“History teaches us that men behave wisely once they’ve exhausted all other alternatives.” (Still Crazy)
I recently faced the realization of my unwise actions that had been ongoing for several years.
Diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic two decades ago, my lifestyle choices—excess weight and minimal exercise—were responsible for developing the disease. My body’s inability to utilize insulin effectively led to a significant increase in blood sugar levels.
A healthy teenager could consume a large pack of Skittles, four glazed donuts, an enormous baked potato, and a liter of Dr. Pepper with no issues. Their body would quickly release insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. However, my body struggles to process even simple foods like rice or bread, as my system has become insulin resistant.
High blood sugar has various unpleasant consequences. For me, the most noticeable is excessive thirst. Long before I was a diabetic, I was thirstier than most people, and the disease worsened that significantly. In addition, two of the anti-diabetic medications I’m on have the side effect of increased thirst. When combining these factors, it becomes apparent why I must constantly drink to stave off dehydration.
Becky packs a cooler with several drinks when planning to be out for extended periods. Attending church services involves carrying two sugar-free soft drinks plus a bottle of water. I usually consume at least two gallons of iced tea daily at home. Consequently, I always need to be close to a restroom.
This perpetual need for drinks and restrooms restricts my choices in terms of locations and activities. Along with unquenchable thirst, high blood sugar triggers short-term effects like fatigue and blurred vision. Though inconvenient, I’ve grown accustomed to these symptoms.
The long-term consequences of elevated glucose levels are far more severe, including blindness, nerve damage, increased stroke risk, and, ultimately, premature death. Despite these risks, the irrational part of me downplayed these potential outcomes as I indulged in unhealthy treats and neglected blood sugar monitoring.
Over time I grew so familiar with the side effects of high blood sugar that I convinced myself diabetes had no bearing on my daily life. Regrettably, many diabetics dismiss severe complications until it’s too late to address them.
I confess that my approach to diabetes management resembled Homer Simpson’s disregard for his car’s blinking check engine light.
Fortunately, I’ve now recognized the consequences of my previous path and am heading down the exit labeled Common Sense.
Although the changes I’m implementing have been long overdue, they are rational choices. While I may chastise myself for waiting so long to take the right steps, perhaps I should grant myself some credit for not exploring every other option first.