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    « I Guess Everyone's A Suspect | Main | A Typical Banana »

    Low and Alone


    I'd intended on an early night last night. I was exhausted from those ridiculous highs, caused by a failing infusion set and prolonged by my stubbornness - choosing to rage bolus rather than take a shot or change it at around 1am. I gave in at 5am when I met that second peak, along with a bunch of ketones and I spent the day with a tired, hungover feeling.

    But the early night never happened.

    Instead I became mesmerised by tracking the progression of this flat line low, that saw my blood sugar stay under 4.0 mmol/l (72mg/dl) for over six hours, as I shovelled carbs into my mouth until I thought I would surely burst. For the first time since I started using it, I wanted the Guardian to be wrong, to be misreading the numbers and misleading me. I made my way through more than 10 test strips in my quest to catch it out. The Guardian just wailed sweetly at me, the technological equivalent of a smug smile. If it wasn't for the fact that it was actually doing me a favour, I'd have hurled it against the wall.

    I didn't want to go to sleep until I could see an end to this. I pulled back my basal rates dramatically and watched trashy TV, waiting for the carbs to hit, and the decreased basal to take effect. Eventually, a little after midnight, a finger stick yielded 8.3 (150) and then I must have drifted off.

    I was awoken around half an hour later by the insistent alarm of the Guardian. I was back to 3.9 (70)

    Lying in the darkness, the window open just a little, I could hear the distant screaming of sirens. An ambulance, perhaps, racing across London's streets. Of course I was thankful that it wasn't coming to me, but at the same time I was acutely aware that even if I had needed it, it wouldn't be coming. Because there was no one else there to call it. Just me, on my own.

    Twenty minutes later the Guardian stirred to life again. As I simultaneously reached with one hand to silence it, and with the other to my testing kit, I couldn't help but wonder if there would ever be anyone there; if I will ever find someone who will happily tolerate these rude awakenings; who will sit with me as I eat my way through the entire contents of the kitchen in a single midnight feast; who will share a bed with not only me, but also my pump and all the leftover crumbs.

    I know that there are so many people with diabetes out there who have successful, supportive relationships. In fact, I wasn't going to share any of this here, feeling it may be somehow a step too intimate. Until I read Kerri's story tonight and found myself overwhelmingly unable to hold back the tears.

    Even I am shocked by the intensity of my emotion. I've never felt before like I needed someone so much as I did last night. I've always been a very independent person, who likes my own company. I have a good network of friends, but despite spending the evening with several of them, I've been unable to confide any of this, because that isn't what I'm looking for. I need more than I can ask my friends to give.

    I feel again now like I did last night as I continued to lie in the darkness listening to the distant sounds of a city that never sleeps: that finding what I'm looking for might just be an unreachable goal.

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    Been there.
    Done it.
    A thousand times over......................
    And I don't have a clue what the answer is. It's hard to be an adult woman without a partner and the diabetes adds another dimension to the difficulty.
    I was reminded of this while recovering from my broken ankle - I'm usually out the door early on Saturday morning doing various things, and here I was, stuck for entire weekends, waiting for the service I'd hired to bring me my groceries and do my laundry.
    I had a lot of time to think about my aloneness - it's usualy someting I hide way up on the top shelf so no one will see it.
    I remember telling a therapist how proud I was that my diabetes didn't "spill over" into anyone else's lives - that it was my solo burden and I'll be damned if I'm gonna let it bother anybody else.
    When I was released from the hospital, I didn't want to call anyone to come and get me. I insisted on taking a cab. It was an icy Minnesota winter. The nurses gave me a huge dose of percoset right before I left which made me very woosey. I had had 5 minutes of lessons in using cruthes, and the cab driver was 80 years old and not about to help me into my front door. I don't even remember getting into my condo until the next morning when my neighbor across the hall was pounding on my door because I'd left my keys in the lock. Yuck.

    I hope you're feeling better as you read this. And I know you know this, but remember that bouncng blood sugars to nothing to stabilize our emotions.

    I'll be thinking of you. Take care.

    - Kathy

    Oh, caro. I know what you mean about the helpless futility of those irretractable lows...and i guess having the CGMS there was at least helpful in some way.

    I wish I could step across that big pond and give you a big hug.

    Hang in there! (Please.)

