I've been putting off this appointment for a few months.
I hate needles. Any needle I'm not controlling makes me feel faint. (I've talked about this irony before.) So the idea of offering up that sensitive little fleshy crease of my arm to the phlembotomist makes me pale with panic. Also, blood sugars have been a little nutty lately, fluctuating wildly after Grammie passed away and taking several months to sort of reclaim their sanity, so I haven't been feeling like a well-controlled diabetic.
In fact, I've been feeling a little crummy about the whole thing entirely.
It's hard to avoid paying attention to diabetes, considering where I work and what I do for a living. It's a large part of my life and one that, even if I didn't want to pay attention to it, I don't have much of a choice. Ignoring it for a morning is one thing, but ignoring it for more than a few hours is non-negotiable. Eventually, it forces you to listen, one way or the other.
So I had the paperwork for my A1c blood work sitting in my desk drawer for a few weeks. I called and made an appointment, but then rescheduled it due to the weather, my weekend plans, my mood, the cat's mood ... anything that seemed like it could stand for a second as a reason to reschedule, I rescheduled. I ignored.
An A1c, to me, is my diabetes report card. Even though I know I should have this test every three months or so, I haven't had one since last June. I haven't wanted to find this number out because I'm afraid it will be higher than I'd like. But it's always higher than I'd like. I'm diabetic. I just needed to suck it up and find out what that blasted number is and move on.
I made an appointment for this morning, 7:30 am. No excuses. The alarm went off this morning and I thought about snoozing through, but I woke up. I got dressed. And I drove there.
"I'm here for an A1c and microalbumin test. I'm Kerri." I stuck out my hand, insurance card at the ready. Paperwork filled out. Consent form signed.
In the chair, I pulled up the sleeve of my sweater and closed my eyes.
"I can't watch. It makes me feel weak. So I'm going to look over here, okay?"
The lab technician started laughing. "Lady, you said you had diabetes?"
"Yes, since I was a kid, but I'm scared of needles. I know, I know."
The elastic band snapped tight arouind my arm. "Okay, quick pinch ..." I felt the hot spike of a needle against my inner arm and my stomach leapt in response.
"So tell me about yourself," I said to the corner of the wall, hoping my words would bounce back to the man who was holding my arm.
"My mom has diabetes. Type 2. She's on insulin twice a day. You take insulin?"
"I do. I have an insulin pump, though." I gestured flailing towards the pocket of my jeans, where my pump was clipped.
"No kidding! That's cool. I thought it was a beeper. I'm gonna have to tell my mom about that. Damn, no more shots? That's cool." The pinch in my arm shifted a bit. "We're almost done. I used a butterfly needle instead of the big needle, so it would hurt less." His smile bounced off the corner of the wall and into my ears.
"Thanks. 'Butterfly' makes it sound so cute and nice, even though it's still a needle."
"Yeah, but it's important that you have your A1c checked, diabetes and all. You need to take good care of yourself." He removed the elastic from my arm and slipped the needle out of my skin. A bandaid was applied to my "wound."
"All set. You did a good job. And you know what? That didn't hurt a bit, right?" He asked me, taking off his gloves and folding his arms.
"Not a bit. Thanks."
Back in the car. Driving to work early, watching the morning commuters traveling beneath me as I crossed the overpass of 95 southbound, into New York. The sun warmed the seats of my VW and caused the windows of the houses I passed to wink at me.
My A1c result may not be what I'm hoping for. It won't be "perfect." It won't be ideal. But knowing it will give me the chance to change it.