Saturday, November 21, 2015

"The Talk"

Or, how to introduce people to your diabetes. Specifically, people you are dating.

I recently had to give "the talk" to someone, and I was embarrassed at how embarrassed I sounded. For all my reasonable discussion with my students and contemplation on this here blog, I blushed and stuttered and made light of everything.

I skimmed details, I made everything sound like "no big deal." Because it's not. But also, it totally is. And it doesn't get in my way and yet it does all the time. More like, it gets in my way but it certainly doesn't stop me from going forward. And I want the person I'm spending time with to understand that a sticky high blood sugar doesn't feel good and it might make me cranky, and tired, and yet it's also not life threatening. I'm embarrassed and unhappy about it, but there's no need to worry, unless there's a lot of them happening and maybe I'm not taking care of myself the way I should and maybe then they do worry. I want them to understand that a low blood sugar is something I can generally handle on my own, but sometimes I need a break afterwards. And they might have to push me into that. That three short buzzes means, lower than I'd like but I'm fine, and 4 buzzes means, check in with me, and that two buzzes means, I don't even want to stop and talk about it.

I'd like them to know that I was sick, really sick, and sad, really sad, before I was diagnosed. That it was scary, and it's changed me, and I no longer feel optimistic and trusting and confident in quite the same way. But I am still all those things, in varying degrees, most of the time.

But to express these things is to be vulnerable. It's taking away the jokes, the fun, it makes you more of a real person. It's explaining that you're going to need to lean on the other person. It's giving them a glimpse into the future, when there will be times you won't be able to keep up. It's asking this person to take care of you, or at least prepare themselves to take care of you. And maybe some of these things are the things that I am the worst in the world at asking for. (Just maybe. Okay yes I am.)

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