The Foibles of Dealing with Diabetes

I’m chained (so to speak) to the computer at the moment. My scooter is plugged into a charger and my insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM) are plugged into USB ports on the computer as they suck up some juice of their own…

Limbo Stick or Not: How Low Can You Go?

It was as if somebody had dumped a bucket of cold water on me, but there was no water and no bucket. Instead, I was freezing and sweating — the result of a blood glucose in the 30’s. I checked again. Yep. That’s where it was, all right. Dang…

Low and Behold — Stress Happens

“Did you know your hand is shaking?” my husband asked. “Yes,” I responded with all the sarcasm a low blood glucose (BG) would allow. Actually, a low BG allows for quite a bit of sarcasm. Maybe “allow” isn’t the right word. I can be sort of obnoxious, which should never be allowed…

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

What’s that old Connie Francis song? Oh, yeah: “V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N! In the summer sun!” For many people, summertime is time to hit the road. Most just throw some stuff in a suitcase and go. Those of us with diabetes have a bit of planning to do…

Computer-Aided Diabetes Care? Why Not?

What did we ever do without computers?” I asked myself, both rhetorically and somewhat sarcastically after dealing with a minor glitch. I swear I could hear the voice of the Wicked Witch of the West cackling “I’ll get you, my pretty” in the background…

Will Spring Ever Arrive?

Where’s my head this week? Gee, I wish I knew. I remember I saw the endocrinologist in March and my HbA1c was 6.5%. Lipids were normal, blood pressure was normal, and he was a happy camper. Or maybe he just wanted me out of there, since I hadn’t showered for two days…

“We’ll All Get Old If We Live Long Enough”

Mom was talking the other day about finding herself a nursing home or assisted living place to move into before we (my three brothers and I) are “burdened” by her. She’s gotten a bit forgetful of late, although I haven’t noticed it all that much. Her father had Alzheimer and she may be thinking about how he didn’t even remember her…

No, This Is Not What “Spring Forward” Means

It was another exciting night in the Chait household. One minute I was watching TV; the next, I was watching the floor fly up to smack me in the face. “Jan,” I said to myself, “you’re supposed to lean back in a recliner – not lean forward…”

Taking an Unwelcome Guest Along for a Visit

I went to Texas to get away from winter but, as it turned out, I took winter with me. The cold came along. The ice came along. Even some snow followed me there. The daughter of the house had come home for the weekend, but had to leave early to get back to campus in Waco before the worst stuff hit. She later sent video of herself scraping a passel of ice off her car…

Getting a Foot Up On Diabetes Care

“Check your feet.” How many times have we heard it? Many times, however, that’s all we’re told: Check your feet. What am I looking for? What do I do if I find it?!

Leaving the Snow Behind, Even If I Have to Go to Texas

It snowed. Again. And again. And yet again. I’m still trapped in the house. I give: I’m going to Texas. Killeen, to be precise. You may not have heard of the town, but I’ll bet you’ve heard of something that’s located there: Fort Hood…

Is That an Igloo in My Backyard?

Did your team win the Super Bowl? I could have gone either way. I used to live in Seattle, so I could have rooted for the Seahawks. However, I live in Indiana now and current Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning took our Colts to the Super Bowl (where they won) whenever it was. Three years ago? Four? So I went with Peyton…

Another Reason It’s Called Type 2?

It’s snowing. Again? Still? I’ve lost track. Unlike a couple of weeks ago, when we got back-to-back major snowfalls and sub-zero temperatures, we’re just getting a little bit of snow every day (after day after day after)…

Lobegon Participants Continue to Dwindle

Are you keeping warm out there? Our high on Sunday was minus 2 degrees. We also had about 1 foot of snow on top of the 8 inches we already had on the ground. I may stay indoors until we’re well into spring…

Quick! Get on Your Bottom and Exercise!

Exercise, they tell us. Take a walk. Ride a bike. It’s good for your diabetes control and helps you lose weight. But what about those of us with physical limitations?

In Sickness… or Just in Health?

In October, Sheri asked, “will I love when he’s being cranky [becasuse] his [blood glucose] is too high… will I serve him when his [blood glucose] is dropping and he needs to eat NOW?” Her post made me look at my circumstances from the other point of view…

Isn’t It Time for the Snow to Melt?

So how’s the weather where YOU are? Where I am, it’s cold and snowy and icy. I had to reschedule my pulmonologist appointment because, while going down a ramp that acts more like a bobsled run is a bit scary but kind of fun, getting back up it is impossible…

Going From Famine To Feast

Thanksgivukkah is a once-in-a-lifetime holiday you probably haven’t heard of, yet it occurs this very week. It’s when Hanukkah and Thanksgiving converge to overlap or, as food writer Veronica Meewes put it, “the fried foods of Hanukkah meet the carbfest of Thanksgiving…”

“It’s Over There — Just Out of Reach”

“Could I please talk to the manager?” I asked our server after she took our drink order. “Aw, geez,” said my grandson, slapping the cover shut on his menu. “There goes my appetite…”

Lookin’ at Blue Skies. For Now.

Happy birthday to me! I now qualify for all senior citizen’s discounts. And Medicare. If I could figure out how to apply for it. That’s probably a good way to spend my birthday…

Trying to Travel the Road Less Traveled

Four blocks west and I’m out of my neighborhood. Two blocks north and I’m at a major east–west road. Another three blocks west and I’ll be at the restaurant to meet a friend for lunch. Except…


I should have realized, when Sonja told me she’d given her dog away because she could no longer care for him, that she wasn’t at the top of her game. It didn’t seem like it was that long ago, and it probably wasn’t. I lose track of time a lot…

Chilly With a Chance of Chili

Brrrrr! It’s getting chilly here. I’m now waking up with a cat plastered to my side. It’s bad enough in the mornings, but especially annoying when I have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Whichever cat it is digs his claws into my jammies in an effort to keep me from dislodging him. It’s like peeling off Velcro…

MORE Tests?

It’s the last thing you want to hear as you’re in recovery, snuggled under a warm blanket as you yawn and drift in and out of sleep following a colonoscopy…

Why Do I Need to Do This Stuff, Anyway?

It was the day I fired my primary-care physician (PCP). He was going over my vital signs with me and noted my blood pressure as being 140/90 (or something like that). “That’s good,” he said. “No,” I responded…

Basically, Stuff and Nonsense

Last week, I said I would tell you this week what your doctor should be doing and how often, but it will have to wait another week. Instead of writing, I ended up spending a lot of time trying to get past a software glitch to finish up something that should have been in yesterday…

“First, Do No Harm”

My granddaughter is packing up and will be moving out Monday, off to college and to her first apartment, which she’ll share with two other people. Grandma is experiencing a bit of empty-nest syndrome, although my grandson will still be here. He’s talking about moving out, too…

One Pill At a Time

Which is a better way of treating people with Type 2 diabetes: Starting with one medicine and adding more, or starting with multiple medicines and lowering doses or subtracting meds?


Nearly 7% of people in the United States are diagnosed with depression. And if you have diabetes, you’re twice as likely to be depressed as somebody who doesn’t…

Home Is Where the Pickles Are

When I said last week I would write more about doctors, little did I know what was about to transpire. Flying to a major US city to attend a meeting, I told the flight attendant a couple of times I was having trouble breathing. His reaction was along the lines of “Uh-huh…”

I Do It MY Way

First, a smile for the day. My 84-year-old mother was visiting and I arranged to have coffee with a local friend of mine who is 86. I got to the coffee shop first and was, with the help of one of the employees, carving out a space for us at the community table. “I’m meeting two octogenarian ladies,” I told him…

Cupcakes and Gardens and Racing, Oh My!

It’s all my fault. I knew this week was coming and I should have prepared for it by writing this week’s blog entry ahead. Well, I have a huge secret: I “grew up” in a newsroom for a daily newspaper and everything I ever wrote was on deadline. There was no time to do much of anything ahead. So that’s what I’m used to and you’re going to get a bit of a potpourri of topics…

Prescribe Insulin? Nah! Too Much Trouble

Taking insulin is too much of a burden for people with Type 2 diabetes, say 66% of primary care doctors surveyed at one hospital in Pennsylvania. People with Type 2 diabetes believe taking insulin means they’ve failed to manage their condition, 69% of primary care docs opined…

How Was My Week? It Had Its Ups and Downs.

Maybe we should all pack day bags with our diabetes essentials in them when we go out to events. Say to watch a parade, or a ballgame, engage in a day of shopping…or cheer on somebody running a marathon…

It’s Spring and the Travel Bug Is Hitting

The children, as I call them — although they’re young adults now — lined the deck wall-to-wa…er, railing-to-railing last night. My granddaughter was back from spring break, so her best friend was here, too, as was BF’s boyfriend. My grandson’s friend was off work today, so he was here to spend the night. Then there was another friend or two of somebody-or-other. My eyeballs were spinning in my skull. I need to escape…

Is the Snow Gone? Can I Start Planting Yet?

Now what have I gotten myself into? I agreed to take part in a community garden whatever-it-is in a couple of weeks. Board members of the synagogue I belong to looked at some unused land we own and decided a community garden space would be a good use for it. So they’re having this informative something where they’ve invited community groups and gardening folks and I’m the accessible gardening exhibit…

Diabeastie Go Home!

After yesterday — and last night — I am tired of playing diabetes. I don’t want to deal with it any more. Just make it go away. If only…

Wishing the Week That Was, Wasn’t

It was Purim’s fault. Yes. That has to be it. Purim, for those who are unaware, is a Jewish holiday that follows the formula of “they tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat.” It is traditional to give food to friends, contribute to charity, listen to the Book of Esther, and have a festive meal…

Media Bias Skews Message

It was all the rage two or three weeks ago. Bioethicist Daniel Callahan, senior research scholar and president emeritus of The Hastings Center, had determined that overweight people needed to be shamed into losing weight. After all, it worked for smokers…

Got Change?

