Thursday, March 20, 2014

This Isn't Shawshank

This one sucks. Sorry about that, but there's no way around it.

That's how diabetes works sometimes.

For me, it feels as if there's dark clouds overhead and tornadoes and thunder moving in, and there's just no way to avoid the storms -- not even by hiding inside those storm shelters of in-range blood sugars and community inspiration.

I'm caught up in the suckage of suspense, waiting for an answer that might help tell me what the fuck's going on, but dreading that answer as much as I'm anticipating it. So right now, I just need to get this out of my system with a little keyboard-fingertip tapping...

An endo visit where all seemed OK, except for the expected "keep on pluggin" message that was obvious before I even walked into the clinic that morning.

Nothing else out of the ordinary, except an off-hand comment about potential complications and an unfamiliar medical term written on the lab-work order.

Curiosity leads to the evil Dr. Google. A stupid move, but the only way to feel like I'm actually "doing something" when there's nothing else to do at the moment but wait. And even before the blood's sucked out of the fussy vein on top of my hand, it's already clear in my head that something's amiss. Self-defeating behavior, at it's best... or worse.

Panic, fear, dread. Self-blame, regret. Sobbing by myself in my car, before even leaving the hospital lab parking lot.

Everything erupts, flooding my brain. Thirty years of pent up emotion bubbles to the surface, boiling over and spilling everywhere. An emotional earthquake, fueling itself off its own tremors.

More regret, about what could have been. There was never any guarantee that this would happen, or that everything would be OK. But even now as these prison walls close in, there's no guarantee of what's ahead. Yet, the prison walls keep closing in.

I've become institutionalized to these prison walls of diabetes, and this world I've known since age 5 is now becoming unfamiliar, more scary, a maximum-security prison with solitary confinement instead of the county jail holding tank it seemed to feel like lately.

And my only reflex is to blame myself, to fear for the future in the present moment like never before, and just sob until my mind goes numb. And the conversation plays out in my head, a version of what a talented script-writer and actor once communicated so brilliantly to the masses:


But instead of Red to the prison committee guy, it's me talking to my endo about how I wish I could fire-up my flux-capacitor and travel back to when I was a teenager.
"Michael William Hoskins, your files say you've served 30 years of a life sentence. Do you feel you're compliant now?"
Compliant? Well, now let me see. You know, I don't have any idea what that means.
"Well, it means that you're ready to rejoin the ranks of controlled diabetes..."
I know what you think it means, Doc. To me, it's just a made up word. A politician's word, so endos like yourself can wear a white coat and tie, and have a job. What do you really want to know? Am I sorry for what I did?
"Well, are you?"
There's not a day goes by I don't feel regret. Not because I'm here with possible complications, or because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime (of diabetes apathy). Of not testing my blood sugar. Letting my A1Cs get into the teens. I want to talk to him. I want to try to talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can't. That kid's long gone, and this old man is all that's left. I gotta live with that. Compliant?! It's just a bullshit word. So you go on and stamp your form, Doc, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don't give a shit."
Except I do give a shit, I am scared and it does matter. And it feels like there's nothing I can do about it, because I've been behind these glucose-saturated bars for 30 years and it's too late to take back those years.

Compliant? Hell, no. I haven't been, far too often during the past three decades. It's my fault, even if it isn't, and no matter what I do now it doesn't take back the past. Whether I'm "compliant" now or not, the possibility of scary complications makes it feel like these prison walls are closing in tight. And even with good behavior, there's no way out without taking a shiv to the gut.

This isn't Shawshank, and there is no redemption.

At least not now, until those lab results come in and the endo's office calls me back...

35 comments:

Scott Strange said...

Mike, hang in there my friend. This whole goddam thing is a crap shoot

StephenS said...

All I can say is what I would have said yesterday, and what I'll say tomorrow: I support you... no conditions. I'm sure many others feel the same. Hang in there.

Kim said...

I will echo Stephen's sentiment: you are loved and supported, no conditions. We're here for you no matter what may come.

Alanna said...

Man this hits so close to home. You are not alone. NOT alone. We are all with you :) Fingers crossed it was just a scare. If not, we will be here!

Sarah Kaye said...

LOVE and HUGE HUGS and everything else, Mike.

Kristin said...

I agree with all that has been said. Sending good thoughts in hopes it is just a scare.

Scott E said...

Wow, Mike. I'm not quite sure what to say. You can apologize for what you may have done in the past, but please don't regret it. Regret will give you nothing but grief -- you're better off working towards, and hoping for, the best possible outcome in the future. Only looking forwards. That's what I hope for you -- the best possible outcome in the future -- because it's what you deserve.

And however this whole saga turns out. don't forget how much your experiences and your candor have affected and benefited others. You're already a diabetes superstar.

Mike (eduad) said...

Thank you so much for your bravery and honesty in writing this. The most powerful post I have ready this year by some margin. And I know many who will see themselves and their own struggles in what you have written.

I'll join with thousands of others to stand alongside you (in a wibbly translucent cyberspace hologram) as you await your results.

As a wise old kung-fu turtle might say, "yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift - that's why it is called the present"

Rachel said...

I want to send you some support and a virtual hug.

