424


My glucose average is 424; it should be below 120. Statements from medical professionals, family, friends and patients about behavior consequent to hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar:
• It can hit you really quick pretty much without warning.
• Irritability, agitation, aggressive, irrationality, anger, rage, loss of self-control, yelling, wild eyes, inability to reason, mean
• He’s usually very sweet-natured but his highs turn him into a completely different [person].
• Expected too much from those around me
• Makes everyone around her crazy
• Very trying for loved ones and friends
• He really scares me when he is so angry at everything and everyone. When he is low he is very lovable and fun.
• He is not himself. He’s forgetful, sometimes irrational, and got angry at a little thing—totally unlike him.
• I don’t know if it’s the sugar or if he’s getting early Alzheimer’s—it’s that noticeable a difference.
• My husband has been so irritable and angry and has had fits of rage that have frightened me. I know he would never hurt me but to see him like that scares me. His face is so red and during the rage he doesn’t know where to turn. The thing is, something valid does set him off, so he figures he has a reason for being angry but it is almost out-of-control anger. His blood sugar levels have been high for at least two years . . .
• I don’t do this on purpose.

The moving crew chief cautioned that I shouldn’t yell at his men; the building manager won’t even acknowledge my existence; the doctor kicked me out of his practice. At Crouse Hospital and the Iroquois Nursing Home no medical person or administrator made any attempt to link my behavior to my illness. Nobody ever said to the bedside staff, “Try to understand: she’s hyperglycemic and can’t control what this is doing to her.”

There are people who don’t trigger me. Why don’t we look at that? Why not consider the behavior of people don’t initiate bad reactions from me? Why don’t we look at what they do or don’t do and replicate it among other people? Why do we blame the patient instead of teaching the staff?

I have an invisible illness: hyperglycemia. It is tearing me apart and destroying every relationship I have. I am treating it with diet, acupuncture and homeopathy. All I know how to do is isolate myself because I can’t get along with some people. Insulin makes me suicidal; I am working with a pharmacologist/psychiatrist to try to figure out why.

What more can I do? Show me. Tell me. Everybody blames me, assuming I can control my behavior; I can’t. I am in torment.

Where’s the understanding? Where’s the compassion?

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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