Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

Death By Packaging

I had always believed my death would be noble, exciting, tragically romantic. But, no. I’m pretty sure the culprit of my death will be simple packaging. Either I will get a flesh eating infection from cutting myself trying to liberate my daily vitamins, or I will simply starve to death because I can’t get any of the packages that contain life-saving nutrients open.

In an effort to prevent my death as long as possible, I, like many middle-aged women, decided it was time to start taking a vitamin supplement. It’s literally a hard pill to swallow, because it means the time has come that your body is holding out on all the wonderful things it used to give you in your youth. Such as, oh, hormones, vitamins and the stuff that keeps your bones strong. (At least that’s what the bottle claims.) So, anyhoo, I woke up convinced that I was doing the right thing, and this was one step into prolonging my life.

Until I tried to open the bottle. There was a clear wrap sealed around the cap—no tab to pull, no perforated lines I could see, (even with my reader glasses). Just a slippery, tight seal. No worries, I grabbed my trusty kitchen knife, pried up the seal, which, by the way stretched and refused to break until I was literally holding it down on the counter and using all my might. Finally I poked enough of a hole in it to slice it off. I pulled the cap off and damn! There was another tight paper seal covering the top of the bottle. This one did have the tiniest tab that was meant to be used to pull the top off, but it was too tiny to grip with any strength, and as I tugged at it I wondered what people who have arthritis do. What would I do ten years from now? But again, my trusty knife saved me, as I speared the paper and pulled it off. Then, there was a huge piece of cotton stuffed into the top. At this point I just went directly at it with the knife. My fingers wouldn’t fit far enough in to grasp it, so I just tipped the bottle, speared the offending cotton with my knife and drug it out. Excellent! I quickly doled out the vitamin and took it, hoping it would begin working immediately and offset the five minute of my life I just lost trying to get the bottle open.

In keeping with good health, and being diabetic, I vowed to check my blood sugar even more often than usual. Adding an exercise routine to a diabetic lifestyle is always a little tricky, as healthier bodies usually require a little less insulin, and thus results in more blood sugar lows than normal, requiring insulin adjustments as you go. Not a problem when you plan for it, like I always do, but again, I lost precious minutes from my life trying to get the new box of test strips open. I wonder this—if you put something in a thick box that can be closed with a tab, what is the reason for taping the tab closed with industrial tape? The result is, with the help of the kitchen knife of course, the tab stays completely closed and I end up tearing the box apart around it. It’s like tearing an envelope apart without ever opening the seal. It makes no sense!

At this point I must say that there is a slim chance getting older just makes navigating packages harder. I really don’t think that is the case here. Especially if you’ve ever had to use a pair of scissors, to, you know, cut a pair of scissors out of the package.

So, after a day of taking my vitamin, drinking my tea (which required the kitchen knife to open,) testing my blood sugar and eating right, I felt pretty great when I went to bed. I had stocked the fridge with high protein/high sugar drinks in case of low blood sugar, it had to be better than Oreos or Nutter Butter bars. I was pretty pleased with myself as I drifted off to sleep.

Several hours later I awoke to the familiar feeling of low blood sugar. It’s a very distinct feeling that I can only describe as my bones turning to liquid. It feels like my body is shriveling into itself, and is accompanied by a surge of adrenaline that causes tunnel vision, trembling and confusion. Being an old pro, however, I jumped out of bed and headed for the kitchen. I grabbed a bottle of the delicious chocolate protein drink and sat down at the table. The great thing about liquid sugar is that you can pound it like a frat boy pounds a beer and just sit back and wait for it to kick in. Taffy, peanut butter and anything else that is sticky in nature is a nightmare to eat when you’re on the verge of passing out, and to be avoided except in case of extreme emergencies.

I tried to twist the cap of my chocolate drink, and, again, due to confusion, didn’t immediately understand why it wasn’t coming off. I tried, I tried again, then I got up and retrieved the flat rubber gripper thing that helps with tight lids. Nothing happened. Panic-stricken I realized the reason. The damn lid was covered with a clear plastic seal, just like the vitamins! Dammit! After all the dieting and exercising the last thing I wanted to do was eat 1,000 calories in cookies. I tried desperately to find a tab to grab or pull, and seriously considered grabbing the kitchen knife. But, no. It is never a good idea to do battle with a bottle using a sharp knife when your hands are shaking, you can’t see straight and your knees feel like they’re going to abandon you at any time. I calmly set the bottle down and went for the Nutter Butters.

Diabetes is a disease of irony. Sugar, the very thing that can bring us to an early death and is strictly forbidden, is also the one thing that can save our lives at a time like this. To be eaten with reckless abandon until the episode passes, and this particular night it had been weeks since I’d had any kind of sugary treat. So honestly, aside from the scary feeling, shaking, sweating and all that, secretly I sometimes embrace the low blood sugar episodes.

Desperate and pissed about the turn of events, I grabbed a yogurt and a Nutter Butter Bar. The Nutter Butter opened easily, with a small tear of my teeth. The yogurt was slightly harder, but determined, I grabbed the foil seal with my canine teeth and pulled a small bit off. I remembered when you could just pull the plastic lid off yogurt, but now it comes with its super-protective, super tight seal. It was as I battled the yogurt that I saw my death. I would be found in the morning, unopened food packages strewn about the kitchen, some thrown against the wall like an animal in a primitive attempt to release the contents, my final words smeared in the splattered chocolate milk or yogurt…

Alas, I finally freed the yogurt, and in the grand manner that only a panicked diabetic can pull off, I used the Nutter Butter as a spoon to shovel the yogurt into my mouth as fast as I could, eating the delicious peanut buttery spoon with each bite. I obviously lived to see another day, but am considering taking up activism to fight for the equal rights of all people to have access to good food. And I mean access quite literally.

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January 15, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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