Time is a funny thing.
If there is something fun planned for later in the day, time seems to crawl, making the day seem extremely long. This also applies if there isn’t much to do. And when we have too much to do, there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. We are simultaneously encouraged to “live in the moment,” “take time to smell the roses and enjoy,” and “get somewhere yesterday.” Our morning alarms keep us on track as well as provide a hindrance to something more important, like sleep. We are also reminded that we have a finite amount of time to make something great of ourselves, so don’t waste it by being anything less.
As a PWD, time is also of the essence! It’s recommended that we change our infusion sets every three days and our sensors every six. Our insulin, once opened, only lasts 30 days, but its effectiveness is dependent on the elements, and we discover this over time with high and other erratic blood sugar results.
We are advised to wait 15 minutes after treating a low with fast acting carbs, which can feel like an eternity. And we spend another two hours (or two days) reconciling the inevitable rebound from said low blood sugar. But we can’t over-correct that high blood sugar because our insulin has an active peak time of anywhere between 2 to 6 hours. So that 300 mg/dl is just going to have to wait, isn’t it? (It doesn’t – rage bolus away.)
Our blood glucose meters have gone from taking 2 and a half minutes for a result to 5 seconds or less. Yet we still wonder if the number it pops out is accurate enough to dose a meal we should have bolused for 20 minutes ago.
We have the technology to have our sugars tested every 5 to 15 minutes, but we need to calibrate the technology every 6 to 12 hours to maintain accuracy. Nevermind that we can only calibrate three hours after a meal, when a blood sugar is stable, and when there is little active insulin in the system. So we spend our time planning our calibrations and smack ourselves when we miss the perfect opportunity to do so by about 15 minutes. We also need time to change out sets, sensors, faulty insulin vials, lancets, test and re-test when we don’t like the result… all while being told that there is too much available out there to make diabetes more convenient and we have no excuse to not live our lives like a “normal person” would… except when we try and our A1Cs reflect that.
We spend hours, days, and months fighting with insurance companies to approve the care to give us more time on earth, yet they take their sweet time figuring out if they want to pay for it.
We take risks with time, guessing that 18 units left in the pump will get us through a 10 hour work day… until your co-worker brings in cupcakes. Damn. Let’s not forget about the time and effort required to have a “quick slice of pizza.” Spouse ordered Chinese food on a whim? You’ll pay for convenience later. Or explain, for the third time, why you just can’t partake in it.
We get told that our time will be shortened if we don’t take care of ourselves. That diabetes kills. Yet we see other T1Ds living well into their 90s, which means they began life as a PWD on some of the earliest technology and medical advances available. (Which wasn’t much – but they still survived.) Maybe time really was on their side. Then we laugh half-heartedly at how many times we’ve been told there will be a “cure” in 5 to 10 years, yet wonder if there will one day be any truth to that statement.
We try to manage our time to plan for possible spikes from high-fat meals, over-correction crashes, exercise fall-out, travel, stress, sickness, and well… breathing. But sometimes, even the most neurotic planner can’t expect to time doses exactly to accommodate whatever bricks are thrown at your ideal CGM flatline.
And if we spend too much time thinking about the time it takes to try and be healthy, we kind of go crazy. So we ask for the support of others who advise us to take just one day at a time.
[Alright, alright, fine… I’ll swim back to the shallow end of the pool next time… ha!]