Saturday, 5 November 2011

Assignment related blues

So I am now a student. What's scarier than me in fact being a student is that I am a student nurse. Yes, run for the hills. I am now vaguely responsible for health related things. I say again, run for the hills.
Now when anyone goes to university the first assignment that is set can be something of a daunting prospect regardless of what you are studying. When I tried my hand at a degree in Biomedical Sciences the first essay and lab report caused a lot of stress and such like. Now I'm training as a nurse my first proper assignment is causing a little bit more than that. This first assignment is on diabetes. Yes, diabetes. Not exactly what I wanted to do it on but I have to so I carry on and read all the things I need to then write the essay. I thought I had a handle on my diabetes and the psychological side of things. Believe you me, diabetes isn't just a case of taking the insulin, checking your blood glucose and carrying on. Far, far from it. Diabetes manages to seep into everything that you do. For example, whenever I leave my flat I am never without my BG meter and testing supplies, glucose tablets and well, my pump which seems to go everywhere with me. You can't just leave diabetes in the key rack it would seem. When I go for a day at university I end up with the usual BG kit, glucose related stuff. I also end up taking a vial of insulin and syringe should my pump go Pete Tong and the stuff to change sets with. Sufficient to say that this gets to me from time to time. I'd love to have a chance to walk out of the door and not to worry about anything diabetes related. Not to have a pump in my pocket, no BG meter and glucose tablets... Enough of that. Back to the topic.
Yes, my first assignment is a series of questions and miniature essays on diabetes. Both type one and type two. Now this would be very interesting for me were I not diabetic. Given that I am it's a bit depressing. Although it is the cold hard facts of diabetes that we are studying it is damn depressing learning from a book what can and has gone wrong with my body. The statistics make for damning reading. The complications. Sitting down and looking at pictures of ulcerated feet. Charcot's foot. DKA. Effects of diabetes on pregnancies if poorly controlled. The intimacies of a buggered pancreas. The mood swings. Highs and lows in blood glucose.
I suppose that I wouldn't be a fully functioning human if I didn't get a little upset by all this. However, this just brings back memories of the scare stories that I was told as a small child in an effort to get my to look after myself. Back then they didn't mean a thing. Now, at the ripe old age of twenty one, they do mean something. The possibilities of what can go wrong are just scary. Knowing full well what can and probably will happen if I don't put in the effort now. Knowledge is power apparently. This stuff has the power to scare me shitless.
Doing this damn assignment has reinforced how diabetes seeps into everything that I do. I live, sleep, eat and breathe diabetes. This is just to stay alive and hope that through hard work now I do not develop complications when I am older. This takes a toll. I can deal, just about, with this. Now being obliged to study this in a bit of depth is my bridge too far. It makes you think about everything. I live a normal life, I am lucky. However, I have my own sword of Damocles. All I can do is let it out, purge myself of the feeling that this brings up. Try and work it all out. I'm still doing that. Diabetes doesn't sleep like me, neither do the emotions that it awakens.
I draw my strength from many sources. At the moment I have a poem written out on a piece of card that is stuck to the shelf over my desk:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods maybe,
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloodied yet unbow'd.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears,
Looms but the horror of the shade.
And yet the menace of the years
finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the Captain of my soul.

W.E. Henley - Invictus