Almost a month ago I came down with a sore through that was quickly followed by coughing fits that just seemed to go on and on and on. Since then, there were a few times that I thought the coughing was finally winding down… only to have the coughing fits come back even stronger than before.
Finally, I gave in and let Tammy-Vicky call my doctor and set up an appointment. I had sworn that I would never go back to that doctor but she is the one with my medical history that goes back about 20 years. And right now I really am not in the mood for trying to break in a new doctor.
Anyway, one of the things my doctor often asks me when I go in for a visit is, “Have you been keeping track of your blood sugar levels?” The answer is usually “No.” This time, the night before my appointment, I decided to take a blood sugar reading just so I could say, “Yep, everything is normal, like usual.” Unfortunately, to my shock, my blood sugar levels tested higher than I had ever seen them before. In fact, the blood sugar levels were more than double anything I had seen before. I was stunned.
My father had diabetes from a young age, the problem was discovered when he was a young adult, and it became much worse as he aged… but then Dad really did not take care of himself all that well. Ultimately, heart failure, and other complications from diabetes, took my dad from this earth a few months after he turned 52… an age I find myself getting closer and closer to as the years go by.
My dad’s mother developed diabetes in her later years and is still alive today. In fact, Grandma Crane turned 88 a few days ago. Although Grandma has diabetes I think she developed that mostly from a lifetime of sweets, I am not aware of anyone else in her bloodline that had diabetes but it is possible that there were case I do not know about.
I believe my genetic propensity towards diabetes comes from my Grandpa Crane’s mother’s side of the family. My Great Grandma (Collins) Crane died from eating too many sweets (suicide by cake). It is speculated that she planned her death so that she would die on her deceased husband’s birthday. If that was indeed her plan, it worked.
Although diabetes does run in my family, on the Crane side, few family members have more than borderline cases. Until the other day I was not convinced that I even had borderline diabetes. Sure, there was a test that said I had Type II Diabetes, but my personal blood sugar readings had never tested above normal levels. In fact, there were times my blood sugar levels would get a bit too low, which made me think, that like an aunt, I had a mild case of the reverse of diabetes, hypoglycemia. In either case, my blood sugar levels had not been a major problem for me. I just had to make sure to eat regularly and try to eat right. Okay, so I do not have the best diet, especially for someone who should be watching out for the big D, but at least I generally avoid the sweets better than most of my family (never mind the two cups of cocoa-coffee I drink almost every day).
Well, anyway, when I did see the doctor yesterday about this coughing problem I have been having I also had them confirm my blood sugar levels. I was hoping that it was just the expired testing strips that I had used that had given me bad readings. Unfortunately, it was not bad test strips. Even though the testing strips I used were expired (because I did not have any fresh ones) they were still giving relatively accurate results.
Well… bummer. After all this time of living under the threat of diabetes it has finally woken up to hit me.
I am hoping that with medication, and a better diet, I will get this diabetes back under control before it gets a chance to become even worse. Right now it is still just Type II (non-insulin dependent diabetes) and I want to do my best not to graduate to full on Type I Diabetes. I do not want to have to use needles to shoot myself with insulin… like my Dad had to do for his last decade or two. I am hoping that I can improve my diet and get enough exercise to put the Big D back into its relatively dormant state. I now know that I will always have to live with the reality of being a diabetic, but I also know that with proper self-care my chances of getting off the diabetic drugs, and keeping myself from getting insulin dependent, are much greater.
Now, can anyone please tell me how the hell to budget in a good diabetic diet on a poverty-level fixed income??? Frankly, I think that is impossible. Good, healthy, foods cost toooooooooo much! Those of us on a fixed income can barely afford the kind of crud that they call food that does wonders to shorten the lives of the poor… even those without pre-existing health problems.
Oh, and as for the cough I originally went to the doctor for, I was prescribed a powerful antibiotic that is currently fighting the bugs causing havoc in my lungs. So far, this is only making my coughing more frequent and far more violent, but I am hoping that this is a sign that the battle is raging on and the bugs are losing. I do feel more stuff breaking up down there deep in my chest. I am also coughing up a lot more nasty tasting stuff too.