Intangibles, Frustrations, and Justifications

They say that you are already dehydrated by the time you are thirsty.

Leaning over the water fountain at the YMCA, trying to slurp up the water faster than it was shooting out of the nozzle, I realized that I was probably very dehydrated. Damn Diet Coke.

And then the intangibles swarmed in smacking me with the potential source(s) of my frustrations with my blood sugars lately.

My blood sugars have sucked donkey butt lately. Readings all over the place, but mostly high – at least until I get so pissed off that I rage bolus or serial bolus and end up crashing later. Then over treat the low and there we go again.

Many more intangibles exist than the ones we often suspect as the main culprits. In this case the first to come to mind was a state of dehydration. Nothing serious or requiring medical attention – but it certainly deserved some of MY attention.

As that vague cause of stubborn high BG’s floated through my brain, I also had to acknowledge that I have been stressed to the max at work lately. It’s been said that stress can also play games with blood sugars.

Dehydration and Stress. Dehstrydressation.

These intangibles are tricky things – things we can’t easily measure (like blood sugar or carbohydrate grams (though I’ll argue against that last one being “easy”)). We can’t quantify them. It usually takes a lifetime of trial and error before you can figure out a “magic formula” of insulin and timing that only eases the vigorous smashing and dragging that these things do to us and our blood sugars.

And then your magic formula is only potent 10% of the time. The rest of the time you are dragged viciously over the coals despite your best efforts to stop the bleeding.

I’m also much less resilient to things when my blood sugars are high. It’s like some kind of crippling blanket of justification that gets thrown over me.

“Well, if my blood sugars are high anyway I might as well eat something I’ve been wanting”

“If Diet Coke is the worst thing that I’m addicted to then I’m doing alright”

“It’s my guilty pleasure” – like drinking diet coke (caffeinated) is being naughty or something.

“If I haven’t lost any weight after a WHOLE DAY of eating ‘right’ then I might as well eat and enjoy myself”

C’mon now. I know better.

It’s the last point that really makes me appreciate the patience and planning that Reflux Guy shows on his journey to rebuild himself after a broken tibia. Me? I want overnight results and can’t seem to keep my shit together when it doesn’t happen.

But see – it’s that crippling blanket of justification! I can justify the hell out of any of my unhealthy behaviours when I’m in this state.

It’s also the frustrations that come from not seeing the results you expect. Take insulin, blood sugar go down. When that doesn’t happen I get frustrated. The frustration builds and builds until I hit a “fuck it” point. If my efforts are not working, why waste the energy?

Oh yeah, those complications that invisibly threaten to jeopardize our quality of life. Those invisible threats are tricky. Sneaky bastards. More on that later.

Confucius says - Just because it's invisible does not mean it can't hurt you


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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate, and Senior Community Manager at Blue Circle Health. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent my employer’s position. Read more…

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