Very Old, Very Healthy Diabetic

...or die trying.
I was diagnosed in 1998 at the age of 33 with NIDDM or Type 2 diabetes. I come from a diabetic clan. I even married a diabetic. Are you on the diabetes road, too?
This is my goal: to become a very old, very healthy diabetic by day to day choices regarding eating, exercise and medical management. Walk along with me...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

More Doctor Appointments

100% of the neurologists who I have met at OHSU are great people!

Okay, I've met two. Dr. Cupler & Dr. Lou. Good guys. I like 'em.

I met with Dr. Lou today. He believes that it is likely that I have small-fiber neuropathy, which may or may not be caused by my diabetes. He adjusted my neurontin dosage, which may give me more pain relief during the day. He ordered blood tests, to rule out some other possible causes. He says, "I want to see you for a follow-up appointment in about three months." His staff says, "His first available appointment is in January."

Yes, that's right, January 2008. He may want to see me in three months, but his schedule does not allow that.

My other instructions: keep good blood glucose control and limit alcohol intake.

It's been a tough month, with running up to care for Betty and Orville. Betty's memorial service was great, very moving, and many relatives in attendance. I got up to speak and made it through my piece, which I had on paper.

Orville's doing well. He's testing and recording his numbers, but no insulin. Less math means that it's less likely that he will injure himself by miscalculating his dose.

I should explain....Orville got his diagnosis of diabetes following steroids to treat polymyalgia rheumatica. Since he was over 80, and since Nana was already using insulin, Orville never took oral meds; he went straight to insulin, managed by his wife.

When she died, he was on 5 (units) of Lantus per day, plus regular insulin following his meals. It was tough for him to calculate how much carbs he ate, and then how much insulin he was supposed to take. To top that off, they had recently changed his calulation, from one unit insulin for every 10 gms of carb, to one unit of insulin for every 15 gms of carbs. He found this change very tough.

He's off steroids, and his blood sugar numbers have been reasonable. He just doesn't have to aim for Betty's 'perfect' control-she wanted her average number to be 114 or lower-at his age and with his other health challenges. He turned 90 just yesterday.

I hope to have him for some additional time, but I don't know if that will be two months or two years. As Dr. Lou reminded me today, family is precious and is to be treasured.

The family history chart was interesting, listing out mother, father, maternal grandmother, mother's brothers and mother's sisters, etc, etc. The chart was just full of 'DM' for diabetes mellitus. Full.

Family is good. Especially when they share your challenges.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Death of a Beloved Betty

On July 1, my grandmother, pictured in an earlier post, fell and broke her hip. They performed surgery on her hip. Sometime after surgery, she experienced a heart attack. The damage was too great, and on July 3, she died.

I was privileged enough to be there. I loved her so much, and will continue to follow her example for all of my life, I think.

The story gets kinda odd from there, and I may not tell it all in today's post.

Orville, my grandfather, was married to Betty for just short of 68 years. My home is about 125 miles from theirs, and mine was the only number they could find to give to the hospital. They called me Tuesday morning, and I arrived at the hospital on Tuesday evening. The day after her death, Orville was experiencing shortness of breath, and we ended up in the emergency room. They told him he was experiencing "a little heart failure" and admitted him. He was in the hospital, the same hospital where Betty died, for two days. (I made great headway on some of my knitting projects.)

My mother, who had been in Mexico on vacation, was informed by my brave brother, who does not do well with death. She arrived on Thursday afternoon.

I am tired and a little flip and giddy. My hair is so greasy, I would almost say that I look like Professor Snape.

The good news is, that when Orville was in the hospital, they monitored his blood sugar, but did not administer any insulin. The highest reading they got was 154. They've instructed him NOT to take any insulin until he talks again with his doctors (that will be Tuesday), and told him not to worry about any reading up as high as 300 or higher. They said lows were much, much for dangerous for a person his age, and with his other conditions.

This morning, his reading was 94. That's right. No insulin, no oral meds for insulin, and my almost-90-year-old grandfather is testing in the normal glucose range.

I'll post more later, after I drive home. And after I shower.