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Aching Joints Aside, Things are Looking Up

Jan Chait

March 13, 2012

Happy Birthday to Dad, who is 88 years old today. I made a pan of his favorite bar cookies yesterday and overnighted them to him, uncut, along with a card and two candles in the shape of the number 8. I’d already sent him a bird feeder said to attract cardinals, along with some birdseed formulated for cardinals. (He likes cardinals.)

Dad also has Type 2 diabetes. However, he was diagnosed early, with a fasting number of 130 mg/dl, in his mid-70’s. His numbers are still well maintained, with the help of metformin (brand name Glucophage and others). I told my brother, with whom Dad lives, to let him have cookies. Frankly, with the late onset and his current health situation, he’s unlikely to get diabetic complications. My feeling is, give him some slack.

Sadly, it’s gotten to the point where my brother can’t handle Dad any more, so he has him on some waiting lists for nursing homes. I hope they let Dad have a bird feeder outside his window. And that they let him have cookies.

I began my “celebration” of Dad’s birthday by waking up at 4 AM, thinking, “Hummus. Hummus and pita bread.” While the water was heating up for my tea and I was rummaging around in the refrigerator for the hummus, I spied a bowl of grapes, which I also grabbed.

Then I checked my glucose: 58 mg/dl. So THAT’S why I woke up ravenous! Used to be I wouldn’t have any hypoglycemia symptoms until I was in the 30’s and 40’s, but recent highs have also increased my hypo-awareness.

And, yes, I’m getting my numbers straightened out, with the help of my endocrinologist. His latest suggestion was to cut back considerably on my 7 AM basal rate. My numbers are sliding right into place, as long as I don’t eat a lot of carbohydrates at a sitting. Hopefully, my HbA1c will be lower than 7.9% when I see him next month.

Who would have thought that changing my breakfast insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio and early basal rate would help the rest of the day even out? The way my glucose was jumping around all day long, I would have been toying with everything.

I am still thankful for good doctors.

Speaking of which, I really need to see my ophthalmologist. I’m past due for a retinopathy check. I do have a spot of background retinopathy in each eye, which he’s keeping a close eye (’scuse me) on. Aside from that, my contacts don’t seem to fit any more and my vision is crap, undoubtedly from the changes in the fluid levels in my eyes due to high blood glucose.

Since it is likely because of my glucose levels, changing my prescription wouldn’t be a good thing. Hopefully, it’s short-term. Right now, I’m making do with drugstore reading glasses and enlarging the print on my computer and e-reader.

On the positive side, a solution has been found to get me up the stairs in our century-old synagogue! There are two sets of about five steps from the entryway to the vestry room. (No way I can get to the sanctuary upstairs.) The board was kind enough to buy a portable ramp for me, but it’s a bit on the short side so my scooter gets hung up at the top. Going down, I can take a run and jump over it. However, I can’t go that fast on the way up. The solution was to go as far as I could, then stand up best I could and have somebody pick the scooter up and push it forward. It’s a hassle — and a bit scary — so I haven’t been going to services or meetings.

Last week, there was a social function I was in charge of, so I had to go. When the dreaded time to leave arrived, we were going through the “have Jan stand up and we’ll lift the scooter, etc.” when a voice said: “Wait! Let me do something.”

All of a sudden, I could drive the scooter forward! What had the man — an engineer — done? Picked up the bottom of the ramp, flattening it out to where I could drive off. Go figure!

I can go to Sisterhood meetings! I can bake a giant challah for a former student’s bat mitzvah!

It’s all good. Except, maybe, for the changeable weather doing a number on every joint in my body. Somebody needs to work on that.



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