Saturday, January 9, 2016

Paying Attention to What We Need

I know that I ought to - no, must - eat at least every two hours. My body does not work like the bodies of most people, so I eat every two hours. That seems simple, and usually this does not cause any problem. Yesterday, though, I lost track of how long it had been since I ate, even though I had eaten a good meal and did not feel hungry.

So, as we were walking back from the library I became, without any warning, ill at ease, a little bit physically unstable and anxiously aware that I needed to eat, right away, in order not to fall over. We were half a block from our destination - La Boulangerie - a wonderful bakery in our neighborhood. We went in, and I hurriedly picked something, something sweet with quick-metabolizing sugar. I had time to pay and walk to the table. I thought I had time to do those actions and eat, and thus be okay, but I did not. I was able to eat but not able to stave off what had already begun. After eating and taking some glucose pills we walked home, and I drank a glass of water and went to bed. Three hours later, I woke up and felt fine but was, in fact, worn. After staying up till bedtime, I slept ten more hours.

This is just one of those things - really, it is not too bad, and not dangerous. But it is something that changes the days of people with Type II diabetes. Everyone gets hungry; but if I wait to eat until I notice I am hungry it is likely too late to avoid an incident like this, resulting in my body needing a lot of sleep in order to get back to what seems to be normal functioning. I say "seems to be normal functioning" because that is just a guess, because during the extra sleep time I am neither eating nor hydrating - another requirement that diabetics must do regularly, not only when they are thirsty, to avoid becoming disoriented.

Aging, of course, makes changes in our bodies and in what is normal for each of us. I have been fortunate in not having too many things go wrong. The onset of diabetes a few years ago gave me a glimpse of how bodily deterioration can go. Of course, it could be much (and may later be) worse, and for many people it is. I remember thinking - really believing - that if I were ever faced with a malady or affliction that required a major change in my habitual behaviors I would simply thumb my nose at that ... and say, "Do what you will" to the disease or debility. But, as I have with alcoholism lo these many years, I have found myself willingly adjusting to The New Me. I am not the "me" I used to be, nor am I the "me" I intended or hoped to be. But I am okay with the "me" I've become, the one who needs regularity, more sleep than before and is more a human being, less a human doing.

As to this latest change, it's just one of those things.


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    1. Thank you very much for your reply. I truly appreciate it. Paying attention to all aspects of what we need - health, emotional recognition and support, sleep - is important in order that we can function well.