I found myself yesterday explaining to a friend some things about diabetes. During the conversation I mentioned that Arden's BGs have been all over the place for the last few days. They were high yesterday morning and I couldn't get them to budge. Then, as if someone flipped a switch, they were suddenly perfect for the remainder of the day. Early the next morning after some late night Christmas wrapping, I was heading to bed and I checked on Arden for what I thought would be one last time. Arden's CGM told me that her BG had begun to fall fifteen minutes before I arrived in her room. I tried to stop it with a temp basal but I was concerned that I was too late, so I settled in and waited to see where the bottom of this drop was going to be. Maybe, I hoped, maybe I won't have to wake her but I knew in the back of my mind that I was going to be chasing this BG all night.
The next day as I was explaining to my friend that managing diabetes is a lot like playing cornerback in the NFL, I realized that I was correct in more then a just a few ways. When you play football as a defensive player there is one truth, no matter what you do, or how much you practice, the guy you are defending is always one step ahead. In this example, the wide receiver (diabetes) has a head start. You may be just as fast and even more nimble but he always has the unfair advantage of knowing the route he plans to run while you are left to try and keep up. There are two ways to cover a wide receiver, you can be smart or you can be flashy. A smart corner keeps up with his opponent, always staying within reach. He reads tells in the receiver's body language, looks for clues in the alignment of the offense and then he let's his skill and talent guide him to a place on the field were the final act of their battle takes place. It's in that spot where, with luck, he'll be able to react in time to stop the receiver from catching the ball.
All the receiver wants in the world is to get away from his defender so he can make a catch, score and beat the defender. The cornerback, being a defensively minded participant in the game, he just wants to stop the receiver from advancing more then anything else. When a corner fails at his job pundits says he was burned, because that is exactly what it feels like. It's a terrible feeling to make your move and miss the ball. Your momentum takes your body out of position, you are no longer in a place to effect the play. You give chase, but you know just as everyone else looking on does, that you'll never catch back up to the man with the ball. The man you were charged with stopping. I've stood on a football field and watched my man, the guy I know I can beat, run away. He's outsmarted me, out performed me, he's beaten me. I know it, everyone else knows it, but what hurts the most is that he knows.
That's were the similarities between football and diabetes stop. Diabetes doesn't know it just beat me, but I still feel burned. Eventually I gave up that night and woke Arden so she could drink some juice. Then I chased her BG until the early hours of the morning.
Some times when I'm able to keep up with diabetes and my skills take over, I make an awesome play on the ball. I've knocked a few passes, that were going for touchdowns, out of the air. Once and a while, when unleash my flashy, I pick one off and take it back for six.
Each morning when Arden wakes up, I'm renewed by the look on her face and ready to run with diabetes again. We stand across from one another, look deep into each other's souls and wait in the intense silence for the ball to be snapped. I hope that one day, someone will walk on the field, take their ball and go home. Until then, I scrap with the guy that lines up across from me, doesn't matter what number is on his chest - 56, 347, doesn't matter. I know what he wants, but I have a surprise for my opponent... I want it more.