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Giving Thanks—Even For Diabetes
November 28, 2006
Jet lag hit late Thursday afternoon. I arrived at my house around 1 AM on Wednesday, sans checked luggage (again), from my one-week trip to Germany. I felt pretty energetic all day Wednesday. Besides, I couldn’t take a nap because I was waiting for my luggage to be delivered, which it finally was around 6 PM. On Thursday, I was busy playing “Grandma,” cooking up Thanksgiving treats.
But after “lupper” (if a combination of breakfast and lunch can be brunch, then a combo of lunch and supper can be lupper), it hit. I sat down around 5 PM to wait for my husband to finish taking out the trash so we could watch a movie…and woke up at 8 AM Friday morning.
No movie with my sweet baboo. No evening snacking on leftovers. No favorite Thursday night TV program.
On the other hand, I was thankful that my insulin pump allows me to sleep and skip meals whenever I want. It certainly beats the early days of two injections a day of Regular and NPH, which involved having to follow a strict schedule if I was to maintain good control of my blood glucose. And I was thankful I’d treated myself to a continuous glucose monitor, which sets off an alarm if my blood glucose goes too high or drops too low.
And, as an aside, I was thankful to have those two “companions” on the long flights with me. They allowed me to easily and discreetly check my blood glucose and give myself insulin on crowded airplanes. Another great thing about having an insulin pump? Instead of trying to figure out how to readjust the timing of injections and the amount of insulin taken, all I have to do is reset the clock on my pump when I reach my destination.
Since it’s the season, I’ll just keep up with the thanks. Diabetes isn’t one of my favorite things to have, but if I have to have it, I’m thankful it’s now. It’s been less than 90 years since insulin began saving lives. Oral medicines have only been available since 1955, or about half a century. It would be another 40 years before an oral medicine that did something besides stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin would be available. And it was less than 25 years ago that the first biosynthetic insulin became available.
Things have really taken off since 1995, with better and faster meters, synthetic insulin formulations that are more physiological, smart pumps that do calculations for you, oral medicines that help control blood glucose levels in a variety of ways, nutrition labels on foods, educators who treat us like human beings, and more.
Sure, I’d like to see a cure. In the meantime, I’m glad we have better tools to help us today.
I’m thankful we can afford for me to have diabetes. You can read more at www.diabetes.org/diabetes-statistics/cost-of-diabetes-in-us.jsp, but, briefly, people with diabetes spend 2.4 times more on medical expenses than people who don’t have diabetes. No, I don’t like spending the money on something I’d rather not have. Sometimes I think about the trips I could take. The kitchen I could have remodeled. The dining room table I could have refinished (darned cat knocked over a vase and the water raised the wood grain). The fenced-in backyard with a terrace. Or, hey, stick the money in a retirement account. Still, I’m glad we have the money for diabetes care. And good health insurance, too. Too many people aren’t as fortunate.
While I’d rather have picked ancestors without a predisposition for Type 2 diabetes, I am thankful they had otherwise good genes. Only one died from diabetes-related complications, and that was a half-uncle. Aside from that, I had a grandmother who died in her sleep at the age of 98½ minus one toe. I’m convinced that, if not for them passing along their good genes, I’d have every diabetes complication known to humankind by now! I didn’t exactly take care of myself for a number of years, as evidenced by an HbA1c of 17.4% at one point.
Now, if I could only think of something to be thankful about for having asthma, I’d be set. Anybody?
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