Tagged: hypoglycemia

Busting the “BAD Diabetic” Mythe

the :"Bad Diabetic" Mythe

I am always intrigued when people report on a fellow family member or friend who is a “BAD” diabetic.   I tell them I have had diabetes for 45 years,  and then I  hear, well they are a “really BAD” diabetic.   People, all diabetes is BAD, and yes I know they are referring to the high blood sugars this individual frequently has, or how many time they have been hospitalized from hyper/hypoglycemic events.  This, however,  makes him/her and “UNEDUCATED” diabetic rather than a BAD diabetic.  Even with all my preaching, if my infusion site gets compromised by a patient pulling at my pump, and I cannot change it until much later, or if I’ve eaten something prepared at a restaurant that I was not aware should have been so laden with sugars or starches,  I too, can have a raging high blood sugar.   What makes one a “BAD” diabetic is not knowing why you’re hyperglycemic or worse, not checking your BS readings sooner to correct.

A patient of mine informed me his grandson was a bad diabetic.  This individual is in his early thirties, thin frame, and apparently healthy and active.    He tells me his sugars are always jumping around, usually extremely high.  He informs me they have been  this way for over 15 years, since his accident.  I inquire if he has looked into an insulin pump, he appears to be the perfect candidate.  He casually informs  me that he is  ”too active”  for a pump,  and of course my response is; that would make you the perfect person.   The next day,  I was informed he would not be visiting grandpa.  as he woke with his blood sugar in the 600s!!!  Not too sure how accurate this was, however, I asked if he was alright.  The grandparent reports ”Oh yeah”, he’s doing find, making himself some lunch and resting.  I inquired as to what this “child” cooks for himself and grand dad proudly reports he cooked himself some eggs, bacon, sausage, home fried potatoes and biscuits.  I innocently asked,  “for one meal?”  and he laughed and said “of course”,  and I cried on the inside.

This is the same grandson I offered my website card to, I offered to talk to him about using a pump and how he was the perfect candidate for one,  I offered an ear or advise any time he needed it and I was told he has someone who helps him.  I asked if it was an endocrinologist, or an internist or a diabetic educator and he reports no, it is the “guy who helps me with my prosthetic leg”, and again, I cried on the inside.

Like many diabetics I’ve come in contact with in the health field,  several are awesome, many more are not, and if it is due to being uneducated, I have a hard time with this as the information is out there, websites, classes, brochures, meetings and more.    As my last article reports (“Diabetes Health, You’re in Charge”, April 14, 2014),  more and more programs seek to educate diabetics and are covered by insurance.  Sadly to say, all that is left are the “LAZY” diabetics, who are complacent in their ignorance because it is easier, and as complications and disabilities set in, there are the  ObamaCare hand-0uts.   Preventative measures are priceless.   Personal responsibility has become a thing of the past, it doesn’t pay.  Becoming disabled and complaining that you didn’t know won’t, and shouldn’t,  work forever.  Educate yourself now, read those articles or  watch the  videos,  while you still have good vision.

Prevent, Not Treat the Highs

Prevent, Don't Treat Highs

My greatest reason for this website has been to help educate and free people, diabetics especially, of feeling like their life is nothing but limitations.  A diagnosis of Diabetes should be considered a health alert, a warning  of impending danger, or damage, which you are inflicting on your body by your poor food choices.  However, my greatest challenge is that of the several nursing facilities  in my area,  and THIS, has been a great motivator, as these residents do not make their own choices and should not be victims of the ignorance of the medical professionals making it for them, including nursing and dietary.

I have recently had a heated discussion with nursing about  a diabetic patient who innocently answered my question of  “how have your blood sugars been reading?”  and not for the first time, the response was,  I don’t know, I don’t think they have been checking.  Of course my response is,  you would certainly remember if your fingers were getting stuck.  As it turns out, after asking her nurse about this, I was informed because she is a Type 2, on oral  medications, we have no orders to check her BS levels (blood sugar) and nursing informs me we do A1c checks when necessary.  In the  mean time, daily numbers are somewhere in the clouds, affecting this persons health and  daily activity levels.   Apparently because most oral medications do not cause hypoglycemia, or low blood sugars, they are not worried.  Well EXCUSE ME, but this patient suffers from  “pins and needles”  on both hands and also from the knees down, causing her balance to be non-existent, a common risk factor of neuropathy, is losing her vision, and reports her sugars before she got here were always over 300,  I would think her doses would require some monitoring and adjusting, but then again, I am not a doctor.     She may not be the most aware person, but she did tell me when she was home she checked at least twice a day.  To top it off,  she tells me she eats the cakes or other deserts on her tray because as she puts it, ” they should  know I’m diabetic, I thought it was sugar free”.

