Today I am kicking off our new series of Guest Opinions with a little something from Hollywood funnyman Jim Turner. whom I consider a friend ever since he showed me a good time at my first-ever national diabetes conference. He never fails to coax a smile, even in the worst of D-times.
A Guest Post by actor and dLife TV co-host Jim Turner
"Jim ... hello?"
I once had this ridiculous idea to make - what was clearly going to be impossible - an estimate of how many low blood sugar episodes I've had in my 38 years of living with diabetes. I lumped them into groups: severe, strong, dangerous, mild, scary, really scary, terrifying, stupid, fun, rambling, embarrassing, disjointed, and exhilarating. Weird episodes had their own subgroup: weird-mindblowing, weird-psychedelic, weird-confusing, weird-incoherent, and just plain weird-weird.
I got so caught up in creating descriptive categories that I ran out of steam before even beginning to add them up. Or, maybe what happened was my blood sugar got so low while doing it that I had to stop. Or, maybe the whole idea of adding them up was, in itself, just another low blood sugar bad idea. So, I still don't have a clue as to the exact number, but I do know there have been thousands; really, thousands of lost, missed moments.
I've had very tight control most of my life and I've been very lucky to not suffer any of the major complications associated with diabetes. There have been minor-ish things; namely the evil Peyronie's eisease (look this fun one up on Wikipedia), and Peyronie's more boring, benign cousin, Dupuytren's contracture.
Still, my eyes, kidney, heart, circulation, feet, and general health are, in general, excellent. Maybe it's also because of my tight control, that I do have to deal with many low blood sugar episodes. For me, one of the major complications of Type 1diabetes is low blood sugar.
Besides the occasional freakish episodes I've had at inopportune times (one involving Fabio and Deion Sanders), or the two times (in 38 years) I've had to be revived, the bigger problem for me has really been the caravan of those low-level-lows that work to take you out of whatever MOMENT you happen to be in at any particular point in time.
Missed moments ... while watching a movie and you feel your blood sugar drop and all you're concerned with is getting it back to where you can pay attention to the movie.
Missed moments ... when you're just talking to somebody, or trying to make dinner, or reading the paper, or studying, or playing with your son or daughter or just ... being. And until your blood sugar comes up again, that is the state you are in.
For me everything else fades away.
Even when I recover quickly, something is missed; a piece of my life gets dropped. I'm taken away from the experience of watching that movie, or talking with friends, or playing with my son. I'm taken out of being me.
And not only are you not in the NOW, there's the sometimes when you aren't even in the who, what, where, why or how.
My son says to me a lot, "Dad, you were just ... not there."
I don't want to give anyone the impression that I'm walking around out of control. I'm not. However, there are many - too many - moments like this in my life; moments that have slipped through my fingers and are gone forever; moments where I was physically there, but "not there" and for me, it is those thousands of missed moments that are one of the great crimes of this disease.
Read all about Jim Turner, Bewitched, and his one-man show, My Struggles with Diabetes HERE.