Over the past three weeks I've had some 39 hours of training. A good deal of this has been for a new position I'm taking on, as a coach in a diabetes prevention program; some was spent preparing me for my personal trainer certification exam; and it took a couple hours to learn CPR/AED, a requirement for CPTs.
I've learned a great deal, and among these new insights is the idea that I and my family have been protected. From knowing too much. And facing this disease we manage every day.
You have to understand that our quarterly endocrinologist appointments deal in the dailyness of type 1 diabetes. There is no time set aside to update us on possible future complications for Theo, and who would want that with the boy sitting there. So we live in this mindset of if I count the carbs in this food item, divide it by the ratio set for this time of day, administer a shot, these are our duties, this is diabetes. Diabetes is counting, multiplying, dividing; shots; carrying around a bag of stuff everywhere we go. We can't think much beyond that, and I stay clear of the blogs. I worry at night, putting him to bed, but that's something you have to get over as best you can, and quick.
This is my mindset as I enter these trainings, and I am taken aback when I come to understand that the presentation of diabetes (type 2, but the complications are the same) in this setting is a scare tactic, necessarily so. As a "coach," I don't want people to cross over from a prediabetic state to having type 2. I want to warn them what will happen if they do. And so I am trained on why diabetes is so bad. What it will do to you. How you will be at greater risk for other major health conditions.
And when we went around the room to introduce ourselves and explain our connection to diabetes, I was not prepared to hear a woman say her cousin died from type 1. She sat two places away from me. I didn't think I'd recover in time. I didn't allow myself to fall into the pit that had suddenly presented itself, gave my intro, made it through. Managed to hold diabetes at arm's length throughout the remaining discussions and hours.
Made it through the exam preparation, corrected the teacher on the timing of blood glucose checks during exercise. Made it. Until CPR training, when the video showed a guy who had collapsed and was unresponsive.
"First, check that the scene is safe." Scene is safe!
"Try to get a response." Hey, buddy, you okay? Huh? Hey! You!
"Check for medical ID bracelets."
They find one: DIABETIC.
The lights are off for the video, and they'll be coming on again. All these strangers will be staring at the odd woman with red eyes, wet cheeks, and a runny nose. There is not much time to recover, but I do.
This is diabetes. Going along like it's nothing but numbers and needles and then bam, reminders that we're dealing with something deadly.
There have been moments during our fundraising for the JDRF bike ride when I've feared we're exploiting either Theo or our connection to the disease, but I always come back to this: type 1 is ugly. Awareness helps. Money can make a difference. And frankly, the kids are proud of the press. Especially a recent article in the paper.
I know there are worse conditions to have. But this one just breaks my heart when I let it.