Chasing the Mouse

mouse“The Mouse” kept jumping out of my pocket! That’s what I called my insulin pump, attached to a tube from my abdomen. It didn’t care that it was supposed to be my first day at work, my dream job at a community college. There had been SO much stress for its owner – building a new life after divorce; being stalked not once but twice; and keeping up an old property on my own, were all, cumulatively, taking their toll. Diabetes impacts stress, so it’s no wonder the mouse started acting up!

The case it lived in, it’s house, had broken before my big day. As I tried to sleep, with things already precarious, super-high blood sugar set its alarm off all night, and in its newfound freedom without the case, it kept jumping around the bed, worrying me it might become altogether unattached.

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The morning of my first day, I was meeting with my boss and the current consultant. I’d rush ordered a new pump case, but it hadn’t quite come yet. So to keep the Mouse safe, I’d had to experiment with tucking it into the waistband of my pants, then, my underpants, the night before I started. The job would be a long commute and was a tough position, with college budget cuts just around the corner if I couldn’t secure funding, but I was excited. The impromptu pump situation was embarrassing, but it was the best thing I could think of in the moment.

Of course, during the meeting, the alarm started going off! Each time I bent over to silence it, especially with lack of sleep and caffeinated hands, sure enough the Mouse would fall out. Everyone was smiling, but as I kept tending the pump, the smiles became – frozen. Something that had been happening mostly when people weren’t around, a condition exacerbated by Type 1 diabetes – urination from chronic stress – suddenly kicked in – and in front of my new colleagues, I — started to — pee on myself. It started, and, pump dangling like a sighing dream, I just … kept going. We all sat in stunned silence as a puddle slowly pooled on the floor.

Quickly after that, I was released from the job. I got a formal letter, but, like a mouse, I had — already — scattered to the corner. 

Gale Hemmann dark shirt hair wearing black top holding a pen

Gale Hemmann

Gale Hemmann is a writer, grant writer and Type 1 diabetic living in the Pacific Northwest.

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