Monday, February 28, 2011

12,775 times

I remember the first time I had to give myself a needle.  In the hospital, a few hours before I was going to be discharged as a newly minted diabetic (sorry, person with diabetes).  I was shaking, I was scared and I was so afraid of...I don't even know what I was afraid of but I sure as hell was afraid.  After a few moments of mild panic, I sucked it up, sat on the edge of the bed in my lovely hospital gown and somehow found the courage to stick myself. 

Nothing crazy happened except that I quickly lost my fear of needles.  I mastered doing it in fancy restaurants, standing in line for a hot dog, driving on the highway, in the pitch black northern Ontario night in a tent and in all sorts of other fun places. 

That last sentence sounds a lot more exciting than it really should...

Anyway, I did the multiple daily injection (MDI) thing for seven years before I tried the insulin pump.  When I was MDI-ing, I took slow acting insulin in the morning and at night and rapid acting with every meal.  That meant that the minimum was five needles per day.  Sometimes more if my sugar was high or I wanted a snack.

365 days per year x 7 years x 5 injections per day = 12,775 injections

Trust me, you get over your fear and shame pretty quickly when you have to do something that many times.

Speaking of getting used to things...

I can wake up in the middle of the night, find my glucometer, insert a test strip, prick my finger, get a drop of blood, and get said blood into the test strip all without turning on a light.  And I can tilt the glucometer screen to just the right angle to read the number by moonlight. 

I can guess my blood sugar to the decimal place. I can figure out how many fig newtons to eat when I'm low and then guess what my blood sugar will be an hour later. 

But I digress. The whole point of this blog entry was to talk about getting used to things. It was inspired by the rain that's been falling, the huge puddles all over the streets and the idea that I'm going to have to get used to running in the rain again.  Get used to putting my pump in a ziplock bag so it doesn't short circuit when I am completely soaked through.  Get used to peering through rain-coated glasses and putting a towel down on the car seat for the drive home. 

My non-running friend that I wrote about a few days ago would probably take this opportunity to ask why the hell anyone would want to run in the rain.

My answer , I hope, would elegantly capture the almost religious experience of it all.  The exhiliration of being a part of the weather rather than a witness to it. The sensual feeling that makes me think of standing under a waterfall.  The smell of an impending rain and how it is unlike anything else.  Those crazy runs that start off with dark clouds, have you running through a downpour and then end with glorious sunbeams bursting through the clouds. If you're really lucky, a double rainbow will appear to guide you home.

Unlike those needles I talked about, I never get used to running in the rain.  It's an adventure, an experience and a gift every single time.


  1. Celine, do you listen to music when you run? I do sometimes, and I have noticed a big difference between running with or without music. I do feel more connected to my surroundings without it, and that can be a pretty amazing feeling (like you've described). Sometimes, though, I really like the pick-me-up of some upbeat music. Just curious.

  2. I never used to but was feeling pretty run down before my last half so I tried it. It really helped. Now I usually have music but it's on really low and I don't even notice it most of the time. I think it helps though and I turn it up and focus on it when I'm feeling tired. If it's a lovely day, it's easy to turn it off and tune into the surroundings but it's always nice to have the option.