Sunday, November 09, 2008

Annual Diabetes Blog Day

Today is Annual Diabetes Blog Day, so here's my attempt to blog about diabetes.

Trouble is, there's not a lot to say. I watch my diet, I take my insulin (3 or 4 shots a day of two different insulins), I check my blood sugar before & after meals...and things go pretty well.

Here's the people I feel sorry for:

1. Diabetics who don't have good health insurance, or any health insurance at all. Insulin is expensive; blood sugar test strips cost about a dollar apiece (I often use 5 a day), the various oral medications (which I don't take) are also expensive. Without good insurance, I don't know how diabetics can afford all the stuff they need -- I suspect that they don't, and instead skimp on necessary medication or equipment.

2. Diabetics who manage without insulin. If my blood sugar starts getting high, I can just take a larger dose of insulin and everything evens out. [Well, okay, sometimes a larger dose of insulin means that my blood sugar goes too low, which could make me pass out, but I take a few glucose tablets to get it back up.] My dad, on the other hand, doesn't use insulin -- if his blood sugar is too high, his choices are (a) go back in time and eat less or be under less stress, (b) do some additional exercise to burn up the excess glucose, (c) put off his next meal, or (d) live with it. That last choice is a particularly bad one, because high blood sugar does all kinds of invisible, systemic damage in the body.

Sure, taking insulin is a chore and a pain, and I don't always get the doses right...but it sure beats the alternative.

3. Diabetics who don't have access to modern high-tech medicine. If my grandmother wanted to know her blood sugar level, she could use urine test strips...which gave a hazy reading of how much sugar was in her blood several hours ago. (Or she could go to a lab, pay a fortune, and get her results in a week or so.) She had only one kind of insulin, and dosing was total guesswork. She had to boil and reuse glass syringes and nasty needles. And she died relatively early. That was forty years ago; there are plenty of people in the world today who don't have access to even the level of technology that she did. They'll go blind, lose limbs, get multiple infections, and die early from all kinds of complications.

Me? I have nothing to complain about.

[Okay, I lost a toe, and a year and a half later the foot still hurts all the time...and I spend a whole lot of time & effort managing this disease...but really, I can't complain.]

Meanwhile, if you've just been diagnosed with diabetes...or if you know someone who this flyer and check out this website. And use all available tools to manage diabetes. It's important.


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