I see the meals that are served in several area nursing homes,  there is no difference from a diabetic meal plan to regular meal plan.  Apparently the choice of treatment for the elderly diabetics is to treat AFTER the meal , of course if they are not checking post meal BS levels, there will be no correction, however, if you are on oral medications, there really is no correction other than simply eating the appropriate meal.  In my mind,  simply crafting an overall  “healthier” diet  would fix this, however, I have been informed this is how the people of this territory  are used to eating and to change this would certainly be unacceptable, or in other words, a  “culture shock.”

I moved here 6-7 years ago, and my eating habits were constantly criticized from fellow employees, until on two separate occasions, co-workers, overweight and newly diagnosed with Type 2, would religiously ask me questions about meals, from what they had for breakfast to what they brought for lunch,  exercise, and anything else that affected their diabetes.  Over several months, both these young ladies lost weight, both of their doctors were thrilled with their new glucose levels, including A1c, one even improved her sleep apnea problem.   They would always come into my office and report their lab numbers to be, and they were just beaming with accomplishment.  These are the two young ladies who inspired me to start this site for people of my geographical area, and obviously anyone else who takes the time, and it does take time,  and commitment,  to improve your health.  It’s not an overnight thing, but it can be done.

Unfortunately, I cannot take on the medical field, the old way of thinking of some of these doctors, but hopefully, I can put a bug in the ear of the family members to voice their concerns for their loved ones.   A little education can go a long way.   Yes, they do have my business card, but most do not have computers, but I will continue to be an advocate and  voice my concerns along side of them.

 

 

Always Something…..

Always Something

Just after I feel proud of the way I’ve been able to handle my diabetes over these 40+ years, I find myself battling, of all things, sleep.  It has easily been a year or more of feeling exhausted, run down, foggy, and falling asleep just sitting still for a moment.  Not a big deal one might say, however, picture this at your work desk,  or in your car in a line of traffic  behind a stopped school bus,  all of a sudden horns are blowing,  you open your eyes to find the school bus blocks ahead of you.  Not very comforting.

One might say this has happened to everyone, and I will be the first to agree, however, these things were happening more and more, and not just after a long day at work, but in the morning on my way to work!!!  After what I thought was a full nights sleep.  Sound asleep from the minute my head hit the pillow until my bladder woke me in the morning.   Yes troubling.  When I mentioned it to people they would just say it happens to all of us as we get older.  Do people not realize age is not an illness!!!  But that’s another soapbox.  When brought to my internist attention, her first response is to do labs, ”it must be hypoglycemia, lets review my diet, exercise, or supplements, then tell  me I do not fit  the apnea profile.  Well guess what, I do not fit the ”diabetic” profile either but here I am.  When all the labs come back normal it is pushed away again, blaming the “highs and lows” of diabetes.  Of course, why didn’t I think of that!!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a glutton for problems, but I do know when answers are needed.  I gradually stopped enjoying everything I once loved, didn’t look forward to things which usually brought me pleasure, ie; vacations, visiting family, going out after work, cooking, working out, nothing.  I was happier when my husband was away on business so I could come home from work and do nothing; no cooking, just sit, veg and fall asleep.  I was angry ALL the time, because I knew this wasn’t me, and luckily my husband knew it too.  We managed to get an overnight  Pulse Ox gadget to test my vitals while asleep.  Oh surprise,  it turns out my 02 levels (oxygen) were dropping to as low as 72% throughout the night.  Normal is 90% and over.  Needless to say now my internist was paying attention.  She felt the need to stress to me that of course “being diabetic” this was a perfect set-up for stroke or heart attack during the night.  Now the fun part…..the overnight Sleep Study at the hospital.  One would wonder how you can sleep with electrodes across your chest, wires down your pant leg, pulse ox on one hand, more electrodes wired and glued to your hair,  face and neck, and an nasal canula in your nose, but tell you what, when you have gotten so little sleep, over so long a period of time,  you fall asleep.  Even knowing the ones watching you in the control room can tell when you move your eyes!!!

Well, the nightmare told us what we knew from the simple pulse ox,  my brain was getting little oxygen during the evening, I was not going into the deepest stage of sleep, but for about 20 mins nightly and so I WAS TIRED!!!!  Months later,  no big change since I  cannot sleep with the damn mask, now I’m up all night adjusting it,

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