Today’s challenge in the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge (#HAWMC) is to “Go to Dictionary.com and write a blog post inspired by the Word of the Day.” The idea is to get those of us participating in this challenge to expand our vocabulary to a word that we wouldn’t necessarily use in everyday conversation. I feel like I have a relatively broad vocabulary already (and sometimes even quite colorful), but I have to admit that today’s word isn’t one that I routinely blurt out.
When I first read this blog prompt, I expected that all of us participating in HAWMC would be writing about the same Word of the Day. I was surprised when I saw that it could be any Word of the Day, and more than one if desired. However, I had made up my mind to really focus in on whatever today’s word was going to be, and figure out how to apply it to my diabetes world.
In anticipation of today’s post, I woke up this morning to a beautiful Spring day and checked for the Word of the Day.
Gravitas GRAV-uh-tahs noun;
High seriousness (as in a person’s bearing or in the treatment of a subject).
Apparently Dictionary.com isn’t one to be on time on a Saturday, which is something I can appreciate because me and being on time don’t always get along well either; “Gravitas” was actually the Word of the Day for yesterday. Nevertheless, I went with it, and I committed that to memory and got ready to spend the day at the beach with A-Flizzle and a couple of good friends. As we drove the nearly two hours to the coast, had lunch, spent the day with our toes in the sand, and then stopped on the way back for dinner, I kept thinking about “gravitas” and trying to connect it to my diabetes world.
Then, while passing beach houses along the coast, it hit me. Oh yeah, I can definitely link this to my world.
Last week I had a low BG of 38 mg/dL…at work. I caught it while a coworker and I were talking, once I realized I was making zero sense carrying my side of the conversation. Plus, I was dancing on the edge of low-induced motormouth. As soon as my colleague left my office I was into my glucose tabs immediately, but I was really feeling all the awful effects of the low blood sugar…confusion, motormouth, nonsense, clothes-soaking sweats, shaking, and every little thought was immensely complicated.
While I was waiting for the glucose tabs to kick in and get my BG back to normal, the gravitas of the situation occurred to me. When we’re low, and fighting through the symptoms of a severe low blood sugar, nothing else really matters. It doesn’t matter that deadlines are being missed, that the phone is ringing off the hook, or that people are waiting to meet with us if only we could get our wits together. All that matters are those few moments, and fighting and clawing our way back to the surface where we can think clearly again. All that matters is survival.
As I sat there at my desk, with my head in my hands, trying my best to not appear to be a crazed lunatic that this low BG was making me feel like, I couldn’t get past the seriousness of the situation, and how not being low was the only thing I could focus on. It was all that was important, in that moment. The low didn’t last long, and thankfully I was better (albeit, a bit hungLOWver) after a few minutes, but then came the guilt and insecurity.
Did my coworker notice that I wasn’t making sense? Why couldn’t I just shut up and complete a coherent sentence? Why can’t I ever stop myself when I realize I’m having a low and simply say, “I’m feeling low and need to take care of this.” When will I ever be able to put my diabetes first, ahead of work and all the other things that will be there later?
That last question carries the most gravitas of any, and one that I can’t answer yet. But I’ll keep trying.