Food For Thought: Life With Diabetes

Text Size:

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.”

“Yeah? I have diabetes, too,” I responded. “Why can’t you eat them? It’s basically salad in a rice-paper wrap.” There probably wasn’t as much carbohydrate in the entire order as there is in a slice of bread.

All I could get out of her was that her doctor is a stickler on her having “good numbers” and yells at her if they’re not “perfect.”

I think that more doctors need to have diabetes and try to maintain “perfect” numbers all of the time. Barring that, if they can’t at least understand that we are mere humans and can only do the best we can, they need to be fired.

There are so many things that can affect blood glucose. Many people believe it’s only food that makes blood glucose rise, but stress, physical activity, hormonal changes, and more also have an effect — and not always the one you expect. Right now, my podiatrist is convinced my blood glucose should be elevated because of my torn Achilles tendon. Instead, even I am surprised that it’s running on the low side. Maybe my body has decided to “stress down” this time around. Maybe my hormones are squirrelly. Maybe it’s because the sun is about to reach the same position in the heavens that it was in on the day of Creation. And isn’t there a full moon this week?

It will be interesting to see what happens after my surgery tomorrow to repair my torn Achilles tendon. Especially since I then immediately go into Passover cuisine mode and change my entire diet for eight days.

HA! Let a doctor try that and keep those numbers perfect! Have surgery, come out in a cast so that your activity level declines precipitously, and change your entire menu for a few days.

I think that food remains the sticking point with diabetes. I put off getting serious about my diabetes for years because I didn’t want somebody telling me what I could and could not eat. I was diagnosed in the days of the exchange list (and told I couldn’t even eat a sweet pickle). So I was pleasantly surprised to find that, in the interim, the standards had changed from a strict menu to (with apologies to Gertrude Stein) “carb is a carb is a carb is a carb.”

To my great delight, it was no longer something like “half a sandwich, a bowl of soup, and a three-inch apple” for lunch. I could eat anything I wanted as long as I matched insulin doses to the amount of carbohydrates.

Many people still don’t understand that, however, and will wag their finger at you for eating a cookie, but ignore that huge plate of spaghetti you’re scarfing down. Not that it’s any of their business what you’re eating anyway.

I’m sitting here chuckling, remembering a family practice doctor I went to — once — back in the days of Regular insulin. He yelled at me for eating some cookies. He then told me I didn’t need to see an endocrinologist, saying, “You’re MY diabetic.” (Little did he know that I’m nobody’s “diabetic.” I don’t like that word.) Kept the endo. Fired the family practice doc. If he didn’t know that Regular insulin has a peak and you need to feed that peak, he had no business overseeing anybody’s diabetes, much less mine.

Speaking of food, I should get myself to the kitchen. Passover begins tomorrow evening, and it seems I’ll be a bit busy when I normally would be finishing up the seder meal. Lemme see…tzimmes, chicken soup, matzoh kugel…

Get Diabetes-Friendly Recipes In Your Inbox

Sign up for Free

Stay Up To Date On News & Advice For Diabetes

Sign up for Free

Get On Track With Daily Lifestyle Tips

Sign up for Free

Save Your Favorites

Save This Article