I sat in that office, a cool air blowing down from the vent above me. Chilled in my shorts I watched the goosebumps on my legs rise and fall. I watched my own breathing stomach. She sat across from me, compassionate, caring. She affirmed what I had expected. That this was more of an intervention than a “diabetes education” session.
My doctor had told me “I am sending you to the diabetes educator, because you need it.” In her Polish accent it sounded much more haughty and severe. I had already been fed up with her. Her gasp at my comment about only eating two meals a day. Her eyes widening and rolling as she looked at my HGA1C numbers. I knew that my session with the diabetes educator was going to be a strain, not because I didn’t know what to do with my diabetes, I knew full well.
She set my paperwork down after a quick once over.
Her: “Why are you here?” She asked.
Me: “Because the doctor said I needed to see you.”
A bit of a stare down.
Her: “This paperwork seems like you know your stuff. So why is your A1C so high?”
I looked down at the floor, thinking about my response.
Me: “Because I am frustrated.”
I didn’t want to say too much with my mother in the room, but I reiterated my struggle.
Me: “If doing everything I was asked before wasn’t working, how was doing nothing going to change anything? If I was compliant before and things were just as bad, how does that change anything? It’s not that I don’t know what to do….it’s that I don’t know how to care now.”
She stared me down again. Not intimidatingly, but in a manner that was annoyingly sympathetic. I hated those looks. It was why I didn’t like talking to people about my feelings. At least not in their presence.
Her: “Do you think about having a future with your boyfriend?”
Oh, that’s how she wants to play it.
Her: “Does that help you want to get better?”
I hated that. How my self-worth was being analyzed on the basis of another human being. A person who wasn’t me. Why did my relationship matter at all in this? If I wanted to get better, I would do it because it was something I wanted to do. The feminist in me was enraged, but I understood that she didn’t mean to offend me, she just thought she could use emotional persuasion to put things into perspective. I thought about him. About our conversations in the past.
I feel worse for him than I do for myself.
Me: “I feel empathetic towards him. Even sorry for him. I understand how hard it must be for him to hear what I am going through, and to know my health isn’t what it ought to be. But, it can’t come from him. Getting better can’t come from him. It has to come from me wanting it…and I am too angry over all the failures to try again. Not right now.”
Her: “Have you been to see someone about these feelings?”
Me: “Long time ago.”
Her: “Are you willing to again?”
Me: “Yes, but I am also afraid to have to re-live all the pain and rebuild a professional relationship with a new counselor. I don’t want to go through that trial and error process of seeking one out yet. I’m not ready. I’m too drained by it all right now.”
Her: “At least you know yourself well.”
Me: “I spend a great deal of time with myself.”
Somewhat satisfied with my answer, she leaned back in her chair. My mother chimed in with questions she had, ironically, not about my diabetes, but her own health. I was glad for it. As annoying as it can be to have her along, attempting to turn my appointments into her own, I was glad not to speak anymore. I kept swallowing the lump in my throat. Fighting back the tears. They stayed behind my eyes. I was satisfied with that. Saying all of it out loud was painful enough, I didn’t need the pain of seeing those sympathetic eyes staring me down again.
I came home. Had three low blood sugars. It was like I couldn’t win.