Saturday, September 14, 2013

Day 8 - Does Managing Diabetes Take 14 Hours a Week?

This post is inspired by a disability fund here in Canada in the time of tax refunds. There is a portion of the tax refund that states that if you have a disability you can get some money back with an income tax return. Diabetes is specifically on that list but it states that in order for a disability to be valid one must be in a fatal state, need constant attention, or with diabetes specifically, it states that the care and support that one provides themselves with must add up to 14 hours a week and this 14 hours must be `tangible`. Meaning that the time it takes me to record the bg results each day, count carbs, test for the bg results must take me 14 hours or more which does not take me 14 hours a week therefore with all `tangible` evidence I nor most other diabetics are able to receive this tax refund for the disability that is diabetes.

This post is about the time that it takes to manage diabetes, the time that diabetics must be aware of themselves regarding diabetes and it is much more than 14 hours a week. Diabetes is something that is on our minds, something that concerns us every waking hour, something that we must factor in within all of our activities, something that limits us from doing what we would like, something that limits us financially. Diabetes is not something that takes 14 hours a week of our life, it takes our entire lives.

Diabetes is a dis-ease of the endocrine system and the endocrine system is the system that regulates homeostasis throughout the body through process of specific functions. The Pancreas is the organ that regulates blood sugar through various processes. In diabetics the pancreas either doesn't or has limited capability of regulating the blood sugar. Since blood runs throughout your body it is going to affect the entire body when/as the pancreas isn't operational and thus diabetics must consider the entire body within their actions, must consider the consequences and affects of all choices that we make in a day and whether or not it is going to affect the blood sugar or affect any other part of the body through/as the movement of blood. Within this there are many times within a day that I/we must keep in consideration our actions, we must decide how much insulin we need based on any exercise that we are doing, we must calculate whether or not we need food before the exercise, we must consider if we have injected our basal rate insulin before we've done the exercise, whether or not that amount of basal rate is going to have `too much` of an affect if we exercise and whether or not it will cause a low. And If we are unsure of all these things, which many of the times we are, we need to expect the `worst`, expect a low, expect a high and always keep food and insulin on ourselves so that we can keep ourselves alive and `healthy`

Diabetes doesn't only affect our health, it affects our lifestyles as well. It affects the choices and decision that we must make regarding our jobs, our education, our relationships, our geographical locations. For example, when I decided to go back to school to get the credits I needed for university; diabetes was my main concern, it was also my main limitation. Since the job that I had has benefits which helps out extensively with paying for insulin, meters, test strips, needles, I needed to keep the job. I had to switch to nights so that I could attend school. If I didn't have diabetes I would've stopped working and focused on school full time, but I needed to have the money for diabetes which meant that it was a limitation on the choices that I was able to make regarding school and further education. I am confident that I am not the only example of this.

Again, within work I must consider so many changes in the day/year/month/minute and calculate what the body needs within that moment because there are a lot of factors that are going to influence the blood sugar, I mean even a climate change from winter to summer affects the rate of insulin sensitivity that I must recalculate each time the weather changes, and even if it is a cold cloudy day within the fall it is going to change and I must calculate that each time that I eat and inject insulin. If the calculations are not correct or if it is the beginning of a season I must be aware of myself within whatever I am doing which means that I must separate myself from the experience of socializing, or separate myself from the experience of watching a movie, separate myself from whatever I am doing within that moment and bring myself back here with the body and check up on it to see if what I have calculated is accurate, see if I am going low, see if I am running high and then accordingly adjust the calculations and make the corrections needed within that one moment.

This process is so redundant that when I asked my endocrinologist if she would `co-sign` or be the representative for myself within the tax refund she said that she would `look` at it, but had high doubts that it would follow through because she has `tried` before with other patients only to have the government deny the request for the disability refund.

Another perspective within this is when I was 14 previous to being diagnosed my life was basically being set out in absolution. Meaning that who I was when I was 14 I was basically going to live for the rest of my life. Who I was when I was 14 was a slacker, I already had the conditioning to be a person who goes out and drinks every night, who only looks for their `next high`. I would have had done `nothing` with my life other than party and indulge in sex, masturbation, drugs, alcohol, I had no aspirations to do anything `worth while` in my life. When I was diagnosed with diabetes all that changed immediately, and my `life` in that regards was destroyed because of diabetes…I am not complaining the slightest about that change. I am grateful for diabetes in that respect because looking at it now, I would not like to have been what I was becoming in those years and am much more `happy`/ satisfied with who I am now.

Just because the tangible evidence of recording glucose readings and testing and carb counting does not add up to 14 hours within a week does not mean that diabetes does not take up 14 hours a week of our life. It in fact takes up out ENTIRE LIVES, it destroys our life for the better or for the worse and we must change ourselves to adapt to diabetes so that we can take care of ourselves, change our diets, change our habits of that which will affect the endocrine system, watch our stress levels, stop ourselves from stressing ourselves out, and each of these things takes time. Consider taking out all sugar from your diet, all things that have sugar in them, bread, milk, crackers, cereals…the list goes on, and managing the reactions that your going to go through by stopping sugar within your diet because you have diabetes. It limits what we can do, no scuba diving because if we go low under the ocean we probably won't be able to surface fast enough to treat the low with food, no sporadic travelling because we must plan everything out before hand so that we know that we have what we need to support ourselves, no living in the woods because we are reliant on hospitals and medications from pharmacies, you get the picture.

It is an absurdity that the government has the audacity to suggest that diabetes must take 14 hours a week of our life in order to receive a financial benefit for having diabetes when the medications and test strips when taking proper care of ourselves are above $500CDN a month without insurance (I've been there). It is absurd that our doctors are not even willing to push this point for us because they find it redundant and a `waste of time`.

Diabetes does not take 14 hours a week, It takes OUR LIVES!

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