Twelve Angry Hemoglobins

I just came back from my appointment with my endo.  I didn’t go in with particularly high expectations, but I still came out feeling kind of low (and I don’t mean my blood sugar).

It all started in a typical exam room when a friendly physician’s assistant came in to check my height, weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and all that fun stuff.  Then she leafed through that blue folder with my first and last name on it making sure everything is in order.  Height, weight, BP, BG, pulse properly recorded: check. Eye doctor report: check.  A1C results —

That was in there too.

Then she closed the folder and carried it out of the room.

I felt like I was sitting at the defense table, watching the judge just peek at the verdict before handing it back to the jury to be read.   She already knew if I’d be deserving of chocolate or coal in my stocking this Christmas  (umm… about that:  no one ever gives me chocolate … and I’m Jewish … and it’s practically summer.  Moving on…), but I had to wait .

Sure, I knew that I’d done wrong.  When it comes to respecting the limits of diabetes, I’ve fractured an occasional law.   Hell, I’ve blatantly and willfully partaken of the forbidden fruit, then tried to cover my tracks with a few extra units of insulin, but that was more than three months ago and beyond this A1C’s statute of limitations.  For this most recent period, I’ve tried.  I really, really tried to do good.  But when you spend lots of time around people whose eating habits should be a crime, it’s hard not to commit a few misdemeanors yourself.

But now’s the time to see if there was enough evidence to convince the Twelve Angry Hemoglobins  (does that even make any sense?!)  to put a damning mark on that lab result slip sitting in the blue folder.

Finally, the doctor entered the room, carrying with that same folder.

On the count of A1C…

He opened the folder.  “Well, there’s no protein in your urine.  That’s good news.  Your kidneys are working fine!”

…we, the Hemoglobin Jury…

“Hop up on the exam table, let me check your feet.  Can you feel this?  Good.”

…find the diabetic…

“Well, the average of your meter readings and your CGM readings is …blah blah blah… but your A1C is…”

(dramatic pause)

“…consistent with last time.”  Then he gave me the number.

The number was just a tenth or two-tenths of a percent higher than last time.  Sure, that’s pretty close to last time.  But last time was also just one or two tenths of a percent higher than the previous one.  And the same with the one before that.  In fact, this trend is ongoing for a long time, and I think this is my highest A1C in over five years. See the consistency?

* * *

As I write this, it’s shortly after 1 p.m.  Looking out the window, the storm clouds (and obnoxiously loud thunder) that greeted me when I woke up have disappeared, and a bright yellow sun is shining in a clear blue sky.   Despite the disheartening news in this morning’s drama, I’m a free man, and I can run outside and do cartwheels on the front lawn if I choose.  (And if I knew how).

But right now, it still feels dark and cloudy inside of me.  If this morning had been a real courtroom trial, I’d probably be confined to a dingy old cell somewhere, sitting on a bench next to another PWD who can’t seem to pull things together.  We’d share stories of D-thuggery, see whose lancets are more blünt, create beautiful music using our CGM alert tones, and have a grand old time.  It would be fun, and we’d be friends – partners in crime, so to speak.  I kinda wish it went that way.

Instead, it’s just me, sitting alone at my PC, with complex thoughts in my head and a somber expression on my face.  It’s not all about my results today.  My control with diabetes has been slipping away in the past month while my frustration has been steadily increasing.  Why?  How?  Why not?  These questions go unanswered both in the decisions I make and in my body’s response to those decisions.  I find myself blaming my supplies and myself.  Peer pressure and persistent pains.

The Online Community is great, but right now I could sure use an Offline PWD-Friend.  I’ve been fortunate that I’ve never been through bouts of diabetes-related depression, and a part of me is scared that this could be the start of one.  Hopefully, it’s just a streak of bad luck, bad blood sugars, and bad responses to food and insulin that will soon pass.  I’m generally pretty easy-going and don’t keep negative thoughts bottled inside.  Only this time I have them.  It would be nice to share them with someone who also understands.

