Hay mucho sobre que pudiera escribir, pero quiero empezar con una discusión sobre la palabra ‘prójimo.’ Esta palabra ha entrado mi mente y mi mundo mucho recientemente, y estoy pensando en lo que significa ser una buena prójima. Otra palabra que ha entrado es comunidad. Fui a una comunidad ayer adonde es evidente que hay esta idea de vivir, en las palabras de una residente, “de una manera interdependiente.” Es, dice ella, una alternativa de vivir tan independiente, sin reconocer que somos dependientes el uno del otro. Por qué es tan dificil en nuestra cultura (en todas las culturas?? Algunas más que otras??) a aceptar que no podemos hacer todo por nuestra cuenta. Por qué se da tan mucho miedo ser vulnerable y aceptar ayuda? Pienso que es una funciona de nuestras percepciones sobre la relaciona entre nosotros y los demás, o sea, entre nuestro mundo interior y mundo exterior. Es aquí adonde traeré diabetes entra la conversación. Está semana me caí por las escaleras. Le di un asusto a la mujer que estaba subiendo desde la otra dirección. Fue interesante que mis movimientos y la acción a mi cuerpo podría moverla también – que estábamos conectadas en esta manera. Luego, en mi clase de bailar con mi pierna doliendo mal, me di cuenta que mi azúcar fue muy bajo y que posiblemente era por eso que caí. El nivel de azúcar dentro de mi cuerpo influye mis movimientos en el mundo. Esta es una metáfora perfecta para la influencia que tenemos en nuestros aldrededores. Nuestros pensamientos, creencias, prejuicios, y historias personales tienen un impacto en el exterior sin nos guste o no. Somos conectados. Solo podemos operar en el mundo sin reconocer que dependemos de otros mientras tenemos poder, o sea, hasta que perdemos el control. Para mi, cuando me caí, perdí control. Fue una experiencia humillando, que me transformó en otro cuerpo temporalmente. Este viaje, pienso que es valioso, porque permite empatía. Esto, empatía, pienso que es el ingrediente clave (para mi) de ser una buena prójima. Obviamente, hay otra moral aquí también para mis amigos que tienen diabetes tipo 1 (o 2 realmente), que es, por favor, mide tus niveles de azúcar frequentemente y cuídate cuando tienen bajos. Ahora mi pierna se siente mucho mejor y estoy otra vez pensando en como podemos usar la palabra gratitud como un verbo. Tal vez, si estamos luchando por encontrar empatía, podemos pensar en todas las cosas en nuestras vidas por lo que deberíamos tener gratitud.
10 things you can do with water (that are great for diabetes):
Brush your teeth – People with diabetes are at an increased risk of periodontal disease and oral health issues
Drink until you’re hydrated – Dehydration can lead quickly to an emergency situation during ketoacidosis
Make hummus (soak chick peas, cook them, achieve desired consistency) – The fiber, protein, and other nutrients in hummus make it one of my favorite diabetes power foods
Wash your hands – When you have diabetes, infections can cause inflammation in the body that elevates blood sugar levels, which in turn makes it even harder to get well
Mop the floor – Clean floors are a vital part of happiness
Flush the toilet – Sanitation, obviously important
Wash your clothes – Although, I read on a tag of one of my ‘Toad&Co’ shirts that ‘clean is the new dirty’ and we should wash our clothes less often
Wash your dishes – Along with the next one, cooked meals are typically healthier than meals out. Keeping your kitchen free of foodborne bacteria is important to avoiding gastrointestinal illness
Clean your (non-starchy) veggies – My favorite diabetes superfood group!
Take your Vitamin D – there’s some promising research out about the importance of maintaining healthy Vitamin D levels for people with diabetes (and all people)
Interestingly enough, this is also a list of 10 things you can’t do without water. In my town this past weekend we were under a state of emergency for over 24 hours because of over-fluoridation and a water main break (two separate incidences). I had a friend visiting for the weekend, so she and I went to stay at another friend’s house in a neighboring county. We all had a great slumber party and then the ban was lifted.
It worked out so well for me that it was particularly sobering to realize how blessed/privileged I am – in terms of this country and internationally. I was able to afford bottles, access them, and also have a nice place to stay because of my social network. Then too, thinking about the world, how bizarre that we declare a crisis and state of emergency after an hour of reduced water when in some countries people live every day with no expectation of running water in their homes. Why don’t we think about how lucky we are to have clean water that we can access almost anywhere by turning on a tap? If clean drinking water is something you don’t think about every day, chances are you’re privileged in comparison to many people in the world. Worldwide, more than 1 billion people still lack access to improved drinking water. And in many places, global warming and industry is causing water sources that entire communities depended on to dry up completely: Climate Change Claims a Lake, and an Identity (this is a great NY Times article about Lago Poopó in Bolivia).
So I know you may be wondering, what’s the call to action here? Well I’ve got two for you. The first one is to sign up for your town’s Public Health Reserve Corps (PHRC) or another similar organization that will alert you to volunteer opportunities during crises like the water shortage we experienced. The second is to challenge yourself to discover one thing that you take for granted in your day-to-day and learn about what life is like in regards to this element, whether it be water, clean air, reliable transportation, or something else, for people living in another part of our world. Please feel free to add your thoughts, experiences and/or calls to action in the comments below!
Every now and then I am reminded that I am in awe of the Earth.
This time it happened paddling down the Eno River after the sun had set, it’s rosy imprint slowly fading away into a violet-blue darkness.
