hard to not eat chocolate on a rainy day.
YOU DON’T SAY: Do you remember why you didn’t take any insulin when you ate m&m’s? WTF?
You don’t say it and you don’t really care to figure it out. Any of it.
I think I know how a d-blog dies: something worse happens to the person. Or something fabulous happens. Or something else, something so engrossing happens—good or bad—that the person is just no longer that into diabetes.
It happens like this: you look at pictures of and read posts from people at FFL and feel, instead of a longing to be there, a longing to be a person who could bear to be there. And also kind of like: what would you even say in such a situation? Probably you would try to get the fiffle people to go to a bar to talk about something like: an ex-husband’s erectile dysfunction, or did they ever find a gluten free pretzel bun, or how much weight they’ve gained/lost since the election, or the secret fundraiser botox party in a celebrity guest’s hotel room.
You are at a loss. You are lost. You don’t feel the same and don’t feel “same,” or what used to be expressed in blog comments as SAME. You don’t even feel similar. You’d take a bionic pancreas for your kids, but you aren’t excited about it. You gave up on switching from Lantus to Tresiba or Toujeo, and can’t remember which one it was you were supposed to want, even. Your kids’ latest endo (#4, you’re pretty sure) announces she is moving away, and it doesn’t feel like a new chapter, or even the turning of a page. It feels only like MONOTONY. If the feeling were a medical device it would be sticker backings or Cleo caps or tiny cylindrical pale green plastic BD needle tip covers. All of the most mundane things and so much of them, everywhere. In the dryer lint, tangled in the dog’s fur, in the car cup holders. In one morning I saw two people’s naked butts with test strips stuck to them. I didn’t bother to mention it to either person.
This is different from diabetes burnout. You still do all of the things, still call Dexcom if the sensor falls off before seven days, always with a shrug-inkling of how do I really know this is day three and not day ten or day seventeen or day twenty-four?; still wonder whether to call the summer camp office at 4AM when what seemed to be an obvious compression low at 2:30AM still hasn’t ended and the camper has not responded to texts, calls, or the extra special noise his phone makes when prompted to do so by Find My Phone. You still enter your prescription number located in the blue section of the upper left corner of your prescription label…now. You still press one if you want to pick up your prescription…today. Still e-send money, four-digit chunks at a time, to the Health Savings Account. Still feel guts-in-knots over public policy and preexisting conditions and, Will I still be on your insurance when I am in college? and, What will happen to me if I can’t get insurance?
One of my guys was very sick earlier this year with something unrelated to T1d, and he had to go to the hospital and have diagnostic surgeries and he missed almost two months of school and watched Seinfeld for nine hours a day, day after day, all of the seasons of Seinfeld, curled up in assorted very uncomfortable-looking positions. He felt ready to die. I felt like he might die. We had no answers. I refilled his water bottle. I bought him pajamas. He lost twenty pounds.
When it went on for even longer, I took him to see the holistic doctor who is rumored to advise parents on pediatric cannabis dosing. I heard myself asking (the other doctor), when the topic came up, could he please have a G-tube instead of an NG tube, so he would feel less self-conscious, and I heard myself say a G-tube would probably just seem like another Dexcom sensor or pump site to him, but having a tube coming out of his nose, taped to his cheek, while less invasive than abdominal surgery, would be too…much. But then, before there were any tubes inserted, of any kind, there was medicine, which gave him spontaneous gushing nosebleeds and 300% temp basal and a moonface and an insatiable desire for American cheese. I’d find the filmy wrappers all over the place, as many as nine at a time. Then his legs hurt too much to walk, so the hospital gave him crutches, and then he couldn’t go on his class trip, and we realized the medicine was nearly as bad as the sickness, so the medicine was tapered and stopped. And then he was better. He is still better now. He is fine.
But he still has diabetes. And so does his brother. But everyone’s, you know, fine.
I don’t have it in me to wonder out loud about T1d or try new things or read the news or even read a recipe for salad dressing. Although, as soon as I wrote that, I realized there is this one thing.
A friend color copied a recipe for me from the December 2004 issue of Health magazine, for an addictive cheese dip that we now eat on pretzels while we drink G&T’s. This is not the original recipe, I have probably completely un-healthed it. This is, instead, what the recipe devolves into when you buy your groceries at a Target and barely have it together to unpack your stick blender:
In a bowl or jar, blend together a block of cream cheese, one clove of garlic, half a cup of feta, and half a jar of oil-packed (drained) sun-dried tomatoes. Stir in more feta. Decant into a cute bowl. Decorate the top with fresh thyme, if you have it. Eat with gluten free pretzel sticks and be happy.