The State of the Diabeetus and Other Wonderful Grim Realities

Been a while, so I figured I should post something. On goes the writing soundtrack, which includes a nice mix of industrial music and movie and video game soundtracks. ‘Ere we go, ‘ere we go…

As it so often is, this post is inspired by a Facebook post I made and the resulting discussion. Also, I was an asshole to a buddy for no good reason– sorry, Ed. But he got me thinking and the blerging began, coalescing into this post here.

I have Type I Diabetes. I have been diabetic since I almost died from it at 19. Diabetes changed my life. Diabetes saved my life. Diabetes completely ruined my life. It continues to be a part of my life, and will no doubt be there when I finally go to where all expired human meat goes one day.

Why I am a diabetic is still a bit of a mystery, but doctors mostly all agree through the years that it’s because of a severe auto-immune response to having mono and the resulting response murdering the shit out of my pancreas. My own stubbornness almost killed me, and I ended up spending some time in a military hospital wondering what the hell happened to my life. More stories not even related to this follow, but the diabetes has always been there, no matter what I so, who I am, whatever the amount of booze I drink… and it’s fucking horrible because all things that make normal feel good makes me very sick as a result.

My immune system is a complete motherfucker, too. The very thing that made me have this shitty disease also attacks my joints, gives me allergies to everything, makes me constantly ill, and does not help my back injuries one goddamned bit. As a result I am angry, depressed, and sometimes wonder why I’m even alive. While I made the selfish decision to have children, it is them who keep me alive. I don’t want them to see a world without me while they’re still children, so I soldier on.

I have nearly died a couple of times because of diabetes. I have had the living shit beat out of me because I was in insulin shock and some dudes wanted to beat down a “faggot”. Sadly, those guys had no idea what an enraged diabetic who lacks a fear response can do, and my hands still bear the scars from the teeth of the person I crippled. And no, I have no regrets over that one. I’m here, aren’t I?

One time, I was rushed to the hospital nearly dead as the result of my girlfriend at time refusing to call an ambulance… she was upset about me not cleaning the kitchen or something. My blood had become an acid compound, like some sort of dick-Alien from a horror movie. I had to be brought back to life after hours of work on me. I made it, though. That to is a story in and of itself, but I want to move on right now…

Now, see, a lot of folks just don’t really know what it’s like to be a diabetic. It sucks, sure, but they simply don’t know and we can’t blame them. Furthermore, while all diabetics can feel like we’re in this together, we Type Ones laugh at this utter bullshit. It’s not that we think Type II diabetics deserve scorn– oh, we feel our diabetic friends’ pain. But we have it worse– and even better if you consider we have to artificially regulate ourselves and can live for some time with out all the weird fluctuations Twos get. So, this isn’t me saying “fuck you” to Type II diabetics– love to you folks, okay?– I’m just saying that being a Type I diabetic is it’s very own dark vortex of itchy assholes.

You meat bags love lists, so here, get to know Type I and other diabetic stuff:

As a diabetic…

+You have to take insulin; 2-3 different kinds EVERY DAY multiple TIMES A DAY.

+You have to measure EVERYTHING FOREVER.

+You will never feel “normal” again. Ever. Waking up ALWAYS feels like one of those non-diabetics’ puny hangovers.

+Pain is every day. Somehow. Somehow you go on.

+Everything you eat is monitored. EVERYTHING. Holy shit, most people would kill themselves over this. I know a guy– a great guy– that went on a paleo diet and complained about it. I felt for him until I thought “OH, I’M DIABETIC”.

+You will die a painful death if you’re diabetic. You have known this since you were young and invincible if you’re a type I.

+It will get worse. Death will be slow and painful. You are already dying. Huzzah.

+You will fall apart. While some people talk about relationships and weight issues, you think about going blind, your legs falling off, or simply having a seizure in front of your kids.

+Having fun is never fun anymore. There’s always something telling you “Be careful or you will fucking die”. That something is DIA-fucking-BETES.

+People think it’s your fault because diabetes is obviously caused by being American or something.

+Type I’s are almost all auto-immune related things… so we’ll develop ALL KINDS OF FUCKHORRIBLE PROBLEMS.

