|Uh...I'll be out in a minute? I'm just...bleeding profusely.|
Greta knows. She knows.
Suddenly and without warning, all of these tribulations become obscure and disposable. Blood tests are preformed while merging into rush hour traffic. Injections dissolve into the ether while the needle is still fully embedded like a irksome insect.
It is only then, as the pancreatically challenged grow cold and unfeeling, that the true horrors occur. In my experience, I have noticed that these atrocities center around four unmovable truths: brutal lows, infuriating highs, evil insurance barons, and blood. SO MUCH BLOOD.
Excuse me, I'll go fetch some paper towels. Maybe a mop.
(Stay with me. I promise this will eventually relate to the topic for today.)
In just under four years, I have amassed stories featuring all four of these truths. The terror of one alone would make Stephen King pick up a set of pastels and start writing children's stories under the pseudonym Uncle Charlie Peek-a-Boo. Funny that you ask: I am deep within enemy territory concerning the evil insurance baron, which was the final straw leading to my bitter and pathetic breakup with Greta. If you're really curious, you can find the beginning of the emotional saga, and the birth of the Diabetes Hostage Cell, here.
I choose to focus on the blood play. Yes, we all love vampires with their dark seductiveness and eighties goth sensibilities until the blood sports commence. Folks change their tune at that point. We, the gentle insulin warriors, have no choice.
I was a few months into my 5:30 a.m. gym experiment, which remains a success, despite this horror show. It was a morning full of mirth and excitement: I was due for a site change, and that meant untethered gym time. When I'm fully conscious, this is a moment of great jubilation, but at 5:30 I'm forced to focus on breathing, since the rest of my body would gladly shut down that involuntary process to reclaim a few extra minutes of sleep.
I pull out the infusion site, taking what I thought was all due care. Having not thought my plan of action through completely, I then began shuffling about the bathroom, gathering clothing, brushing my teeth, seeking out toiletries I had no use for at the given moment. I then realize that I'm slipping about the floor in the bare feet. I chalk that up to the condensation from the shower, until I realize such cleansing has not yet occurred.
I know what it is before I look down. It's as if Greta knew the inevitable end was approaching, and she was making as much noise as possible in retaliation. This had happened before, with great frequency in the past few months. Either I hit something going in or yanked on something going out, because the floodgates were open, and I was bleeding like a hemophiliac at a Ginsu convention. I stood there and stared at the wound, so small yet so prolific. If I wasn't already aware of the exact dimensions of the cannula, I would have thought I had just taken shrapnel from an errant grenade tossed at my suburban abode during a predawn offensive.
Remember that bit where I roamed without purpose within my bathroom? It appeared as if I had butchered a pig within the cool walls of my sanctuary. Dexter would have had a aneurysm attempting splatter analysis. There was no rhyme or reason. Only pools of blood, continuing to grow as it still coursed down my side, over my gym pants on sneakers before settling on the tile below.
I felt the frustration, the anger, the sadness, the despair. Oh, I felt them all, welling within me, threatening to destroy any hopes for a pleasant day. Instead, I laughed. Sure, the laugh was anemic and sickly, and may have contained a few tears and epithets, but I laughed. Then I made a series of questionable decisions, including stopping the flow of blood with the shirt I was planning to wear to the gym (I wore it anyway - there was already blood all over my pants and shoes, what's one more garment?), then attempting to sop up my life juice with the ancient and forlorn towel that served as our floor mat after showering. I barely managed to push the blood further into the cracks in the tiles and under the heating element.
I still made it to the gym, survived the day, and my roommate had the kindness or simple fear of death to say nothing of the mess he must have encountered that morning.
The One Great Thing I do in this Sisyphean journey is handle the total muck-ups with humor and my own type of grace, black and clumsy as it all may seem to the outsider. I once knew a man that would fall apart at such a scene, the same man that was forced to pull over on route 30 because he couldn't see the road through his tears as he rushed to his third doctor's appointment in two hours, overwhelmed beyond any sense of rational thought.
That man may not be dead, but his remains will never be found. If he still draws breath, I'd check in the Diabetes Hostage Cell. Odds are he's found a home within those cold walls.
Congratulations on making it through that death march of a post. I owe you an extra internets for your efforts.