the inevitable slow decay

Last week, I forget which day, I woke up to a little problem.  I’d wet the bed.  The volume of liquid wasn’t huge, but that hadn’t happened since I was a kid.  Our 9 year old son currently struggles with this problem, but he’s got a VERY good reason.  He was diagnosed as a type I diabetic when he was not quite 13 months old.  It’s only when his blood sugar gets out of control that the problem surfaces.

The body treats high blood glucose like many other toxins, by trying to cleanse the blood with the kidneys.  This creates large quantities of urine, and your bladder may fill up before your brain can reach consciousness and get you out of bed to deal with it.

On that morning, I used the handy tools available in the house and immediately checked my blood glucose.  The meter read 130.  Just to be sure, I washed my hands thoroughly and did it again, in case the high reading was due to contaminants on the finger that I poked.  This time it came up at 121.  Taking the meter’s margin for error into account, it meant that the first number was not anomalous.

The night before the literal wake-up call, we’d ordered pizza at midnight and stayed up late watching TV.  A couple of days later, when I had gotten to bed at a more reasonable time but had a fairly carb-loaded dinner, the number on the meter in the morning was 105.

Due to the large amount of fat and protein it contains, pizza is a food with an unpredictable glycemic index.  The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly the carbohydrates are released into the body as glucose.  We can never seem to time our son’s insulin right when he eats pizza, so he either ends up with a glucose level that’s too high or too low.  The other evil food with a similar problem is macaroni and cheese.

In a normal person, a fasting glucose is between 80 and 100, with 90 being pretty much perfect.  For my son, who is completely dependent on external insulin, we shoot for a value between 100 and 120, with anything under 140 being acceptable.  If we tried to keep him at 90, he’d consistently drop below that, which is far more dangerous than being a little bit too high.

I have a doctor appointment this afternoon to confirm what I already know – I am a type II diabetic.  I’m not terribly surprised that this has happened.  I eat too much and I get pretty much zero exercise.  I don’t know whether the doctor will actually write me a prescription for Metformin on the spot.  He probably won’t, waiting until a bunch of labs are done.  Doctors do not like patients to self-diagnose.  It seems to offend their egos.

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elyograg

Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy with the proof. -- J.K. Galbraith

3 thoughts on “the inevitable slow decay”

  1. Getting old can be dangerous. Hopefully you can get it under control with a bit of diet and exercise though. Looking at it from the outside, it is kind of cool that you had the ability to check your level immediately like you were able to. More impressed though that you got yourself into the doctor for an examination.

    On a side note, my father went in recently as he was feeling constantly thirsty and overall not well. His glucose level was over 400. Needless to say, he was immediately put on ‘probation’, including insulin. Hang in there and get some exercise!

    1. You’ve probably noticed this, given how often we have lunch together … I drink like a camel whenever we go to a sit-down restaurant and unlimited water is available. After a meal, I find myself making multiple trips to the bathroom in fairly rapid succession, with a full bladder each time.

  2. The doctor flat-out told me that I don’t have diabetes … but he did order all the tests to check. Kathy thinks that there’s two reasons he said this: One is because his status as a doctor requires that he dismiss my self-diagnosis … if I can diagnose myself, what were all his years of medical school for? The other is so we’d be reassured that the end is not near.

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