Spring is coming! I know it is because I just got my shipment of seeds. Tomatoes and basil and mint, oh my! (And carrots and lettuce.) Of course, what that means is that I need to figure out how to start seeds. Like, find a place in the house that’s well lit and stuff because I looked at the price of grow light setups. Oh, MY!

Would Shaming Make Me Lose Weight? Fat Chance!

Shame on those of us who are fat! That’s what bioethicist Daniel Callahan wants people to do, saying that cigarette smokers were basically shamed into quitting, so it should work for overweight and obese people, too…

Got Diabetes? Time to Go Back to School

When I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 27 years and 27 days ago (but who’s counting?), my “education” consisted of being handed a sheet of paper with a diet on it and told: “Here. Follow this. Don’t eat any sugar.” Not even sweet pickles! What was I supposed to eat on my cheese sandwiches? Just mayo isn’t enough!


I want to talk about information — or lack thereof. How can you meet the challenges of diabetes if nobody is helping you with the basics?

End-of-the-Year Musings

Are the Hoodie-Footie commercials off the air yet? Is it safe to come out now? Thank goodness they’re only around for Christmas and Valentine’s Day. I don’t think I could stand it all year ’round…

Time for… the Flu?

Everything is early this year! All of the fall Jewish holidays were: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkoth, Simchas Torah. My birthday came around all too fast. Now we’re coming up on Hanukkah — which begins Saturday evening. Even flu season is a month early…

I’ll Be Frustrated Afore Ye

Does everybody who participated in the big feast last Thursday have their BGs back down? I don’t know if I do or not. For one thing, I’ve been doing my part getting rid of leftovers. For the other, my blood glucose has been in its “high” state for a few weeks now. So if I’m a bit high, I have no idea what to blame it on…

You Don’t Have to Be a Boy Scout to Be Prepared

Oh. My. What a devastating storm that was! I hope our readers and their families who live in the affected area are all OK. It can hurt to lose material things, but it hurts much worse to lose a friend or a family member…

Surgery Is Over, But What Did Life Hand Me?

Sorry about my absence last week. I’d had surgery on my hand and…well, I guess I just don’t recover as well as I used to. After all, I’ll be 39 in a couple of weeks. For the 25th time…

How Busy Can It Get?

What a week! There was Yom Kippur, my blood glucose continued to run on the low side, I was late on getting the synagogue’s bulletin done (thanks to people who got their stuff in late), my granddaughter moved in, I have done w-a-y too good a job of socializing G. Gordon Kitty to me, I’m getting a new pump, I’m having surgery on my hand, and I now have the tomato plant that ate the garden…

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream…

There’s a pre-fast meal to prepare, a monthly bulletin to complete, and a house to clean. But all I want to do is sleep. I wake up sleepy from my overnight sleep, from my morning nap, my afternoon nap, my evening nap, and my in-between-naps naps. Oh, I know what the problem is, and all I have to do is…

Will “Accessible” Ever Really Mean Accessible?

My scooter is set on “turtle,” which is the slowest it goes, and I’m driving through the house very slowly and carefully. Usually, I fly through life on “rabbit,” but I don’t want to inadvertently run over G. Gordon Kitty, a 10-week-old blue bicolor Ragdoll kitten…

Do You Know Your Number Without Checking? You May Be Surprised

There I was, at the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) meeting in Indianapolis last month, when I started to feel kind of loopy. You know, fuzzy-brained and all that stuff. “Oh, boy,” I said to myself, “I’m low!” And, because I was in Indy, I had cinnamon gummy bears on me! (You can’t get them where I live.) I love cinnamon gummy bears and had been waiting for just this excuse to eat some…

How Does Your Garden Grow?

How can you not be pretty much vegetarian this time of year, even if you’re not on a regular basis? I mean, just look at all the yummy, fresh produce out there!

How Sweet It Is!

“Are you a diabetic?” the CDE standing next to me demanded. “Uh, yeah,” I answered…

My Diabetes? Oh, It Has Its Ups and Downs

Where was my blog entry last week? Well, the spirit was willing, but the brain it was dead. As in, I was having a bad low glucose night and day and was pretty much incapable of forming a coherent sentence. Anything I did write was along the lines of: “See Jan stare. Stare, Jan, stare…”

Life in an Obstacle Course

“Does anybody around here think?” I grumbled to my Sweet Baboo the other day. That time, it had to do with the outdoor water faucet…

There’s a New Pump on the Horizon

It’s getting to be new insulin pump time. My current pump, a Deltec Cozmo, has been out of warranty since early December, but that’s not the problem. The problem is, the company stopped selling the Deltec Cozmo about three years ago…

Memories Flood In; Take Over

You know those questionnaires that go around on the Internet, asking you to share information about yourself with your friends? One asked where you’d like to be right now. “In the kitchen,” Liz wrote, “cooking with Jan and Carolyn.” But the three of us will no longer have that pleasure: Liz failed to wake up Saturday morning…

Counting My Veggies Before They Are Planted

Tomato, pepper, and eggplant plants are growing…out of tiny pots sitting on a bistro table on the deck. Packets of seeds are in a box on the back porch. Three 4-cubic-foot boxes of vermiculite are stacked on the front porch. At the rate I’m going, I’ll be planting my garden while everybody else is harvesting theirs…

Cruising in a Sea of Frustration

I’m sitting on a teeny-tiny shower seat on a cruise ship. More precisely, since there’s a grab bar behind the seat, I’m sitting on the front edge of a teeny-tiny shower seat. The seat is vinyl and the soap is making it very slippery. I only have one foot to balance myself. To top it off, the ship is rocking — good for putting you to sleep, but not so good for trying to maintain your balance while showering on a too-small, slippery seat…

Veronica Elsea Handles Diabetes Frustrations With a Song

It was a day — like many others, actually — that Veronica Elsea just could not get a drop of blood out of her fingers. Hey, happens to all of us. For Veronica, however, it’s doubly distressing. Blinded by high oxygen levels in the incubator she was placed in after her premature birth, she needs her fingers to do much more than merely release a drop of blood to check her glucose levels…

Should You be Putting Food in That?

Dr. Barbara Corkey doesn’t eat processed foods. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, considering the biochemist’s findings in research she’s been doing on food additives…

Wish I Could (Still) Eat That

It was nearly 60 years ago, but I can still remember “helping” my grandfather in his garden when I was a little girl. First came tomatoes, then the neat rows of corn festooned with pole beans climbing up the stalks in his garden beside the Kanawha River in Glasgow, West Virginia…

Aching Joints Aside, Things are Looking Up

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…

How’d He Do That?

So, as I was telling you earlier this month, my blood glucose was all over the place and running high for the most part and I was in the throes of filling out an intensive log listing blood glucose, number of carbohydrates consumed, amount of insulin taken, times, phases of the moon, which Tarot card surfaced, etc…

Uncaring? Get a Clue!

More than a decade ago, I wrote a column for a(nother) diabetes magazine about Type 2 diabetes. One comment sent in by a reader at the time said, in part, that her daughter had to wear an insulin pump and added that she wished all her child had to do was “take a pill and not eat cheesecake…”

You’re Fired!

My Panama Canal cruise is paid for. Can I leave now? I relax as soon as I step — or, in my case, roll — onto a cruise ship. I sure could use that now: It’s been a bit frustrating lately…

Jan’s Stream-of-Consciousness Blog

I “met” (via phone) a fellow amputee a few days ago. It was a good conversation, as we traded war stories. Turns out we were both grateful to have our legs amputated: It ended 24/7 pain for him; it ended a spreading bone infection for me. We’ve both had the foot break on our prosthesis…

Hittin’ the Road With Flatt and Scruggs

Heaven help me, I just bought a Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs album. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but country music just isn’t my thing. So why did I buy it? Well, Dad likes country music and he likes banjos and it looks as if we’re finally going to head to South Carolina to see him. Weather permitting and all that stuff…

Stylin’ (and a Recipe to Boot)

Have you been to diabetes self-management education? Did you come out with your head spinning, wondering what language the educator was speaking? Were you frustrated that others seemed to understand that language?

Diabetes Has Its Ups and Downs

Oh, what to write about. I thought and thought about that, then remembered I’d jotted down some ideas a few weeks ago. After much searching, I found my list. It read: “DA help,” “Mystery w/pump,” and “Cali cooking.” At least, that’s what I think it said. It took me a while to decipher my penmanship. Darned if I know what any of those scribbles mean…

How Does Stress Raise Your BGs? Let Me Count the Ways

Stress. I’m blaming my two or three days of blood glucose in the 300 mg/dl range last week on stress. Well, there was that sinful chocolate dessert I ate on my birthday, but it’s something I can generally handle (I practiced ’til I got it right), so I don’t think that’s it. Yep. Stress…

Cold Weather Brings Aches and Pains. And Soup.

It’s a chilly, rainy day, and my body hurts. All of it. It makes diabetes seem like a good deal. So does asthma. I would think asthma season would be over, but I guess not. Or maybe it’s something my grandson tends to spray in his room and, sometimes, around the house. Allergies, too: My eyes are still watery and I’m still sneezing. Hasn’t the pollen gone bye-bye by now?

Cat-astrophe Avoided, Jan Dreams of a Garden

Whew! Major crisis this morning! My constant companion, Ritz the cat, got his head stuck in an olive jar. Luckily, he was discovered pretty quickly because he was stuck tight and no air was getting in. As my grandson tried to get the jar off, Ritz was becoming more and more limp…

Gimmee a QUAN!

In my current, sometimes endlessly frustrating realm of blood-glucose wrangling, it may be time to go “on beyond Z…”

New CGM Brings Old “Factors” Back Into Play

I lost something and was trying to find it. I haven’t yet found what I’m looking for, but I have found: a couple of infusion sets for my insulin pump; six boxes of glucose test strips; a couple of way out-of-date sensors for a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor (CGM); and more. It’s turned into an outright treasure hunt. And speaking of CGMs, I got a new one…

Just Get It Right, Will Ya?