Kerri. said...

Oh Mike ... I'm sorry for all of these things you're feeling. We love you, and are here for you no matter what.

Moira said...

So the question is, Mike, whatcha gonna do? Get busy livin', or get busy dyin'? I know you choose what Andy Dufrense chose .... even if sometimes it does feel like swimming through a half mile river of SH**.

George said...

Mike, I am and will be praying for you. You have always been there for me and I hope I can be there for you too.

Love you bro.

theperfectd.com said...

None of us gets out alive or unscarred by this disease, but none of us get to go it alone. That's what I know, thanks to the DOC and the wonderful people who fill my heart with a thousand emotions on a daily basis.
No matter what, we are with you, whether you like it or not. The past? It's the past. Regrets? In the past. Whatever is ahead, we walk with you.
Much love. We have plenty to give.

k2 said...

Mike -
I'm sorry you have to deal with this.
Please know that we love you & we are here for you and we stand with you and by your side, always.
Xoxo

Brad S. said...

If diabetes were a movie it would be directed by Wes Craven one day, Tim Burton the next, and Judd Apatow the next, and on and on. It is a screenplay without an ending and within there is the greatest movie villain of all time. But your script has not been written yet, not even close...and you have many twists and turns left before the climax. Since you are the hero of your movie I predict you will be like Bruce Willis and will at some point tell diabetes, "Yippee ki yay, Motherfucker!"

NeurosurgeryNP said...

Hang in there Mike. Virtual hugs your way.

Scott S said...

A commenter on my blog once "diabetes isn't a death sentence, but it IS a life sentence. For a crime you did not commit.". For such as simple simple statement, I found it powerful. You cannot and should not beat yourself up for being human, and having human nature. Give yourself an appropriate break and ask why medicine avoids curing diseases but turns more and more into chronic diseases. That's not a record for medicine to be proud of IMHO.

Mike Durbin said...

You're not alone, Mike. We're all here for you. Hang tough, bro.

Mike Lawson said...

Love you man...

Sincerely,

Your cell mate

Chris said...

Don't go shivin' anything just yet! No use worrying over imaginary problems; when you really know what you're dealing with then, you've got a whole lot of people to help you deal with it.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Hey Mike,

My initials are also etched on the walls, right next to yours. And like so many have already said, we're in it together, and I support you with no conditions.

Your pancreas is broken and the game is rigged. While I know there is no easy way to escape the feelings you're feeling, I hope it helps to know that we're all out here supporting you.

I love you, bro. Keep us posted.

kerri said...

The past is what it is. We can't control our circumstances--but we can control how we respond to them.
It's beyond okay to feel every single thing you're feeling--and it's okay to need time to figure that out. There are many of us who are here to support you through this, and the journey ahead, in whatever way you need us to.

For now--I love you, brother.

Karen said...

Diabetes sucks and none of this is your fault. It may not seem like that now, but it's true. I'm sending a big hug your way and keeping you in my thoughts. Let me know if you need to talk - I'm here.

katy said...

I wish you all good things.

I liked reading this. I'm sorry I don't know you better. I think you are fantastic.

Tom Karlya said...

We, who use the written words all of the time seem at a loss what to write to you because the words we rely on; fail us now to make a difference in the life of our friend. Love is a word we do not use a lot when we write---but we do Love You Mike.....you are part of us; and we a part of you. We wait along with you and WHATEVER it is....we'll be here for that too. In our thoughts....and more importantly; in our love, friend.

Hallie Addington said...

What do I say that's not already been said? Diabetes doesn't play fair. Like Scott said, the game is rigged. It's just not a fair fight. And that sucks. I come at this from a different perspective... But I can tell you that if this was Ave, I wouldn't want her to blame herself. They tell how what to do to manage D. But then send us off to do it. Alone. And we have meters and Cgms and pumps and all kinds of STUFF. But what about the emotional part? That's what makes it so hard. That's what burns us out. I would tell Ave- forget about the past and forgive yourself. There was no manual for any of this. You're human. We make mistakes. We fall short. It's just who we are. I'd like to see one person who has lived with D for 30 years who has been perfect. Impossible. But don't give up. And know that we are thinking of you and while we can't take any of this away, we can promise you won't face it alone. Love from me, J and Avery

Jaimie said...

love you mike....sending prayers and virtual hugs your way!!

Carrie said...

Hang in there, Mike! ((hugs))

Nikki said...

There' might be a big world out there that doesn't understand what you are going through...but there is a small loving D-community here who does. We are here for you!

Melissa Lee said...

Here for you. And here with you.

Joanne said...

There is nothing I can write that hasn't already been written so brilliantly above. Just know that I am praying for you. No matter what, we are all here for you.

Patrick McConnell said...

Hey Mike, We didn't choose this condition, it chose us, hang in there brother, we're all in this together , and remember no one is above redemption...

Colleen said...

Thinking and wishing only good for you.

Marie Smith said...

Here with you every step no matter what. Promise.

TheSavvyDiabetic said...

Wow, you said it perfectly ... kinda like you were in my own head!!! And no one else could possibly understand.

Wishing you good news and hugs ... thank you for your eloquent and spot-on words!