“Listen, I’d Like to Live to See the End of the World!” (Part II)

[Part II of my long-winded attempt at coming to terms with living with a chronic, incurable disease. There’s psuedo-drunkenness, cursing at paramedics, and lots of junk-talk. Also, fundraising.]

I ended up standing dazed in the kitchen, three-quarters naked,furiously drinking those little boxes of apple juice in a crazed attempt to ward off a coma.  Ignoring the situation’s own severity; it was really funny.  I could barely stand, let alone place, or throw, my spent apple juice boxes into the trash.  Off into a separate heap the trash would inevitably bounce.

Naturally my roommate took this time to come home.  Staring at me with eyes that grew as large as a sunfish’s, ‘Tim, are you okay?’

[Slurring words like the drunk I wish I could be] ‘Kwalll…the…para…medddicks…’

The land speed record for sprinting up a flight of stairs was set that afternoon. 

Two teams of paramedics showed up at our door almost as quickly; paramedics who quickly began to ransack our apartment.

One paramedic searched our cupboards; hollering in disgust at our lack of food.  I know, I know, but perhaps she wasn’t used to visiting college kids’ apartments.  I didn’t know anyone at that time that had money for food.  She soon stopped screaming at the air and soon focused her revulsion by chastising me for not taking better care of myself.  Had I been less preoccupied with preventing my junk from sliding out of my ill-fitting shorts I might have pointed out to her that all my emergency foods had already been devoured prior to her arrival.

Another paramedic handed me some glucagon and told me to eat it.  His patience would turn out to be shorter than this paragraph.

A third paramedic, a budding optometrist, started quizzing me on what time it was.  This is the part, ignoring the whole ‘sliding junk’ problem previously mentioned, that allows this story to live on in infamy.

‘What time is it?’

[Having just taken the glucagon handed to me by the other paramedic] ‘How the fuck am I supposed to know?’  [Looking at my hands.]  ‘I don’t have my fucking watch on, or my fucking glasses!’ 

Soon my roommate returned to the interrogation still in progress with said spectacles. 

‘Six-thirty!’  [Looking at the time on the cable box.]  ‘Fucking six-thirty!  Goddamn…it’s six-fucking-thirty!  Jesus Christ!  Six-thirty!’

‘Hey, I thought I told you to eat this’ said the angry, now ignored paramedic as he pointed to my now forgotten glucagon.

‘You did, but he [wildly pointing at paramedic] asked me what fucking time it was!’

(This might be difficult to believe but my obsessive compulsion to be as literal as possible is actually heightened when I become hypoglycemic.)

Seriously, this was the least competent team of paramedics that I’ve ever encountered.  The two of them would simultaneously ask (i.e. command) you to do contradictory things.  If they spent just a bit of time listening to each other rather than scrutinizing my food stores maybe this confusion would’ve been avoided.

I had slept all day.  All I had to show for it was a now schooled roommate who once thought he had the filthiest mouth in our complex.  His mouth may have been filthier, but my tongue is wholly unintimidated by titles or professional status.  It’ll curse in front of anyone. 

To this day I don’t know what shocked my roommate more, my tirade or the sight of my unhinged junk.  He’s repeatedly talked about both in his rants about the incident.

This is where the ‘no guilt’ aspect of hypoglycemia comes in handy.  I explain that when the entire right side of of your body is out of commission, working the elastic band of your boxers is next to impossible.  So you just pull your shorts on and hope for the best. 

‘The best’ in this case being not inadvertently flashing the poor Indian girl throwing her trash into the dumpster across the way who happened to look your way.

For a wanna-be sailor my roommate can sure act like a prude sometimes.

Another ‘bonus’ hypoglycemia brings is a wondrous single-mindedness.  I can be so productive at work when my blood sugar is lower than safety dictates it should be.  I’ll tear through my projects.  Many of these long winded blogs owe their existence to this condition.  Not their endings though, since I usually start having too many ideas and get stuck sitting somewhere thinking intensely instead of writing.  ‘Cuz, at that point, I’m unable to write as fast as the words are screaming out of my mind.  This will continue until I either notice that I’m working way too much or I collapse. 

Whichever comes first.

I’m not too prone to collapsing at home since I’m always looking for an excuse to eat.  At work, on the other hand, is where all the problems seem to arise.  The boss folk enjoy my strange burst of productive energy so much that they’re willing to ignore that it contradicts everything they know about my character.  That’s okay though, ‘cuz I usually end up seated in one of their offices after being picked up off the floor and revived.  At which point most of them will be on eggshells about asking me to do anything. 

