I picked up my phone for the fourth time in about three minutes before I realised I was doing it. The reflex-like action was a command from my mind, telling me it was time to check my Dex app. And so, quite dutifully, I was. I picked up the phone, opened the app and looked at the number staring back at me. But the number was not registering at all.
I was distracted and in the midst of editing an article at work, but knew that I should get a look at what my number was at that moment.
After the fourth time of checking, but the number not sinking in, I paused, shook my head and focused: phone on, app open, look at number, register. Nice steady line, steady in range number. No action required. I put down my phone and went back to my editing.
I look at my phone dozens of times a day for diabetes purposes. I look at the number and most of the time, I think about what it means and then either act, or don’t. At the moment, it’s not registering a lot of the time. I’m tired, it’s the end of the year and my thoughts are drawn a lot to the Wintery Streets of New York where we’ll be in two short weeks. I’m frantically trying to tie up loose ends so I can start the work year afresh.
I’m missing the occasional bolus for the same reason, my preoccupied mind not remembering to give a little insulin for my morning coffee or the (significant amount of) icing I licked off my fingers after decorating Xmas cookies. And it’s taking longer than usual to register this forgetfulness, meaning numbers higher than I’d like for longer than I’d like.
We’re all weary now. The year is long and by December many of us feel like we are barely limping to the finish line. I am in denial about how few days there are until Xmas because the number of presents under the tree can be counted on one hand…and I am from an Italian family with a million or so gifts needing to be purchased. (At least the tree is up and the house looks festive…)
But the diabetes tasks are always there and always need to be done – all the time. The relentlessness of what needs to be done doesn’t increase in December, but for some reason, the way I respond has become less meaningful. There is a level of mindfulness missing from my diabetes thinking. I don’t think I’m being complacent – it’s not that I’ve stopped any of the self-care – but I am certainly less attentive.
It’s like when you walk into a room and can’t remember why you’ve gone in there, or open a cupboard and have no idea what you wanted to grab from the shelf, staring at the jars and tins clueless-ly – a kind of mindless and mechanical action, knowing there was a planned outcome, but you’ve no idea what it was anymore.
I’ve been reaching for a name for this feeling. It’s not as overwhelming or scary as the burnout I’ve experienced in the past. It’s distraction and boredom, my mind quick to dash to other thoughts, forgetful and absentminded.
Maybe inertia is the word. Or torpor. Or perhaps ennui. Yes! Ennui! Is diabetes ennui a thing, because that is exactly how I am feeling today as I reach for my phone. To check my number…Again…