Thursday, November 3, 2011

Don't Let Diabetes Piss On Your Carpet

Photo by Joke du Jour
Diabetes is a LOT of responsibility. It's like suddenly being forced to have a crazed pet that you never intended on having, that you CAN'T say 'no thanks' to, that you CAN'T give back, and that it's not even cute! It's an attention whore, it's expensive (the feeding it, taking it to the vet, getting it appropriate gear, appropriate medical tests, etc.), and if you don't control it, it goes off tearing up all the rooms in your house, destroying your toilette paper, pissing on your carpet, and ruining your good shoes. It will especially do these things when you're NOT paying attention; when you're away, and your mind's focused on other things, and often, BECAUSE your mind is focused on other things.  

"You're crazy, Liz... How can Diabetes piss on my carpet??"

... Well, maybe not literally... :)

But every time you ignore your diabetes, or the longer you have lived with the struggle of controlling high blood glucose, it's a little bit like Diabetes is running amok in your blood stream. High blood glucose levels are more than just a little inconvenience -- aside from the dehydration, and morning after hangover feelings, and mood swings -- they can slowly cause damage to the many nerves, capillaries, and blood vessels that support, connect, and feed our organs; they can damage our organs themselves. If we don't do our best to control Diabetes, it can, potentially, really get out of hand. It can, figuratively, piss on your carpet.

It's because of this potential 'havoc' that there are many areas of our overall health that we must monitor, like our heart, our feet, our kidneys, our eyes, our teeth, etc.  Finding the time, commitment, money, and insurance coverage support to care for all of these can be challenging, and sometimes intimidating.

Now imagine having to do all of this... without health insurance.


Welcome to MY world.

When you are Diabetic, and have NO health insurance, it can be easy to emotionally 'give up' with the mounting pressures of managing an expensive disease, and it can be easy to feel guilty that you can't have some of the things you need; you can become a bit complacent.  But I want you to stop right there, and don't feel sorry for yourself: the internet is your friend. Repeat after me: THE INTERNET IS YOUR FRIEND. Make sure to do research, every day, and scour the very ends of the vast internet arena for some answers.  Do NOT take no for an answer, do NOT stop looking, and never, EVER, give up.  Just because some people out there may think that people like you, and me, should die without any appropriate care (because of their own misinformed, personal biases), does NOT mean that everyone else feels this way.  Just because our health care system is broken, and because some doctors may work just for money, does not mean that there aren't doctors are out there, volunteering and sacrificing, every day... honoring their Hippocratic Oath. LOOK for them.

Enter the American Optometric Association.

For some time now, since before diagnosis, I've been experiencing eye flashes, either on my left eye (most aggressively), and sometimes, on my right eye.  I've been somewhat scared.  A cousin of mine who lives too far away to visit, and is an optometrist, told me I needed to get to an eye doctor immediately because this was a potential retinal tear. All the what ifs started running through my mind... what if I was diagnosed just a bit too shy of being able to avoid complications? What if this is the start of retinopathy? What if all of this is going to send me into BANKRUPTCY?!

Well...  The American Optometric Association has a program called "Vision USA," through which volunteer Optometrists have helped hundreds of thousands of low income families since 1991 with basic eye care. Just some basic eye exams, and some good ol' love for their fellow human beings. Basic eye care can go a long way into catching issues early, and preventing further complications from some gone ignored. I would have NEVER known about this, had I not done a little googling and filled out some forms. Vision USA helped pair me up with an eye doctor just BLOCKS from where I live, and that doctor did  more than just some basic eye tests... He did extensive tests on me, including a dilated pupil eye exam, today, FOR FREE. To further my peace of mind, all my tests came out great.  For now, at least, there's NOTHING wrong with my vision that can't, perhaps, be attributed to exhaustion, or aging... And that's worth a LOT for me to hear.

When every little penny pinched counts... there are just not enough ways to say THANK YOU.  Thank you SO MUCH.

And when your diabetes pet wants to piss on your carpet... don't fret; get on the 'net.  Whether it's for emotional support, or volunteer help... You are NOT alone.


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