The moment that it hit me involved a Great Blue Heron, so aptly named, sailing like a hanglider overhead, silver wings outstretched, croaking its primordial call.
This night, and all nights, this world exists here on the river, while cars whiz by each other and humans do their violent and hurtful human things.
The fugue of frogs began. At first it was the peepers, a high-strung section of music, the violins of the amphibian orchestra. Then the pickerels chimed in, their voices harmonizing into a smooth mezzo-soprano (I just looked up vocal range on wikipedia). The rubber-band frogs, I don’t know their scientific name, soloed their song of: “boing! boing!” And then, a tribe of frogs illuminated the soundscape with a single wave of speech, their voices so artificially high it sounded as though they had sucked the helium from some abandoned birthday party balloons. I tried to figure out what they were saying but was distracted by the fireflies, just a few at first, strobe-lighting the dark outlines of the sycamores and tulip poplars. Every third stroke or so the half-moon found its way through the dense branches and illuminated my boat or my arm, reminding me that I was now part of the scene. The frogs sang and played on to a constant chorus of insect sound.
As my mind drifted into their performance I wondered what it would be like to stay all night and just soak up this other world. Suddenly a new vocalist called out, a Barred Owl (as pointed out by my friend and fellow Frog Hollow Guide Cathy), with her signature, “Hooo cooks for you???” A friend, or suitor quickly responded in a lower barotone, “Hooo cooks for you???”
The stars were out now, so fine in the sky: the Big Dipper scooping up the darkness, and I thought, how did I get this lucky?
Which takes me back to chord that’s been running through so many of my discussions lately about luck and blessings and fate and purpose.
And I still don’t know, how things fell into place. But I feel so lucky to have found Frog Hollow Outdoors so early in my time in the Triangle and through them, a river playground to call home. And that’s just the tip of the heron’s wing. So many things, if I pause to look up, are glittering in my life.
Whenever this happens, which as I said, is every so often, I am reminded of my favorite poet Mary Oliver, who provides me with endless inspiration. Among the frogs and owls and soft clicks of bat wings last night I kept hearing these words from her poem, ‘Mindful.’
I see or hear
that more or less
And she goes on…I encourage you to read this and all of her work if you need to be reminded too of the awe out there, especially if you can’t get straight into the woods.
And I will hope that in the middle of any chaos or sadness or uncertainty, that I can remember the reassuring lullaby of a summer river at night.
My Glucolift is packed, I’m ready to go…
I’ve been marking through checklist after checklist for the last two weeks. The nice man who works at CVS doesn’t need to ask for my card number anymore, he just remembers it.
Today I went to the pharmacy twice, yesterday once, and the day before, yep, at least once.
The last time I traveled out of the country was in 2011. At that time I was preparing for a three month long trip. I quit my job, packed up a huge suitcase and my backpacking pack and filled a lunch box sized cooler full of insulin. This time it’s just a three week trip, and yet I feel like my wheels are spinning as I try to get organized with all these medical supplies.
It’s my first trip out of the country since getting the Omnipod insulin pump. I wore it when I flew to San Antonio for a business trip and to San Francisco to visit two great friends, but never on an overseas adventure and never to a place where I’m not sure what obtaining supplies will be like.
These are some of the diabetes-related supplies I have to carry, and yes, before you say anything, chocolate is a necessity. In the past, I’ve felt so burdened by all of this ‘stuff,’ but in this moment, embarking on this project, I feel so exceptionally lucky.
I am so lucky to be able to afford and obtain these supplies. I am so lucky that this technology is available in the U.S. and that my insurance covers at least a portion of it. And I’m lucky to have so many amazing friends and family supporting me.
When I was diagnosed with T1D 10.5 years ago, a doctor looked at me in my hospital bed and said, “You know, it could always be worse.” At the time, that was not the wisdom I was hoping to hear (actually I was hoping for, “most cases of diabetes clear up in two to three weeks…”). Yet, nearly a decade later I realize how right those words were, although maybe not in the way that doctor intended. I am so very lucky to have been born in this time, with these resources, and this support network, and have such a good starting point for managing diabetes. Not everyone is.
One more thing this time: if you enjoy my blog please go ahead and become an official follower (see the little button bottom right of the screen). It’d be a big help to me and I’d really appreciate it! You can always unfollow or change your email settings if you feel like you’re getting too many notifications from me, but I rarely write more than once a week.
…that looks not very different from this misty winter day in North Carolina. Except for the cows, and the ice cold glacial stream and the rugged evergreen peaks.
In this mountain town in Austria the water was piped directly from the source, glacial springs high in the mountains, and poured out of copper pipes into intricately carved basins. Here in NC I can turn on my faucet and fill up my water bottle and not worry about bacteria and contamination.
Managing Type 1 diabetes or any chronic condition in an area where you don’t have access to clean water would be terrifying! Today I am so grateful for water.
Even though I know it works, I forget that gratitude is a choice, like a lens you put into your camera to brighten the vibrancy. It always works, sometimes more than others, to heighten our focus on the present and make life something solid to hold on to.
During the two weeks I was traveling over my break between semesters, I slept on 2 different sofas and 6 different beds. The hospitality of my friends and family was heart rendering. I rolled in like a rambler and left full of good food, laughter, and strong coffee. I carried an increasingly buoyant load of love around with me from house to house. I am so exceedingly grateful that in my life I have people who I can feel connected to even when I’m miles away.
These are the people who bring a smile to my face as I’m falling asleep and whose very presence makes me feel healthy and whole. I just wanted to take a moment to celebrate the power of being present with each other, here at the start of this new year.