In August 2008, while in a hospital bed, I received my very first Freestyle Lite Glucose meter. Because I was locked down in the hospital, I had plenty of time to read the instruction booklet and get familiar with it. I thought it was pretty easy to use, and was impressed that it could hold literally hundreds of readings.
I started to use it when I got discharged and got attached to it pretty quickly. I thought it would be easier and more efficient to keep every single reading on just one meter. But then again, I was a very new diabetic... and I had no clue what the future held for me.
I now had to think about diabetes literally ALL DAY LONG. I was checking my levels several times a day. I downloaded a diabetes app on my iPhone. I was used to doing things last minute, any way I wanted... that came to an end. If I ran out of the house in a hurry, and forgot my meter, I had to go back and get it; or, deal with just guessing what to do based on how I felt. I had to carry snacks with me. At work I began carrying glucose tablets & gel in my uniform pockets.
If I wanted to take my Suzuki for a ride, and my levels were too low, I had to wait for them to get higher. If I was already on my bike, or in my Jeep, and felt a crash coming on, I had to pull over, take my glucose level, then have some OJ or whatever I carried in my bike, and wait there until I was better.
If I wanted to go to the gym, my Dr. advised me to eat snacks or drink OJ during the workout and take my levels every 15 minutes. WTF? That meant I couldn't even work out with the same intensity. Eat snacks during a workout? Stop every 15 minutes? Drink OJ? That sounded insane to me... until one day I was bench pressing with a co-worker of mine and began to crash. She was spotting me and could see my eyes looked different. She helped me lower the bar. I took my glucose level and it was low. I sat there for about 20 minutes, drank some OJ, and eventually left, frustrated. So now, I bring my gym bag with me containing a meter, glucose tablets, cold OJ and cold water.
A few months ago, I went on a three day vacation and was just walking around, sight-seeing and shopping. Firstly, I now have to carry a messenger bag with my meter, glucose tablets, etc. I had to be mindful of stopping every so often, snacking all day, and keeping my levels tight. What a pain in the ass that was. Because I had to snack on and off, I wasn't as hungry at dinner and was pissed because I was looking forward to the restaurant and the great food.
It's been two years since I got my first meter. Since then, I've been through a lot, but also learned a lot about Diabetes. I have a meter in my car, in my bike, in my work bag, and by my bedside. I have glucose tablets, extra test strips, lancets, and alcohol pads in all those same places, including my locker at work. Supplies fall out of glove boxes, consoles, and bags. It's tiring.
I'm trying to do this thing right, by taking my meds every day, even when I don't feel like it, and checking my levels several times a day... even when I don't feel like it. But some days it's just such a struggle. I get tired of pricking my fingertips. Tired of swallowing pills. Tired of feeling awful when my levels aren't right. And most of all, tired of being afraid of whether I'm gonna pass out, or not wake up one morning.
But then I go to work, on patrol, and all day long I see these people with one foot, one leg, passing out... and they have diabetes they either don't manage, can't manage, or refuse to manage. That's when I say, I can't end up like that. I refuse to end up like that. I have to do this right. I can't let this kill me.