+Even if you take care of yourself, you will still live 20 years less than everyone else and will die a painful and slow death.

+Fuck it, I’m eating some motherfucking ice cream.

+All type I’s are really, really depressed.

+Being diabetic also means you probably have money problems or are poor. Working sucks as a diabetic, and no one gives a single fuck about your illness and think you use it as an excuse to get out of things.

Feel free to add more in the comments, but this is making me even more depressed than usual, so I’m gonna stop with that list right there.

[[Before we go on, some of you might need a quick lesson in the two primary types of Diabeetus. Okay, so Type I Diabetes is, like, where your pancreas doesn’t work at all and you produce no insulin. Type II Diabetes means wonkier regulation and the pancreas working sometimes. It’s much, much more common, and yes, it can result from poor diet. Usually, One hits you younger whilst Two hits you when you’re older. If you are still confused and need to know more, follow the links and freaking learn something, dammit.]]

Another thing we diabetics FUCKING OH GOD WE FUCKING HATE is when one of you non-diabetics try telling us that we can cure our diabetes through diet, prayer, going to Denmark, avoiding microwaves, eating organic foods, homeopathy, etc. Look, I know you just want to help… I get that. But come on. STOP. We are sick of hearing it. Know what you know? Fucking NOTHING. I’m sorry to sound like a big meanie but, uh, I have a high blood sugar. Yeah, that’s it. I’m usually very cool about friends offering advice, and honestly, I don’t want them to feel like they can’t do that– I speak of those people who don’t even know me and offer me bullshit advice like I should fucking listen to them. And the best part? If I give them dietary advice, they blow it off as “opnion”. OH IRONY, YOU ARE A HORRIBLE BASTARD.

Please note: When a diabetic of 20 years or so gives you dietary advice, LISTEN.

Food is everything to a diabetic. It’s what saves us and kills us. It is our life-raft in a bullshit sea full of hungry monster sharks who hate diabetics but want to gobble us whole because we are so sickly sweet. My whole life revolves around food, water, insulin, and test strips.

Oh, shut up, meat-stick, I know everyone needs food. But I need it more than you right here, right now. Okay?

Hydration is the constant, pooping monkey on our backs, too. Or, dehydration, rather. We need more liquids and yet can never get enough. Our whole lives are found finding a balance and realizing nothing matters and we’re just biological machines who need more repair more often.

See, being a diabetic is about hard REALITY. And, yeah, I know it could be worse. You have cancer? That sucks! I feel for you; I truly do. But when you make it through your cancer, you will be done with it… or maybe you will worry about it coming back. I don’t know, really, cancer is different for everyone. But one thing I do know: When / If I get cancer I will fucking DIE. And if I live (because I’m a mutant) I will still have diabetes. If I win the lottery, I will still have diabetes. When I watched my sons born– THE HAPPIEST MOMENTS OF MY LIFE– I had diabetes. Shit, having great sex… still have diabetes. And maybe my blood sugar was high, so it hurt when I orgasmed.

Yeah. Having sex while you’re diabetic sucks, too. It’s even more fun if you have a sudden drop in blood sugar and don’t notice. The sexy times with someone convulsing on top of you? SEXAY.

I can’t enjoy a bowl of ice cream. Well, I can. But then I need to take more insulin… which is hard on my kidneys… and then I think of my favorite grandma dying in the hospital because she did the same thing… and I am always happy when all my tests come back and my doctor says jokingly that my organs are amazingly harvestable. Good news, right? I’m a mutant! Goddamned Wolverine! I even have hair that grows like his! Oh, but that will end one day.

I will fall apart piece by piece, bit by bit. This is why diabetics drink, by the way. People will be, like, “Oh, you shouldn’t do that! You need to stop!”. Oh, go fuck yourself, you horrible piece of shit. We already judge each other as diabetics; the last thing I need is some fuckwit trying to tell me what I should do for legal fun. One guy– ha, this kills me– one guy said one time that he didn’t want to pay for my medical care because I abused myself– AS HE SMOKED. Hey, guy? Die in a fire.

