Friday, November 06, 2009

Normal

When I sit down at a table for dinner with my family, I pull out my blood glucose machine, fire the lancing device into a finger, squeeze out some blood, watch the count down, bolus accordingly, and go about the rest of the meal.

This is nothing that would shock you at all. Am I right? Did anything sound strange or not right? No, this is normal for us.

But if no one at the table had ever seen a diabetic test their blood, take insulin, and count carbs it would be very strange and not normal at all. They would probably wonder what the heck was going on if they even continued to sit there with you.

This is what I think. I do not think humans were made to hurt themselves. I do not think we are supposed to cut our fingers and make ourselves bleed several times a day. It's not in our make up to stick needles into our stomach, thighs, and arms. These acts are not normal.

But they are to us. We have no choice. We have to make this life filled with sharps containers, and vials of medicine our normal. To survive we have to accept this "normal" that is not normal at all.

It pains me to think back when I had to accept that this was going to be my new normal. What about the fear of needles or what if I felt faint at the sight of blood? Then what? What could I do? Get over it? "Hey kid, get over it or die." Is that how I get introduced to my new normal? How normal is that?

That's the thing, it's not normal. Not one bit of it. But still we do it day in and day out.

So to those of you who identify with this strange "normal" and who make yourself bleed every single day just to be able to live. Those who plunge needles into their body just to eat a meal. I want to congratulate you on being stronger then most people in the world. You are amazing and resilient. The battle you face everyday is one worth fighting and you know it even when you wish more than anything to take a day off.

I wish I could hug every one of you.

To those that love those of us with this "normal" life I hope you know how much we love you right back. Your ability to shift your "normal" to meet ours is just about the greatest gift you can give us. Thank you.

And to those of you that do not understand this "normal" I would say, be thankful you don't.

22 comments:

Gary said...

"The battle you face everyday is one worth fighting and you know it even when you wish more than anything to take a day off."

Well said sir!

Kelly Rawlings said...

Thank you very much.

For people who know and care about people living with diabetes, one of the MOST supportive and helpful and appreciated things you can do is to tell us PWDs that we are DOING A BRAVE & GOOD JOB by making the effort to care for ourselves--whatever our blood sugar results.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Awesome post George. Our strength amazes me.

Khurt said...

Damn it George. This was so beautiful it made me cry.

Molly said...

Perfectly said. :-)

Laura said...

I wish I could hug you too.

Great post, George.

Zita said...

I'll never forget those words we would say at our first months' appts at the CDE..."this is our new normal." I had to keep saying it to believe that the nightmare was true. While yes, our family has adjusted, and I no longer think of it as a nightmare, I do dream of the day I can wake up and see my son either inhaling insulin (thanks for the update @diabetesmine) or living with a cure!!

Thanks for writing this George...I'm going to read it to my son and tell him again he is the bravest person I know.

George said...

All of you are my inspiration for this post. I think about the OC all the time and how much we deal with.

We are an amazing bunch.

Leighann of Multi-Minding Mom said...

My five-year-old is usually very matter-of-fact about her finger checks. Sometimes she says "ouch," sometimes she doesn't say anything.

I've recently noticed little dots on her fingertips, even more noticeable when her hands are dirty or covered in marker or paint. That's after a year and a half. I can't imagine what they will look like in a few years.

Her numerous finger checks have become her normal. But you know what? You're right, that does suck!

Usually my daughter turns to onlookers at restaurants and parks as she gets her finger checked and announces that she's diabetic in an upbeat tone as if she's also telling them that her favorite color is yellow. The usual response is "Oh, I'm so sorry." I hate the pity that they show her. But one day someone said to her "You are so brave." And I thought, yes, she is.

And you are, too.

(Now I need to dry these tears because I am sure my coworkers realize I'm not entering data any more. Or maybe it's just really moving data.)

Rachel said...

It's obvious you are taking November very seriously with your excellent posts thus far. :)

but if you keep making me cry...

Crystal said...

Great post. ((hugs)) LYLB man. Day in, day out, always - LYLB.

Araby62 (a.k.a. Kathy) said...

What they said. Totally :-)

Casey said...

Wow. thanks so much. Very touching post.

Nan said...

gosh, NinjaB, you made me cry...stop that! this is a great new perspective to read. you are correct...not normal at all...but no choice in the matter. did i mention i dropped out of the nursing program in college because of the whole needle thing? perfect irony.

Windy said...

((( BIG FATTY VIRTUAL HUG ))))) Love ya George!

hippygeek said...

George, George, George. You've made my chin wobble.
What a wonderful post! Thank you :)

Sarah Jane said...

for a lot of us our "normal" makes us feel weird. I felt very alone in my normal until I started interacting with the DOC. When I first started posting i used to think, "woah, these people understand exactly what I'm talking about" and have this moment of awe. Good post George

Lindsey said...

::HUG::
Normal is for sissies. :-D
What doesn't kill us will only make us stronger.
D-Peeps rule.

@lindseyorourke

Katie said...

This was so beautiful and validating to read! I love what you said about people who love us and understand, they are heros.

Karen said...

Well said, my friend. And a huge hug back to you. It's funny (strange) and at the same time sad about how NORMAL those acts become to us. I would barely notice doing it at work, but the site of my finger sticks before lunch would make my former boss so squeamish she wouldn't be able to eat. So I tried to be sensitive to her needs to - and do my finger sticks at my desk instead of in her office.

Jolie said...

See, if I hadn't stopped reading all of the wonderful blogs I've found, including yours, I wouldn't have taken the last six months off of doing what I have to do to get through each day with diabetes. So glad I am reading again. Your posts have always moved me and encourage me to do better. Thank you.

k2 said...

Our normal is different, and different is OK. It works for us and "Shifting normal" in order to help those we love is a wonderful thing!