Guest Post: Thingy, Normal, and Me.
Today's guest post is from Amy, aka "collectingblues" on Twitter, who writes about her "thoughts on sewing, knitting, life, and that whole diabetes thing." Take it away, Amy!
Sunday, January 10, was the first and the last time I said the phrase “the new normal.” I was three or four days into my transition to Cyborg Pancreas, and stood in the shower, sobbing at the looks of an infusion site and the Dexcom sensor on my stomach. As I got out and toweled off, I looked down, and said to myself, “Well, this is the new normal.”
I didn’t like the sound of that phrase then, and I don’t like it now.
What is normal? I’ve been type 1 since I was 3 years old. Quite literally, being diabetic is all I know and remember. I’ve seen the transition from the Autoclix (and still shudder at the thought of using it again, to the point of preferring to stick a syringe into my finger in the absence of lancet availability) and wipe-off test strips to shiny new “clickers” and the Dexcom (often referred to as Thingy). So for me, diabetes is normal. It’s not different, or special, or another pithy cliché. It just… is.
It’s occurred to me over the past many years that what’s normal for me isn’t normal for others. While I wouldn’t say that I have a cavalier approach to the Care and Feeding of a Type 1 Diabetic, I do have a different perception of Normal than your average “normal” 30-something. Stick a sensor into your stomach? No problem. Laser surgery for retinopathy? A pain, but better than kidney failure. Poke myself with a lancet eight times a day? OK, whatever — let’s get on with it. It hit me that others don’t have this fun when a colleague was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. “Amy,” she said, “I can’t imagine always having to do this.”
Sometimes I do wonder what it would be like to not have to think so much about diabetes. What would I do with my time if I weren’t looking at CGM data, or trying to figure out a combo bolus in my head to combat a high? Would I suddenly become a five-star chef, or turn out quilted bags like Vera Bradley? Probably not. Knowing me, I’d just sit around knitting until 1:30 a.m. … just like I do now.
A few weeks before I got my Dexcom, I was at my parents’ home for a few days off at Christmas. My parents knew I wanted Thingy, and that it was a long-time coming. I had first commented to them when I got my Ping, that at a football game I had really felt “normal” when I bloused for beer. I suppose my father thought that the Dexcom was the next step. As we worked to load my car before I drove back to Pittsburgh, he leaned over, hugged me, and said, “I hope this will help make you more normal.”
“Well, Dad,” I responded with a wry grin, “I’m not sure if I would have been normal even if I weren’t diabetic.”
I’m just me.