You know, I've felt ashamed.
No, not because of my behavior. I've have nothing salacious or felonious to declare that should shine shame on each cheek.
No, I've felt ashamed that I'm diabetic.
I've felt ashamed that I've cared so much about something that seemed so minor compared to other diseases. And so while I listened and read about cancer or heart disease or neuromuscular diseases or trauma, I've felt ashamed to mention my maladies. It seemed self-absorbed to equate my impendings in the same breath as their battlings. And so I didn't. My disgraced pushed the tear behind my pupil and my conscience nagged the shame back down my throat and settled it into lungs dank with sorrow and self-pity. My ears listened; my chest wrestled; my lips replied the rote: I'm so sorry.
I felt ashamed because type 2 diabetes is so preventable. It's the consequences of decadence. Period. I'm not saying it's just punishment. I'm saying it's entirely preventable through action and deed. The degree of decadence is between me and my God; the consequences are between me and my doctor.
Today I sit with an elevated foot. It's bled for 102 consecutive days. I've worn a cast too long. It's throw my hips out of alignment. So, I'm spending the weekend off my feet in the hope my ulcer will heal. Each morning I take a mirror and I check the underskin of my foot. I've done that every morning since November of 2004. I know the skin on my feet. This morning I worry about the color. My foot isn't infected; my fear isn't affected.
My eyesight continues to deteriorate.
My health continues to diminish my activities.
This weekend is the fishing opener in Minnesota. I was invited to 3 cabins for the weekend. I declined all three invitations. I can't walk in the woods. I can't clean with lake water. I can't get my feet wet in a boat. I can't expect my friends to make that many concessions.
Last night I bowed out of a trip to a sporting event. I can't sit that long. I can't walk that far. I can't expect special accommodations.
Now an aside: anytime anyone makes anything about one person and not about a group - it's a sin. Now, I don't care whether or not others concur with me. Each man can draw his own moral boundaries and accept his own responsibilities and consequences for his actions and reactions. To make a group accommodate one person is a sin of proportion. It requires people to change their level of participation. They must conjugate the verb to enjoy less and conjugate the verb to assist more. It's unjust. I'm not committing that sin. I don't need to participate in every activity. It's not an inalienable right that every man must be included in every endeavor. I don't need to step up to every opportunity. My friends don't need to take a step back. They can step out and I won't feel stepped over.
This morning I evaluated my emotions as I examined my foot. The artifacts of my transgressions are tattooed on my bones. I traveled the 6 inch scar with a trembling finger. I looked at my foot and I remembered the line my podiatrist traced with his finger. I see the loss, the lose, and the losing. I'm so sorry to admit that I now can put my pain alongside all patients. I can equate our inability to alleviate.
This morning I confess I'm no longer ashamed; I'm fucking terrified.