I haven’t been posting as much as I would like lately but for good reason! I’ve actually been getting out and seeing the world this week! Marshall had the week off from work so I have had company and transportation. It’s been pretty nice :). Nothing too thrilling really just spent the week enjoying not being a hermit, clearing the snow outside, hanging out with friends, playing with my pooches, not doing such a great job with my blood sugar, and cutting my foot open.
Yeah… I did that. Now for those of you who don’t know diabetes well, healing is a bit of a problem. Particularly when the wound is on the lower extremities. Here is a great explanation from MEDPEDIA and Dr. Kelly Sennholz MD:
“There are two reasons I know of why wounds don’t heal. The first reason is, it is well documented that phagocytes (the white blood cells that eat up bacteria to get rid of them) are “stunned” for over 5 hours after a single spike in one’s blood sugar. This inhibits the body’s ability to get rid of bacteria which cause inflammation in the wound, leading to slower healing. The second reason is that each time you spike your blood sugar, you cause a process called glycation. Glycation is the abnormal binding of proteins with sugars, causing dysfunction in vessels, nerves and truly, all over the body. The glycation products can be removed from your body with stabilization of sugars, but this takes longer in tissues like nerves. The glycation is probably one of the reasons for MANY of the serious medical issues that arise with diabetes and probably contributes to poor wound healing, also. I’m sure there are many other, less well defined biochemical reasons for the slow wound healing but these two are well studied.”
When I was originally hospitalized I had a very large wound on my knee cap (I had been knocked down by a horse at my job and had skinned my knee severely) that hadn’t heeled in a three week period. I was put on IV antibiotics and it was almost totally healed after my three day stay in the hospital. After seeing how that injury struggled to heal I’ve been aware of the potential of these injuries. Over the summer while working at the Resort I cut my toe while pulling a sunken canoe out of the lake and onto the dock. The next day my friend and co-worker “MB” took me to the ER and I explained that I was diabetic and while the injury wasn’t terrible I was concerned because my job had me in the lake nearly everyday. The doctor agreed that I should be on antibiotics and viola, healed healthy and I got to keep my foot!
So, yesterday Marshall and I were hanging out in our room and I was navigating my way through a pile of dogs on the floor when CRACK! I believe I sounded something like, “Fuck, fuck, fuck, oh god” and then I moved to a Family Guy style injury reaction for a while. After I finally came around Marshall was able to actually get a response to his question, “What just happened?”
“I just smashed my heel on the bed frame.”
“Let me see.”
“It’s not too bad, it just hurts because I whacked it so hard.”
“Just let me see.”
As I took my hands off my heel and swung my leg around for Marshall to see he drew in a quick breath and said, “That’s really bad. You cut yourself open!”
“I did?!” I looked down the back of my leg to see for myself. Shit… he was right, I have a big gash on the back of my foot. I had just gotten new slippers from my parents for Christmas and until this moment thought they were the perfect slippers (warm, thick soles, grippy texture on the bottom). This however has taught me about slippers, I need a full foot- perhaps knee high mukluks?
The more conversations I have with people the more I realize that Marshall is very involved and aware of my disease. I find myself often disappointed with him (which isn’t fair) because he doesn’t always remember that food is my main “enemy”. It is frustrating when his first thought when it comes to dinner is carbs (pizza, Chinese, hot pockets, pasta) omitting vegetables and often protein all together. Or when I test really low and he seems to have no sense of urgency and he has to finish his video game or whatever before he can help me deal with it. When I begin to feel this way it’s important to remind myself about everything else he has done and learned. He knows what my numbers should be, what to do when I am high or low, what my insulin/carb ratio is, how to respond when I am distant (when I get really low I get very spacey and a little combative), the emotional swings and extremes, and he has taken on the financial responsibility of a girlfriend with a chronic disease. He’s a good man, he just needs more training 😉 hehe.
Well Marshall took me downstairs, had me clean, treat and dress my “wound”. This morning it is sore but doesn’t look as bad as I expected. It isn’t very red and isn’t producing any discharge (sorry for those of you who are squeamish) so I am going to continue to keep an eye on it and if it isn’t significantly improved in the next couple days then I will have Doc. Smile call in a prescription for me. I am a little concerned because I suspect that I do have some nerve damage therefor causing a reduction in feeling in my feet and hands. Nothing too drastic but it could prevent me from realizing the extent of injuries to those areas. It’s a good thing that I have someone else to remind me about taking care of these things. Now if I could remember to not be so hard on him… I often forget that this happened to Marshall too. He has been here with me, the whole time, struggling, hurting, scared, and overwhelmed. Sometimes it’s important to remember that just because I have diabetes doesn’t mean that Marshall doesn’t struggle with the disease everyday. It’s easy to become selfish and self pitying. It’s hard to see what this struggle would look and feel like from the other side. I always tell Marshall how hard and frightening it would be to have a child with diabetes. To know that they could be taken away at any moment and to know that all I can do is push back sickness and death everyday but I will never be able to cure them. Now as I am writing this post I am realizing that Marshall does know what that’s like, he lives that everyday already. Whew… how’s that for some perspective?!