Pain Is Subjective…

It’s safe to say that I’ve been through a fair bit throughout the course of my life. Between Diabetes, karate and all the violence I’ve been exposed to during my policing career, I’ve experiencing varying degrees of pain. Some of this ranges from a paper cut, which if we’re being honest, is painful as shit despite how menial it is, to broken bones, contusions, black eyes and needles in my eyes for my edema. I’ve openly bled from injuries and hav even awoken from comas on more than one occasion. But the interesting thing is that pain is subjective.

Last April, I took a solid punch to the rib cage and fractured a rib. It took a couple of months to heal properly, which included pain killers, muscle relaxants and slowly working the area to obtain range and mobility again. I had nights where I was curled in pain despite the meds while the bone healed and the muscle wall mended. Wow, when I read it that way it makes me seem like a little bitch… But I digress… A broken bone and damaged muscles would justify some pain and difficulty getting over it. But a paper cut, for example, one should be able to get over in just a few moments.

That’s why something that happened a few weeks back seemed to elicit more pain than it rightfully should; a fact my wife found hilarious. I need to change the transmitter sensor for my continuous glucose monitor every seven days. Because this is me, it always seems to happen at the worst possible time. Setting up a new sensor requires roughly four to six hours. Although super convenient and helps to maintain my overall health and blood sugars, there’s a lot more involved than just removing the old one and slapping on the new one.

First, I remove the old sensor and place the transmitter in the charger. This happens so that the transmitter can recharge and reset from its previous use. I also take the opportunity to clean the transmitter with some light rubbing alcohol and a swab in order to remove any residual blood or adhesive. While it charges, I have to go through a plethora of settings on the insulin pump so that it won’t start panicking that it can no longer read my blood glucose levels or locate the transmitter. Given that it’s 2022, you would think there’d be some way for that process to be easier, but whatevs.

once the transmitter has had an hour or two to ensure it charges completely, it’s time to inject the new sensor. This is a bit of a delicate process. The sensor is injected using a device that places it in the interstitial space beneath the skin. Assuming I don’t strike a blood vessel, I attach the transmitter to the sensor. As long as the sensor absorbs the interstitial fluid properly, the transmitter will blink and I can tether it to the insulin pump. Then, the sensor requires a two-hour period to warm-up before needing to calibrate by testing one’s blood sugar. This needs to be done twice within four hours, hence about a six-hour period to reinstall.

Either way, I usually install the sensor on my tricep but in recent weeks I’ve been cycling between my tricep and my abdomen. When I install it on my abdomen, I usually run a quick razor over the area to remove any hairs on the ol’ gut. Once the adhesive is in place, the hair will still try to grow back. Turns out on this one occasion, when I pulled off the adhesive, I took a chunk of flesh with it. Tore the follicle as well as the top layers of skin right off. I hurt badly enough that I temporarily saw stars and nearly blacked out. This is the part my wife thinks is funny…

When one considers all the injuries and attacks I’ve been subjected to in my life, it seems a bit hilarious that removing what’s essentially a sticker from my belly would be enough to hurt so damn bad. But there it is. Diabetes, am I right? As with all things in life, there are worse things and I can’t say I’m not happy with how well I’m able to control my blood sugars. But pain is subjective. ☯️

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Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

2 thoughts on “Pain Is Subjective…”

  1. You got a roughly one square inch of flesh torn off. I think that would hurt like hell, diabetes or not.

    On the subject of small things like paper cuts hurting like hell… I had an extremely bizarre one years ago: I was opening a cardboard box and a tiny sliver of cardboard fiber stuck me like a wood splinter. It HAD to have hit right on a nerve too. The pain was insane, like 10x a paper cut.

    Something thinner than a human hair and it felt like somebody had cut my finger off. O_o

    Liked by 1 person

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