So I guess collapsing also has its own (painful) silver lining.

Frankly I don’t know what I’d do if I was normal.  (Or as ‘normal’ as I would be without the diabetes.  I’m sure it doesn’t account for all of me.)  A friend was recently amazed when she realized that I always have to be ‘on.’  Cognizant of how I’m feeling at every moment. 

Which is an aspect I don’t consider cool enough to dub a ‘bonus,’ though it does amuse me from time to time.  Knowing just how much your daily attitude is derived by how much sugar you have in your blood is really staggering when you get to experience it firsthand everyday.  You might think you’re in charge of how you feel, but really what you ate, how much you ate, and when you ate it plays a huge role.  (Conspiracy theorists fear not, for said food consumption is still an area within your control.)
This is (one of) the reason(s) I laugh when someone tells me God has to exist ‘cuz life is too grand and complex to sustain itself without him.  Is life that complex when how much glucose I have in me (largely) dictates how I feel?  How I react to what you tell me?  Let alone whether I can stand or not?

If God is responsible for this beast called life, he took the easy way out when designing it.  Maybe I’m just picky, but I expect more from my omniscient deities.  Instead of hooking up a battery to my meter, let alone a nuclear reactor, he chose to make everything run off of a few linked hamster wheels.

I wasn’t joking when I said I’m bitter.  I’m even angry at a figment of your imagination, an anthropomorphized portion of your morality system.

This is literally the crap running through my head as we [the Tampa Bay Derby Darlins A(DA)-Team] stood on one of Adventure Island’s artificial hills.  Eating the free breakfast consisting of bagels and bananas, two things loaded with carbs and/or sugar, i.e. not something to be feeding diabetics.  They (the derby girls) had stories of drunken cruises.  My tales also included slurred words, but for very different reasons.  It’s hard to articulate when half your mouth won’t work.

Please don’t mistake the day as a horrible one; there were definite benefits to my attending.  While the packets containing medical representatives’ doodads also held depressing facts (such as how depression runs rampant amongst us diabetics.  Also I’m at my target weight!  Hooray!) it also had some useful tools.

At work there’s a young girl who was recently diagnosed as a Type II diabetic.  She’s been frequently frustrated with her and her doctor’s inability to find a perfect dosage to control her blood sugar.  I had been consoling her by pointing out that I’ve had the worst of the disease (Type I) for twenty-odd years and I’m still struggling to find that sweet dose.

Your body builds tolerances to insulin just like any drug, and eventually everything you fought so hard for disappears.  Leaving you with no choice but to start fighting/searching again.

(This realization, while medically sound, didn’t do much to boost her spirits.)

So at Adventure Island I came across some resources that she’ll be able to use.  The time (and place) of a ‘Living with Diabetes’ seminar that’ll hopefully explain away some of the questions she’s been asking me and saving for her doctor.  I’ve found in my life that cultivating information from a variety of sources is usually best; if not fool-proof, when dealing with doctors.  The sheer immorality of making your money off of someone who’s generally in no position to say, ‘No’ (in this case the patient) is something I’m always looking to rectify.

I also received this totally awesome whistle!  You blow it and it makes shrill noises, just like a real whistle!  ‘Cuz it is a real whistle!  As if my neighbors didn’t hate me enough, now their dogs can get in on the action!

Aiding in my self-proclaimed (and fought) war against the medical establishment is the discovery of a Tampa-based Diabetes Support Group.  By relying on me, she’s looking for tips from the wrong place since I’m not all that familiar with her brand of the illness.  They (Type II’ers) have a watered-down version of my illness; even with diseases I go for the gusto! 

The best-case scenario would have me actually gaining some support from this community.  (Plus it’ll give me a chance to continue testing my budding social skills!) 

At worst it’ll turn out to be one of those support groups where you have to praise a higher power to get started.  (Apparently for me illness and addiction are synonymous.)  Imagine the looks on their faces as I thank Satan for everything he’s done for me!  (Hey, theologically speaking, even fallen angels rank higher than mere mortals.  They say ‘higher power,’ not necessarily the ‘highest power.’) 

Not to mention the uncomfortable fun I’d get from having to track down all the doctors and paramedics I’ve ‘wronged’ over the years.

At the very least I’ll be able to get a few blogs out of it.


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