Monthly Archives: July 2013
When I was in seventh grade, my English teacher structured an entire lesson around the children’s book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Though the topic of the book is not without controversy (people draw parallels to an ungrateful child who keeps taking from a parent who enables the greedy behavior), this lesson was a little different. And it’s a lesson that has stuck with me to this very day. If you’re not familiar with the book, you should either go get a copy (now!!), or be warned that I’m about to reveal the ending. Not that knowing the ending of this book will ruin it or anything, but still — SPOILER ALERT!!
The story is about the interactions between a boy and a tree. At the beginning of the book, when the boy was a young child, he would play on the tree: climb it, swing from it, and eat its apples. Then the boy’s priorities changed. His visits became more and more infrequent, and when he did, greed had taken over. What follows are a few quotes from the boy in subsequent pages:
On Monday, I’ll be starting a new job. (The job change itself has nothing to do with diabetes, though I still hope to work in a role that somehow relates to it, someday). But the switch does have some diabetes related implications.
First, I’ll be transitioning from a field-related job to a desk job. This means less time on my feet and more time in a chair. It will likely translate into less exercise, and therefore higher blood sugars. That, in turn, will lead to higher basal insulin rates. This is not a good thing.
But, being in an office environment means that I’ll have a desk rather than a backpack. There will be my own space, in a climate-controlled environment, where I can stash backup insulin, glucose tabs, and even meters, without fear of them getting lost, broken, or cooked. That’s a good thing. (It’s also easier on my back!).
If there’s one thing all people with diabetes have in common (or, who’ve had it for at least a year), it’s that we take shortcuts.
At one time, it was shameful and embarrassing. I remember my father once giving me a stern lecture about my taking shortcuts. (Maybe it was about diabetes, maybe it was about homework. I really don’t remember).
Nowadays, taking shortcuts aren’t only tolerated, but they’re expected. They’re celebrated. Shortcuts are a sign of confidence and independence. Only the timid and hesitant do things the long way.
(Last week, I attended a demo of ShugaTrak, a simple and easy way for parents to keep track of their kids’ blood sugars via automated text messages. I’ll write more about that sometime soon. When the presentation began with the loading a new lancet in the Delica device, I sarcastically asked what that step was for, much to the amusement of the crowd).
But where do these shortcuts come from? Are they learned or taught? There was a time when I did everything by-the-book, and I’m not quite sure what made me change.
Remember: I’m not a doctor and this isn’t medical advice. In fact, everything discussed below is wrong, and should never be done. Never, ever, ever. This post is written only for the purpose of telling stories of my past, and I disclaim responsibility from any ideas or actions someone else might try as a result of my own rebelliousness.
Once upon a time, the Internet was thought to be like a high-speed road. Some thought of the Information Highway as a path towards unfamiliarity and confusion, much like the Jackie Robinson Parkway which twists and turns through parks and cemeteries before dumping you amid the streets of Brooklyn. Others thought of it as a way to make more distant locales seem closer, like Interstate 80 which can guide me from my home in New Jersey to San Francisco, California without making a single turn. But, like a highway, it was one-dimensional, both in who used it (techy-type people) and what it carried (text.)
Then it went from being one Highway to an intricate lattice of highways that not only crossed continents, but somehow crossed oceans as well. Its reach connected to every type of home and every type of person. They called the network of roads the World Wide Web. Software programmers used little spinning earth-icons to reinforce its long and multi-dimensional reach.
But the World wasn’t big enough for some. They had to make it even bigger and expand the metaphor beyond the third rock from the sun and into space that hasn’t yet been fully discovered. Entering: CyberSpace. Its capabilities had again expanded, but its user-base was lagging.
Towards the beginning of the year, there was a big push to encourage our elected officials to vote in favor of supporting the Special Diabetes Program, which is used to help fund research, treatment, and education. I wrote a post on this blog – an unpopular one, it seems – where I questioned whether the United States government, already up to our eyeballs in debt, should be giving money to “special interests” such as SDP. Eventually, I did fill out the online form to send a letter to my Congressmen, though I had reservations at the time. (The SDP passed, by the way).
Well, I’ve had a change of heart.