Routine is the way of – and to – life for a diabetic: wake, check, eat, walk, check, inject, eat, ride, check, eat, sleep, check, eat, walk, check, eat, check, sleep, check, sleep, check, sleep. Then start all over again.
The objective is to control as many variables as possible, and so to mimic the body’s broken mechanism that is supposed to keep the sugar in my blood at a concentration of between 4 and 6 mmol/L. That is the equivalent of 4 to 6 grams of sugar in total, about 1 teaspoonful. It’s like fine-tuning a carburettor with a sledge hammer.
Two or three times a year the endocrinologist reviews my efforts. If she likes the numbers, I get a sticker for my troubles. If not, she growls. I have a deep respect for doctor Lai.
Following the routine, I can routinely (pun) predict how my body will respond to my manipulation of it. With lots of trial and error, I worked out how to do more of this, and get away with less of that. Or the other way around. And still get the target number on my meter screen.
Sometimes my decrepit pancreas decides to have a bit of fun. When the autoimmune police is asleep on the job, these beta cells (as they are known) wake up a little and squirt a splash of homegrown insulin into the equation. Technical term: the honeymoon. And throw my tight ship into utter havoc. Without warning my blood sugar numbers go low.
Panic stations! I must eat more, and more, and inject less, and less. Until a new routine is found. Usually the pancreas returns to the slumbers of death within a day or two. When the revival lasts longer the ‘R’ word inserts itself into the conversation.
Could this be the impossible, but secretly hoped for remission? Was doc wrong when he said: “You’ll have this for life”? Is God relenting to my mother’s and brother’s incessant requests?
The autoimmune police is efficient and deadly, however. After a few days of chaos it is back to the routine: wake, check, eat, walk, check, inject etc.
Comforting, in it’s own way.