I had to eat set amounts of food at set times. It made me feel very restricted, which I found hard to tell anyone, because apparently the right attitude for anyone with a chronic disease is: “Well, worse things than this could happen! I will be brave and not complain. No one likes a moaner!” But I am a moaner. I am no happy diabetic with perfect blood glucose levels. Far from it. Sure, you can have worse things, but I don’t have them. I have diabetes and I find that quite hard to deal with. An insulin pump, according to several glossy brochures, would at least give me more flexibility. I liked the sound of that. A gadget, but a useful one. My diabetes nurse however, acted as if an insulin pump was the best thing that could happen to any diabetic. I asked her if she was a diabetic. She wasn’t. I asked her if she’d ever tried on an insulin pump. She hadn’t. Still, she was very sure this would improve my life to no end. I wasn’t so sure about the ‘no end’ part. I only wanted better blood glucose levels and a bit more freedom. This is how I recall our conversation:
Nurse: Even when you have diabetes, these days you can live quite a normal life. There are all these wonderful devices, like this insulin pump, that will make your life more comfortable. Look, this one looks a bit like a cellphone. Makes it almost cool to have diabetes, right?
Me: Everyone would want to have diabetes with one of these, no wonder more and more people get it. Sleek design that one has. Is it touchscreen or can I get a separate keyboard? Can you call someone with it? Does it play songs?
Nurse: No, but it has automatic error detection and warning signals.
Me: Let me hear. Wow! It sounds like a computer game…bleep bleep bleep! New personal record, I’m sure. But…no songs? I’d like it to play ‘higher and higher’ when my blood sugar gets too high.
Nurse: I don’t think you should mock these things.
Me: I don’t mock anything. I just said it sounds like a computer game. Listen! Tee dah dee daaaah… Mario, your princess is in another castle.
Nurse: Are you even taking this seriously?
Me: Nobody takes this more serious than me. It’s paralyzing.
Nurse: You can transfer all data from this pump to your laptop or your phone, and all data from your glucose meter as well. These devices make things a lot easier… You can be your own diabetes manager!
Me: I am surrounded by devices. But I still have diabetes. Why are there still no fully automatic systems that measure my blood glucose levels and react to them? One device for everything? I mean, if one ring can rule them all, surely one pump to rule me should be an option?
Nurse: Well…that’s quite complicated. They’re working on it.
Me: I guess it’s just a lot more lucrative to sell many small improvements than to come with a final solution at once. I ought to buy shares.
Nurse: Now you’re just being cynical. But isn’t it fantastic how far they’ve already come? And at least you won’t have to inject yourself four times a day anymore. Isn’t that a relief?
Me: Possibly. It sure makes me look like the Bionic Woman. Or a Borg.
Nurse: Now you’re mocking things again!
Me: Not at all. I would like to be a Borg. Resistance…is futile.
Nurse: Well, I’m sure you will find this will make your life a lot easier!
Me: Tee dah deeh daaaaaah….Oops. Game over. No lives left. Play again?
P.S.: These days, there are continuous blood glucose monitoring systems: a sensor worn under the skin that measures blood glucose levels, linked to a transmitter (usually placed on the sensor) and a receiver (like an extra insulin pump). Like this one. Still not ‘the one device’ though, because it’s still the wearer who has to act. Mostly they are used as short term solutions (e.g. during pregnancy) and not as a lifelong help. I am still waiting for ‘the one device’. Getting closer, getting closer…