I think I’m going to try to find a diabetes support group in my area.  I’m starting to see the value in these things.  I doubt I’ll find one, but at least I’ll try.  Where do I go for that… JDRF?  Google?

* * *

Well, look at that.  This post started as thought-out, scripted prose, and then took a turn and went to shit.  But at least I got to use the word hemoglobin a few times.  That silly-sounding word always puts a bit of a smile on my face and a fun, cartoonish mental image in my head.

Hemoglobin.  🙂


Posted on May 4, 2012, in Diabetes, DOC, Personal, Support, Type 1, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Aw man .. I know it’s cliche to say this, but we’ve all been there. And it stinks. I hope you do find some PWD’s in your area – there are likely others thinking very similar thoughts as you .. and hopefully you can connect. If not, you always have the DOC. We’re here for ya.


    • Yes, it’s cliche, but it’s still helpful to hear. I know there are some other T1s in my area (I got in touch with one on TuDiabetes before moving here, but then lost touch — another lives around the block, but she’s a lot younger and it would just seem creepy). I’ve got this false impression that everyone with T1 is very open and forthcoming about it – but I know that’s not true… everyone isn’t as awesome and supportive as DOC folks.


  2. No guilt. It is what it is. And now you start again. Just don’t overdo, pick one thing at a time to change/improve/delete.
    And finally – IT’S JUST A NUMBER!


    • One thing at a time is great advice. Later at that doctor appointment, I wanted to change this, that, and the other… but they told me to hold off on changing “the other”. Mess with two many things, and there’s no telling what will happen, or what caused it. But I know I’ve done better before, so I should be able to do it again.


  3. having a few friends in the face-to face world helps — just becaus e you can catch thier ey e – and they get it .

    not in a great place myself regarding my diabetes – but one number at a time.


    • Your right; being able to have a true exchange, a sentence at a time with immediate feedback – even in expressions if not words – helps (I hope you speak from experience and not speculation). That’s kind of what I was looking for when I wrote that… otherwise you spill your guts in a ton of paragraphs, like I did, and keep checking the in-box to see who replied. It causes just a different kind of stress.


  4. i know how that feels. but it is just a number, and doesn’t define your diabetes or who you are as a person.

    and you can do this, one day at a time.

    as far as local PWDs go, you can check with your local JDRF chapter. all are supposed to have adult t1 groups going, but not all do. another place to check is with your endo. also, if you want to email me where you live, i can do some research and tweet and see if we can find some PWDs in your area.

    you are never alone. ❤


    • Jess, I am so glad you responded and that you’ve offered to help. I read pretty much everything you write on your blog, and so much of it sticks in my mind because the stories are so similar.

      The support groups I’ve found so far, looking online, are all at hospitals, and that setting doesn’t quite sit well with me. To be authentic and to really relate, that “we are not medical professionals” disclaimer has to apply. Also, for some reason, I’d like it to be separate from my own endo’s office (I can’t explain why). I should probably get on Twitter myself (I suppose my reluctance is a sign that I’m getting old!) and see what I can find, but I might take you up on your offer!

      Never alone. Thanks for reminding me of the obvious!


  5. Although I love the DOC, I agree face-to-face meetings are good just to be able to talk in person with someone that gets it. Most of the ones that I went to back in the old days were put on by the hospital. There is a diabetes center here (owned by the hospital) that has them. The gang out in MN has their own monthly meetups. Maybe there is a local paper or something you could try to set your own up and just meet at a coffee shop or something.


    • Well, I’ve decided to take to Twitter to see whose out there (not just in a “lean-on-me” sense, but in general). I know there’s a d-blogger out there who lives not too far from me! But a coffee shop is kinda what I had in mind. Also, there was a whole crew of prominent T1s from all over the country who flew in to the area to witness the unveiling of the iBGstar last week. The meter doesn’t interest me much (I’m an Android-guy), but Sanofi is just 25 minutes down the road from me, and it would’ve been nice to say hello if I had the chance.


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