A Random Conversation In My Head

"How many times a day do you check your blood sugar?"

Well, I'm supposed to do it X amount of times each day. But right now, I don't care. And so I am doing it maybe once or twice, if I'm lucky.

"Did you check today?"
Yes, I did. Twice. And no, I'm not wearing my CGM right now. I just don't have the energy to pay attention to that at the moment.

"You should check more and do better?"

You shouldn't be an asshole. Leave me alone.

"It sounds like you're a little tired of diabetes..."

Maybe I am. Especially after just spending a week traveling and thinking about diabetes non-stop, and being surrounded by it. That has gotten to me, and it makes me stop wanting to do what I need to. I need a mental break. I've been depressed before, an that's not what this is. Even in the past, my depression wasn't specifically caused by diabetes -- it was just regular life, but I was probably more likely to go through that because of my diabetes. It's a wonderful combination effect.

"So, what do you do when you get burned out?"

Take a step back from diabetes, like disconnecting my pump or CGM so I'm not relying on that all the time and having to think about it constantly.

"Don't you like your pump and CGM?"

Of course I do. Most of the time. They're safety nets and I rely on them a lot. But sometimes, it's too much data and I have to disconnect to give myself peace of mind. Because it's creating more work for myself than I need or want.

"But what all those people who want one, but just can't access them?"

You know, there's always 8 sides to every story. This isn't about what's going on with every single person under the sun. It's about me, and what you asked about my own health and diabetes train of thought. This isn't about anyone else.

"Does talking about diabetes with others help when you're going through burn out?"

Sometimes. Knowing that I'm not alone is big, and it helps me realize that I can do something. All with a little help from my friends, they say. That's not always the case, though...

"Why not?"

There are times I'd rather not talk diabetes and be around those people. That's a choice depending on how I feel. The more I'm around those people, the more focused on diabetes I become and it can get overwhelming. Meeting with fellow people with diabetes can be great, but it's not always a magical experience for me. Sometimes, I'd rather talk to a random person at a bar about politics, genealogy, the JFK assassination, or energy policy. Just because it's not reminding me about diabetes.

"Isn't your job all about diabetes? You 'cover' D on top of living with it... how do you get passed the overwhelming aspect?"

Having diabetes on my mind all the time non-stop, impacts my personal side of living with it. I try to draw a line, but it's tough. It's not the same as when I used to work for a general newspaper, and there was this clear line between my personal and professional life. It's all D, all the time. And sometimes, the last thing I want to do is bring my personal side into this. I want to just cover diabetes like a beat, from a distance. Yes, I do let diabetes define my world, on my own terms, and that's a personal choice. But sometimes, I need to turn off that switch and not think about it.

"Does it matter whether you say 'diabetic' or 'person with diabetes' in terms of defining?"

To me, no. I personally say diabetic. because I don't give a shit about the word. It's a word. It doesn't define me, and I find it ridiculous to think that it would define anyone. But some do, and so if I write professionally, I use PWD. Because that's, you know, politically correct. I make diabetes a part of my life and that's a personal choice. Each person should be able to decide that for themselves.

"Why are you writing this?"
No clue. I sometimes talk to myself, and write blogs based on conversations in my head.

"So, who am I supposed to be that you're 'talking' to?"
I dunno - my pancreas, the dog, an unused test strip that's staring at me on the floor... take your pick. It really doesn't matter, does it?


Scott E said…
I hear you, Mike. Doing this personally AND professionally, with a big-ass convention thrown in the mix, would certainly overwhelm me. And it's part of the reason I keep the topic-being-discussed largely out of my Facebook feed -- that's my haven, my escape for "other stuff". Who needs reminders when you don't need reminders?

My wife has been on a geneaology-kick lately (fueled by ancestry-dot-com) -- it sure can be a time-consuming diversion! It's interesting to see that my side of the family came to the US 4 generations ago (my great-grandparents moved here), while her father and maternal grandparents were born overseas. It definitely makes for a different way of tracking things. It's also quite upsetting to see how many relatives were lost in the Nazi concentration camps; but I suspect you won't find much of that if you start looking into your own family background. It's always fascinating to see how we got here.

Speaking of Facebook feeds, I see that Riley Dog has got one now. :)
StephenS said…
Somehow, I think I've had this conversation with myself before. Sans the diabetes-writing as a career choice. Great post.
Sugarpie said…
Great post Mike. I often just read in Newsify but I clicked through to see comments on this one, you've captured so much of what goes through my head sometimes (sans the job part). First time commenting, so hi!
Laddie said…
I often think of those of you who currently have diabetes as your career as well as the stupid, relentless thing you live with. Exhilarating, but overwhelming. No great advice except to say you're doing a great job. Abby the Black lab will be so jealous to find out that Riley Dog has a Facebook page.
Bob P. said…
I've never been comfortable with describing what I experience as 'burnout' - lethargy or something, maybe. But I'm there, too. This morning I started thinking about a blog post tentatively titled "Reboot". Best of luck, friend.
Sandy said…
Great post!! Thanks!!

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