Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Before I get started, I’d like to explain something. I’m supposed to write about living with Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes can include some complications, and living with the outcome of those can be worse than living with diabetes.

While it wasn’t caused by diabetes, my below-the-knee amputation has resulted in some of the same frustrations. Research shows that keeping your diabetes in good control can lower your risk of complications. We all fall off the wagon once in a while — I know I do — but the secret to maintaining good control is to climb back up and get with the program (again) right fast.

Do you like to visit friends? Since my amputation in November 2010, I’ve visited three friends. One lives here. Since her husband has mobility problems, I can get into and around the house with no problem: I just can’t use the bathroom because the door is too narrow.

Friend number two and I have known each other for 55 years. We ran in and out of each other’s houses when we were growing up and I’ve probably been in every house she’s lived in since, including the lake house she and her husband retired to. There are a couple of steps up to the house, but he jury-rigged a ramp from wood that had washed up from the lake. Again, I couldn’t get into the bathrooms, but there was an area with a portable potty chair set up for me in a corner of the bedroom.

I’d not been in number three’s new house, but we’d had some extensive talks, and she’s very creative. For example, there’s a 3-inch step-up from the garage floor to house level. She took a pile of rugs and made a “ramp” that worked quite well. Again, however, there was a bathroom problem. You’d think with three full baths and a powder room in the house itself… But, no-o-o-o-o. I could use the toilet in one, wash my hands in two others, and shower (sort of) in one. There was another bathroom in the casita in the courtyard, but I couldn’t get out to the courtyard.

What I’m trying to say here is that there may not be a lot of casual visiting. Most likely, your first hurdle will be getting into the house. Your next? Relieving yourself once you’re inside, which could result in some very short visits. Just don’t drink a lot of coffee; maybe you’ll be OK for a couple of hours. And, no, I don’t think eating sponge cake will help.

Writing about this reminds me of the time I was the speaker at a meeting of the local Homebuilders Association. The meeting took place right after the semi-annual Parade of Homes. The houses were lovely, I told them. I’d gone around to look at all of them. Too bad all I could look at were the outsides of all except the ONE house that had a zero-entry threshold and NO STEPS.

I had more to write about, but this would turn into a book. Next week! In the meantime, work on lessening your chances of getting complications.


  1. Although I’ve not lost any limbs as yet I know where you are coming from in regards to a bathroom for handicapped people. Fortunately, the new house we moved to a year ago has very large hallways, decent doorways and enough space to manuever the bathroom.

    Unfortunately, the front steps to the house are hellish, they will be taken out and a ramp/deck will be installed and although I can’t adjust my sisters wheel chair, we can just squeeze hers inside to the sunroom, making sure not to accidently pitch her down the cellar stairs.

    Houses need to be constructed with larger than life doorways, hallways, ramps and bathrooms sooner than later.

    Posted by Bonnie Lu Brehm |
  2. Funny you should mention that. This week’s blog entry (which should post any time now) addresses that very concern.

    Jan Chait

    Posted by Jan Chait |

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