Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Simple Meals

I'd like to share another post by my friend Sherry. She has some wonderful posts that she has sent me and she always has a great story to tell. Today's post hit me especially hard because I know how true it rings. When is the last time you had a simple meal? Truly?

Most of the time I don't even realize how much time diabetes takes.  I mean, you just test, bolus, calibrate, test again, etc all the time without thinking about it.  Food doesn't look like food....it looks like carbs and numbers and boluses and wondering if you are going to get anywhere close to matching everything and not feel like crap later. 
I haven't been diabetic all my life.  I used to sit down and eat without thinking of anything but the food.  I can sort of remember "before diabetes", but not really.  The first year of my diabetic life was so chaotic.  I was diagnosed with type 2 and given medicine. I tried so hard to keep it between the lines, blood sugar wise.  I measured everything, sized everything, even picked the shredded carrots out of salad lest a tiny carb pass my lips.  I could give you the carb count on any rock or breath of air you wanted.  Of course, none of this worked.  Terrible blood sugars all the time, totally sick and the weight dropping off at an alarming rate. When I was finally diagnosed with type 1 and started using the insulin I so desperately needed, things were much better, but the anal retentive eating continued. 
I was sitting in Sonic drive- in while ago, waiting on food for my son and his friend.  I watched 4 beautiful children playing about in the little courtyard while their parents waited at an outside table for the food .  It was a gorgeous May Saturday afternoon, and my mind was just wandering about...thinking of the busy day I had just finished. When the food arrived, the children scurried to the table and sat like baby robins, waiting for Mom to dole out the brown paper bags of dinner. With mild interest I kept watching as the family unwrapped hamburgers while popping fries into their mouths.
All at once, I was shocked out of my daydream by I know not what emotion. My entire body startled.  It felt like someone had poked me with electricity!  The shock was from the realization that I had just watched a family begin eating and no one had bolused.  No one took out their pump, tested blood sugar, calibrated a sensor, or looked at what they were eating.  They just sat there and ate.  I just sat there and watched. 
I really can't put a name on what I felt while watching this.  As I'm writing this a few hours later, I still can't find words to explain it.  Something so commonplace for me, something I do every time food enters my mouth......this family knew nothing of it.                                                                                                                                                                                  

By direct contrast, while I tested, calibrated, eyed my food and bolused for lunch today, I found eyes on me....looking bewildered.  I was at a picnic with some casual friends and just did my diabetes thing right there while sitting in the grass with my hamburger.  I really didn't think anything of it, didn't think anyone was paying attention to me. My curious lunch mate asked lots of questions, which I answered to him and the several other folks sitting with me.  When I finished talking, everyone was totally silent as they lit into their lunches, peering over their sandwiches with an " I could never do that every time I ate" look on their faces. Well, you would if you wanted to live, I would have answered if the question had been voiced.  
There are times when the full force of diabetes hits me right between the eyes.  Today was one of them.  I still don't know how I feel about it......the blow is so hard I can't think.

Sheery Neergaard lives in the Nashville area. She was (mis)diagnosed with T2 diabetes in 2005, and rediagnosed with T1 (adult onset) diabetes in 2006. Married to her best friend Daryl for 27 years, she is mother to college student Corey and special needs son Elijah. Daryl and Sherry are houseparents at Tennessee Baptist Children's Home.

In her free time (!), Sherry loves squaredancing, gardening, sewing, playing handbells, writing, and most any kinds of craft. She is a former elementary school teacher and hopes to return to school to become a registered nurse...in her words "just for fun."


George said...

I vaguely remember life before diabetes and the simple meal. It is so foreign now.

You are absolutely right that when I look at food, I see numbers.

Awesome post.

Thank you Cara for posting it!!!

Fiona said...

I really enjoyed this post. I struggle with the "I could never do what you have to do" comment every time I hear it. It feels like pity and that just burns me up.

Debra said...

The simple meal, wow what's that? This is totally how I feel. I have just been diagnosed for 7 months now, and I would just love to eat without so much thought and preparation, calculations, sometimes I feel like just not eating at all.