A dumber animal resides
Blog Post by Brad Green - Sep.04.2008 - 2:38 pm
At 48, the world is wobbly. At 35, speech mushes like an NBA player. Below that: stumbles, clumsy rage, darkness. In the 20's, I go blind. Blind in all aspects: can't see, can't remember, can't think. A dark shade unfurled in my mind. The me has left my body when my blood sugar is that low; some dumber animal resides. After a day of working in the dirt, a 45 may proffer bright splotches in my vision that make it hard to see the glucometer. I twist my head left and right to move the splotch to the side. A drop of blood trembles on my finger. Hard to hit the strip right. The testing must be performed in a prescribed fashion or you waste a buck. I test 12-15 times a day. I am constantly bleeding. The strip has a miserly mouth with which to suck. Positioning is paramount. Sitting at my desk this morning at work, I felt that slow, dumb beast rise. It rose as a retreat of sensation in the lips and tongue, a swelling numbness. I know the symptom, but by the time my mind recognizes it, I am at the edge of the cliff already. A gust could push me over. It takes ten minutes for me to process the number on the glucometer. 33. I should do something. I fish in the tester pouch for smarties. I'm out. Panic: a sharp thorn in the cotton of my mouth. My processing slow, like a dull knife through white bread. I stumbled to the next office. The world lurched and wobbled. "No money." Speech slurred, but I don't want to write it that way. "Need candy." She had a bowl of it on the desk. I grabbed a malicious handful. A few minutes later the world began to clear and details rise. The dumb animal retreats. My hands filled into themselves. My lips acquired an edge under a testing tooth. The strip easier to fill now, its mouth wider in the rush of sugar. 64: still low, but the brain works here. Focus settles on the world as a subtle honing of all the senses. Keyboard clatter rattles down the hall. The air conditioner hisses through dark vents. Voices move like an odor. I can taste the candy now in my mouth though it's already been swallowed. The body halts its processing during these low moments and perhaps queues the sensation to be replayed when cognition rights itself. An evaporation of chocolate on my tongue. I think of the spiderman ruler and it's existence notched in numbers. How am I any different. The hours of my days expended in pursuit of 90 or 100. Each minute I don't call forth my blood a possible miss and plunge into the cave of the numb animal. It's a vicious whip under which to labor, to know that your movement can only be as far and wide as your insulin supply. A trip lasting longer than your frozen ice pack could mean corruption of the bottle from heat. A blasting sun weakens it. To forget a needle is to die. Pfft. Lows drape me in melancholy. I am tempered the remainder of the day like the drip of molten metal. I hiss against the normal temperatured, but it's a hiss that's an expression of relief that finally the yellow-orange heat of my slow reshaping by the dumb animal within has subsided. I move back into my mold, the edges of my normal shape a comfort. As the M&M's work their magic, it's as if I unfold back into my skin.