Last week, on Melbourne’s 40 plus degrees (Celsius) day, I put on a pair of bathers and went to the beach. Big deal, I hear you all sigh. But it is! I can’t remember the last time that I wore bathers. I’ve written about my body image issues before, but this year, I decided to bite the bullet, buy a gorgeous new pair of togs and wear them to the beach or pool.
So, in my new, stripy bathers, on the beach, I frolicked and splashed in the water with my family. It was gorgeous and the ideal way to cool down from the scorching weather which, at 9.00pm was still sitting around 36 degrees.
I was having a fantastic time and feeling more than a little proud of myself for not being self-conscious and just having fun. The kidlet was having a ball and couldn’t get enough of splashing her parents. Fun. Fun. Fun. And then I have no idea what happened. No idea at all.
The next thing I remember is sitting on the sand with my daughter next to me. She was building a sand castle and smiled at me. ‘Where’s daddy?’ I asked her. ‘He’s gone to the car to get jellybeans. He’ll be back soon.’ ‘Okay,’ I said. I watched her.
‘Where’s daddy?’ I asked her. ‘Mummy! I just told you. He went to the car. He’ll be back soon.’
At that point, Aaron returned with jellybeans. He looked so concerned. ‘I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing. It was so hard to get you out of the water, I thought there was no chance getting you to the car. You were talking to me, so I thought it best if I quickly go’. ‘I don’t remember getting out of the water,’ I said to Aaron. Apparently I walked, but it took some time for me to agree to get back on the sand.
How this happened, I have no idea. I made the decision before I left home to leave my new pump on the kitchen table and pack a syringe and insulin with me for bolus top ups as necessary or if we decided to get an ice-cream. Before I disconnected my pump, the Dexcom was reading (on my pump) 8.2mmol/l with a nice flat arrow and a flat line preceding it. We’d eaten a low-carb meal, so there was only 0.6 units of insulin on board. I figured that I’d check my BGL when we got to the beach to see if I needed to top up. But I forgot to do that.
Most likely, it was a combination of the heat and the activity in the water (but let’s be honest; I was standing there splashing, not swimming against a current) or doing anything that would warrant the 1.5 mmol/l reading I discovered when I finally checked my sugar after downing a bag of jellybeans in record time.
These hypos make me hate diabetes like nothing else. And they make me hate myself for not doing the things that may have helped me avoid the situation. If only I’d checked my BGL before getting out of the car I would have known that I was dropping and dropping fast. If only I hadn’t left my pump at home, the Dexcom would have picked up my plummeting BGL and warned me. If only I’d packed jellybeans in the beach bag. If only my body did what it was meant to. If only I didn’t have diabetes. If only.
I wonder if my body image issues have anything to do with the fact that I feel like my body fails me constantly. Why would I think of my body as anything other than broken and why would I want to show that to anyone? Is that part of it, or is it just a matter of me being plain shallow, needing to get over it?
There will be many more beach days before now and the end of the sweltering season – a heat wave is on its way. I pushed away the thoughts of never putting on my new bathers again and not going to the beach again with my family. I can’t let diabetes dictate what I do. But I guess I must let it dictate how I do it. If only I’d remembered that before I walked onto the sand last week.