(This is not the newest ipod but my very new and very pink blood sugar tester.)
As many of you know, I have been heavily hypoglycemic for the last eleven years. Meaning that my blood sugar drops rapidly to below-anything-good, leaving me cold, sweaty, trembling and generally not in good shape (I don't hear what people are saying, or when I do, I can't react quickly. I can't walk a straight line, which is not practical when you have to get to the fridge fast for a cup of juice). As soon as I eat something or drink a glass of juice I get back to normal. More or less.
It's always interesting to see how differently people react to this. One of my best friends is able to kind of bounce around me and crack a lot of jokes while I'm unwell, which helps a lot. I'd always rather joke about what can't be helped anyway.
My parents, on the other hand, are a bit more anxious. As you might imagine.
For the eleven years I lived in France I refused to go to the hospital and have the condition checked out. For one, I am no great friend of hospitals, and second, you can live perfectly normally with hypoglycemia, you just have to adjust and eat the right things at the right moment.
When I moved to Berlin, though, there was no real way around the fact that we have one of the best and most specialized hospitals here, with a very good doctor in endocrinology.
So I caved and went to have myself checked out.
You have to show up in the morning with an empty stomach, they feed you 170 g of sugar dissolved in luke warm water. Happy breakfast. Then they prick your fingers every half hour to see how fast and to where your blood sugar rises and falls. They also put what looked very much like a tap into my arm. A thing you can open or close to get blood out of a person. I found that to be very practical and would have liked to keep it. Imagine! No more needles necessary, ever. Just open the tap if anybody needs to take a blood sample!
The tests takes four hours. For about two hours I had the insane thought I might just have imagined the sickness and be perfectly well. My blood sugar rose and fell just as it was supposed to.
Then it dropped faster.
And faster. And faster andfasterandfaster...
Three and a half hours into the procedure, I was below 80, falling fast below 60 (80 is what a normal person's blood sugar will fall to. If you're healthy, your blood sugar should not drop below that.). I started to be white as a sheet, cold sweat broke out all over my body, I started trembling, I couldn't hear what the nurse said. She prepared a syringe with glucose, just in case. She called the doctor. Then they stood over me, checking my blood sugar every couple of minutes until my fingers looked and felt like swiss cheese. And I started to cry. Because that's what I do when I have an audience. For maximum effect. I mean, if you can have drama, you should go for it, right?
When the tears started falling and the nurse started holding my hand, the doctor looked at me seriously and told me 'all right, Miss Freund. Look at me. You will now count down from 100 to 0 in steps of 7.' (His charming way of saying 'stay with me here.')
When it slowly seeped into my brain what he had just told me to do, a chuckle rose from deep within my belly, bursting into a full blast of laughter.
I can't count down from 100 to 0 in steps of 7 when I have had 10 hours of sleep, am well fed and perfectly happy.
I can't even count up in steps of seven without using my fingers.
Tamar, you won yesterday's Advent gift. Would you let me know your address, please?