Monday, March 18, 2013

Sweet Sixteen/Broken

Today, my diabetes turns sixteen. It could drive a car (while I still can't, partially because I'm afraid of low blood glucose levels while driving) if it passed the written. Sweet Sixteen is both appropriate and ironic when it comes to diabetes; I've certainly spend the past 16 years "sweeter" than I would have been otherwise.

I always see my Diaversary as a time of reflection on the battles of the past and my hopes for the future, as well as providing myself with cake for the present. It coincides with the birthday of a friend who I've known longer than I've known D, but whose birthday always gets co-opted by memories of going to the party on my day of diagnosis, thinking I couldn't eat the cake anymore. I was one of those lucky few who got to be out and about on my diagnosis day, caught by a screening check and not by a hospital. Now, though I have intimate acquaintance with hospitals for the various specialist appointments (I joke that I use my OHIP, or health card, more than most people use their credit cards, but thankfully I almost never have to pay the bill that results) it's almost never an emergency, and never a D-emergency. I'm doing well. There was that time I needed an IV in freshman year. That time in 2005 that a freak storm and a stage light required getting my head stapled back together (and you think the fact that it was an unpaid internship was bad!)

And then there was last Saturday and Sunday (the 9th and 10th).

Friday night had been great. I had been out all day with friends (it was my spring break, soon to be literal) and was coming home with Dan after discussing save-the-date card designs with a designer friend. I was really excited about the concept, happy, and a little smug to have this wedding-planning thing in hand, snagging our 10th dating anniversary date for the wedding. Pride comes before a fall, apparently. I stepped off the bus, and on to a sheet of black ice that had thawed and re-frozen due to the day's temperature fluctuations. With my foot taking so big of a step onto nothing and me holding two bags, I was unprepared and didn't have a chance. Every single ounce of my weight concentrated on the first point to hit the pavement; my left elbow. Dazed and in horrifying pain, I eventually struggled to my feet because I thought Dan was going to panic if I didn't. I slowly followed him home. I shouldn't have let that one taxi go by, but I couldn't imagine that I was actually broken. It had never happened before. Even if my elbow was clicking around, my coat was on and I couldn't see anything.

I gingerly took my coat off at home to inspect the damage. No cut, no bruise, but, as Dan helpfully observed, "your elbow isn't in the right place anymore." Called a cab and to the hospital we went, coat draped over me like a misshapen fur stole. I couldn't stop shaking until I was mercifully given heated blankets in Emerg, but I kept it stoic, laughing and joking with everyone involved, refusing to scream even as a joke (and most of that was before the morphine!) My elbow was in two pieces apart from each other. I needed surgery for the first time in my life. I was terrified, and am still afraid that ugly scarring will have to be hidden during my wedding photos.

After coming home from the hospital. Ignore how bad I look. I have reasons.
I was sent home from the hospital with a cast. Total cost of everything, besides painkillers: $30 for the sling. Thanks, Canada! (Well, it was your ice that dropped me.) The surgery was the next day (I thought there would be more of a wait, but the surgeon has a slot open). I was really worried about being put under, but the worst thing was the IV hurting a bit and the feeling of claustrophobia under the oxygen mask. Everyone was super nice, though  was sad they said getting my cast signed wasn't good for it. The ONLY reason I had longed for a cast as a child and I couldn't do it? Bah! The rest of the day, after I joked with the nurses, was a haze of nausea and pain.  I was going to go in and teach the next day, but I had to bow out. I then taught all my other classes, graded, and went to meetings and rehearsal, holding on by a thread. It's been some of the worst pain I've ever felt, and continuous. I have one prescription painkiller left, which makes me...nervous.

The worst thing is the helplessness, the length of time it takes to do everything, and the tiredness and frustration. I am left-handed, so I've needed to learn to write a bit with my right hand, and type what I can't. Typing takes forever and is utterly exhausting because it's one-handed and I'm in a terrible position the whole time with a useless limb in the way. I don't like being dependent or weak (story of my life with diabetes, magnified). I don't like having my shoes put on, my hair washed, my meat cut. I don't like that I can only play half my part on bells, though many are amazed I'm playing at all, or that I came back to work so soon. The problem is that I'm so behind in grading now, and when I do, it takes forever. I feel like I'm running a marathon just typing this. Everything D sucks with one arm. Testing BG? How do you squeeze the finger properly? Putting in a site with one arm? Someone has to pinch for you, and it better be on my right side or it's really hard to get to. Even clipping my pump on is a pain.

I go back for a new cast on Tuesday. I hope my arm looks okay and that D (or my stubbornness) isn't causing slower healing; my numbers have been pretty good, all things considered. Beiing broken sucks, but at least I know that, next year, this will almost for sure be a thing of the past, while my other "brokenness"-my trial, my sentence, my experience that has helped shape me and make me what I am- will be celebrating its Sweet Seventeen, even though I still won't let it get behind the wheel. Though I am broken, at least this break is curable; it will heal thanks to love, understanding, get-well cake, a fiance who puts together my taxes and a lack of predators.

It's a rude beginning to a new D-year, but I'll take any excuse for love and cake. Theoretically, things can only improve from here, right? (This had better not jinx anything!)

Exhaustedly Yours,


1 comment:

  1. Oh my, Ilana! So sorry to hear about your fall - that sounds painful!