Laziness is insidious… Once it gets its greasy claws into a person, it can be pretty difficult to shake ’em off. There are ALL sorts of explanations for laziness, including psychological issues ranging from lack of self-esteem or fear of success, all the way to physical deficiencies that include lack of certain key vitamins like B vitamins, Vitamin D or certain mineral salts.
In the case of someone with Type-1 Diabetes, laziness takes on a whole new meaning. For some, it’s an unintentional result of how they deal with their condition. Fluctuating blood sugars, stress from treatment or lack of rest (since we never tend to sleep all that well) can contribute to feeling sluggish and lethargic. These feelings can often be contributed as laziness by the unaware, and it’s a label I faced often throughout my school years.
Years ago, way before the advent of frequent daily testing, carb counting and my trusty insulin pump, I would often suffer high blood glucose levels during the school day. Especially since lack of education made it so that I never assumed there was a problem with “sugar free” foods, despite their high carbohydrate count. I would often find myself sprawled on my desk, snoring softly as a teacher would walk over and crack a metre stick on my desk. Sometimes it wouldn’t even wake me. I wonder how much more I could have accomplished if I had better control of my levels, back then.
But every now and again, I would encounter someone who is genuinely lazy, for no medical reason, and simply chooses not to bother with their own care. I encountered such a woman over a decade ago. I was dating a woman whose mother had Type-1 Diabetes. She suffered from a leg discrepancy and was only in her early 50’s. We were at her home for a family meal the one night, when someone came in with a 2-litre bottle of soda. She immediately requested a large glass of the soda, to which I “helpfully” pointed out how much sugar it contained and asked when the last time she had tested her blood.
She laughed at me. In fact, the entire family joined in her laughter, as though the concept of testing her blood sugar was anathema in her household. I watched in horror as this woman quickly gulped down almost 50 grams of carbohydrates as though it was water, followed by a full meal. Whether she was using long-acting insulin injections or not was a mystery, but she certainly didn’t inject herself BEFORE the meal. If I consumed that many carbs without an insulin adjustment, my blood glucose levels would skyrocket dangerously (and I’m currently only in my 40’s).
Sadly, the woman in this story passed away just a couple of short years ago. I’ve wondered how much longer she could have lived, with better health and better quality of life, had she simply taken her self-care in hand and worked to keep control of her Diabetes. And this is the important takeaway: having Diabetes means you can’t afford to be lazy. There are too many fine details we need to pay attention to, including maintaining supplies, knowing what foods we’re eating and keeping a tight control of blood sugars and other complications.
I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of waking up in the middle of the night to a pump with only a few units left and rolled over, content to change out my set once I woke up. Despite my best efforts, laziness hits me occasionally as well. But considering that someone with type-1 Diabetes already has a shortened life expectancy, it’s important to test blood sugars often, work out frequently and do your best to maintain your health. You not only owe it to yourself, but to your family. ☯