Monday, January 4, 2010

Clouds In Our Coffee Cups

Once, there was great Coffee and Conversation in The Corner Booth. Hence the name of the blog. Endless refills, analytical conversation at any hour of the day or night. Back in those days, we sat for hours on end and pondered what seemed like the great mysteries of our day. Those seemingly ever-present Clouds in Our Coffee Cups.

But alas, that was in Michigan, before the move to Indiana.

Now, those times are gone. The Corner Booth has been replaced by the Diabetes Online Community, Email Conversations, Facebook, Twitter, and the overall boundless blogosphere. Real Life Coffee & Conversation still happens, just not as often. The big world does seem a little smaller, but those Clouds still find us.

For me, I regularly find myself confined to the office breakroom where free coffee flows from seemingly endless coffee cups. Each day during the work week, I bring my Detroit Skyline Coffee Mug into the room and fill it up. Countless times. Probably not the best thing in the world to be enhaling massive amounts of caffeine-filled coffee all morning and into the afternoon, especially for someone Living with Diabetes. But, it is a reality. I've given up Diet Coke successfully (=almost 2 months now!!!). But not coffee. I've been a coffee-drinker since my mid-teen years. I'm a newspaper man, a journalist, and the coffee-drinking comes with the deadlines and insatiable need to cover the news and tell a story. It's as much a part of me as this Disorder of Pancreatic Failure.

Following the extended holiday breaks and slower pace during December, I eased back into my work routine Monday morning and prepared for the rest of the legal community to do the same. My D-related and non-diabetic New Year Resolutions are plentiful (see Expanded Resolutionizing), and I strived to make a start on them today. All in the company of a good cup of coffee. Amid my work, I happened to look down at my desk at one point where my coffee cup beckoned to me. I caught a surprise.

It was a WTF moment. Glanced again. Then just shook my head and started to smile as I looked at what sat on the desk in front of me:

Yes, that's a test strip floating in my coffee. No clue how it got there. But indeed, it was doing the backstroke and looking up at me, laughing that it had spoiled my next sip of java. Thinking back on the experience and the events leading up to it, there's certainly the possibility that the cause of this may have been: a mid-morning test that revealed an unexpected and unexplained 232, which led to swearing and the tossing of my Meter Case across the desk. There may very well have been flailing test strips involved.

Anyhow, this was the result. I chuckled. And my mind wandered. I thought about the test strip in there, mocking. Doing the backstroke, as if emersed in a giant round pool designed specifically for it to look up at me and laugh. Of course, there was also the image of it drowning in the Dark Waters of Diabetes, the caffeine saturating it to the point where it was full of energy but unable to escape thanks to the higher-than-normal blood sugar that just kept it treading water.

Realizing that I was indeed at my desk and supposed to be prepping for a phone interview, I flushed these images aside. Those are Clouds in My Coffee Cup, but ones for another day. Being the D-O-C member that I am, it was indeed a priority to immediately Tweet about this new find. Got another good laugh out of it privately, then decided to pose my One Touch Ultra Meter and Test Strip Jar next to it. All in good fun.

With that, I moved on to the breakroom and emptied the mug. Rinsed it out with hot water. And proceeded to refill it. Aahh. Good stuff. Going back to work, it dawned on me that this deserves a spot not only on my D365 Project wall, but also a blogpost all its own. There was a deeper message here than just a used test strip floating in my coffee....

This was a clear sign that no matter what we do, Living with the D is always present and able to throw us a surprise - sometimes funny or good, sometimes just frustrating to the point where we want to just dump out the day's coffee and give up. We see these clouds everyday: the used supplies littering our desks and homes, the lows that come out of nowhere like a punch in the stomach, inopportune pump site malfunctions, insurance coverage wars, Unwanted Pregnancy Blood Sugar Swings, Swapping Symptoms, Flat Tires That Force Us To Walk in the Freezing Cold So Our Blood Sugars Fall, Eye Failures And Ensuing Pirate Talk, or whatever else may come our way. All while the rest of life keeps chugging along, despite us and our D. Life isn't distracted, and neither should we be by these too-distracting moments.

Sure, it surrounds us everywhere. Our D-365 Projects attest to this. But there's more happening with us than just diabetes. We see this reflected in the eyes of our Loving and Supporting Spouses, Friends, and Family, in the joys of playing with our pets, in our non-diabetes roles, and just little moments when the sun rises or the moon shines a certain way. We must always be on guard and able to roll with the punches. Making sure we don't swallow the unwelcome stuff or even take it too seriously, but instead realizing that we must be strong and carry on. To just empty out the cup and fill it back up the way we need to. And move on.

There will always be Clouds in Our Coffee Cups, but we have the strength to simply laugh at those challenges, empty out the nastiness, and fill our lives back up with the good stuff. To have both Laughter & Tears. Every Day, Every Hour, Every Moment. You know, to make a sort of Lemonaide Life.

4 comments:

Casey said...

Great post, hilarious picture! ;)

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Michael Hoskins said...

Hey. I try. Appreciate the reads and comments, Anonymous. Keep it up, and let me know how I'm doing.... (May also be that my older posts were more often not Diabetes related. - just a thought.) MWH

Anonymous said...

Technology truly is an inescapable aspect of our daily lives, and I am fairly confident when I say that we have passed the point of no return in our relationship with technology.


I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Ethical concerns aside... I just hope that as the price of memory decreases, the possibility of transferring our memories onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's a fantasy that I daydream about almost every day.


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