Most people have linens in their linen closet. I have five kittens in mine. In addition to the linens, of course. The kittens are living behind the washcloths. Number one was born on my scooter seat (I wasn’t in it at the time) last Thursday. I think. I lose track of these things. Once Mama Cat got her eldest offspring cleaned up to her satisfaction, she trotted off with it to the linen closet and had four more…

Diabetes Management: What’s Your Category?

While working on a project, I discovered I’d forgotten to include a link to a medical journal article in an e-mail I’d copied into a document and saved in a folder. So I went looking through my old e-mails to see if I’d saved the original. In the same general vicinity was a comment I’d saved from a blog entry called “Type 1s vs. Type 2s?” written by David Spero..

First It’s This, Then It’s That…

I’m up at some ungodly hour of the morning. Not that it was planned. But I was in bed, dozing peacefully, when phantom pain decided to hit. It felt as if a knife was being thrust into my left foot and lower leg. Every time the knife struck, my leg would jerk violently. Not a good sleeping atmosphere…

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…

Fake Foot Flops, Leads to Learning

Doctors. My head is filled with doctors. I’ve always tried to keep my appointments in November (my birthday month) and May (the halfway mark to my next birthday) because it’s easy to remember, but that’s gone out the window…

The Web Site SAID It Was Accessible!

The trip to Tennessee I was so looking forward to taking? It was so much “fun,” we came home a day early. My husband wanted to come home the day after we arrived, but the girls — our granddaughter and a friend — wanted to go to a couple of places. Let’s just say that some people have a warped idea of what constitutes “accessible…”

Of Bathrooms, Legs, and Clueless People

As I write this (on Monday), men are tearing my bathroom apart. WooHOO! The contractor says it should be finished in one-and-a-half to two weeks. Then I will have a whole new bathroom with grab bars, a built-in shower seat, a detachable showerhead I can reach, and everything…

Stressful Times are a-Comin’

Hoo-boy, it’s getting busy around here! It began Monday morning with a call out of the blue from a flooring place wanting to make an appointment to measure the kitchen. Huh? An explanation quickly followed with a call from the contractor’s office saying workers would begin work on the bathroom this coming Monday. At 8 AM…

Help! I’m Trying to Construct a Speech!

Guess who gets to speak to the local Home Builders Association next week about accessibility. Yep, that would be me. BWAAAA-hahaha! I can’t wait (she says, rubbing her hands together). But I’ll need your help…

Myths, Diabetes and Otherwise

We are blessed with three little kittens with oversized “mittens.” Polydactyls, meaning “many digits.” While cats normally have 18 toes — five on each front paw and four on each back paw — one of the kittens has 26 toes, one has 24, and one has 23…

When “Brain Drain” is a Good Thing

Dad’s back! He had become an incontinent, doddering old man who was quickly forgetting things. He was in danger of being shuffled off to a nursing home. Fortunately, he fell…

Going, Going… Almost Gone?

Ever planned your day around bathroom availability? That’s what I’ve had to do lately. For Indianapolis, what I normally have been doing is to go right before I leave home and then at the Plainfield rest stop — right before the Indy exits and a little less than an hour from where I live. As I write this on Thursday, an hour isn’t working: I’m going about every 20 minutes or so today…

“Misteaks” Abound, but Outcome is Positive

“I didn’t think you’d be home from the hospital, so I didn’t plan on coming,” said the woman who keeps the health department from declaring my house a disaster area. “Well,” I responded, “as long as I was out of it, they were fine having me in the hospital. Then I woke up and started talking back and they said: ‘That’s it! She’s outta here!'”

Would an Apple a Day Help?

I have a diagnosis: Kidney stone. Which is large and stuck, blocking my urethra and enlarging my kidney. Surgery is set for Thursday. At the rate I’m going on surgeries, I should just rent a room in med-surg and move in…

Having It All

WooHOO! I’m getting a new bathroom! I can’t wait! But I’ll have to, because the contractor is booked until August or September. I forget which…

Procedure Not Too Bad in the End

I was in the outpatient surgery center to have an endoscopy and a colonoscopy. These procedures were the first volleys in an attempt to figure out why I continue to run a temperature and why my white blood cell and platelet counts are up and my red blood cell count is down…

Jan’s Everything Blog

As I was sitting on my little stool in the kitchen, browning brisket for tzimmes, I glanced over at a couple of bottles of ketchup. My husband and I like different brands, so it was a bit ironic (to me) that the labels on both bottles proclaimed “NO HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP…”

Bang! Bang! Let’s Come to Order!

There’s stuff on the table on the enclosed back porch. A bag of cat food. An empty box that held one of those water-filter pitcher thingys. A package of fake oak leaves. In fall colors. Stuff like that…

Speak for Yourself, Jan

Dang it! Who put away the dishes? Oh, sure, normally I would be happy to go into the kitchen and find that all of the dishes had been put away. Since the amputation, however, the dishes drying in the drainer are sometimes all I can reach. (No, we don’t use the dishwasher on a day-to-day basis…)

Legs and Bathrooms

After some adjustments were made last week, my prosthetic leg is feeling much better, but memories of swelling, bruising, and pain are not making me want to wear it…

Inner-City Hospital Tackles Diabetes Control

Finally! The weather cooperated, and I made it to rehab yesterday. I began by taking two steps before crying “UNCLE!” but then progressed to five steps, 10, 15, and, finally, 20 (a couple of times). I went forward, backward, and did some U-turns…

This Leg is Made for Walking. But When?

There has been entirely too much winter here this winter. How about by you? As I write this, we’re supposed to be getting more ice, followed by more snow. I had an appointment today, but the scheduler called early Monday afternoon to say they weren’t even going to open the office…

Me and Mom

Sorry about no blog yesterday. My days have been a blur lately; I’d barely started this week’s blog, and was just plain ol’ wiped out! Try as I might, I just couldn’t wake up enough to write…

Cover Up or Let It All Hang Out?

WooHOO! Just one more month (from Thursday) and I’ll be cruising. One of the things I’ve been mulling over is how much (prosthetic) leg to show. If any…

Low on Support? Pity

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog that said (among other things) I hadn’t really had a pity party about having part of my left leg amputated except for maybe half an hour Thanksgiving morning. And that may have been more about other people being in MY kitchen than about my leg…

Meters and Other Stuff

There I sat on my scooter, in a patch of ice and snow in the dark of early evening. I was close enough to my house to touch it, but couldn’t get in…

And That’s the Way It (Really) Is

Reality doesn’t always match the images in our minds. Take my presurgery planning, for example. I got a potty chair that fit over the toilet, with safety-rail “arms…”

‘Twas the Day Before Surgery

“Happy birthday, you old bat!” Terry said (somewhat loudly) as I was waiting for my husband to get the scooter out of the van so I could go meet some friends for lunch. Including Terry, by the way…

At a Crossroads: Update

Talk about a difficult decision! It isn’t easy to choose between keeping a body part…or not. But, after consulting with my podiatrist, my primary-care physician, and a wound care specialist, I have chosen to have a below-the-knee amputation…

At a Crossroads

I have some serious thinking to do. The infection in my foot has gotten worse and has now extended a short distance up my leg…

Food Nannies

Sadly, I don’t believe I’m going to be embarrassed at having written last week that I think I have another infection in my calcaneus (heel bone)…

Of Doctors, Feet, and Protocol

Maybe I have an(other) infection in my calcaneus (heel bone). If so, it will be number three. I’ll know more after I have a nuclear bone scan on Thursday. (I’ve gotten quite good in the past few months at deciphering bone scans…)

Diabetes Price Tag Go Away; I’d Like to Play Instead of Pay

Meet my husband, the coupon king. If he has a coupon for it, he buys it — whether we need it or not. He paws through every discount table and discontinued items bin at every store he goes into. And buys stuff. Again, whether we need it or not. “It was on sale,” he’ll say in defense of his purchases…

Diabetes? Piece of Cake!

“You do know this was supposed to be a summer thing,” my grandson said with venom dripping from his voice…

Be a Team Player or, Even Better, Be the Team Leader

When I go to see my endocrinologist, we pull up our seats to the examining table and begin spreading out charts, graphs, lab results, my insulin pump‘s basal settings, a list of the drugs I need prescriptions written for — and more — until the table is just about covered…

Medication Mishaps Common, But You Can Avoid Them

My kitchen looks like a war zone, with bits and pieces of honey cake scattered hither, thither, and yon. Apparently the recipe meant it when it said to put parchment paper in the bottom of the pan. Silly me thought that if I used coated cookware and sprayed it, the cake would slide out intact. And that the cats would leave the cake alone…

Stand Up For Yourself (Even If You’re Lying Down)

Nurses must draw straws to see who gives me my medicines when I am in the hospital. I’m sure everybody gets tired of all my questions. I’ve heard sighs when I insist that soap and water — not hand sanitizer — is used (it triggers my asthma). But that’s OK: I’m only looking out for myself…

Want to Help Prevent Medical Errors? Advocate for Yourself.

All kinds of annoying things have happened since we last met. My computer crashed. Twice. (It was down from last Thursday until late last night.) My granddaughter almost missed her flight to South Carolina, but it wasn’t her fault: She fell asleep because she’d been up all night…

Information? Who Needs THAT?

“What did you do?” I asked Patty after three recipes appeared in my inbox — boom, boom, boom. “Put the fear of Patty into them?”

“They” are my fellow Sisterhood members, led by President-for-Life Patty. Sisterhood funds religious school, organizes and hosts social events at the synagogue, and more.

Diabetes? Who Has Time?

Yikes! It’s almost August! That means I have to gear up to begin doing the monthly (except for July and August) bulletin for the synagogue. And I have a Jewish calendar to put together for a Sisterhood fundraiser. And I need to get my grandchildren ready to fly to South Carolina to visit my parents. Get ready for another year of religious school — I’m the director and teach a class…

“Busy” Kittens Zooming Through Nine Lives

It’s a good thing kittens are adorable, because they certainly can be trying. After last week, I’m thinking about renaming ours Little Destructo 1, 2, 3, and 4. One more time chewing through tubing of some sort and the names may be changed to Sudden Death 1, 2, 3, and 4. If only, that is, they weren’t so adorable…

Reaching Diabetic Nirvana: Dream on, Alice

Diabetes can be so darned annoying! I was taking three antibiotics and one was discontinued. Good, right? Well, I’ve had to increase my basal rates just a tad. I’m getting tired of my insulin needs going down when I’m taking antibiotics but, as soon as I stop one, my requirements going back up!

