World Diabetes Day 2011: Act on Diabetes Now.
I reach over to turn off my alarm, only to realize that the noise is coming from the Dexcom receiver, buzzing away in the glass on my bedside table. The alarm clock doesn't look familiar. The blinds covering the window are swaying from the heat being pumped into the room.
And then I remember that I'm in South Carolina. And I'm in a guest room. And I'm alone.
I know I need to do something. I'm just not sure what. I click my thumb against the Dexcom receiver button and see "LOW." No numbers; just words. And then I fall back asleep.
Minutes pass like months, and the Dexcom beeps again. I reach for my glucose meter and load a test strip into it. It gives a little beep of acknowledgement. And I fall back asleep again.
Am I sleeping? Am I drifting in and out of consciousness? I can't tell. I just know that the pillows are damp from my low-induced sweat, but they feel so comfortable. Closing my eyes is the only thing I want to do, despite the tiny voice in the back of my mind, screaming at the top of its lungs: "Drink the juice."
Another lifetime passes by, and I remember licking the blood off my finger after testing, but I don't recall the number on my meter. My brain isn't thinking rationally. I can only think in short bursts of sentences, most of them imperative, regressing my internal monologue to that of a neanderthal.
"Get juice. Drink juice. No sleep. Stay awake. Hold bottle to face. Drink."
I drink it. The room starts to come into focus. I remember that I'm at a friend's house. I remember that I am meeting with people that morning. I remember my name, and that I have diabetes. These memories come back to me in lightning bolts of realization. The juice bottle in my hand is empty, and my shirt is damp from sweat.
"Ew," I say to myself, running my fingers through my hair and shaking loose the ropes of ponytail that have slicked themselves to the back of my neck. But I'm still not back, still not sure. What happened? What almost happened? I think about Chris. I think about Birdy. I think about how far away I am, and how far away I just was.
Today is World Diabetes Day. As many as three million people are living with type 1 diabetes in this country. While so much progress has been made in research and advocacy, community and technology, this disease still lives with us every day. And every day, we work tirelessly to keep it from gaining the upper hand. Some days are easy. Some days are hard. But no days are off.
Diabetes never rests. And neither can we. We must act on diabetes now.
The alarm clock goes off. It's time to wake up. Only I'm awake. I'm wide awake.