Friday, September 30, 2011

Friends in low places....

I'm popular. I have lots of friends. Well, sort of. I have lots of FaceBook friends, but only see about 50 of them in any given year. I do, however, have a handful of close friends that I cherish deeply. Most are evil bitches, such as myself, with sick senses of humor and husbands that run the other way when we are all together. To me, my diabetes is an after thought. To some of them, its something unknown and scary at times. This, I find fascinating.
My bestest friend (lovingly referred to as my Nestor) and I attended nursing school together. So she has a medical background, and a pretty decent grasp on the whole 'betes thing. She's tested my sugar and administered insulin while I was in drunken stupors, she makes fun of me when my pump tubing gets hung up on things, and she feeds me when I'm low. It ain't no thang to her.
On another front, I have a newish friend, one whom I get along with like she was my and the Nestor's long lost triplet (scary, huh?). She has a medical-like background, but no experience with the 'betes, other than drawing labs on patients that require testing. I have been very surprised at the level of discomfort I have placed her in when describing a glucose of 32 mg/dL...or 500 mg/dL (I had a bad pump site, NO judging).
I'm an educator...eradicating diabetic ignorance is my why do I find educating my new friends about my chronic disease so awkward?? Do I sit her ass down and give her "Diabetes 101"? Do I print out info from JDRF? Or do I let her wing it, and learn as we go?? WhyTF am I struggling with this? And how do I assure her that my almost 20 years of experience as a diabetic is legit, and she doesn't have to call Dr. C when I look like I'm about to fall over or puke?
I laugh, because SO many people are diabetically naive, and some of the things that people believe to be true, are total CRAP! Just yesterday, Dr. C and I celebrated the fact that we haven't assassinated one another all week (I've been working as his nurse) with a jumbo cupcake. ANOTHER Dr in our practice passive-aggressively berated us! Said there was something "wrong" with 2 insulin pumpers eating cupcakes, and that it didn't exactly set the right example. I almost flew across the counter. UMMMM oh yeah??? Well my MoFo cupcake was good, and I'll eat another one in front of you, just because I can (please make it red velvet, this time)!!!! But then I get annoyed that my new friend brings me a peach bellini mix with 8,000 carbs in it. How DO I set the right example? How DO I reach this happy medium??
SURE!! I can eat cake and drink alcohol, but No, no thanks...that sushi roll makes my sugar spike so I can't eat it...oh, and that bellini mix, no way...I'll go sky high. Am I making this up as I go along? Does anyone else do this???

Maybe we need to set up a "New Friend Orientation 101 Basics, Version 1.1" for all new peeps in our life? Heck if I know. But if so, I'll bring the cake and margaritas!

a confuzzled Nurse Kelley

PS. Dr. C just told me I looked "off"...well maybe because my sugar is YES, I just wrote this ENTIRE post under the influence of hypoglycemia...Yeah, I kind of rock like that.


  1. I vote, "Wing it" (and now I want Wings n More, dammit). It's still new to her, but she'll figure it out. We forget that people don't deal with life or death situations daily(because truly, extreme highs and lows can be that type of situation). It's old hat for people like us. She's probably afraid she's going to screw up and send you to the hospital, because she doesn't know how to help you. She lurrrrvs you, so she's just worried. Y'all will figure out a balance soon. In the mean time, eat a cupcake. That should help your sugas. ;P

  2. I never sit friends down for diabetes lessons. That's just not how I roll. Most of the time I will casually say something like "Oh, I need to figure out the carbs for this so I can bolus properly." And people seem to just pick up the lingo. Friends who REALLY care will either ask me questions or do their own homework. So that's nice.

    As for the cupcake / bellini dilemma, I would point out that while you CAN eat and drink what you want, eating high-carb high-sugar foods simply make things a little challenging. I also point out that foods and drinks affect different PWDs differently. Cupcakes work well for you, but sugary alcohol doesn't. Whereas for someone else, they might be all over the alcohol but not so much with the cake. I personally don't indulge much in cereal, but I love potatoes.

    I think the best thing is to explain things in a very generic way when she asks, and the rest of the time just say, "Your Diabetes May Vary." :)

  3. I've found that most of my pancretin friends (that's what I call those non-d peopls) learn a couple of ways, but I don't force it. First, the more time they spend with me the more they are curious about my testing, insulin, highs, lows, etc. Secondly, they will hear me dispel the usual ignorant claims from others who are naive enough to still think sugar caused me to become T1. We as diabetics are given a crash course and a scared straight speech at diagnosis but those who have beta cells that work don't need to. IMHO Enjoyed your writings and your words were very coherent for a 49.

    Brad S.
    Meter Boy