DKA Shame.

Over 9/11 I was hospitalized for DKA and the stomach flu.  I was at work when I became extremely nauseated, received IV fluids and medication, and was eventually transported by ambulance (my coworkers) to a local ER.

—-

I am a bad diabetic.
I am a bad diabetic.
The words echoed round my head as tears fell from my eyes onto the once-clean hospital sheets now stained with my blood and wet with my tears.
I was a failure and now the world could see. The world of my coworkers, my friends, my family. I was so tired of failing. The lies kept raining. I was failing at my job and now my life. I was so vulnerable that the lies slithered in and became embedded in my shredded psyche.

Ten and a half years, my record was broken. I had used that record to claim my competence as a diabetic, as a person.
“I’ve never been hospitalized.”
Now sitting faced with a second night in the hospital, the tears began to flow.
I am a bad diabetic.
I have failed.
I grew complacent and this time I did not get away with it.

It impacted my job, my coworkers, my family, and my friends; something I swore I would never let happen.
“Oh it’s just that stomach bug going around” A ferocious stomach bug complicated by my already high blood, a new pump site, an incredibly stressful two weeks, a new house, and a chest cold I had been fighting. Oh, and the fact I hadn’t eaten that day. All those and my recent less-than-stellar numbers led me to retching stomach acid out the side of my car at work and praying someone could tell me what to do because I was way beyond being able to assess much less diagnose myself.

My attempt at a calm, in-control facade was obliterated. Shame and self-hatred coursed through me. How could I even attempt to tell people how to live well when I myself failed so miserably? The thought was appalling. I had no grace for myself. My feeble attempts to shift the blame for this off myself were shredded in the clarifying truth of situation from another’s eyes. Why didn’t I use my CGM? Why didn’t I hardly eat anything on shift the week before? Why hadn’t I taken care of MYSELF?

Why had I let myself get to the point I needed help? I needed someone to take care of me and I never need that. I am strong woman who don’t need no doctor. Except…I do. Diabetes forced me to my hands and knees, literally, and grabbed my attention. Like a jealous partner, it demanded my return to reality. The reality of the danger that awaits for the inattentive diabetic.

—–

Note: I wrote this a couple of days after getting out the hospital.  My emotions were obviously running high and still quite raw.  Since then I have processed the experience and now have a much more appropriate perspective.  However as painful as those emotions were I know I am not the only diabetic to experience them.

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