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Diabetic Deals With Temporary Visual Impairment

Normally, my vision is better than 20/20.  (20/15 is mine, which always prompts my eye doctor to say “Oh, you should be a pilot!” and then I laugh my face off because, really, do you know me, lady?)  I’m lucky not to wear glasses or contacts at this point in my life, especially considering that everyone else in my family needs a little visual help at this point.

I’m grateful that my vision is excellent most of the time, despite a few diabetic retinopathy issues.  But for the last 48 hours, it’s been a little dodgy, and managing diabetes while my eyesight is impaired has been challenging.  Yesterday was the worst day for this latest relapse of the ol’ corneal abrasion, so my vision was very limited in the affected eye (and the other eye was swollen in a lovely, compassionate response to its friend’s injury, so basically I look like I’d been tagged in the face with a baseball – twice.).

My Dexcom graph was next-to-impossible to read. I’ve been taking Tylenol to reduce the swelling in my eye, so the Dexcom integrity has been completely and utterly compromised, but I gave up on trying to recalibrate it last night (after the Tylenol wore off) because I couldn’t navigate the input screen.

Thankfully, the numbers on my Ping meter are gigantic, so I can see my blood sugar results. (For the most part – earlier in the day, I was thankful to recognize whether or not the results included two or three numbers.  Now I can see the actual numbers reasonably well.)  Also, using the audio bolus option on the pump saved me, because those numbers were impossible to see, so I had to bolus by counting the beeps.  That was a fun inconvenience, but doubled as a carb-limiting factor because I deliberately chose snacks with the fewest carbs so I had less of a chance of screwing up the dosing.

Being unable to see properly has retooled my ability to care for myself.  Every time my eye acts up, I’m given a glimpse (pun sort of intended) into what life with limited vision might be like.  Reading meters is easy when I’m able to see properly, but not being able to see that result sets me up for a lot of problems.  How do I dose for a reading I can’t see?  How do I dial up an insulin dose when I can’t read the pump screen?  (Also, how come my eye has this problem

What are you?ONLY when I’m traveling or when Chris is traveling?  Is there a reason why this never happens when he’s home and can serve as a second set of eyes?  Murphy’s Law runs this house.)  Dealing with an impaired pancreas is one thing, but managing diabetes in conjunction with vision loss is a whole new ballgame.  I now completely understand those meters they advertise on TV that talk.  And I’m forever grateful for the fact that this issue is temporary.

With every nap comes a little more healing.  And thankfully yet again, the cornea heals fast.  (Breaks fast, too, little bastard.)  So I’m hoping that tomorrow brings full recovery, because next week is a busy one.  (Will I see you at SXSH and ePatient 2011?)

For now, I’m hanging out in the dark, with sunglasses on, like a diabetic Batman.

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*


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