12 July 2013

Disabled While Diabetic

Wednesday, I talked about intersectionality and having other chronic conditions on top of having diabetes. I wanted to look in to that today, since it seems we talk a lot about diabetes and complications, but not a lot about other conditions and diabetes.

I know I can look like a seemingly healthy 20-something-year-old, but truth be told, my body does not behave well very often, and not due to just diabetes. There's all the super fun mental stuff (like chronic depression and panic attacks); there's the super fun heart stuff (they thought it was cardiomyopathy, but due to conflicting test results, my doctors gave up and just went back to my old diagnosis); there's the super fun joint stuff (no diagnosis yet, and no doctor wants to deal with it, and they have to think I'm stupid to try and send me to a cardiologist for joint pain so bad I want to saw off my ankles); there's the super annoying minor stuff, like hay fever and skin sensitivities and being allergic to Novolog and plastic cannulas.

And I don't want to complain. I know I actually have it pretty great.

Well, actually, I do want to complain, but only about how this makes some things more miserable than normal.

Take yesterday for example. I initially woke up in the middle of the night due to being 48 mg/dL (and I ate a billion glucose tabs. Gross!), but I kept waking back up because of joint pain. Throughout the day, I increasingly just couldn't handle normal life stuff due to spoons (lack of sleep and pain aren't a great mix). As much as I would have loved to attend the FFL banquet and ball, I'm glad I wasn't signed up for it anyway because I would not have made it past that first half hour.

It's mentally and physically draining to convince yourself to walk all over a conference hall when it's painful to move, painful to exist. It's a mental work out to not be all doom and gloom on top of that. (On a side note, I apologize to anyone who had to interact with a cranky me on Thursday.)

So when we got back to the hotel, I predictably collapsed and took a nap, which was so rudely interrupted by another low (I swear, P4DC and FFL have given me too much of a bolus!) and more joint pain. My hands were shaking so much and my fingers were so stiff that I couldn't even open up the vial of test strips. And when I did manage to get it open, all the test strips spilled out on the floor because I couldn't hold my kit, so all the used and new mingled on the floor in the obnoxious diabetes game of 50 strip pick up.

And it was while I was trying to pick up all the test strips (and ignoring the low...oops) that I realized how alone adding in another condition made me feel. Sure, I'm at a conference where there are all these cool people who actually get what it's like to deal with the diabetes aspect, but adding in one more thing changes the beast so drastically that it's almost like people don't understand it again.

How infuriating is that, to be in a room of people who should be able to fully get what you're going through, but they still can't get the whole picture because they don't have that extra piece.

I'll take half understanding with a willingness for empathy any day, though.

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