Eight months. That’s exactly how long it’s been since I went into lockdown. I remember the date precisely because, like today, it was a Friday the 13th. I had just been diagnosed with diabetes, and on that day in March I drove to the pharmacy to pick up a supply of lancets and test strips for my brand-new practice of doing finger sticks to test my blood sugar. But first I had a lunch date with a friend, not knowing then that it would be my last social outing for a long time. We went to a Mexican restaurant, exchanging elbow bumps instead of a hug when I picked her up.

I ordered a margarita with lunch, acknowledging that because of my newly diagnosed condition it would probably be my last one for a while. Little did I know that restaurants and bars would soon shut down, and I wouldn’t be able to order a margarita anywhere even if I wanted to. If I had realized this when we went to lunch that day, I might have ordered a second one.

I would never say there’s a good time to be diagnosed with diabetes – or anything else, for that matter – but the coronavirus restrictions actually helped me adjust to my new situation.  For starters, my doctor recommended three books on diabetes, one of which was a diabetes cookbook. “I’m not diabetic,” she told me, “but I have this cookbook and use it all the time. The food is delicious.”

I ordered all three books, and started using the cookbook immediately. The doctor was right about the meals, and since eating out was no longer an option, it was a perfect time to be trying new recipes – which is something I’ve always enjoyed anyway.

I quickly read the other two books cover to cover, having more time to read now that I was housebound. Plus, I was extremely motivated to learn everything I could about the disease. Diabetes can’t yet be cured, but it can be controlled, and that’s been my plan. It’s also been one of the reasons I’m more cautious than many other people about going out if I don’t need to, since it gives me one more risk factor for serious consequences if I contract COVID.

I was thinking about all of this the other day, because I had a medical appointment in Athens, Georgia, which is about an hour-and-a-half drive from where we live. This is the farthest away from home I’ve been since March. I enjoyed the drive, partly because it just felt good to be out, and partly because in Georgia, this is the time of year when the leaves are changing color and autumn is in all her glory.

It reminded me of  how much I have to be grateful for. And how many things I’ve always taken for granted. And it reminded me that even the most ordinary things – like a drive through the countryside on a crisp, fall day – can be an extraordinary experience. Especially after eight months without them.

November 13, 2020
©Betty Liedtke, 2020

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