When you are under a lot of stress AND you have to manage your diabetes, I think there's always a risk of a major meltdown. It can be caused by even the stupidest, littlest things like not enough blood on the test strip, a low blood sugar that keeps you from going home on time, or in my case, some rogue adhesives that refuse to do their job.
It was around 12:30am last night that I unintentionally put my emotions and those of my husband's through the wringer. Everything started off normally and innocuously enough. I was getting ready for bed, changing my entire infusion set. I use the Cleo 90 sets with my Deltec Cozmo pump. (See pic above.) I definitely like the Cleos—they don't get as bent up as some of my old Medtronic sets did. Once you can get them on, they're usually pretty well stuck unless your waistband or belt decides to get pesky. That's only happened to me twice.
However, sometimes I have some trouble getting the Cleos to stick initially. I always use IV Prep wipes, and sometimes I wonder if I have a bad batch of them. Some days I try to put one on (or in, however you want to look at it), and the first one doesn't work. The Cleo has a brilliant mechanism that makes it super-safe as soon as you use it. The introducer needle retracts into the inserter's housing, making it impossible to accidentally poke yourself or someone else with it. Sounds great, right?
It is. Except, if your adhesive doesn't stick properly, you can't try to stick yourself with the set a second time. If it's not staying, you're done. You pull out the depressingly empty cannula and proceed to bleed all over the place.
This is the brief, easy overview of my bedtime last night. The long, emotionally draining version is a little different.
One Cleo didn't work. Frustrating, but common for me. The second one doesn't work. I'm tired. I just want to sleep. Why does this keep happening to me? I just want to go to bed like a normal person without having to do this crap. Matt comes to bed. Everything goes downhill from there. I am almost in tears anyway. He asks me what's wrong, and I answer him truthfully, but I'm short with him. I ask him, trying not to snap, to get me another Cleo. This is the third. Third time is the charm, right?
It doesn't work. My eyes flood with tears, and I can feel my entire body shaking. I feel like my only reaction at this point can be a violent one. I twist the protective cap back onto defective Cleo #3 and grip it hard in my hand.
"What the fucking SHIT?!! Fuck!" comes out of me from a very guttural place as I pitch the Cleo and it hits the bedroom wall with an almost satisfying clack. I am crying, shaking staring straight ahead. Matt moves to hug me and I just feel too down low to even want to accept the affection. Matt assures me it's okay. He says he understands because he gets really frustrated when things don't work as well as they're designed to.
Before I know it, I open my stupid frustrated mouth. "Yeah," I say, sobbing, "but you don't have to worry about how your stuff malfunctioning leaves your health out of control, and that doesn't make you think about how no matter how hard you try, maybe you'll go blind, or your kidneys will fail, or you'll lose a leg...or you'll never have enough control to ever have your own children."
Then I am instantly wrapped in Matt's arms before I even know what happens. I regret the words I've said as we both sit on the bed and weep. I am drained, and I still need to get the infusion set in.
I try the fourth. It fails again. More cussing. More throwing of failed Cleos. More tears.
The fifth one finally works. I breathe a sigh of relief. I apologize to my husband for the freak-out. I go to sleep.
Was it worth the anger? The blinding rage? The bottomless feeling of hopelessness? I don't know. But when my every day life is bringing me the stress of my job, the stress of looking for a new home, and the stress of my father's failing health, sometimes it takes a few extra bleeding holes in your body and failed medical devices to put you at your worst.
Thanks again, diabetes, for showing me just how much hurt is in my life in the ugly hours when I'm trying to make the most of things. Thanks a lot. (Yes, folks, that's sarcasm.)