CHOICES

WORDS & IMAGE: AHDREAM SMITH

I hate needles.
I hate blood.
Sterilizes finger.


Prick, stick, ouch!
Push, squeeze, almost.
Not enough, new finger.


Doesn’t that hurt?
Chile, I’ve been doing this for the last…18 years.
Every day, at least twice a day
Sterilizes finger.
Prick, stick, ouch!
Push, squeeze, got it.
(Glucose meter Reading) 102


Look, I’ve lived a good life.
I’ve only had to bury one of my nine children
I’ve gotten to see my grandchildren grow up and go off to college.
I have no complaints.


One of the toughest things to watch is the people in your life that you care about suffer and be in pain. As a child, I never really understood why my grandma was always sticking herself with needles. She was either pricking her finger or injecting some liquid into her stomach/leg.
Later I would learn that it's because she has Type 2 diabetes. It's a chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar usually induced by poor nutritional choices.

What does choice truly mean when you are unaware that you have other options? 

Three weeks before the Christmas holiday, I called my grandma to learn more about her health. On that phone call I discovered that not only did she have diabetes, but that she was currently taking nine medications. How is this possible? Who are her doctors? Why is she taking so many drugs? It was in that moment that I realized that my grandma had been systematically set up and everything that she knew to do, that she thought was a choice, was really a pre-determined move to keep her sick enough to keep going to the doctor yet alive enough to keep her relying on her prescriptions.