Relaxation on My Mind

Can you imagine being not quite five years old and going to Walt Disney World — and then for a cruise on Disney’s newest ship — with two grandmas?

Lemonade Isn’t Always a Drink

I need to start making more lemonade. Oh, not the kind you drink — I know how to do that, and can even make it using real lemons instead of that powdered stuff you add to water. No, I mean the kind you make “when life hands you lemons…”

You Thought We Didn’t Do What?

Saturday afternoon I was lying on the bed, reading a book, when it began. I got a pain here…then another one there…and then I began to sweat. Profusely. Next came the shakes, a fuzzy head and, finally, a bit of nausea…

Kittens and CPAPs and Hypos, Oh My!

It’s been more of a zoo than usual around here over the past week — surgery, a trip, getting used to wearing a CPAP machine, kittens, whacking out blood glucose — so I’m putting off the blog entry on my friend Liz’s change in attitude toward Type 2 diabetes until next week…

Having “Fun” Can Be Infectious

It seems that every time my traveling bud, Sandy, and I make arrangements to go out of town for some R&R, I wind up having surgery during the week before. We go anyway. She’s an RN, so I feel safe in case anything happens…

When Comfort Comes in Pots, Pans, and Custard Cups

I’m in my grandparents’ backyard in West Virginia, looking at the tall, red stalks of rhubarb marching along the fence. My grandfather — Papaw — is cutting stalks for my grandmother, who will cook them into a sweet, but still tangy, side dish for dinner…

Sleepless in Indiana (and Everywhere Else)

Sometimes, you just gotta laugh. I recently suffered through a sleep study. One of the instructions I was given when the place called the day before was to bring my evening medicines. In the spirit of full disclosure, I said, “that includes IV antibiotics, by the way…”

Vacation Time is Looming!

Is it travel season yet? I mean, the “normal” travel season. You know me; I’ll travel any time of the year…

Eating Outside the Box

As I write this, I’m trying to figure out what constitutes a “fatty meal.” A piece of cheese on a butter cracker? A spoonful of peanut butter along with my salad? How about pasta with alfredo sauce? Do I have to eat a whole plateful, or can it be a side dish?

Noncompliant Docs Don’t Do You Any Favors

When I run across something interesting (to me, anyway), I tend to put it in a folder on my computer. Sometimes I even remember where I got it. (Heaven forbid I should include the source in my notes!)

Some Things That Sort of Go Together

By the time this entry is posted, I should be in New York City. Weather permitting. (I don’t care if I get stuck in NYC once I arrive, but being unable to get there in the first place is unacceptable…)

Getting PICC-y About Infections

One of the two hospitals in town opened this whole giant addition in December and, last Wednesday, I finally got to see what it looked like inside. I got to see admitting. I got to see radiology. I got to see a room in the surgical suite…

Victoza Approved for Use. Should You Take It?

My plans for getting out of town are not going well this year. Because my friend Sandy works in the medical field, she takes continuing medical education (CME) courses here and there and I sometimes tag along…

Bouncing BGs Lead to New Awareness

How ’bout those Colts? If I’d known a few years ago they’d go this far, I would have taken the football Peyton Manning autographed for my granddaughter and kept it in a safe place. However, she slept with it and the writing is all rubbed off…

Dang! I Could’ve Had Sweet Pickles Instead!

I’m not perfect. In fact, I’m far from perfect, especially when it comes to remembering what my CDE drove into my head about my diabetes care. Oh, I eventually remembered what I should have done. Way too long after I should have done it…

If A = B, Can B = A?

Did you see the report saying that people who stop smoking are at higher risk for getting Type 2 diabetes?

Hmmmm… I quit smoking. Does that mean if I start lighting up again my diabetes will go away?

Water, Water Everywhere

“Frank,” I said, “we’ve got to stop meeting like this.”

Frank glanced over my way and gave a curt “meow” before going back to lapping water from the running faucet of the bathroom sink…

The Cost of Diabetes Self-Management Education? Priceless.

“Would you pay fifty-four dollars to see me?” Sandy asked.

It was a couple of weeks ago, and I was driving her back to her car after spending an afternoon over a leisurely lunch followed by meandering through stores while she finished up her shopping list…

Go Team!

There’s an old joke that goes:

Q. What do you call the person who graduates last in his medical school class?

A. Doctor…

Latkes and Jelly Doughnuts Fill the Weekend

OK, I’m all partied out. I’ve eaten enough latkes to clog every artery in my body. And that was just Saturday evening, when we had a latke tasting with everything from good ol’ regular latkes to creations such as guacamole latkes, vegetables and feta katjes, and gingered carrot latkes. Did I mention the Cajun sweet potato latkes?

Fire the Doc

“Do you still write for the paper?” the bookstore clerk asked as I was checking out.

“We met at a diabetes support group several years ago,” she interjected. Ahhh…another member of the club nobody wants to belong to. Not to mention instant rapport between two relative strangers…

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

People who have had diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA, will tell you it’s worse than any flu they’ve ever had. Learn how to avoid this medical emergency…

All This and I’m About to Have a Birthday, Too

Busy, busy, busy. What a week it has been — and is yet to be.

I’ll tell you about my endocrinologist visit later. First, the materials for my deck were delivered yesterday and the crew is supposed to start building it today. The person supervising it is a man who’s done work for us for several years. He says we’ll be able to use the deck this weekend. ..

It’s Not Over ’til Somebody Sings

I had a bit of a disappointment over the weekend involving a social event but, on the plus side, was so wiped out afterwards that I collapsed into my recliner for hours of feet-up rest. With my foot up for a long period of time, the pain was much abated. If only that were realistic with work and such to be done…

Changes in OR Protocol Ease My Mind

Surgery went well and I now have three new medicines — two that can cause diarrhea and one that can cause constipation. So far, they seem to be striking a balance, albeit an uneasy balance, such as you would experience trying to stand on a ball. With grease on it…

Shake a Leg!

“I thought everybody had an uncle with one leg.”

There it sat, in a file in a folder of ideas and starts of blog ideas I keep on my computer. The blog post I was planning to write for this week fell through and I was looking for ideas…

Spending My Days In the Arms of Morpheus

Somebody wake me up! No, really! All I want to do is sleep. I don’t know if it’s because I’m tired, if it’s part of the recuperation period, or if it’s avoidance — of work, of dealing with my ailments… of life. Or maybe it’s just to help the time pass. (Perhaps, when I wake up, I’ll be totally mobile again…)

Eating Out

Lately, there’s been much talk about taking steps to prevent getting conditions like diabetes by practicing more healthful habits. It isn’t always easy to do so, especially in these days when nobody can afford to stay home and cook meals from scratch, as my mother did when I was growing up…

Food for Thought

A week or so after a friend of mine fell, broke her heel in several places, and was confined to bed, her mind was on more than pain and inactivity. “My mother always made me potato soup when I was sick,” she told me one day…

I’ll Take the High Road

Surgery and IV antibiotics continue to send my blood glucose into the toilet a lot but, thanks to various and sundry government edicts, I don’t always have to mainline sugar to get it up to decent levels…

Summertime and the Eating is Awesome

Weather-wise, summer is my least favorite season, what with the heat and humidity. But when it comes to food — Yum! Who can resist all of those fresh fruits and vegetables?

Just Call Me A Peripatetic Diabetic

Seeing the aurora borealis is at the top of my bucket list, and I have an idea of where I would like to go to see it: Chena Hot Springs Resort near Fairbanks, Alaska. Sometimes I daydream about soaking in a 105° rock lake that’s surrounded by ice and snow while I watch lights dance across the sky…

Searching My Brain for Something to Say

Searching my brain (or what’s left of it) this week, I couldn’t come up with one thing to write about. I could, however, think of several — none of which would make a full blog. Or not that I could determine. So consider this my occasional burst of cleaning out some of the things I have hiding in folders… and in the recesses of my brain…

Now How Did That Happen?

One of my friends is coming over today for lunch. I’m excited. It’s just what I need — some company, food that isn’t pretty much the same thing except for a different sandwich filling, and some laughs. If the sun would shine, the day would be perfect…

Finally! A Stress-Free Weekend

Legally Blonde isn’t a musical I would have chosen to see, but my almost 16-year-old (yikes!) granddaughter was dying to see it, so off to “Broadway in Chicago” we went. It was delightful! In fact, I’d go to see it again. Alas, it closed Sunday…

Anticipation Ends in Disappointment

I’d been looking forward to last weekend for weeks. Sandy and I had signed up to attend this year’s Taking Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD) conference, and she suggested that we spend the weekend in Indianapolis — despite the fact that she lives in Indy and I live only one hour away. It was a chance for both of us to get a change of scenery…

Low Glucose Leads to High Anxiety

The time was nearing for my surgery and I was getting more and more agitated. Not about the surgery, mind you. No, it was about my blood glucose levels. Despite lowering my basal rate, my glucose wouldn’t go any higher than 70-something mg/dl. Because I was having general anesthesia, I couldn’t eat or drink anything to raise it…

Sometimes Things Really Do Suck

My incision from surgery on April 8 to repair a torn Achilles tendon is not healing well. As I understand it, it could be worse, but it isn’t getting any better. So I’m having a procedure that should aid in healing. As I write this, I haven’t had it yet. By the time you read it, I’ll be back home.

This and That About One Thing and Another

I knew exactly what I was going to write about this week and even got a good start. But I realized I needed some questions answered first. So for this week, you’re getting a stream-of-consciousness potpourri.

Travel Helps Broaden Physical Abilities

Fellow travel-lover Sandy and I had hotel reservations. We had tickets to see "A Chorus Line." I had visions of Sandy and me ducking in and out of stores along the Magnificent Mile and trying out some new restaurants. It was probably the worst time in my life to be having surgery — especially surgery that was going to mean that my mobility would be even more limited than usual.

