Our dear Kerri got me thinking with her “Open Letter to My Pancreas.” And then little Demarco chimed in with his own version and was so wise and sweet and matter-of-fact about it all in one. And then it dawned on me, I have a thing or two to say to that useless organ of mine as well:
For 37 years I hardly knew you existed. So maybe it was a case of neglect. The latchkey gland. Or maybe I just put too much strain on you with all those years of ruinous eating habits and those three exhausting pregnancies. But you can’t blame me. Creating a child is perhaps the only true miracle any of us will ever experience in real life.
Anyway, you shut down one day in late May 2003, and I haven’t heard from you since. How ironic! Now that you’ve stopped performing your life-sustaining function of secreting insulin in order to “automatically” regulate my blood sugar, I think about you all the time. Because I’ve got a manual transmission now.
I look at these petite vials of clear liquid and think how bizarre it is that THIS is what keeps me alive. And running on manual is tough, because unlike you, I don’t always know just when and how much is the exact right amount of insulin required to cover the carbohydrates I eat or keep my sugar from skyrocketing when I’m sick. Sometimes it’s like driving a car with a broken gas gauge: I never know how much is really in there or when more is required or when I’m about to hit “empty.” It’s a constant guessing game with ugly consequences when you get it wrong.
So frankly, I hate you a little for giving up on me.
Oh right, you probably think I should consider myself lucky that some OTHER organ didn’t go kaputt. It could have been my heart, or my lungs, or my kidneys … or God-knows-what. But just a moment! Don’t you know that the very fact of your pooping out puts most all my other vital organs at risk?!
All right. Aside from venting, what I really wanted to say was this: I’d freeze you if I could. I’d like to preserve you just as you are now — before you age any more along with the rest of me — so that you’ll be in the best possible shape when some day soon, the scientists and researchers come up with a way to revive you. Do you hear me? Hang on as best you can! Your tour of duty may not be over permanently, God willing. And you’d better darn well stand up and salute when the time comes!