Monday, April 27, 2009

Lying to Myself and Other Entertaining Pastimes

I have diabetes.

If you remembered that, you’re one up on me. Oh, I knew it. I simply chose to ignore it for a long time.

I was diagnosed in 2001. For a long time, I was great about monitoring my glucose. I ate the right stuff. I took my medication. I exercised regularly. I tested.

But my insurance didn’t cover testing supplies, so it became easier and easier to say, “I feel pretty good; I’ll test tomorrow” until I wasn’t testing at all. It also was quite simple to say, “That piece of pie I had last night didn’t bother me, so let’s have another one tonight.”

I still took my pills and I still exercised. And I was able to fool myself into thinking everything was fine.

Until I went to Mexico last November.

While spending a great day in the pool at our resort I ground massive blisters into the bottom of both feet. These developed into two deep ulcers, for which I had to see the Mexican doctor. I’ll save that story for later (except to say that when I got back home I went directly to my doc, who took a look at the oral medicine the Mexican physician gave me. He said, “I have no idea what the hell this is” then he threw the pills away). He told me to keep the wounds clean and that was about it.

So I did. And I tried to minimize the time spent on my feet. My daily walks were put on hold.

A few months passed, and the wounds began to heal. But after a certain point, they stopped. As long as progress was being made I could tell myself that I didn’t need to go to the doctor.

Meanwhile, my energy level had fallen dramatically. There were days – most days -- when it was all I could to drag myself through the door after work. And the idea of doing anything else, including writing, seemed impossible.

Norma convinced me to start monitoring my glucose again. I did, and the number was shockingly high. Apparently the amount of walking I normally did kept the glucose level slightly in check. Once I couldn’t take long walks, the sugar shot up.

I immediately cut out carbs and started trying to get the number down.

About that same time, I mentioned my situation to a coworker. It turned out that he had an appointment the following week with a new podiatrist, and while there, he mentioned my problem. The doctor advised my friend to send me in as soon as possible. So the next day I was getting the wounds examined. The doctor said they were clean and well cared for, but they were never going to fully heal because of where they were located.

Now I wear special shoes that take the pressure off the ulcers and I make weekly trips to the wound care center. I’m on the mend.

And the blood sugar is finally back in normal range, after the addition of a new medication. I’ve dropped a lot of weight over the past several weeks, and I’m exercising again, albeit not by walking, but that will come soon.

I’m pretty sure I will stay motivated. On my first visit to the wound care center, I sat in the waiting room with a number of overweight people, many in wheelchairs. The guy sitting next to me was polishing off a big burger and a bag of chips. Another patient, obviously a regular, asked Chip Boy, “How ya doin’, Ronnie?”

“Awright,” Chip Boy said. “They cut off another one of my toes last week, but I don’t know what’s wrong.”

That was the moment I vowed that will never be me.

I decided to share this story for those few who might wonder where I’ve gone or why they haven’t gotten a story/article/review from me in a timely manner

Now I’m feeling good again. I’m back to work on my writing and editing. While I didn’t finish the novel in March, I don’t see any reason I can’t type “The End” by late May or early June. I’m also working my way through the submissions for Appalachian Holiday Hauntings, so keep those stories coming.

And if you ever see me chowing down on a Snicker’s bar, slap me up the side of my egg-shaped skull, okay?

1 comment:

Ron Fortier said...

Curse you, Mark!!! I'm sitting here finishing my morning coffee trying to come up with some lame excuse NOT to go out for my morning walk and I have to read this!!!! Alright, alright. I'm going for the walk.
(All kidding aside, you get well and I promise to keep walking!)