Busy Days Stymied by “Help” and Doctors

There is a kitten helping me. And he’s ever so helpful. For example, right after the cleaning lady left yesterday, I spilled some grape juice on the nice, clean floor. Ritz the kitten “helped” by knocking a box of cereal off the counter. I guess he’s too young to have learned that cereal is eaten with milk, not grape juice. Or that “helpful” would have been to clean up the juice.

Jan and Ritz

Ritz “helping” Jan.


His favorite spot? My chest. He can jump back on faster than I can toss him off. Right now, he’s on my chest, trying to decide whether to attack my fingers as I write.

This is not a good time for me to have unwanted help. It’s a bit busy around here. My granddaughter went back to school last week (my baby is a senior this year!), and classes begin this week at the university where my husband teaches. It’s time to start doing the monthly bulletins for the synagogue after a two-month hiatus, and work is going fast and furious on the Sisterhood calendar, which was delayed because of surgery and trips.

Oh, and it’s picture day at school, so I had three extra teenagers here overnight so my grandson could spiff them up this morning.

I need to bake some bread, which isn’t going to happen at my house: Not with Ritz “helping” (although he might come in handy with the kneading). The Sisterhood calendar features recipes from the members. Everybody is bringing in their dishes for photos this weekend, followed by a “calendar tasting” for the congregation. So I have food to prepare, too.

At least some things are finished. Like the bathroom. Ahhhh…my wonderful, new bathroom. It has a detachable shower wand that I can reach. Grab bars. A fold-down shower seat. A mirror that’s low enough for me to see in. Drawers in the vanity so I have a place to keep my stuff since I have trouble reaching the medicine cabinet. And a countertop that seems massive after living with just the edge of the sink for 21 years.

Jan's Showerhead

The new showerheads.

The children love the shower. There are two showerheads: One that’s fixed and the detachable one. There’s a diverter so you can have spray from the fixed one, the detachable one, or both. I suspect they run both at the same time.

The front door is in, too. While it has a low sill, I still can’t get to the front porch: There’s a 2-inch drop. I need a ramp. It’ll get here.

And there’s the time it takes to visit doctors.

On the diabetes front, my HbA1c is down…to 7%. My endocrinologist is happy. I’m not. I try to keep mine in the 6th percentile. That kidney stone and infection I had in the spring really put the kibosh on my diabetes control. My blood glucose was running in the 300s and 400s for some time while I was running a fever of unknown origin that turned out to be the kidney problem. I just couldn’t get my glucose down.

Then when I was in the intensive care unit and basically unconscious, the doctor was running me high. When I came to and checked the graph on my continuous glucose monitor, I hit the roof and told the doc I was turning my pump back on.

“I can handle your diabetes,” he said.

“How?” I asked. “You didn’t even ask me what my ratios were or anything!”

Heck, all he had to do was read the sheet with my medications on it. In addition to my meds, I always put my basal rates, insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio, and correction ratio. (I am not liking this hospital.)

I also saw my podiatrist last week. It hit me a bit hard when my endocrinologist told me: “You only have one foot. You need to take really good care of it.” So I’m not as lackadaisical about seeing the foot doc as I used to be.

One thing I couldn’t resist: When I went in, I took off both shoes and put both feet up on the chair. “If you’re not going to drop your fee to half price,” I told him, “you have to check both feet.”

“The pulse in your left (fake) foot is a bit faint,” he said.

I also saw my rehab doc, where I got hylan G-F 20 (brand name Synvisc-One) injections in my arthritic knees. That and a new pain pill have my knees feeling a lot better. I should be able to walk now without leaning on my walker for dear life. And stand so I can get more leverage to knead bread dough.

And that’s it for doctors. Until November, when I see my primary-care doctor and ophthalmologist (he’s twice a year now, because I have some background retinopathy in both eyes). Then, in December, I see my leg whacker surgeon, podiatrist, and endocrinologist.

And so it goes. Just think of the places I could go — besides to doctors and such — if I had the money I spend on doctors and medicicines and test strips!

  • Natalie Sera

    Ritz is adorable! :-) and admit it, you NEED the “help” — I have it x8! The bathroom looks great — and maybe sometimes Hersch would like a sit-down shower, too. I have a shower chair because of balance problems, and it feels good to take a shower without fear of falling.

    One thing I have not figured out, but you are making me think about: so far, I have no problems with my feet — is there any need to see a podiatrist? I can clip my own toenails, and I can see all parts of my feet except the outside edges, but I can feel those just fine. So I don’t know.

    Have fun with the Sisterhood!

  • Jan

    Ritz can be a pain in the patootie! On the plus side, he’s a cuddle-bug. On the minus side, he doesn’t know when it’s time to stay off of me: He can jump back on my chest faster than I can remove him.

    About a podiatrist: The best answer I can give you is that a podiatrist can tell when a problem could be beginning to emerge. You don’t want to wait until something happens to seek help. Mine mapped my feet (filament test) to get a baseline years ago. By doing that, he can tell if I am beginning to lose sensation even before I would be able to tell (so far, so good). I believe that preventive care is the best choice. I don’t know what all of the little nuances are of what may be happening with my feet, even though I check them. Do you?

    One word of warning: Podiatrists deal a lot with diabetic feet, but that doesn’t mean they know about how to treat them. Remember my tumble down the steps back in the day? I kept telling my podiatrist my foot hurt. He kept brushing me off, saying “Aw, you’re a diabetic.” I finally asked my CDE to recommend a podiatrist, who found broken bones. I ended up having to have two nerves removed because they were so injured by the broken bones. That was my left foot, which I continued to have problems with. That’s the foot I no longer have. (From a bone infection, I hasten to add!) So ask your diabetes team to recommend a podiatrist. They should know who’s the best to treat somebody with diabetes.