Food For Thought: Life With Diabetes

My husband and I were having dinner out in Indianapolis one day last week, when one of those "small world" things occurred: A former colleague of his — from more than 20 years ago and another state, yet — spied us. He and his wife came over to our table and we began catching up with each other’s lives.

The food came and the colleague’s wife stared at me as I began eating a Vietnamese summer roll.

"I can’t eat those," she murmured. "I’m a diabetic."

A Good Doctor is Hard to Find

There was a small, winged creature of some sort flitting around the bathroom ceiling. And there was a cat watching. Plotting to get up there somehow and catch the would-be victim.

Achilles Was a Heel

Last week, a former world champion swimmer and current Paralympian who injured his spinal cord and is now paralyzed below the waist was in town as part of a program on disabilities. He said something that really resonated with me: "Focus on what you can do and not on what you can’t."

"Great idea!" I thought. Sometimes we dwell on what we can’t do and forget there are still things we can. I decided to take his advice. But that was before I messed up my Achilles tendon, strained a muscle in my back, and split a nail.

Maybe next week.

My Week? Oh, It Was Sew-Sew

I don’t remember when I didn’t know how to sew. I can still see myself as a little girl, sitting on my grandmother’s scratchy green sofa, embroidery hoop in one hand and a needle and floss in the other, following the pattern on an embroidery kit bought at Wall’s — a five-and-dime store near my grandmother’s house. Or sitting at a sewing machine at the front window in the living room, guiding fabric under a speeding needle.

That being said, I’ve done no more than sew on a button here and there or mend a small tear in a seam for probably 30 years. Until last week.

Sizing up the Attitudes

My friend Jan has, she says, "horrible" varicose veins. "They look like ropes you tie a ship up with going down my legs. I have pooling around my ankles" that look like bruises to the extent that people ask her if she’s injured herself. On top of that, "they ache…especially if I’m on my feet all day," as she is when she watches her toddler granddaughter.

So why doesn’t she get them fixed?

Taking Your Diabetes on a Cruise

Taking Your Diabetes On A Cruise

One thing is common on all the cruise ships I’ve been on: They’re very diabetes-friendly. These floating resorts do all they can to meet your special needs…

Bias Weighs on My Mind

I’m a very large person. Lemme put it to you this way: You don’t want to have the seat next to me on an airplane. Many doctors have started conversations with me by asking, "Have you thought about bariatric surgery?" And my cardiologist’s nurse had to ask me how much I weighed because the scales didn’t go high enough.

Freebies and Washing and Blood Counts, Oh My!

I feel the urge to write about meters. It all began last week when I got a phone call and — for a little while — thought I’d found you a deal.

The offer? A free meter and free strips. The company just wants people to be able to manage their diabetes, the caller said. Poor guy didn’t know who he’d called: A former newspaper reporter who has a tendency to ask a lot of questions.

Habits Need Changing… But Not Mine!

Losing weight — and keeping my blood glucose in order — would be so much easier if the pantry and refrigerator weren’t filled with food I don’t need to be eating.

Willpower would be good, too, but I confess to not having a lot of that: If it’s there, and I like it, I eat it. Even if it’s something I shouldn’t be indulging in.

Can Diabetes Education Be Music to Your Ears?

In the world of body language, leaning forward can be a signal of interest. Sunday night, I took my 15-year-old granddaughter to see "Wicked." One of the popular Broadway musical’s road shows had a one-month run in Louisville, Kentucky, which is about three hours from where we live, and we attended the last performance.

At no time during the 3-hour performance did her own personal back touch the back of her seat. Her eyes never wavered from watching the stage. I’m not even sure she blinked.

She should only be that interested in algebra.

We should only be that interested in learning about diabetes self-management.

Advances In Medical Technology

Treatment of diabetes, like most areas of medicine, has changed considerably over the years as a result of technological advances. From the discovery, purification, and mass production of insulin to the development of less painful ways to deliver it, the…

What’s Up, Doc…Doc…Doc…Doc…?

Last week, I saw a cardiologist. This week, I will see a pulmonologist. I already have a family practice doctor, an ophthalmologist, an endocrinologist, a podiatrist (who does ankles, too), a dentist, an orthopedist, and a rehabilitation doctor. In my time, I’ve also had an infectious diseases doc. Oh, and there’s the OB/GYN doc, which I try not to think about.

At the rate I’m going, I soon will have a doctor for each part of my body.

A Good Forum is Not So Hard to Find

"Why do we have a Star of David as a symbol?" one of my religious school students asked on Sunday. "What does it mean?"

It’s a good thing I don’t mind saying: "I’m not sure: I’ll find out and tell you next week." I say it a lot.

2008 is Gone. Good.

A-n-d, 2008 ended with a miserable cold. If I lay down, I started coughing and my head stuffed up so that I felt as if I was drowning. I could sleep in my nice, soft, comfy, oversized chair. However, even when I started out with my feet on the ottoman, they somehow found their way to the floor on their own and I would wake up with ankles the size of New Jersey.

It Can Only Get Better From Here

I was supposed to have a stress test on Monday, but had to reschedule because my car doors were frozen shut. Again. This test had been rescheduled from two weeks ago because my car doors were frozen shut. I told the appointments desk that maybe we should reschedule for July so we’ll be sure to get a cool breeze blowing through.

A stress test seems like a good idea. For my head, however; not my heart. I’m usually pretty laid-back, but the past week has proven to be quite a test.

The Great Thanksgiving Buffet Disaster

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you manage to keep your blood glucose in a relatively decent range? I sure didn’t and, as of Friday morning, still haven’t managed to get it back down to where I like it. At this point, I’d be happy with anything below 200 mg/dl. (Picture me heaving a big sigh here.) Ah, well. I will get there (and did get down to the 90s later Friday). As I write this, my own insulin resistance from having Type 2 diabetes is combining with dietary-fat-induced insulin resistance to give me a double whammy.

Visit to the “Old World” Brings New Surprises

Ya gotta love a place where a swing band serendipitously belts out "Back Home Again in Indiana" (lyrics here) on your first foray out around town. On this night, however, the moonlight was shining not on the Wabash, but on the Vltava, the river that separates the east and west sides of Prague.

The whole joint was jumping. And on a Monday night, yet! Turns out there was a reason.

Taking Care of Me

We’re too busy. We’re too busy from a very young age. A couple of weeks ago, I had to arrange for six children, aged 6–11, to be at the same place at the same time. The lady we (the children, some parents, and another person) were supposed to meet with had told me she could be available at any time, so I took her at her word and just worked with the children’s parents.

Once I got the children together, I called back.

The Tooth, the Whole Tooth, and Nothing but the Tooth (Mostly)

My long-awaited trip to visit my best friend in Germany is upon me. The light is near, but the end of the tunnel has been filled with potholes. Just when I’m trying to get things done and get ahead a bit so I can fly off on Thursday with nothing hanging over my head, things start to unravel.

Crazy? Or Just Crazed?

Do you ever go through a period of time when things are just crazy? That’s about where I’ve been lately. I may as well not even plan anything, because something else seems to come along to upset my schedule. Even when I do manage to get something done on time, outside factors conspire and it gets put off somewhere else along the line.

What Can You Give to Help Others?

On Sunday, I got up at some miserably early hour—even earlier than usual—to prepare fleece so the children in religious school could make blankets for needy babies. Another teacher and I met at the synagogue before the children arrived to trim fleece and cut fringe around the edges so the children could tie two pieces of fabric together to make nice, warm, double-layered blankets.

Will the Goblins Be Gobblin’ at My House This Year?

Many years ago, I returned a casserole dish to a friend on Halloween night. I rang the doorbell and as I stood at the door with dish in hand, her sister-in-law (who didn’t know me) appeared, dropped a handful of candy in the dish and started to close the door.

“W-w-w-w-wait!” I called out. “I’m just returning a dish!”

Trying to Stay Flexible

My family’s medical Flexible Spending Account (FSA) ran dry with three months left in the year. Ouch! Because FSAs are funded by regular, equal, payroll deductions (pretax!), that means we’ll be dipping into our pockets for our medical expenses on top of the deductions that will continue to be taken out. Double ouch!

Obsession Isn’t Always a Perfume

There are so many serious and/or meaningful issues I tell myself I should be writing about, but all I have on my mind is my trip next month. As a 60th birthday gift to myself, I’m heading to Germany to visit my best friend, whose Army officer husband is stationed in Heidelberg. While I’m there, we plan to hop over to Prague for a couple of days or so.

Navigating a New Toy

It was 2 AM, and I was starving! "About another 45 minutes," I told myself. "Just 45 minutes."

Blowing My Top (If Not My Chai Latte)

Sitting in a coffee shop near my house, interviewing a woman with celiac disease for a newspaper feature, I casually asked her, "and where did you go for education?"

Her answer almost made me spray a mouthful of chai latte across the room.

"They gave me a list of gluten-free foods," she responded.

The Right Stuff

The food section in my local paper on Monday featured Jewish foods and included a recipe for challah, the traditional Jewish braided egg bread ubiquitous on Sabbath and holiday tables.

I make a lot of challah myself: for my family, for community celebrations, and for events at the temple my family and I belong to. In fact, people say I make a pretty tasty version. But things can always be improved, and so I read the recipe with interest.

It had milk in it.

Put Yourself in the Driver’s Seat When it Comes to Your Health

With a beginning driver in the family, I’m finding that I need to pay more attention to my own driving. After 40+ years driving, and enough familiarity with where I live to go on "autopilot" most of the time, I seem to be getting complacent. Yeah, that’s it: I know too much. Or think I do.

Loss Leads to Indecision

Happy Tuesday! How was your weekend? Mine was kind of good. My sweet baboo and I took advantage of the long weekend to get out of town for a couple of days. No phones, no computers, no grandchildren, no schedules. It was great.

Well, I did break my cell phone and lose my meter.

