By Jan Chait
Hi Honeys, I’m home. (Yawn!) My husband and I went on a whirlwind tour of Virginia and South Carolina, visiting friends and family. I almost had to stay in Virginia. There were a couple of steps up to our friends’ house and they had cobbled together a ramp of sorts for me to get in. Next time I looked, the ramp was gone! But they put the ramp back in when it was time for us to leave.
We were accompanied by a Global Positioning System (GPS) that got to be…interesting…at times. That voice — we called her Millie — wanted us to stay on the straight and narrow. Or else.
“Did you stop for lunch?” Virginia Jan asked.
“Heck, no!” I said. “Millie got her panties in a wad if we stopped to pee! Imagine what she would have done if we’d stopped to eat!”
Millie voiced her displeasure with our forays off the intended route with one word: “ReCALC…ulating… reCALC…ulating…” she repeated as she figured out how to get us back to where she wanted us.
You know. Kind of like an obsessive-compulsive doctor who wants those of us with diabetes to do exactly what he says, even though we have other lives of our own. I had a doc once who didn’t want me to have even a bite of sweet pickle. Tough luck, Charlie: I like sweet pickles on my cheese sandwiches. And in my tuna salad and potato salad and on my hamburgers.
Getting to the friends’ house is “interesting” enough: They live on a lake in the boonies. Dirt-road boonies. Millie got us there OK, but didn’t seem to want to let us get back on the interstate on the way back. We passed a sign pointing to the interstate at one point, but Millie directed us to keep on driving along every narrow, twisting, winding — did I mention crumbling? — road in existence until we got to the interstate exchange SHE wanted us to go to. It was lovely…but slow. Very slow. And, after years of NOT living in my native West Virginia, dizzying at times.
“Let’s just try you on diet and exercise for a couple of years. At some point, when your sugar gets into the 200s, I’ll accuse you of cheating on your diet for a while longer before giving you one anti-diabetes medication. Then we’ll start all over again until I give you a second one. We’ll use insulin as a threat.”
There’s another way, which I wrote about on July 8, 2008. It still makes more sense to me to get on the interstate as quickly as possible rather than lollygagging along every country road in the world. Unless, of course, you can spare the time. With diabetes, time unnecessarily wasted getting your blood glucose under control is time you cannot spare.
As soon as my husband got Millie, he took her along to Indianapolis, where he had a meeting in a location he’d never been to. Rather than flipping the “on” switch after he got to Indy, he started Millie up right before leaving.
Now, we happen to know that the interstate is undergoing destruct…er, construction and it takes about twice as long to take that route rather than the parallel state highway. So he took the state highway. Millie was apoplectic. She wanted him to take the interstate, darn it! She was so adamant, she insisted he get on the interstate at every chance. She even tried to get him to make a U-turn. She wanted him to get there her way, even though he knew his way was better.
I have only one thing to say: “Should you be eating that?”
Have you even been in Kentucky, trying to cross the river into Indiana (“There! I can see it right over there!”), but couldn’t get to Indiana because the road was closed RIGHT BEFORE YOU GOT TO THE BRIDGE, Kentucky’s Department of Transportation assumed you knew how to get around the area, Millie kept wanting you to go on the closed road, and your husband had decided he didn’t need to take a map along? I mean, he had Millie. Right?
I’ve always said you need to know about diabetes and what’s needed so you’ll have some kind of a clue about whether your doctor knows what he’s doing. Not to mention your educator. Despite changes in standards of care, some health-care professionals refuse to change. Some never quite knew much about diabetes. (There are still docs who say: “You have diabetes. Watch what you eat.” And that’s it. There are docs who don’t send you for diabetes self-management education.)
We all need to learn as much as we can for ourselves. Read books and magazine articles — watch for a recent copyright date; change can come fast. Compare notes with other people who have diabetes. Know that caring for diabetes is more than managing blood glucose levels: It’s managing your blood pressure, your lipids, keeping an eye on your kidneys, getting regular dilated eye examinations, and more.
If you just remember that diabetes only affects the parts of your body that has blood flow, you’ll get the general idea.
Oh. I finally got to spend some time with Dad. Not long enough, but we listened to banjo music, watched football, ate cookies, sat in the sunshine, and talked. At Dad’s request, we stopped by his house on our way out to see his bird feeders and to sit quietly and watch the birds for a while. My favorite memory is the smile on his face when my brother wheeled him into the hotel room and he saw me.
Source URL: https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/recalculating/
Jan Chait: Jan Chait was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in January 1986. Since then, she has run the gamut of treatments, beginning with diet and exercise. She now uses an insulin pump to help treat her diabetes. (Jan Chait is not a medical professional.)
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