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Something From Nothing: I Coulda Written for Seinfeld

Jan Chait

August 19, 2008

Well, it’s been a relatively blah week here, and I’ll admit I’ve been a bit lax in preparing to write this week’s blog entry. Mainly, I meant to cover some things from the AADE meeting earlier this month. However, I didn’t take a suitcase large enough to hold all of the materials I collected, so I shipped them to myself. Problem is, the box hasn’t arrived yet. (If it ever does—the shipping company being used is one I’ve had numerous problems with.)

There wasn’t much else going on, either, which was probably a good thing, since the grandchildren started back at school today and there was shopping to be done. The youngest starts high school today. Yipes! Where did the time go?

Since I’m working on a newspaper article about accessibility, I took a mobility scooter to the mall with us. I’m glad Cali was with me or I might still be struggling to get through doors.

First came the restaurant, which has an outside entrance right next to one of the mall entrances. There were curb cuts so you could drive up onto the sidewalk. Once you got to the doors, however, there was no easy way to get in. Both sets of doors open out; none are automatic.

In those situations, I generally find myself getting as close to the door handle as possible, pulling as I throw the scooter into reverse, then kicking out my foot to hold the door open as I drive through, trying not to mangle my leg or foot in the process.

Inside the stores, I found myself in danger of dragging the entire collection of clothing racks in the junior department behind me like a train as I attempted to get through the too-narrow aisles.

Some stores had displays right in front of the entrance. They highlighted the merchandise all right—I just couldn’t get into the stores to buy anything.

In addition, I backed out of quite a few aisles (beeping all the way) because there was no room to turn the scooter around.

This brings to mind the hotel room Sandy and I shared at AADE. It was an accessible room: So accessible that all of the clothes rods in the closet were at sit-down height. Sandy was fine, since she tends to wear two-piece outfits. My dresses, however, hung to about four inches below the waist and then puddled on the floor. So much for letting the wrinkles hang out.

When will people who design and lay out these things put themselves in a wheelchair or scooter and get a clue?

Next, I’m going to see what it’s like maneuvering the decorative cobblestone walkways on one of the college campuses.

On the diabetes front, my blood glucose was running high, but just when I was about to raise my basal rates, it went back down again. Must have been the Perseid meteor shower at fault.

Several years ago, I complained to my podiatrist that my foot hurt. (Bear with me; there’s a point to this.)

“Aw,” he said, waving off my complaint, “you’re a diabetic.”

The same thing happened when I again complained of foot pain on my next visit.

My new podiatrist—the one I still see—found out the real cause of my foot pain. It stemmed, not from diabetes, but from broken bones that resulted from a tumble down some stairs after clumsy me missed a step.

I bring this up because of recent reports about how having diabetes puts us at higher risk for, oh, cognitive impairment, hearing loss, and who knows what else. That’s on top of the usual suspects—like blindness, kidney failure, amputations, and such.

The bit about mild cognitive impairment being significantly more common in people with diabetes comes from the August issue of the Archives of Neurology, which reports on a study involving nearly 2,000 subjects who were at least 70 years old. You can read an article about the study here.

Oh, great. I’ve been blaming my brain farts on mentalpause and now I find that it could be related to diabetes. This is going to take me back to the days—er, years—when I didn’t know if I was sweating because I was hypoglycemic or having a hot flash.

It also gives docs another reason not to search for the pathology behind your complaints: Anything wrong is because you have diabetes. After all, diabetes only affects the parts of your body that receives blood.

But it might come in handy in our personal lives: “I said I’d take you where and buy you what? Sorry, I don’t remember that. Diabetes, ya know.”



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