    Oh Caro... I know that there are cultural differences btwn here and there... but I wonder how you would feel if you found out after the fact that one of your good friends had gone through something awful like this alone? Would you be glad they hadn't bothered you, or would you wish they had?

    Please know that I'm thinking of you... I wish there was some way to make the guardian call someone if you don't respond to an alarm. There should be.

    Thanks, all of you.

    You'll be glad to know I'm in a better mood now, despite the unseasonably cold and wet weather we're having here now - a complete contrast to the heatwave of a couple of weeks ago.

    Kathy - It seems we might have a lot in common, and not just in how I feel about being alone. The additional thing that has been getting me down is that I'm still not able to walk properly following a fairly major reconstruction of my achilles tendon that I ruptured for the third time in May. It sounds silly to say it, but not being able to walk properly limits me into my comfort zone, with people I know, and right now I'm craving the independence to get out and meet someone new! But I know I'm the only one who can pick myself up and do it.

    Johnboy - I can feel the virtual love, so thank you!

    Art-sweet - you are right in what you say, about letting people know how I feel. I guess I don't want to, bcause it won't really solve the root problem, which is that I don't want to be alone anymore. And as for the call from the Guardian... I'm pretty sure that is coming.

    I'm so sorry you were feeling alone and that my post upset you.

    If it's any consolation, Chris and I have only known each other for two years. He had no prior experience with diabetes or diabetics in any way, save for the fact that one of his friends dated a girl who wore a pump, but they never talked about it. We met, fell fast for one another, and diabetes never got in the way for a moment. He has been supportive and wonderful and exactly what I need at every turn. He learned with me and his grace is admirable.

    But while I know how special he is, I also know this: my ex-boyfriend was also extremely supportive about my diabetes. He learned with me, as well.

    People who will love us - all the little bits of us - are not rare. They are everywhere. And they follow our lead. The blogosphere will forever support you and lift you up. You're never, ever alone.

    I spologize that I did not know you had an ankle problem too - I'm still trying to read everybody's archives.
    Anything that disrupts our ability to carry on as we are used to is extremely stressful and totally whacks out our sense of groundedness, which in turn, leads to everything else being ajar.
    I'm so glad you're doing better.

    I can't imagine going it alone, really I can't. I know my husband lived alone for several years on/off during college and graduate school, but my protective nature won't even allow him home alone the next day after a night with a stomach bug...just in case. (yes, I actually took a day off work once for that reason, luckily my employer was very understanding.)

    That same protective nature generated concern for you as well as you've gone through the past couple months. I hope that you can find a friend (of the romantic or not) who can provide that in person.


    I'm glad to read that you're feeling better-- though it sounds like you had a pretty rough night.

    Actually, it sounds like you've had quite a run of them, lately.

    I wish there was something I could do to help. It's hard not to imagine my son in this same situation down the road... I'd want someone to step in, to support him, too.

    I know your friends can't give you what you're looking for, but please don't let that stop you from leaning on them for the physical and emotional support they would surely want to give.

    And of course, know that we're all here for you, too.

    Kerri - your post didn't upset me. More, your words touched me at a time when my emotions were very raw, but the tears were in equal measure pleasure at what you and Chris have, and that that exists, and sadness at my own felings of lonliness at that time.

    I've had my own relationships like this. One in particular in fact. It is just sometimes hard for me to look back at that though, seeing it as I do through the heartbreak of it ending. If I'm honest, it's a heartbreak I'm still not over quite some time on. And heartbreaks and hurts tend to cloud our judgement on how easy it is to find those who won't do that to us.

    Kathy - there are a lot of archives out there! You're right again. Everything does get thrown off. Things like not being able to get out an exercise definitely have a major impact on my mood too.

    Rachel - thanks for your words. I've always been very fiercely independent, sometimes to the point where I'm probably not kind to myself. I'm bad at asking for help and support, even from close friends and family. I've always found it easier within mutually supportive (romantic) relationships though - I guess I see it as part of the territory in a way I don't with even very close friendships. *shrug* Maybe this explains a lot about my lonliness right now.

    This is a problem that lies within me though. I'm the only one who can fix that. I need to be willing to accept help, less worried about being judged.

    And Sandra - as with everyone else, your words do help. Knowing that all of you are out there and able to identify with at least some of the things I'm writing about is great. It's why I do it!

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