Every diabetic has one: the story of how he or she came to be acquainted with the terrible pet known as diabetes.
After a while, the tale becomes rehearsed. Formulaic — like the “How We Met” story you might tell about your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend.
“I started feeling [tired/nauseated/dizzy/blind], and I couldn’t stop [eating/drinking/sleeping/peeing]. So I went to the doctor, and was diagnosed with [mononucleosis/the flu/the wrong kind of diabetes/pancreatitis]. A few weeks later, I noticed I’d lost [20/30/50] pounds and still felt [bad/terrible/downright shitty], so I went to the doctor again. They tested my blood sugar and it was [400/700/don’t ask], and I found out I had diabetes.”
One size may not fit all, but I feel like most of the stories I’ve heard followed a similar time line — give or take an episode of DKA or unconsciousness — and mine’s no different. I was twelve. I was falling asleep in class and dropping weight like it was my job. I was skin and bones by the time my parents took me to the ER, which may or may not be related to the fact that I’d probably just polished off the contents of my giant plastic Jack O’Lantern.
This November 11, it’ll be 20 years since the date of my diagnosis. I’d always assumed I had an unremarkable diagnosis story, but recently, I remembered what I was doing right before my parents ushered me into the car to take me to the ER — I was watching Little Shop of Horrors with one of my best friends.
Yes, I spent my last pre-diagnosis hours watching a movie about a man who adopts a fantastical plant, keeps it alive with drops of blood from his fingers, eventually becomes a slave to its voracious appetite, and then dedicates himself to defeating it and keeping it from taking over the world.
I’ve been trying to decide how to spend my 20-year diaversary. I thought about throwing myself a big fat party, but then I decided I didn’t want to flatter my diabetes too much. I considered a nice dinner, maybe buying myself a piece of jewelry. But now, I think I might have to sit down and watch Little Shop of Horrors all the way through for the first time since November 11, 1990.
It’ll be a good chance to reflect on the blood-sucking, flesh-eating alien menace in my life — and get inspired by the vocal stylings of Rick Moranis, while I’m at it.