​​​Miriam E.Tucker

Life, Sweet Life
(AOL, October 2005)

As always, my day begins with a sharp prick. The blood from my pinky finger seeps into a plastic strip I've inserted into a credit card-sized machine. Four...three...two...one...BEEP! The number 213 appears in the device's window. Damn, off to a bad start. Sighing, I initiate the protocol. 

Step 1: Review. What did I eat last night? How much insulin did I take? What was I thinking? Upon reflection, I realize my blood sugar is too high this time because I simply wasn't paying close enough attention. Oh, and there was a full moon last night, too. 

Step 2: Forgive. "Diabetes is a tough disease to manage. It's impossible to have perfect blood sugars all the time. You are human, and your humanness is what defines you, not your diabetes." Recite once, and move on. 

Step 3: Repair. I calculate I'll need 2 units of insulin to get the 213 down to a normal blood sugar of 113, plus 6 more to cover the 90 grams or so of carbohydrates in the cereal I'm about to eat. I pinch a tummyfold of skin and plunge the needle in. Then I sit down to breakfast. 

At lunchtime, I pull a 146. That's still a bit high, but better. Of course now I'm at work, so my attention's divided--I zip through the protocol and get back to what I was doing. 

At 5:30, I head out for happy hour. The shakes start while I'm walking to the subway. Duh--Exercise lowers blood sugar, and I didn't factor this walk into my lunchtime insulin dose. I shove a couple glucose tablets in my mouth to keep from passing out, but I don't slow down. On the Metro, my sugar's 62--Too low, despite the tablets. I chomp two more, repeat Step 2, and enter the restaurant. 

My friends are inside, and some new people too. I feel comfortable, accepted. I give the woman sitting beside me a heads-up before injecting at the table. She's curious. I explain that I was 9 years old when my pancreas stopped making insulin, a hormone the body needs to metabolize food. If I don't control my diabetes, I tell her, it could destroy my eyes, kidneys, and other organs. So I do my best. And no, the shots really don't hurt. 

Everyone listens, even my pals who've heard this a million times. The conversation soon shifts to politics, music, sex, and other fun topics. I stay out way too late, laughing and loving every minute. Bedtime, a perfect 115. Woo-hoo! The bad blood of this morning is forgotten, replaced by a surge of self-esteem. It was a good day after all. ###