Friday, July 13, 2012

July 13: The Little Face, Low Blood Sugar, Emotions

He left the room, and went up stairs into the room above, which was lighted cheerfully, and hung with Christmas.  There was a chair set close beside the child, and there were signs of some one having been there lately.  Poor Bob sat down in it, and when he had thought a little and composed himself, he kissed the little face.  He was reconciled to what had happened, and went down again quite happy.

I know that I've written about this paragraph before.  Not many people are aware of the existence of this scene:  Bob sitting next to the deathbed of Tiny Tim.  Even though I know Tiny Tim survives, this passage of parental grief is still very difficult for me to read.

I'm not going to talk about infant mortality.  I'm not going to talk about poverty in developing countries.  I'm not going to talk about the severe lack of medical care for the working poor in the United States.  No, those subjects haven't even crossed my mind.  I'm going to talk about low blood sugar.

Having been a diabetic since the time I was 13, I'm very familiar with low blood sugars (or hypoglycemia).  Any diabetic can describe the weakness, cold sweats, ravenous hunger, and exhaustion that accompanies this condition.  It's pretty standard stuff.  If you are diabetic, you will have low blood sugars.

This morning, as I was working, I was listening to a song by the Irish Rovers.  I believe it was "The Unicorn."  As I listened, I started getting really sad, which is a ridiculous reaction to that song.  By the time the Great Flood came and wiped out the entire race of horned equines, I was ready to cry.  I thought I was going crazy.  Then, I tested by blood sugar.  It was 45.

Not every diabetic has the same symptoms for low blood sugars.  For me, a hypoglycemic reaction lowers my defenses.  My emotions, which I can usually hold in check, sort of bubble to the surface.  The dip in my glucose level alters my brain chemistry in some way.  I can start bawling like a pregnant woman at the slightest provocation.  A shampoo commercial.  A piece of gum.  A magazine article.  A song.  Low blood sugar simply eliminates the switch that protects me from sentimentality.

So, when I sat down to type this post, I flipped through my copy of A Christmas Carol and came upon the above paragraph about Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim.  I had to close the book and go into the bathroom to regain my composure.  I felt like an idiot.  Thinking about Bob leaning over the bed and kissing "the little face" of Tiny Tim just pushed me over the edge.

I'm better now.  I've drank a cranberry juice and ate a raspberry fruit bar.  I have regained my natural cynicism and am ready to face the world, all of my tendencies toward compassion and sympathy walled away and safe.  I don't have to worry about being triggered into a crying jag by the fact that Ann Curry is no longer on the Today show.

Just don't show Saint Marty a picture of a kitty or a puppy.

Bring on the Kleenex!

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