In the first few months of my diagnosis I walked around in a state of denial. It was very hard for me to believe that I could have Diabetes. I was only 33. I was not obese. So, no, of course I didn't have Diabetes. Yet, of course, I did. At this point I was not on medication, BUT I did get a prescription for one of those Blood Glucose Meters. The meters themselves are pretty cheap, but watch out for those strips! My jaw dropped when I heard how much they cost! (If you don't know, you can basically have EITHER an Ipod Shuffle OR 2 boxes of testing strips.) So, my first task was to choose which meter I wanted. Now, I have never spent much time in the Pharmacy section of drugstores. I love going to drugstores, but just not for drugs. I go for make-up and hair products, and occaisionally, just for laughs, my sister and I have been known to make use of the free blood pressure cuff that is standard in drugstores throughout America. So, when I was shown to the 'Blood Glucose Meter Section', I was shocked! It was like walking into a Circuit City or Best Buy, an entire facet of previously unknown fancy electronics lay before me. And, like most people my age, I wanted the smallest, thinnest, most technologically advanced meter I could have. If, by chance, it could also hold my phone numbers and important dates, all the better. So, after careful consideration, I was the proud new owner of a 'Freestyle Mini'. I was imagining myself being the envy among diabetics, nonchalantly pulling it out and someone asking,
'Oh! Wow! That is one HOT meter! Which one is it?'
To which I would reply,
'Oh, this old thing?? It's the Freestyle Mini. You can take it for a test drive if you want!'
When I heard
'Excuse me, Miss??'
Startled, I was like,
'Oh, sorry! I'm just new to this whole thing and was thinking about how to use it!'
That got me a sympathetic look and a,
'Well, let me show you how it works.'
So we sat down at the counter and he pulled out my box of Lancets. I know, the word 'Lancet' conjures up all kinds of imagery. I imagine Sir Lancelot, wielding his lance to defend the fair maid Guinnevier. Or Lance, pedaling powerfully through the mountains in the Tour de France. Yet I could find no flowery images for these lancets. A more truthful name for them would be 'very small darts'. And you take these deceptively colorful darts and you LOAD them into, what is, in truth, a very small dart gun. Then, once loaded, you pull back the plastic thing, as though you were cocking a gun, until it clicks, and then you proceed to push a button, and like LIGHTNING, the small dart gun propels the small dart foward, and STABS you, and, if you're lucky, a single drop of blood will appear on your finger. If you are not so lucky, like me, you will continue to bleed for at least 3 minutes, while you ponder the reality of doing this 5 or 6 times a day.
'Now you try' the pharmacist said with a little too much pep in his voice.
'How about I try it on you first?' I said. He thought I was kidding. I wasn't. So, as I loaded my dart gun, I tried to think happy thoughts of lancets. Lance in the mountains. Lance in the mountains. Lance in the mount......POW! I drew blood on my first try! Trust me, doing it to yourself is psychologically MUCH easier than someone doing it to you. I filed that information away for future use. So, I left the drugstore with my new meter, lancets and strips, much less enamoured than I was 1 hour ago.
The Pricking obesession:
My husband was my first victim. I tried to act like it was a spontaneous sugesstion, but truthfully, I had been rehersing it all day. As I was checking my blood sugar I acted like I 'suddenly' had an idea,
'OH! Why don't we test your blood sugar as well? Doesn't your mom have some hypoglycemia thing?'
To which he responded somewhat hesitantly,
and then, with what has become my favorite question,
'Will it hurt?'
Now here is where you can really have some fun with people. I have a few answers I am prepared to give, depending on the person being pricked.
1: 'Nooo! Well, I mean, not really.
2: 'Well, I'm not going to lie to you, it'll sting a little'
Then, after they have agreed to getting pricked, I make a big display of changing out the lancet. Dramatically twisting off the plastic covering of the new needle, then holding it up to the light as if I am checking for flaws on the needle, sometimes I say,
'Just checking. I would hate for it to get caught on your skin on the way out.' And then I wink at them while they become even more nervous and panicked. Now, it is important to note, I have NEVER forced anyone to get tested with my meter. 100 percent of the time, people have WANTED to. All I have to do is say something like,
'Hey, doesn't your dad have Diabetes? Do you want me to test you?'
Or something along those lines. Bottom line is, people have a fascination with things that have to do with their bodies. They think it is cool that I can prick them, draw blood, and within 10 seconds they can know what is going on with their blood sugar. AND, I ALWAYS am sure to say,
'This is NOT a diagnoses or 100 percent accurate. If you feel you may have Diabetes, or be Pre-Diabetic, please seek the advice of a medical professional.' See how responsible I am? Here is a short list of some of my friends and family and their results:
Christopher (my husband): normal
Christopher (my friend): normal
Lars Peter: normal
My Dad: High. I advised him to see his doctor.
Kindel (my sister): refused repeated requests of being pricked.
My mom: Same as Kindel.
Kari (my mother in law): high normal, but she already knew that.
Hans Peter (my father in law): normal
Janice (my aunt): high normal, but she had a banana about 2 hours earlier.
David (my uncle): normal
I could go on, but I think you get the point. Now why do I do this you may ask? Well, on a superficial level I could say that I am providing a service to the community, early detection. But I think reality is, everytime I test someone, I secretly find myself hoping that someone else will be high like me. That I will have someone I can share this with. Because sometimes I feel alone in all of this and having someone who could say, 'I know what you are feeling', would make all the difference in the world.