My brain is not coming to work today

By | 14 September, 2009
Hold on, that's not a brain!

Hold on, that’s not a brain!

For years I’ve had a nasty habit that scares and un-nerves my closest relatives. At first they were completely baffled by it, then they came to understand it and have now developed some coping strategies.

I coped fine with my diabetes at university. My housemates were great about not eating my emergency food, they picked up the pieces on the odd occassion there was an alcohol/food/insulin/sleep miscalculation and I didn’t really have any serious problems. I just got on with it.

The problems started in the holidays. Every time I came home from uni I’d go hypo. Not just a bit low. Proper, need help hypo. I pondered insulin doses, changes in activity levels, sleeping patterns, diet etc but nothing really seemed to explain it. Then the parents spotted the problem. I wasn’t reacting to feeling low. I’d just ignore it. When I look back, I remember sitting in my parents house numerous times thinking “I feel low” but not doing anything about it. I was just waiting for someone else to deal with it.

And even now, if I’m at home with the husband my CGMS alarm always wakes him before me. I can ignore it for ages. Yet if I’m alone, I hear the alarm pretty much as soon as it goes off.

When I’m alone my self-preservation instinct is strong. I react to what my diabetes is telling me and ignoring a hypo wouldn’t even cross my mind. But put me somewhere I feel safe, surrounded by people who love me and know how to cope with a hypo and I take a break. It appears that I subconsciously relinquish diabetes responsibility to those that I trust.

At some point it appears my brain decided it couldn’t cope with the 24/7 nature of diabetes and would therefore take leave whenever the opportunity presented itself. Unfortunately my brain isn’t a very considerate co-worker. It doesn’t schedule the leave or brief the people who are meant to be covering while it relaxes for a while. It just wanders off leaving a trail of diabetes chaos behind it. Thankfully my habit has been spotted and the family keep a watchful eye for ignored lows.

We think controlling diabetes is all about insulin, but I think we underestimate the power of the mind.

Category: Living with diabetes Tags: ,

About Alison

Diagnosed with Type One in 1983 at the age of four, Alison's been at this for a while now. She uses Humalog in a combined insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring system and any blood glucose meter as long as it takes five seconds or less.

5 thoughts on “My brain is not coming to work today

  1. CALpumper aka Crystal

    I think many underestimate the power of the brain.
    I don’t recall a specific occasion where I did this But I’ve no doubt I have on some level.
    When I am around those I trust, those that know what to do, I tend to be a bit more carefree, less cautious.
    Overall I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think being made aware we may do this is a good thing.
    And it’s way to early for my brain to be thinking or firing all cylinders. That’s all I got. Happy Monday! 😉

  2. Tim

    CALpumper aka Crystal :

    I think many underestimate the power of the brain.

    Just as an aside, there’s an interesting article about this re: placebos, in this month’s Wired. Just thought I’d mention it…

  3. Tim

    I agree Alison – when I’m out by myself I manage my diabetes with the cat-like reflexes of, well, a cat… But when Katie’s around I do relax a little, knowing that she knows what to do if something goes tits-up. It’s just spreading the load a little I guess.

  4. Rosie

    Delegation is strategic workflow!
    Interesting insight, thanks 🙂


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