It’s early morning, about 2 am, I think, and I am in a sterile room. I can’t fall asleep with this thing attached to me. I feel like a prisoner and just want to get out. But, that warden won’t let me.
When I came here, they told me that I was lucky. I think that some might feel that way, but I didn’t. Chained up here like a dog. Lucky! Lucky she said!
I didn’t feel lucky. I felt anger, sadness, numbness and guilt over something I could not control. I didn’t put the chains on, but I sure would like to get them off.
Alas, that was a long time ago. Over 36 years since that first visit to the hospital. The intravenous saline is no longer confining me to bed, and I can’t believe it, but I am going to chain myself up, all over again. The device will be a constant reminder that I have diabetes. Sometimes I get angry, but I do feel lucky. I could have died that night, but instead, I got a diagnosis.
I have learned a lot from having diabetes about myself, and how to adapt to change. Change is scary! When I look back, I find even scarier the times I decide not to change my behavior, my environment or my thinking, out of fear.
I have stayed in pain out of fear of the unknown. Settled for the pain I knew. At least I knew what each day would bring. ‘Anything could happen if I change, maybe something worse’ my fear would tell me.
Nope, it wasn’t always smooth sailing, but I found embracing change improved my life and my control around diabetes management.
Now as I was saying, I am going on intravenous insulin, an insulin pump. Being tied to a device that keeps me alive is a very scary thing. It may be bumpy, but change is good. More on this topic and ways of embracing one’s feelings around change in my next blog.
Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE, is a diabetes-focused psychotherapist. His private practice, located in New York City and is also available via Skype. LeBow, who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1977, treats the many diverse cognitive, behavioral, and emotional needs of people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
All the advice included in this blog is therapeutic in nature and should not be considered medical advice. Before making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.