Omar has saved my life more times than I can count. And I’m not speaking figuratively. This ten pound doggo has literally saved my life so many times.
Omar was supposed to be my ex’s dog. You know how that story goes (trite) so I’ll skip that part and fast forward to when I was diagnosed with diabetes.
I was lying in a hospital bed in August of the crappiest year of my life, which happened to be 2011. Broken engagement, struggling to pay bills, trying to work through school, family drama, always feeling sick, and though I didn’t know it, harboring a case of undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes, which made everything a thousand times more difficult (and was why I was always feeling ill).
I knew something was wrong but I couldn’t figure out what it was. I went to an endocrinologist who told me, though he should have recognized my symptoms, that he’d “seen this before” and what I needed was a husband and a family. What an asshole. Six months later, his office called me to see if I wanted to follow up on my previous visit. I not-so-calmly explained that I nearly died because that jackass doctor told me to get married instead of checking my blood glucose value, which would have told us right then what was going on and spared me nearly dying and ending up in the emergency room.
While I was in that emergency room, hooked up to an IV and getting insulin while the friend who had driven me to the ER made chickens out of exam gloves in an effort to make me feel better, I decided I was done. I couldn’t handle anymore. I was going to go home and eat sugar, let myself go into a coma, and die. I didn’t care that I’d be leaving family behind. Or friends. Or plans. None of it mattered. It was simply too much to handle.
And then I thought about Omar, waiting for me at home while I made plans to die. My little Omar. Diabetes can really mess with a person. Unchecked high blood sugar can cause many symptoms. Including depression. Including death. People who say it’s only diabetes a) don’t know what they are talking about, b) are assholes, c) are in denial, or d) some combination of a through c. High blood sugar messes with processing and memory and mood. I didn’t know I was dealing with depression.
I went home and learned about diabetes and worked to get my blood glucose under control because I didn’t want to say goodbye to a little dog that I loved more than I have loved anything else. I worried about who would take care of him. Would they know that grains make him sick? Or that he loved squeaky toys? Or that he preferred to sleep under covers by his person’s feet? It was weeks before I could see clearly, could exert physical effort without shaking and sweating, and started to feel some kind of healthy again. But I eventually got there. And over the years, I learned how to manage my diabetes very successfully. And Omar was my little cheerleader the whole way, constantly at my side.
In the years before I wore an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor, I used a glucometer and finger pricks to check my blood sugar several times a day. But there was no way to know what my levels were at night.
Omar was there.
I would wake up to him pawing at me, whining, and turning in circles. And when I checked my blood sugar, it would be low. Very low. Fatally low if not treated immediately. Omar saved me. Over and over.
He turned twelve this year. He’s been gray for a while. He got his first tiny gray spot when I developed diabetes. He moves slower. He’s a little creaky. I have him on CBD oil and he is clearly much more comfortable with it in his system. But I hate that he is getting older. I don’t know how I’ll ever say goodbye when the time comes.
Hopefully that is many years away.
To meet the rest of the pack, sit…stay…go over to Doggos!