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.

One of the most annoying things about diabetes is the way stress affects your blood glucose. Mine has been running in the 200 mg/dl range, with an occasional — and not often enough — foray down to around 120. The fact that I tend to stress-eat (and I don’t mean carrots and celery) isn’t helping.

In fact, a study published in this week’s Journal of the American College of Cardiology says that actions associated with stress — smoking, drinking, and overeating, and not the stress itself — are what can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Still, it would be nice if outside factors would cooperate.

People, for example, could return my calls, even if it’s to say, “I don’t want to be interviewed.” I’m getting nowhere on finding out more about Kaitlyn, the 8-year-old with diabetes in Muncie, Indiana, who died Thanksgiving weekend. I’m trying to write a feature about changes in open-heart surgery in local hospitals over the past 20 years and have only had one person return my calls. Another keeps saying she’ll get information to me, but I haven’t seen anything yet. Otherwise, people are pretty much ignoring me.

In the meantime, the editor I work with at the local newspaper is having a problem pregnancy and hasn’t been feeling well. On top of that, she was just diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which isn’t making matters any easier. She sent me an e-mail asking to change my schedule around, so now I need to come up with a column at the last minute when I have nothing planned. It did put the feature off, but not for long: There is an early deadline on that because of the holidays.

A guest I had lined up to talk to my religious school class on Sunday called at the last minute to say she wasn’t feeling well (and, truly, didn’t sound well!), so I had to come up with a lesson at the last minute.

There there’s technology. Aiiieeee! I’m working on a project and need to make some changes — but can’t figure out how to do it with the remote, so I tried hooking it up to the computer. It didn’t work there, either.

Nor was I successful in uploading pictures from my camera. When I tried, the computer shut the whole shebang down and displayed some screen I’ve never seen before, which basically said, “you’re screwed.”

I got that problem with the computer fixed (I thought), but then the monitor started to strobe, which makes writing fun (HA!). When I tried to fire up the computer the next morning, it displayed the aforementioned message again, gave a cough, clutched a lily to its chest, and keeled over.

Thankfully, I got a new computer, and the person setting it up had transferred the contents of my hard drive over to the new computer before it was discovered that there was a little problem with the power supply. Like, it didn’t work. However, he did manage to get my old computer back up and running. Whew! At the worst, I would have only lost one week of data.

In the meantime, I managed to get some Chanukah gifts wrapped while the computer was nonfunctional. It’s amazing what you can get done when you’re not being distracted. Now all I have to do is keep the gifts out of the cats’ clutches for a few more days. Their latest trick was to get into a box of foam packing peanuts, which then clung to their fur and shed all over the house as they raced around. It looked like there had been a blizzard inside.

Now, continuous glucose monitors are great for tracking your blood glucose so you can keep it under control better than with intermittent checks. Did I tell you that my transmitter crapped out so I can’t use my CGM until the new one gets here?

It will be better. It will be better. It will be better. My transmitter will get here and I’ll be able to keep a closer eye on my glucose. The power switch on the new computer will be taken care of, and I won’t be using a cobbled-together system. I will know to put boxes with packing peanuts on the back porch as soon as I’ve removed the items instead of letting them stay in the living room “until I get around to moving them.”

And my car door will not be frozen shut on the date of my next appointment for a stress test, even if I have to clear out a space in the garage so I don’t have to park outside.

Nah. That’s going a bit too far!

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  • CalgaryDiabetic

    Dear Jan.

    Go to the auto parts store and get some sort of not too clothes staning grease like silicone or white grease and apply to the rubber gaskets of the car to minimize the water that infiltrates into there and freezes you door shut. Wipers that are frozen solid to the windshield can be loosened with pure antifreeze applied from a cup with a brush or from a squirt bottle. My favorite female really enjoys the electric car heater made by taking a 240 volt base board heater from Home depot and putting a cord and 120 volt plug. This gives you a safe source of heat compared to the commercial ones. This is because if you half the voltage you only produce a quarter of the power.

    As far as the stress test goes my friend Azarniouch had a coronary the day after he had his stress test. No sure what the message from this fact is.

    I cope with computer problems by shouting Peter at 120 decibels and after 10 minutes or so he comes and fixes it. He is a graduated electrical engineer but probably does not remember the above principle. I deal with all the tangible engineering problems and he fixes computers. If he moves out that will be the end of my blog.

  • Ephrenia

    Jan, thanks for the laugh. I, too, have cats.

  • CalgaryDiabetic

    Dear Jan. Happy hollidays and thanks for all the blogs.

  • Cate

    Speaking as a Southerner born and bred…I would not be able to handle frozen doors, etc. We look forward to our inch of snow that closes down everything and everyone goes to the store for milk and bread. Our snow is fun. We might even get a snow day every two years. Of course in the summer we do have more stress trying to stay cool. So our stress months are July, August, and September. During that time we are a snarly bunch of people and that’s when we stress eat! It’s not fun opening your car door and being hit with 120 degree interior heat. So even though I can’t relate to the cold stress I can definitely relate to the weather stress. If I am going to have problems with my diabetes or depression it will definitely be affected by weather. In fact most of my stress eating is done in those three months. I am working on having a low stress Thanksgiving and Birthday and Christmas this year. I have cut out some practices that are more trouble than they are worth – using my china, crystal, and silver for dinners during the holidays. I have taken to bribing my family with a “Tree trimming party” on the first weekend of December. This consists of me ordering pizza for everyone while they completely decorate my tree to my satisfaction. All it costs me is pizza. We have started a new tradition that the family actually enjoys and looks forward to while decking my halls for me. It’s a win/win situation.

  • eileenjez

    When I think of all the years of stress I had while I was working I wonder how I managed to get through it. Now when I don’t have to work (retired) I sit in an office answering phones and taking information for the person whose office this is. I do this a few days of the year but actually volunteered for this week since she has so much to do and I don’t. The relief in her voice when I said I would do this was so amazing. I’m really greatful I can make one persons holiday a little easier.

  • David Spero RN

    Hey Jan,
    Sorry December has been so rough. Holidays are a hard time to work. I totally disagree with the AJ Cardiology article about stress and disease. Although stress-response behaviors certainly cause health problems, the stress itself can raise sugars, make you fat, and destabilize your heart. Easy for me to say, but relax! Meditate!
    Here’s to better times in 2009!

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