It’s About Time

Oh, golly. What’s happening in my life this week? Probably the big news is that my granddaughter began taking driver’s education classes yesterday. (Since I can’t find a font that indicates a strangled-sounding voice, you’ll just have to use your imagination.)

Something From Nothing: I Coulda Written for Seinfeld

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.)

Oh, the Things You’ll See, the People You’ll Meet

At first, I passed her by, but something didn’t seem quite right, so I turned around and went back.

"Are you okay?" I asked.


"Well, you have what looks like a tube of glucose gel and I thought you might be low. Do you need some help?"

"I’m fine."

Things That Bug Us

Some poor, hapless bug meandered onto the front porch the other day—no easy feat, since the porch is totally screened in—and, just its luck, met up with three kittens. It was one of those roundish, hard-shelled bugs and turned out to make a perfect hockey puck. The kittens were having a blast batting it around among themselves, but I daresay the bug was not as thrilled as being turned into a plaything as the kittens were in discovering a new toy.

Getting the Blues Over Diabetes Depiction

Kate pressed the Accu-Chek needle into her forefinger. The digital meter read up to 282. Her norm was around 90. Jesus, she was off the charts.

She dug into her purse and came out with her kit…She took out a syringe and the bottle of Humulin…She lifted the syringe and pressed it into the insulin, forcing out the air: 18 units…

—The Blue Zone

Eighteen units to bring her blood glucose down to…what? Minus something-or-other?

Weighing In…On Several Topics

During my visit to the endocrinologist last Thursday, I got my "official" weigh-in. While I’ve been checking my weight-loss efforts on my home scales, this time it was on the scales that recorded my starting weight.

Happy Campers, Despite Having Diabetes

"Where’s Mom’s meter?" 11-year-old Rachel asked as she dashed out onto the deck at Camp Lobegon one evening last week.

"If it’s in her purse, it’s right over there," I responded.

Rachel grabbed the meter and dashed back into the house, only to return a moment later for glucose tabs. Shortly after dashing into the house again, she reappeared on the deck.

Blast It! Starting on Multiple Meds Makes Sense

Skimming through the latest edition of the diaTribe newsletter, my interest perked up when I read a report on the Banting Lecture by Dr. Ralph DeFronzo of the University of Texas Health Science Center and recipient of the 2008 Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement. In particular, his criticism of the American Diabetes Association’s treatment guidelines, “which recommend lifestyle changes and metformin as initial therapy for Type 2 diabetes,” jumped out at me.

Traveling May Be Expensive, But Friends Are Priceless

Airlines are decreasing the number of flights they offer, and word is that flight prices will continue to climb. Travel experts are advising people to buy now for later. So I booked a flight to Germany for November. Far be it from me to disregard advice from the experts.

Jan’s Very Bad, Awful, Diet- and BG-Blowing Day

Last Thursday, I began my day shaking with hypoglycemia and ended it chugging water in an attempt to quench the indescribable thirst that can come only with hyperglycemia.

It wasn’t a good diabetes day. In fact, I felt so crappy from the highs and the lows, it just wasn’t a good day at all.

Mother Nature Opens a Flood of Questions

I live in a disaster zone. No, really: the National Guard was called out, FEMA is here and everything. You’ve probably at least heard about the flooding in the Midwest. My area was not spared. Fifteen bridges and parts of 30 roads in my county are damaged or destroyed and areas that never flood were under water as the ground became saturated from too much rain. Levees broke and people had to be rescued from their homes in boats.

Pump Up Your Education

It never fails to amaze—and shock and appall—me when a person posts a question on the Insulin Pumpers mailing list asking how to operate a pump or what to do about one problem or another; questions that indicate his lack of training.

Pump Training

Ask any insulin pump trainer if he has ever seen a pump user with inadequate training and the first response is usually a sigh. “I always think of this sign I saw once that said, ‘We fix $8 haircuts,'” says Ginger Such, RD, CDE…

Insurance Costs? Who Cares?

Know why medical insurance costs are rising so much? I think I have the answer: They don’t always care how much they pay out.

Vacations, Like Diabetes, Can Have Their Ups and Downs

There was no heat in our stateroom for the first three days of last week’s Alaska cruise. It was, for the most part, chilly and rainy—er, outside that is. Inside, it was just cold. The seas were high a couple of times, causing the ship to climb up one side of a wave and slide down the opposite side, a feat that prompted the captain to quip, "I’ll bet you’ve never been surfing on an 85,000-ton surfboard before." In the ship’s shopping area, items were literally flying off the shelves.

One More Reason to Manage Our Diabetes

As if we didn’t have enough reasons to keep our diabetes under control, here’s another: In case of a widespread medical disaster, such as pandemic flu, people with poorly controlled diabetes could be left to die.

What Does That Have To Do With Diabetes?

Last weekend, my grandson, David, and I loaded our bags into the van, drove to Indianapolis to pick up my friend Sandy, and the three of us headed for Louisville, Kentucky. We did a lot of relaxing, some exploring, and ended the visit with a Sunday matinee performance of "Avenue Q" by the Broadway musical’s touring company.

Support Comes in Many Forums

WooHOO! I had my first "gusher" the other day! It was about time: I’ve been pumping insulin for more than nine years now and was feeling a bit left out. And, frankly, jealous. Why, one person I know had a gusher on the first set change.

There’s More Than One Way to Answer a Prayer

There’s a joke—or, perhaps, more of a story—that tells of a person who believed with all his heart that a higher being would rescue him from impending disaster.

The man, as the story goes, sat on his front porch as a flood warning was issued. His neighbor, who was evacuating, offered to give him a ride.

"No," the man said. "I have faith. The Being will save me from the flood."

Cruising My Way to a Goal

Now I’ve done it. I told my friend Sandy about my plan to lose at least 50 pounds and get my HbA1c under 6.5% before I can book another cruise. She’s an RN who also holds a degree in nutrition and is a CDE on top of that, so she’s quite capable of kicking my heinie if I venture too far off the path.

Finding My Inner Beach Ball

"The matzo ball is flying around the house!" the mother of one of the children who attends religious school at my synagogue messaged me, referring to a matzoh-ball-patterned beach ball her first grader had won in a contest of sorts.

Confused? I can explain.

South of the Border (and So Was My Glucose)

While watching one of the cable news channels the other day, I saw what appeared to be a familiar site. Was it? Could it be? Yes! Laredo, Texas! Although it’s amazing that I recognized it, since my memory of that place focuses more on an episode of hypoglycemia than on the landscape.

“Be Prepared”: Not Just the Boy Scouts’ Marching Song

My husband has had the flu, my granddaughter now has the flu, and I’ve decided it’s time to review my sick-day rules in case I get the flu. You might want to review yours, too, especially since this year’s flu vaccine doesn’t seem to be working all that well.

Medicine Doesn’t Offer Any Guarantees

Last week I called my family practice physician’s office and asked for a prescription for oseltamivir phosphate (brand name Tamiflu) for myself. My husband had the flu and was taking it for treatment. However, it can also be taken as a preventative measure.

Call Me Irrepressible

It seems I’ve acquired a couple of new names lately: Jan the Baby-Whisperer and Jan the Barometer.

In Praise of Pharmacists

Lately, I’ve been reading some comments—both good and bad—about mail-order pharmacies and customer service. I know that some insurance policies require prescriptions to be filled via mail order. Or maybe it has to do with cost. That is, if you opt to use a local pharmacy, the cost to you is higher. I’m not really sure. My insurance carrier tried the mail-order route, but stopped requiring it shortly afterwards. Too many complaints.

Some Days Are for the Birds

"Is that a real bird?" my cleaning lady asked on Monday.

"No," I said without looking, thinking she was talking about a toy bird that had come off the cats’ scratching whatzit.

A minute later, I glanced down at the cats, who were leaping around closer to where I was sitting. "It is a real bird!" I exclaimed. "Where did that come from?"

Welcome to my world.

When Progress Isn’t a Positive Thing

"Your A1C is up a bit," said the voice on the answering machine. "Watch what you eat."

Wow! Was that helpful or what?!

The voice belonged to a nurse in my husband’s primary care doctor’s office, and I can think of a few things she could have said instead:

Jan Cleans Out Files, Comes Up With Blog Entry

I have a "temp" folder inside my "DSM Blog" folder on my computer. When I run across something that looks interesting, I put it in there. Another folder is labeled "pending," which is where I jot down ideas. Sometimes I can’t immediately figure out what to do with those ideas—or something else comes along.

Judging from the snow and ice outside my window, it isn’t spring yet, but it’s as good a time as any to do some cleaning.

All Pumped Up—Again

At least last week ended on a high note, ’cause it started out as a comedy of errors.

Bright and early Monday morning, I crawled out of bed, got dressed, and drove to an oncologist’s office for a scheduled 8 AM interview for an article on colorectal cancer. There, I settled into a comfy sofa in the waiting room and watched the morning news while waiting for Susan, the clinic’s PR person/reporter-babysitter to arrive.

Is Today’s Throwaway Society Going Too Far?

I broke a little piece of plastic off my insulin pump, so now I’m looking into getting a new pump. And, no, it isn’t like getting a new car when the ashtray gets full. It’s a bit more complicated than that.

You see, my pump works so well, I’ve used it for nearly one year past its warranty expiration date. Apparently, that’s a kiss of death in the pump repair arena. No warranty, no fix.

Just Stop Already!

Timex isn’t the only thing that "takes a licking and keeps on ticking." OK, my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) doesn’t exactly tick, but, like the Energizer Bunny, it just keeps going and going—even when it doesn’t work.

Deadlines Eat Into Food Choices

Happy Tuesday! It’s supposed to hit 72° today where I live and the neighborhood is almost back together again after all of the construction. What a great day it would be to wash the car, rake the leaves off the front porch and hose it down to get rid of all the construction dust, or just ride my bike.

Alas, I can do none of those things. Instead, I’ll be hunkered over my computer, frantically trying to meet deadlines.

“Thimk” Before You Act

Sometimes I’m a ditz-brain. (To be fair, there are those who disagree, asking, "sometimes?")