In reality, many diabetics do try to stay in shape. This is why we “don’t look sick” a lot of the time. We stay fit, eat right most of the time, and stay frosty about everything because we know our deaths will be painful, horrible, and slow. We want to stave off the reaper for a long as possible. When was the last time you thought about your death? I think about mine constantly. Every time I eat, every time I take one of my 3-5 shots a day, every time I take my pills (12 a day or something), every time I try to relax with a cocktail at a tapas bar, every birthday, every time I hug my youngest son when he wears a dinosaur suit. All the time. Every day. All day.

Depression? Sure. It’s the kind of depression that makes you laugh at everyone elses’. Oh, girlfriend dumped you? Rough story, bro. I have to eat this cottage cheese or my partner is going to find me dead beside her one morning. She probably will anyway. I could have a fatal stroke RIGHT NOW. Anyone could, but I am far more likely to than the average, non-diabetic person.

I try to have a better outlook by reading about terrible things. But just think of this: If you are a diabetic who survived the Holocaust… you still have diabetes. Ugh, those poor, poor souls. I guess the… upside is… that there’s little chance a diabetic… could have survived a camp? Shit. That makes me want to cry. Nevermind the fact that being a diabetic in the 40’s was a direct ticket to early death, anyway.

Eventually you learn to live with the diabetes. You just accept it after awhile. You just stop telling people to shut the fuck up about it. Sometimes, though, you get to know another diabetic who’s self-destructing hardcore. I knew a guy back in Seattle who was like that. I’m positive many people reading this felt the same way towards me. But this guy already literally had one foot in the grave– his leg had been amputated. He ended up dying young. I mean, he was around my age, but his condition was advanced. He just didn’t care anymore. Everyone in the goth-industrial scene in Seattle was affected by his death. I asked the dude from VNV Nation to dedicate a song to him… partially because some of the deceased friends asked me to, and partially because I knew the deceased would have appreciated it as he wasn’t the biggest VNV fan.

That guy’s death had a different effect on fellow diabetics I knew in the scene. All of us– I think, anyway– were a little annoyed by the outpouring of sadness and sorrow. How come we got lectures while you yahoos bought that dude drinks? You know that he talked funny because he had severe neuropathy, right? I can think of a few of us who discussed it privately. We all toasted to his life, regardless of our personal opinions on him. No one deserves to check out as a diabetic mess. Especially intelligent, creative individuals who really tried at life. But he gave up. He committed slow suicide, it would seem. Nowadays, people regard that person as a sad footnote in their lives, but we Type Ones who knew him never forget The Diabetic Who Led By the Example of Dying. We all took permanent note– duly. We knew we didn’t want to be him… and I’m pleased to say we’re still alive. At least the individuals I’m thinking of.

I think of the time being brought back to this shitty world, puking up my guts at the hospital while they tried to stabilize me.  I asked if I could have a cigarette and the nurses and doctors laughed. Then then tried to give me a shot of something and I went into seizures. The ER doc told me later that he never, ever believed in gods or miracles, but he never had seen someone survive what I went through.

And I thought of that time when I started to collapse at an IHOP in Seattle years later. I had a seizure, I was told by the concerned looking gangster guys who were helping me. Everyone thought I was just some junky, but one gangster guy had a diabetic cousin and he knew diabetic reactions when he saw them.

Another thing diabetics have to learn is that no one cares. Those guys who helped me only did so because they grew up with a diabetic. Unless you are closely acquainted with the disease, it’s just a nuisance to you. You know, like handicapped people. If you’re not handicapped, well, fuck handicapped people. I only know this now because I walk with a limp and Canada isn’t as polite as you think it is.

I won’t even get into all the stories I have about being in insulin shock. In short: “Diabetics are rude!” Unimpressed, humanity.

I should wrap this up for now, but I could go on and on; and surely I would offend somebody even more. If what Is say bothers you, well, you know how I feel. You know how diabetics feel. And if you were that guy who tried to tell me at PAX one year that diabetics should be euthanized, please understand that I enjoyed the fear you expressed when I told you I was diabetic and am a crack shot.

Okay, back to being in pain, enjoying a messed up back, a CTD, diabetes, and coffee. Be good to yourselves and, most importantly, to each other.


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