I’m just a regular person. I’m not taking my blood sugar, or trying to discerning a high from a low, or doing insulin math at the dinner table, I’m just a person, arriving home and checking their pockets for their keys. My hands go to my hoodie pockets and pat on the front of them to determine their contents, like they have a thousand times before. My keys are in my right pocket, and my sensor is under my left pocket. And just like that I’m back, diabetes, blood sugar, fear, medications, doctors, and worst of all this new thing that points out my difference, my disability to the world. Thanks sensor, for ruining a normal moment and reminding me that I’m sick. Thanks a bunch. Fuck you.
While I in no way feel like a proponent of the continuous glucose monitor, I can begrudgingly admit that the continuous glucose monitor is not entirely without redeeming qualities… I still need to test at the usual intervals, but it can quickly answer the “I feel weird, is it my blood sugar?” question and alert me when “kinda low” actually needs to be addressed… and reminds me again every few minutes until I take care of it.
You could probably feel the “but” coming from a mile away… the sensor/transmitter, the part on my body, stuck to me, jutting out from my skin like it doesn’t belong, like the foreign body that it is. Objectively, it isn’t “that bad.” And for the most part I don’t notice it, at least not while I’m clothed. It’s not quite beach season yet, and I’m not dating anyone right now, so currently I’m the only one who sees the abnormality that clearly marks me as a sick person. This is okay for now, beach season will arrive, a new relationship will necessitate my being comfortable with someone else seeing my proverbial “Hi, I’m sick” neck sign, but I’ll cross those bridges when I come to them. Right now I’m the only one that sees this thing marring my otherwise perfectly normal form.
I realize that this may sound melodramatic to someone who hasn’t been in my shoes. I get it. It’s not “that bad.” Aren’t I glad that this technology exists? It would be much worse ten yeas ago. Be thankful you have access to this kind of treatment. This means you don’t have to stick yourself anymore, right? This must be so great for you. All of these things are wrong. At least that’s how I feel about them when someone says them to me. I can recognize the objective truth of some of them, but objective truth is not my reality. My reality is a sensor stuck to my side. Maybe if it cured diabetes, but it doesn’t… I’m still sick, I’m still enslaved to insulin, I just have more baggage, another thing to carry around, another prescription to fill, something else to explain, to worry about, to understand, to cope with, to stress about, to attempt to make peace with.
All they see is the up side. No one understands the whole picture. They don’t have the leech of a sensor attached to them all day everyday. Christ, I haven’t even made it a full week and I have already wanted to rip it off of me at random intervals, throw it on the ground and smash it into little bits so it can’t hurt me anymore. I know that sounds backwards. It’s helping me. I applied to insurance to have this approved, so that I could have it. But sometimes it feels like it’s evil. It’s me against the sensor. I wanted to be ironman, man augmented by machine… awesome made awesomer, but that’s not what I got, or that’s not what I have, not how I feel. I envisioned that it would be a tool in my diabetes toolbox, part of my solution to live a better life with diabetes, since at this magical point in time I am referencing, I would have also made peace with having diabetes in the first place… I’m not sure that that will ever be possible.
This long awaited thing has arrived, this supposed solution, and now that it’s here, it feels like I’ve invited in the trojan horse.