For example, I needed to call somebody to get some information, but couldn’t find the notebook I’d jotted his number down in. Then I remembered: I’d called him from my cell phone only a week before. Scrolling through the calls, I found one that looked kind of familiar, pressed "send," and got an answer from somebody whose voice I didn’t recognize.

Byetta Garners Pancreatitis Warning

Good grief. Here we go again on problems with a diabetes drug. It seems we’ve just gotten through the possible heart problems with the thiazolidinedione class of drugs and now we’re onto problems with another class. This month—oops! make that this time—it’s exenatide (brand name Byetta), which appears to be connected with pancreatitis.

Your Treatment…Or Your Life?

Ever since the report came out a couple of weeks ago that people with Type 2 diabetes would trade years of life for less-intensive treatment of diabetes, I’ve been scratching my head. They also ranked putting up with comprehensive diabetes care as being more onerous than certain complications.

Diabetes-Savvy Mental Health Professionals Needed

It was 1991 or ’92 and Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel was the first book I read all the way through in something like three years. I’d been through a period—a long period—of burnout and depression, stemming from uncontrolled diabetes and a stressful job with a daily newspaper.

In the Hospital, Resistance is Futile

Monday morning, I went to see an orthopedic surgeon and, after having been duly warned about possible complications that could be heightened by my diabetes and asthma, took a deep breath and agreed to have one of my knees replaced.

Fitting Diabetes Into Your Lifestyle

My first "real" dietitian was Amy K. I say "real" like that because the ones I’d had before tended to snap out orders. Those commands consisted of a long list of foods I could no longer eat for the rest of my life and the ones I could eat, but had to be consumed in conjunction with other stuff. In no way did it resemble the way I ate.

Well, that lasted all of about two weeks.

Bits and Pieces of This and That

It isn’t spring, but it sure is cleaning time, at least as far as my files are concerned. I run across tidbits of this and that which appear at first to be good blog fodder, but can’t always seem to figure out how to make a full blog entry from it. So I end up filing it away for another day when inspiration hits. So far, inspiration is staying far, far away.

Load the Code for the Proper Mode

It’s Monday but, with the Labor Day holiday and the children here, it feels like Sunday. Not that I had much of a holiday weekend: I had work to do. Well, not "work" work, like where you actually make money, but the type where, for example, you do the synagogue’s monthly bulletin.

Igor, Prepare the Lab

Have you ever heard the expression "my body, my science experiment?" With all of its variables and chances of things going haywire, diabetes gives those of us who have it never-ending opportunities to perform experiments on ourselves.

I’ve been doing one such experiment for the past week or so. The results were so overwhelming that I wonder why it took me so long to figure it out.

Adventures in Scooterland

If people pay attention while they’re driving the way they do when they’re walking, we’re in a melluva hess.

Wait a minute: We do. How many of us have looked for cars while driving and missed the motorcycles and bicycles? In much the same way, people crowding city sidewalks tend to look only for other people and not for wheelchairs or mobility scooters.

Back From (Another) Trip

Just two more trips—both for fun and one with my husband, for once—and things may be back to whatever passes for normal at my house. Trips for fun, business, and to take care of family matters have kept us in "hello, goodbye" mode for much of the year, and definitely for the summer.

Serving the Public: A Little Information Wouldn’t Hurt

I live on a one-lane dirt—no, make that mud—road with no sidewalk. No, I don’t live in the country; my house is well within city limits. And I kind of lied about the sidewalk: I do have one, but it’s in huge slabs tossed here and there with mounds of dirt. Or mud.

Tales of Hyperglycemia, Procrastination, and a Full Moon

How has my diabetes week gone? Don’t ask! While my blood glucose has been better than it had been for a couple of months, lack of maintenance on my feet resulted in some minor surgery, and attempts to keep a glucose sensor from coming loose led to me mooning the neighbor’s house. (Hopefully, said neighbor wasn’t looking out the window at the time.)

Get a Clue! Keeping Track of Blood Glucose Shouldn’t Be a Mystery

It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you have a clue about what you’re doing.

When a doctor first told me to check my blood glucose, I’d known for eight years that I had Type 2 diabetes. And that was all I was told: "Check your sugar." I was not told how to select a meter, what to strive for, when to check, how to write the numbers down—nothing. (Not even that my insurance would cover meters and strips.)

Blood Glucose Monitoring — Oops!

It wasn’t until about eight years after I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes that I was told to check my blood glucose. It would be another year before I was told how to check—when to check, what numbers to strive for, how to write them down so a pattern could be seen, how to adjust for highs and lows. Long before the next year had ended, my HbA1c had dropped from double digits into the 7th percentile. One of the biggest contributors to that was learning how to interpret my blood glucose readings.

Patient, Heal Thyself?

I’ve often half-jokingly said I needed to go to medical school just so I could tell if my docs were doing what they were supposed to do. Several years ago, my (former) primary care provider (PCP) told me my blood pressure was a bit elevated, but still "just fine."

"No," I responded. "I have diabetes. It needs to be lower."

Laughter: A Good Medicine to Add to Your Arsenal

There I was, slogging through miles and piles of e-mail after my trip, when I opened one and literally burst out laughing. The poster’s insurance company, she wrote, said it had covered her insulin pump supplies "much longer" than it had planned and advised her to look into a lower-cost alternative for her treatment.

"Do they think," she wrote, "I only intended on having diabetes for a couple of years and then maybe I’d move on to a cheaper

Fatal Distraction

Before we began our cruise last week, I told my granddaughter how much she could charge on her room key/credit card and admonished her not to spend money in the arcade or the Internet café. That was Sunday.

“Fat and Lazy,” or Type 2 Diabetes—Which Came First?

One of my ongoing freelance projects is writing a monthly series for my local newspaper about the top 10 killers in our area. It pretty much follows national trends, and I’ve already done the top four: heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Next up is number five: diabetes.

Pondering the Intensity of Preventing Type 2 diabetes

There’s something that’s always puzzled me: If, as so many say, Type 2 diabetes stems from too much weight, then how come the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there are 97 million overweight and obese people in the United States, but only 14.6 million people diagnosed with diabetes? Even after subtracting the people with Type 1 diabetes, where are the other 80 million or so people with Type 2 diabetes? Have they not been diagnosed yet?

Or could it be that they just don’t have the right genes?

The Best Medicine?

My husband walked into the house bearing shirts from the laundry and, as usual, hung them on the handlebar of my stationary bike.

“Honey,” I said, “I do use that to exercise.”

In response, he muttered something about not wanting his jacket to get wrinkled, then proceeded to hang the aforementioned jacket on the other handlebar.

Tackling a Weighty Subject

I took my almost-16-year-old grandson out for a late breakfast Monday morning and watched in awe as he packed away a tall stack of pancakes, a milkshake…then another milkshake, a sandwich, onion rings, and a soda. I had an omelet—just an omelet—and was stuffed. I think if he’d managed to belch, he could have handled dessert. Or maybe dinner on top of the breakfast and lunch he ate at one sitting.

Grandson is so thin I don’t think he casts a shadow in the brightest sunlight. I can cast a shadow in the shade.

Escaping the Whirlwind

It seems as if I’d been caught in a whirlwind of preparations for weeks, culminating in a major event and a house full of guests. Finally, the event was over. I threw some clothes and groceries in Dad’s truck and, leaving the rest of the guests behind, grabbed him and took off over winding country roads that ended at a gravel lane leading to the lake.

Fish Story

“I can’t wait to get to the lake,” I said to Dad last Thursday.

“I can’t, either,” he responded. “I’m going to get the ugliest worms I can find.” Here he paused, and his face broke into a huge grin. “I brought two fishin’ poles,” he continued as his grin grew wider and a twinkle appeared in his eyes.


Out of Sight, Out of Mind?

My parents will be here this weekend—actually, for about one week—and I’m getting a bit stressed already about what to do about my diabetes care. It’s kind of silly, really, but I don’t like to check my blood glucose or do anything with my insulin pump in front of Mom.

Stressed? That’s Life!

My granddaughter’s bat mitzvah is in less than two weeks. She’s a nervous wreck and is being a drama queen. I’m wondering how I’m going to get everything done for the festivities while taking her to swim team practice three times a week, to an engineering program once a week, and getting my work done.

Making Food-and Diabetes-Easier To Swallow

One of the fun things I did this week was, of all things, a cooking demonstration. One of the companies in town, which makes baking products, hosts a demo every week. When its chef is unavailable, it calls on people from the community. For some reason, I got a call asking if I would do a demo on Jewish food.

Ear’s the Deal: We’re All Corny

Originally, I was going to write that, if we are what we eat, we are corn. And then expound on high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). But, to be honest, I don’t have a scientific cell in my body and would just get overwhelmingly confused at trying to explain how HFCS metabolizes differently from sucrose (table sugar) and probably isn’t all that good for people with diabetes. I could, however, explain the political and economic aspects of the proliferation of HFCS, but I’ll spare you.

So I’m simply going to tell you why I know that we are corn, which is…it’s Passover.

Trying Times

Oh, what a week! My husband is in New Jersey visiting his brother. My little friend Ryan was here on three days. My teenage grandchildren insisted on “keeping me company” even though I wanted to be all by myself, alone. And I’m trying to cut back on the amount of Symlin (pramlintide) I take, a goal that was somewhat thwarted by continuous glucose monitor (CGM) glitches in the beginning.

Practicing Medicine Without a License

Last week, a friend of mine who was writing an article about Alli, the over-the-counter version of orlistat (brand name Xenical), asked for my thoughts on the side effects of such drugs. For those of you who are unaware, orlistat blocks absorption of a portion of the fat you eat and can result in, um, overactive “regularity.”

First of all, I don’t know what’s wrong with just eating less fat. I mean, do we have to have a pill for everything?

Just Itching to Share the News

So I get this e-mail from Web Editor Tara Dairman one day asking me if I’ve ever had any experience with diabetes-related yeast infections and would I like to blog about it.

"You want me," I zapped back, "to tell the world about my itchy hooha?"

