Drinking to Undo Diabetes

I hadn’t been drinking that long before I was diagnosed with diabetes. Suffice it to say I was a good girl who usually followed the rules. But upon turning 21, my friends started winning late-night happy hours at downtown Cincinnati bars. I attended many of these happy hours, and with the first two drinks being free, it didn’t take long to make it to five.

Two weeks before I was diagnosed at 22, I was at a downtown bar with my boyfriend at the time, Reed. It was crowded for a Thursday night, mainly due to these happy hours. Reed and I had just returned from attending church with his family – it was the Thursday before Easter, and even though I no longer practiced Catholicism, I adored his family, calling them my own, and willingly subjugated myself to the torture of mass to spend time with them. I even wore purple (the color of lent, a season of repentance for Catholics).

I was nursing my second beer when Reed returned from the bar with two White Russians (he was a huge Big Lebowski fan) and two Bud Lights in hand.

“Thirsty?” I said, raising my eyebrows.

“Happy hour ends in 10 minutes, had to make the most of it,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. I wasn’t planning on getting drunk that night, but you know how the story goes …

Two weeks later, on April 24, I was admitted to the hospital for a severely high blood sugar (690). I was supposed to spend the evening with my boyfriend and his aunt and uncle. Instead, I was alone in a cold hospital bed with a dead cell phone and a disease. Within 24 hours, the doctor and nurses got my blood sugar down to 200. Although I was advised to stay another night, I pleaded with them to let me go, promising them that I was responsible and would take care of myself. Continue reading