Wednesday, April 12, 2017

National Poetry Month, Diabetes Edition.

Aside from the spacing/kerning that makes me twitchy, after who knows how long, I finally wrote a poem about diabetes I'm mostly pleased about. It's freeverse. It's meant to be performed [if I like it, maybe I'll video?] aloud. I originally posted this to Facebook, but have since taken it down so I can share it more widely (and hopefully more copyrighted-ly) with you.
to Anyone Who Has Ever Said "Needles!..."

I just blink pleasantly as you finish,
Because I know your monologue by heart:
"Ohhh, I don't know if I could ever do that.
Needles are the worst! I'd be so afraid!"
I'm not here to belittle a legitimate phobia,
But I am also jaded enough to gag
On your sentiment.

If you required a needle
Injecting anywhere under your skin
To stay alive each day
You'd do it.
After 27 years of this,
On days your body doesn't feel
Like a walking pincushion,
You can feel like a healthy person,
Or a husk starving for water and sleep,
Or a ravenous scavenger, devouring anything in sight to stay alive.

When you wake with the sun,
Sometimes you remember to thank some unknown
That you woke at all,
Or you can thank a juice box meant for a toddler,
Thank that bag of old Skittles from your purse,
Thank your giant water glass, a vial of insulin, a small syringe..
You prepare for your work day,
Stuffing medical necessities in a commuter bag,
No matter how short the commute.

Load a series of devices that chart and graph and calculate
In with your belongings, alongside the phone, maybe the smart watch,
And try not to feel like a collection of numbers running for a bus,
Don't grouch at the lady in line for artisan coffee
Who tsk-tsks at your selection of an artificial sweetener.,
Don't give your officemate a speech
When she offers what she believes to be body-positive encouragement
Because you joke about the carb count of the free bagels.

When you visit your doctor,
Notice how you feel like a walking data set.
Daydream in the waiting room
About the other data sets sitting nearby.
Who has better numbers?
Do insulin pumps dream of electric islets?
Because you love math geeks, do you want them
To analyze your standard deviations when you can’t look?

Is it hilarious that you suck at tipping
And algebra and doing your taxes
But you can rattle off a correctly calculated ratio
To decrease your blood glucose after eating?

When the mother of a child with diabetes
Calls you "brave", just warmly smile
And share something positive.
Is there bravery in acting as your own organ?
Is it brave to function as a normal person?
Smile. Say something nice to her.
Don't let on there's a tingle in your toes
And extra blood vessels somewhere in your eyes.
Pretend you don’t have a pillbox tucked away
With pills to encourage your serotonin and dopamine.

They don't want to hear this.
They see your 27 years of what you consider “good enough”
As a miracle, a celebration, sometimes you might feel it too.
27 years of the day's tiny stabbings
Produce a quiet pride in the right light,

27 years of unwanted but well-meant concern,
27 years of advertisements that the cure is 10 years away,
27 years of other people's opinions
On your meals and your body and your medication doses
And you haven't punched a single person?!
Maybe it's bravery after all.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day USA 2016

Shred the Patriarchy.
Let it be known that I'm voting for the candidate who will not completely repeal Obamacare and the many steps forward it has produced for healthcare in this country. I'm voting for the candidate who has fought for people with disabilities and health conditions, never mocking them or telling the terminally ill to not bother voting.

I'm a Nasty Woman, one who has a nasty chronic illness and knows how nasty health insurance is in this country. I'm old enough to remember hearing that "we need healthcare, not HillaryCare".

I don't know what's to come for this country. I know everything Hillary stands for is not perfect, but I also know she's no racist demagogue. I'm With Her. I'm excited that finally, hopefully, a woman will preside over the US. I'm voting for her because I feel like her campaign has been the one most based on logic and plans over hearsay and non-specific promises.

I'm leaving work in a few minutes to go vote. Pennsylvania polling places close at 8pm, but remember, if you are in line at 8pm, you should still be permitted to cast your ballot. If they are out of "I Voted" stickers, I'm making my own when I get home.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Political News of the Day: Semi-Fictional Characters Edition

(A non-diabetes related post for your amusement.)

Watching the first Presidential debate last night definitely required the gin and tonic I had in my hand. I was glad to hear that Hillary Clinton picked up on several of the issues addressed by Bernie Sanders during his campaign, and I was almost heartened by Trump's first ten seconds of speech--but then of course that turned into the shit-show we were expecting. 

Over-talking. Mansplaining. Using words like "bigly". Many of us saw it, tweeted about it, or at least saw the highlights and the tweets. 

My achievement of the night was the joke I made. Trump stated something to the effect of, "There are military leaders in this country who definitely support me." 

Of course there are! In fact, these are the leaders I came up with:
  • Admiral Akbar
  • General Grievous
  • Captain Crunch
  • The Skipper 
  • Sergeant Slaughter
  • General Anxiety
  • Major Boredom
  • Captain Caveman
  • Colonel Klink
I am not willing to take bets on the likelihood of Trump nominating any of these military greats to his Cabinet. Honestly? Captain Crunch has too much integrity to stick with this group. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Nominated Lady

Thanks to some amazing reader or readers out there, I was just nominated for a Wego Health Activist Award as "Best Kept Secret"

I'm not trying to be a secret over here, but maybe I need to take off this mask? Turns out I'm not actually Catwoman! (Sorry if you thought I was.)