Type 1 Envy

Sometimes I envy people with Type 1 diabetes. They know very quickly that they have diabetes. They know they have the “real” kind of diabetes. They get to take insulin right away. They know what blood glucose levels to target.

Get Packing! But What? And IN What?

Here I go, getting ready to take another trip, pondering what to
take—and what to take it in. (I asked my granddaughter if I could use her hot pink bag—it’s easy to find on the luggage carousel—and she asked me what she got in return. Telling her I was the one who bought it didn’t seem to cut it with her.)

Scared Trait. Is It Helpful?

Can we stop it with the scare tactics, already, and maybe start giving people a little hope? Geez! No wonder a lot of people don’t want to deal with diabetes. With all of the dire information, predictions, and scare tactics being put forth—by people in the diabetes industry,
yet—I’d guess folks figure that if they’re destined to be blind, bilateral amputees being wheeled to kidney dialysis three times a week anyway, they’re by golly going to have fun now!

“OK, Jan,” you ask. “What got you started this time?”

Got Those High-Blood-Glucose Blues

It’s going to be a low-fat, low-carb day. I feel like crap. No, I’m not sick: My blood glucose (BGs) have been high since yesterday, and it’s all my doing.

I woke up yesterday (Sunday) morning with a reading of 82 mg/dl. Perfect! I then proceeded to ruin it.

Will They Ever Learn?

Hospital charge for heart bypass surgery—$85,000*

Hospital charge for a leg amputation—$47,000*

One year’s worth of kidney dialysis—$75,000**

Cost of the education that could have prevented the above—PricedLess.

Turn Off the Alarm Clock—I’m Busy Sleeping

Does anybody else have the winter doldrums? Around here, it was gray and rainy for days and days. Then it snowed—which was nice. Everything was all white and bright and beautiful. But now, while we still have snow covering the ground, the skies are once again gray and I can hear the drip, drip, drip of snow melting from the roof.

Symlin: Sometimes the Positives Outweigh the Negatives

“I’m a little bit low,” I told Sarah the other morning when she came to drop 6-month-old Ryan off for the day. “But I ate one of those”—gesturing to a box of snack bars one of my grandchildren had left on the table—“and I’m not shaking any more.”

Sarah has Type 1 diabetes, so my confession didn’t faze her. “You want me to set Ryan down on the floor?” she asked. Then she further demonstrated her understanding with one questioning word: “Symlin?”

Alterations: Not Just for Seamstresses

My friend, Sandy, has a meeting in New York City next month and asked if I’d like to tag along. Would I? I’m already halfway packed. (OK, I have a tendency not to unpack after trips: I’m always halfway packed.)

Since Sandy has never been to NYC before, and I’ve been there often enough (thanks to marrying a Brooklyn native) to actually be able to get around—using public transportation,
yet—I’m in charge of food and entertainment.

Up in Smoke: Changing Bad Habits

I quit smoking. Providing the incentive was a comment by amyjo on my last post, in which she said that she’d stopped smoking after 62 years. If she can stop smoking after 62 years, I can stop after…oh, however long I’ve been smoking. This time. I kind of stop smoking, then, several months or years later, I think I can “just have one,” and the cycle starts all over again.

Questions For Your Doctor

You’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes and you want to take proper care of yourself. After all, you know that if you control your blood glucose levels, you’ll feel better and lessen your chances of developing complications. But there are two problems…

Lousy Beat and the Lyrics Are Rotten. I’ll Give It a Zero.

When I agreed to write about diabetes once a week, I thought surely I’d run out of things to say in a short period of time. It hasn’t happened yet, although I was beginning to think this week that I would have to write about blowing up my stove.

Anyway, when I read the first couple of comments on the blog entry I wrote last week, I began thinking about Dick Clark. You know—host of American Bandstand, America’s oldest teenager, etc.

What Does Your Doc Know About Diabetes?

Recently, a friend’s daughter who has Type 1 diabetes was admitted to the hospital. By the time they were through with admissions, the child was taken to her room, and her blood glucose was checked, she was hypoglycemic with a blood glucose level of 30 mg/dl.

Sleepless (But Not in Seattle)

Just for fun (and curiosity), I keyed "diabetes sleep" into a search engine and came up with all kinds of information. Sleep disturbances, various researchers say, are common in people with diabetes, with higher rates of insomnia, sleepiness during the day, and restless legs syndrome.

Giving Thanks – Even For Diabetes

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.

Flying With Sharp Objects

Travel is great, but can be frustrating, especially if you arrive at your destination at 5:45 AM Tuesday, your checked baggage doesn’t catch up with you until 3:45 PM Wednesday, and nobody answers the phone at the local numbers given so you have to call overseas—twice—to get any information regarding the whereabouts of your bag. It’s bad enough when it leaves you with not much more than the clothes on your back—which aren’t warm enough for the
season—but worse when the children of the household you’re visiting have to wait one more day to find out what “Auntie Jan” brought them.

Diabetes: Portrayal vs. Reality

Welcome to American Diabetes Month, a time of free diabetes screening tests, specials on diabetes-related items, and a period in which diabetes gets a bit more media attention than usual.

But is the perception of diabetes being portrayed by today’s media a true picture of the condition in our times, or is it still relying on outdated methods and data?

Trying to Control the Uncontrollable

“OK,” my endocrinologist—or endo—said at my July visit when he read the results of my HbA1c test, “What do we need to change?”

My HbA1c (a measure of blood glucose control over the past 2–3 months), which had hovered close to 6% seemingly forever, had gone up into the 9th percentile, been wrestled down into the 7th percentile, and had popped back up to 8.4% for that visit. I hadn’t bothered to have my labs done, I hadn’t written down a list of my medicines, and I didn’t have any kind of blood glucose log with me.

“My attitude?” I asked.

Should You Be Eating That?

Last week, I accompanied a friend to the endocrinologist and had an experience I didn’t expect: A look at the new diagnosis shock. Oh, sure, I’ve experienced it. Twice. The first time was nearly 21 years ago, when I was diagnosed. The second was 11 years ago, when I started taking insulin.

Freedom at the End of a Leash

Some time after I started using an insulin pump, my endocrinologist (or “endo,” as I call him) asked me what I liked best about it.

“I can scrub the front porch whenever I want,” I responded after some thought.

It may sound like a strange answer, but it pretty much summed up the new flexibility I gained when I went from multiple daily injections to pumping.

Diabetes and Life and Vice Versa

The problem with having diabetes is that life gets in the way. We have other obligations—families, work, projects, community service, and more. We can’t always be expected to sit around checking our blood glucose, planning and preparing healthy meals, adjusting insulin and/or medicine doses, avoiding stress, exercising, and all that other stuff “they” seem to want us to concentrate on.

Walking the Euglycemic Tightrope

It was time for dinner and I was hungry. I mean, I was really, really hungry! It was in my early days of using insulin—I took two injections a day of Regular and NPH and ate a set amount of carbohydrates at each meal and snack. Dinner, as I recall, was 60 grams.

Fast Days Need Slow Consideration

It was Yom Kippur and I was in charge of the food for after the fast. As usual. I can almost hear my fellow Sisterhood members now: “We need to put somebody in charge of the food on a day we’re not supposed to eat. I know! Let’s let the diabetic do it!”

Life After Insulin (Yes, There is One)

I read with interest the comments on my post about using insulin, particularly the ones about loss—the loss of jobs and the loss of freedom. Shortly after I started on insulin, I was fortunate to have a lot of support from my endocrinologist, who paid close attention to my numbers and told me what adjustments to make, and from my C.D.E., who taught me how to interpret my numbers and make adjustments myself. From a psychological standpoint, the early days weren’t easy.

Knowledge Amid Chaos

Sonja’s office was a wondrous place. Not much larger than a closet, it was stuffed with a colorful mélange of items both whimsical and useful.

Darned If I Can Think of One Reason…

As I was flipping through a magazine the other day, I saw a blurb saying that people with Type 2 diabetes avoid insulin therapy because they don’t want to give themselves injections. But hadn’t I read something recently that suggested just the opposite? Yep, I went back and found this quote from the June 14, 2006, edition of the Indianapolis Star:

Insulin Pumps

An estimated 200,000 people in the United States use insulin pumps today, and about 10,000 of those are believed to have Type 2 diabetes. Surprised? Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease that causes many people who have it to eventually need to use…

Tendon-cy for Injury

I’m a klutz. No, no, don’t argue—I really am a klutz.

Somehow I managed to injure my Achilles tendon. I don’t know how. I just know that, all of a sudden, my heel hurt. Then, as I was painfully (remember the Achilles tendon?) going up the back steps to my house one night, I fell. How? I don’t know. One second I was on my feet; the next I was splayed out all over the steps. Luckily, I fell up the steps and not down the steps.

When a Camp is a Support Group

We—my husband, our grandchildren, and one of their friends—recently returned from our annual week at the lake with friends from here and there from across the country. It’s more than just a gathering at the lake, however. It’s a family gathering in more ways than one. That is, entire families come and, together, we form a larger family. We also have a couple of things in common.

Terrorist-Inspired Diabetes Terrors Weigh on Mind

When I sat down to write this, I was listening to breaking news of a terrorist plot to blow up airplanes on flights between the United Kingdom and the United States—and subsequent tightened restrictions on what could be carried aboard aircraft. (Which would be…practically nothing.) Ironically, I was checking airfares to Europe in anticipation of visiting a friend overseas, albeit not in the United Kingdom, when the news broke.

And what’s the first thing I thought when I heard the news? Nope, not that I needed to cancel my plans. More like: "Blasted terrorists! Betcha it’s going to get rough for people with diabetes!"

Everything I Knew About Diabetes, I Learned From My Grandmother

My name is Jan and I have Type 2 diabetes. Sounds like something you’d say in front of a 12-step group, huh?

Since I got the news on January 2, 1986, I’ve known I have diabetes. I just haven’t always known about diabetes. Perhaps it’s a good thing the other genes I inherited are good, or I’d be in deep trouble, because my control in the early years was nonexistent, and it isn’t always perfect now.

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