Today’s story is off to the side and a little bit quirky.
Having lived with T1D for 46 years, it’s obvious that I’m not a young man. To be honest, I’m in the last few years before I retire from my job.
As that time draws closer, many people have been advising me that I need to have “Something To Do” when I retire. Then they run through the list of possibilities, which inevitably includes “a hobby” or “part time work”. The more adventurous even dig into “a little bit of extra money”, which is sometimes referred to as “pocket money”. After having these helpful bits of advice for the past 4 or 5 years, I’ve started doing something about it.
My advice is, if you’re going to have a hobby it needs to be something that you’re interested in; maybe even passionate about.
The obvious choices for me began reducing down to computers. Providing training? Building them? Programming them? When I considered that everyone is looking at their hands today, the obvious choice became learning to write programs for mobile phones. If you can’t beat them, join them.
So, for the last couple of months I’ve been digging into the subterranean world of writing apps. I warned my wife that I’d be going down the rabbit hole, but she was happy for me to have something to focus on and that made me happy. So down I went.
After saying hello to Alice, and that fellow with the crazy eyes and the funny hat, I fleetingly saw this giant white rabbit disappear around the corner. So off I went. It’s fascinating down there, with endless possibilities limited only by your imagination.
Since going down the rabbit hole, my BGL’s (Blood Glucose Levels) have taken a hit. Yes, I need to bring you crashing back to the very real world of T1D.
If you consider that my “normal” range before starting this pre-retirement exercise was between 4 and 12, the records quite clearly show that that range has now blown out to between 3 and 16.
Now, this is not the end of the world. And “the end of the world” is not actually the point of this story. The point is, how could developing a hobby and interest cause a measurable change to the numbers that dictate my health? And why do I care enough to write this story?
There are 2 aspects of the rabbit hole that are affecting my levels.
- I am losing track of time and sometimes forget to eat. When you are down that hole, time is different. You might think you’ve been there for 1/2 an hour, but in fact 3 hours have gone past. The rabbit hole plays with your brain
- Writing programs, at least for me, is an emotional exercise full of surprises, excitement and desperation. It is a very emotional experience
The first point is obvious how it can affect the levels. No eat / no carbohydrate / no chance of stability in the levels.
The second point is more difficult to measure. Stress of any sort affects the BGLs, be it work, travel, health, emotion, psychological. But the affect any of these have on the BGLs cannot be predicted. Sometimes the affect can be up and sometimes it can be down. There’s even the “fight-or-flight” response where first the BGL goes up, preparing you for action, but then plummets afterwards as the body tries to return to normal. So the emotional, psychological, even physical part of learning to write programs for phones is having a measurable affect on my state of health.
A similar situation would occur if a person with T1D is obsessed with gambling on the horses, or playing poker or buying / selling shares. Any of this type of activity, if it becomes an obsession, will potentially cause harm in an unpredicted, unexpected and possibly dramatic way.
That is T1D as I have lived it ….. today.