Diabetes Forecast

Clearing the Snow

By Rachel Garlinghouse ,

One February morning, I woke to see a fresh blanket of powdery snow outside my window. The serene moment quickly gave way to dread when I realized that since my husband was out of town on business, I would have to shovel the driveway by myself.

First, I procrastinated: slowly eating my breakfast, checking my e-mail, and flipping through several morning newscasts. Finally I decided it was now or never and pulled on my winter coat, hooked up my MP3 player, and opened the garage door. Grabbing a shovel, I stepped into the 8-inch-deep snow and began.

My method was anything but sensible. I started by shoveling side to side. Then I figured I would try something else, and continued from the top of the driveway to the bottom. My muscles began to tire, and inside my gloves my fingers grew cold and then numb.

I glanced down the street and saw a neighbor snow-blowing his own driveway. As I sweated, working vigorously to clear away the snow, I kept glancing back. Finally my neighbor finished shoveling. He moved to work on the next neighbor's driveway. I thought, "Will he offer to help me next?"

Part of me hoped yes, that he would walk over, smile, and volunteer his services. I wasn't about to finish any time soon; I was only half finished with my task. I decided that if he offered, I would accept.

But he never asked. After he finished the second driveway, he disappeared into his home and closed the garage door. I glanced up and down the street and realized that I was now alone.

After clearing most of the driveway, enough that both cars could make it in and out of the garage and onto the street, I considered stopping, going inside, showering, and spending the rest of the morning sipping hot tea by the fireplace. Instead, I chose to keep going, to scrape snow until I could see clear patches of the driveway's concrete.

As my breath became more and more labored, and my back muscles began to ache to the point of pain, I realized that my determination to clear the driveway was not at all about being able to access the road. This moment was all about proving to myself that I could do something that was difficult, if not seemingly impossible. After nearly a week of high blood sugar, I was ridding myself of anger one shovelful at a time.

Sometimes those of us with diabetes need a helping hand, the support and encouragement of our family, friends, and doctors. But sometimes we just need to take care of diabetes ourselves, to learn (and relearn) that ultimately, we are the ones who must take responsibility to save our own lives—one finger stick, one shot, one carbohydrate at a time.



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