My voice sounded strange as I answered my phone. It was 10 pm. I realized that I had not spoken out loud since leaving work 5 hours earlier. Since moving into my own apartment, I’ve been getting used to living alone. The solitude, the freedom, and the silence. Without any immediate person or animal to talk to, I realized that I could now go hours without hearing my own voice. It’s still a strange concept.
But the lack of chatter is just one aspect of living on your own. And while I admit that there are moments when I miss human interaction, I know that this is a time of immense learning and growing for me. Every problem, big or small, becomes my responsibility. Whether that means calling a friend or parent for advice, calling a repair person, or problem solving a solution myself, it’s up to me to fix my own issues.
But fixing a leaking sink or figuring out how to set up my cable are not quite the same as problem solving health obstacles on your own. And while obviously I have concerns about my diabetes, these instances are not always related to that. But I have also found that when I do have these moments of “panic”, my mind goes straight to the most obscure details. Allow me to demonstrate:
I was sitting in front of the TV eating nachos. Immersed in the TV show I was watching, I took a collection of gooey chips from the bowl without looking down and put it in my mouth, swallowing with minimal chewing. But rather than going down smoothly, I could feel the lump get stuck in my throat. I wasn’t choking, I could still breathe, but the lump had become rather painful. I coughed, hoping that it would help the food move down my throat, but it only made it hurt more. I took a sip of water. No luck. Now I was starting to get worried. I’m not really sure what the normal thought process would be, but I started thinking about what I would do if the food remained lodged in my throat. I thought about who I would call. Should I go next door and see if someone is home? Since recently moving, I’ve only met one of my neighbors one time. But realistically what would she do? And what would I say? Should I call my parents? “Hi dad, so I’m not reallllly choking, but there’s this lump of nacho painfully lodged in my throat. Suggestions?” Which piece of furniture would be best to throw myself over if I needed to do the Heimlich maneuver on myself? Would that even work? Wouldn’t that be funny marketing if a furniture advertised, “Great for if you ever find yourself choking and alone in your apartment!” I sat there considering my options when the food finally dislodged and the pain disappeared. Phew, crisis averted.
A few nights earlier, I had another obscure train of thought while contemplating my predicament. My blood sugar had somehow skyrocketed, I mean wayyyy out into space. It was the middle of the night and I felt soooo sick. My stomach was killing me, I kept switching from being hot to cold and back again, I was thirsty, and just overall in pain. I had given insulin hours before, but my blood sugar had only continued to climb. I decided to give a shot in addition to the insulin that my pump may have delivered. Watching my blood sugar continue to climb as I laid in excruciating pain, I started thinking what I would do if I couldn’t get it to come back down. My first thought though was if the emergency room has valet parking. What do I do with my car? If I drive myself to the hospital, do I go park in the structure then walk to the emergency room? Having only ever gone with my parents, these logistical details seemed extra important in the moment. Then do I email my work that night or wait until the morning to tell them that I may not be in? What the heck, why am I thinking about parking and emails right now?! I continued to lay there for another hour before I saw the encouraging downward arrows on my CGM. I finally drifted back to sleep and awoke to a beautiful line of blood sugars hovering around 100.
The mind truly works in random, mysterious, and clearly entertaining ways. I’m just glad that I didn’t have to act on any of my obscure thoughts!