I am Hannah, hear me roar! Ten years in this blogging game. Today, I am celebrating this little victory.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Occlusion Conclusion

"Argh, I know!" I say out loud to no one in particular. The "someone" I'm addressing is my Tandem t:slim insulin pump, tucked securely in my bra. BEEP BEEP BEEP! is the response I receive.

I've been feeling kind of weird and overly tired for the past couple of weeks, and I realize my pump keeps throwing occlusions. Can I tell you how much I hate occlusions?

For those not in the know, an occlusion is basically a clog somewhere in your pump line. It can be caused by kinked tubing. It can be caused by the cannula getting bent in your infusion set. It can be caused by some invisible factor (seriously, I can't see what 3/4 of these problems are right now).

I'm calling customer service tonight. No ifs, ands, or buts. I will not rest until they send me a new pump. This is hideously frustrating, because if my pump isn't going to give me the right amount of insulin, what's the use of a pump at all?

I need to resume my fully functional cyborg status. Charge up that Dexcom G5 and let my robot pancreas do the work I tell it to! No more slacking off, t:slim. You're making me feel bad.

Monday, July 13, 2015

For Kycie, David, and all the other kids who didn't make it.

I could have been them. Taken from this earth far too young, before I'd even hit double-digits in age.

I can only remember bits and pieces of the day I was diagnosed. I'm not even sure what the exact day was, but it was in July of 1990. I couldn't breathe. My mom and dad rushed me to my pediatrician right away, where I started throwing up bile. I remember being hurried from the pediatrician's office to the hospital, right across the street. I can recall being a little scared, and a lot uncomfortable.

I was eight years old. All I knew was that I wanted someone to fix me, and the whole thing felt very surreal. I learned I was in something called diabetic ketoacidosis. (Maybe it was all the Sesame Street I watched when I was even smaller, but I first thought they were saying something that sounded like Spanish: quequitoacidosis. Pretty sure that is not a thing.)

Yet, it's what I found out later in life that rings true to this day, and brings pain to the hearts and minds of parents, caregivers and healthcare workers alike. Diabetes wasn't anyone's first thought when I first got sick. 

My pediatrician was deeply bothered by the fact that he missed it--my mom had talked to him a couple of weeks before about how I seemed to have the flu in the summertime. Some nasty virus was spreading around kids that summer, so nobody really thought anything of it. It was unusually warm, and I spent a lot of time outside at Girl Scout day camp, so no wonder I was drinking all the time, right?

So there I was, in the hospital, sicker than I'd ever been. Knock on wood, I will never end up that sick again.

Twenty-five years ago, I was one of the lucky kids. Even today, with all the technology we didn't yet have when I was growing up, not all kids are so lucky. What a bittersweet way to realize it's my diaversary.

Don't ever hesitate to ask for a glucose test for your kids. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Take This Diabetes and Shove It

An Ad, to Be Placed on Freecycle or the Giveaway Section of Craigslist

Free to a Good [or Bad] Home - Type 1 Diabetes (Philadelphia or Anywhere)

The beta cells in my pancreas quit working after 8 short years. My immune system attacked them, and instead of going back to doing their f**king job, they decided to just sit and panhandle around the Islets of Langerhans, like that's some kind of vacation for them. I've tried to give diabetes a chance for 25 years, but you know what? I'm done.

Surely there is some soul out there who would like to adopt my diabetes and give it a good home. Or maybe you know an unsuspecting Men's Rights Activist right-wing homophobic politician asshat that you want to teach a lesson. Either way, please come to this address [Hannah's House or Place of Employment] and help yourself.

Type 1 Diabetes has been a challenge to love. Most recently, an insulin pump site of mine got pulled off in the middle of the night, so I woke up around 6:30am with a raging "HI" staring deep into my soul from my glucose meter. Through gritted teeth I said, "Hello yourself" to the screen and injected a buttload of Novolog as I replaced my infusion set, drank two giant cups of water and went back to sleep, nauseous. A few hours later, at work, that buttload of Novolog kicked in all at once, so while my blood glucose clocked in at 200, my body was trying to tell me I was a solid 65 with shakiness and a case of the woozies.

Diabetes is sometimes a gentle nuisance, and other times it makes me want to cry, scream, and throw things across the room. That's not a terribly healthy behavior, so obvious my Diabetes would do much better if it were rehomed.

Please stop by this weekend. Type 1 Diabetes can be yours for the exclusive price of FREE-NINETY-NINE! I will even throw in all the fancy gadgets and tropical fruit punch glucose tabs!

I can also just leave it on the curb. Come grab it, as I only have this one case of Type 1 Diabetes to give away. If you're also interested, I will set out some plantar fasciitis, macular edema (right eye only), and arthritis of the lower back, also free.

It's a whole new kind of summer fun!