Wednesday, January 23, 2013

But God...

For a while now, I've been contemplating this blog because it is of significant importance for professional to understand that black people (for the most part even though there are exceptions) do not view themselves outside of a relationship with God. Therefore, when physicians and other people communicate with us about our health issues, they have to understand that where we are, He is in the midst also.

I have never sat among a group of black diabetes and not heard about how God saved them. How God provided for them. How the Lord saw fit to allow them to live or get insulin.

I am actually no different. The phrases I was raised with in the church, "Name it and claim it," were present with me as I grappled with understanding that I have a disease to which there is yet a cure for. That is a very hard pill to swallow when you believe that the God you serve is ALL powerful. That the God you serve has spared your life. That the God you served has made a way out of no way time and time again. That the God you serve can part the seas. That they God you serve made the Heavens and the Earth and knows every star by name. That the God you serve watches over you day in and day out. When you have gone your entire life believing this not as a belief but as is hard to process that you have a disease and you can't be cured.

The question for medical physicians should therefore be, "How can I give proper diabetes education within the cultural context of communicating with a spiritual group of people?" I can attest that when sickness arises, our relationship with God gets stronger. We pray harder. We fast longer. We read our Word more. We renew our relationship with God. This is of significant importance because when physicians attempt to discuss our medical situations but fail to recognize the need for spiritual expression, they miss a large part of their patient's being.

My grandmother told me that she recently had to tell a relative that God was in the medicine. Why? Because this relative was refusing to take it. Why? Because they felt like God was gonna heal them. The point here is, that by recognizing where my relative was in relationship to their spirituality, she was able to do something that people with medical degrees were unable to do...get my relative to take their medication.

This topic is so lengthy and multifaceted, I can go on for days. But I'll stop here and revisit this topic from time to time.  But, if you ever want to hear about the goodness of God, talk with a black diabetic that has high glucose levels. When they tell you about being asked "Why are you still walking around?" or "How can you be talking?" or "How did you even make it here to hospital?" The replies you'll get will always reverence God.

I don't know how I did it, but God...
I couldn't see, but God...
I was going into a coma, but God...
I didn't know what glucose levels were, but God...
I didn't have insulin, but God...
I ran out of medication, but God...

Gospel Travelers by Ernest Watson

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I Took a Bath...After 2 Years

Last month in a diabetes facebook discussion, I made a confession that I hadn't told ANYONE before that moment, "I haven't taken a bath in a tub since being diagnosed because I'm scared."

Now, I want to be clear and say, that I have taken showers everyday. The fear of tub baths occurred the night before I was diagnosed with diabetes when I passed out in the tub.

On Valentine's night 2011, I knew a couple of things...
I knew that I was ill. I knew that I was extremely tired. I knew that I needed help.

But I didn't know what was wrong with me. I didn't know that the fatigue I felt wasn't from working long hours. I didn't know that my glucose levels were over 600.

So, in my not knowing what was wrong, I ran hot water into my tub. Believing that the water would revive me, rescue me, or wash away the feeling of tiredness, I entered the tub feet first and then allowed the water to surround my entire body as I prayed for energy.

I leaned my head back, closed my eyes, allowed the hot water to swaddle me, and everything went BLANK.

When I opened my eyes, I didn't know where I was, what happened, or why I was in a tub of cold water. Then, very slowly, I remembered. I remembered that I was in my own apartment. That I had been very tired. That the cold water I found myself soaking in was actually hot when I got in it. When I realized that I could not, for the life of me, figure out how long I had been in the tub, I knew then that I had loss consciousness and passed out.

(As the story goes, the next day I couldn't stand up and was wheeled into the ER and told that I was on my way into a diabetic coma).

Yesterday, I decided to take a bath in my tub and...
as I placed my feet into the warm water, sat down, and submerged myself I cried. I cried thinking about how innocently I had gotten into that tub two years ago not knowing that I could have been found dead there. I cried thinking about how God blessed me to open my eyes one more time. I cried thinking about how there must be a purpose for my life that I haven't fulfilled. I cried at every flashback of that night. I cried thinking that Whitney Houston's final moments were in the tub like mine could have been.

And, when I stopped crying, I leaned back, rested, and prayed. After about 45 minutes, feeling emotionally drained, I exited from the tub. I am not sure when I'll do it again because of how emotional it was for me, but I did recall all my favorite aspects of sit down baths so I know that it will be in less than two years.

Additionally,  I noticed that after almost an hour, the water was still warm. By my estimate, it would take at least 2.5 hours for a tub of hot water to become as cool as the water was that I woke up in on that Valentine's day. I have come to terms with the fact that I will never know how long I lay passed out in the tub and I'm okay with that now.

Blessed to be alive.